Since my wife reads this blog, upon occasion, I'm starting my Christmas list early.
Behold, the brand new iRobot Dirt Dog.
I want one of these. Unlike the iRobot Roomba, which is pretty cool in it's own right, the Dirt Dog is designed for garages and shops. And at $130, it's reasonably priced too. I'd love to have a Roomba for the house too, but I think I'll wait until they come out with a 55gal drum sized one, we have a lot of cat hair and I think those little frisbee sized Roombas would have an electronic stroke just looking at it all. Also, speaking of the cats, I'd have to have a Roomba that could defend itself, say with some kind of built in Taser or death ray, because the cats would destroy it in short order otherwise.
I have a heavy duty, dedicated dust collection system in the shop, which I custom built from various parts acquired from scrap piles and craigslist, which looks something like this:
Dust collection in a shop like mine is very important. Especially in the winter when I can't work with the highbay doors open, because it's, you know, -40F outside. Sawdust is flammable, extremely so. It's also a breathing hazard and can lead to pneumoconiosis if you breath enough of it in a confined space. The dust/chip collector, which is sort of like a super dooper version of a house vac, is attached via ductwork to each piece of woodworking equipment in the shop, and also has a couple of vacuum hose connections so that I can use it to suck up dust and chips off the floor. But it doesn't quite get everything, especially under the workbenches where fine dust tends to collect until I get down on my hands and knees and reach under there with a foxtail and dustpan, but sweeping fine dust tends to throw it up into the air which defeats the whole purpose. The iRobot Dirt Dog is designed for exactly this situation, roving under the benches where I can't easily reach. And it can be programmed to do it late at night, so that what little dust it does raise I'm not around to breath in.
How cool is that?
See, that's what robots are supposed to do - make our lives easier. They're supposed to take care of the little details so that we don't have to ruin what's left of our knees on the cold concrete floors of our woodshops. I don't want a robot that talks and walks and acts like it's a member of the family (and I especially don't want a robot that walks and talks and acts like Robin Williams!). I want a robot that's small and cheap and can reliably get into or out of tight spots on it's own, taking care of the little jobs that are hard or inconvenient for me to do. I think I've mentioned a couple of times that we're big automation fans around here at Stonekettle Station, we already have a robot cat feeder and a robot cat box, I'm sure they'd welcome a robot shop sweeper to the household.
So, what do you want for Christmas?