50 SERVO 03.2016
components are up to the task.
• Build for fast setup. Minutes saved during setup can
add up to hours. One question I always ask myself is: How
can I adapt the design to speed up the assembly process?
• Carry a tool pouch. This is one of my greatest
timesavers as it reduces the duration spent looking for
things. I don’t know about you, but I can spend 15 minutes
looking for a tool I just set down (Figures 2A and 2B).
• Document code and wiring. Believe me! You will not
remember everything you did or why you did it later — even
a day later!
• Have spares on
hand. I am a firm believer
that as long as I have
extras available, I will not
need them. The parts that
break or malfunction
always seem to be the
ones that take the longest
• Check out
CorrosionX to help
waterproof your electronic
components. It is amazing
stuff and can save lots of
headaches. Check out this
video to see it in action:
• Have multiple projects going simultaneously. Work on
several projects as parts are available and enthusiasm is
high. Some will argue that the only way is to work on a
single project until it is completed and then move on. That
doesn’t work for me, but might for you. I like to always
have something to work on for when I am waiting for
necessary parts or just letting the paint dry.
• Ventilate your work area — especially when melting
foam or using caustic paints or chemicals. Wear a
respirator. You only have one set of lungs, so protect them.
Using gloves, dust masks, and eye protection can also ward
off a trip to the emergency room (Figure 3).
• Wear gloves and old clothes. When using Great Stuff
foam insulation (it can be a very useful prop building
product), the only safe and
effective way to remove it
from skin once dried is by
having it wear off. Take it
from me; it is not a mistake
I want to make again.
• Keep a first aid kit
with plenty of bandaids on
hand. Accidents do
happen, so be prepared
• Have a plan and
work the plan. Then, adapt
the plan as necessary.
• Look for broken
props bought the day after
Halloween. These are a
great low cost source for
parts, clothing, masks,
Figure 3. Always use your safety
Figure 4. Keep one on hand for those
Figure 2B. My every day
carry when prop building.
Figure 2A. Tools
are right at hand
and easy to find.