So, I recently launched a kickstarter project, and immediately after about 40 people asked my to do an IAMA. ....since I haven't done one in years. So.... here I am. For anyone who doesn't know, I bought a mountain in Vermont 10 years ago. There's no road up it, so I carried a house up here in pieces, all kinds of stuff. I also built a huge workshop where I have a giant robot. ...which I'm determined to test drive August 6th 2013. ...amongst many other things. I document all this ridiculousness on youtube, and my website.

Here's the link to my kickstarter where you can get a robot kit that lets you build a super cool spider tank...

I also have some robots (not kits) coming out in stores all over the world that are ....almost as cool as the kits. :-) Anyway... This is a good time to do this since I'm online a lot doing kickstarter stuff, so... ask away!

(Hello, moderators. I posted an IAMA a couple years ago from this same account. Hopefully that's sufficient verification.)

....and most importantly I'm an Adventure Builder! :-)

Comments: 202 • Responses: 93  • Date: 

gamegoblin13 karma

Long time fan. It's been interesting watching your kids grow up through your videos. What are your plans for their education?

JaimieMantzel17 karma

Thanks a lot, Goblin. :-P Oh.... good question. My kids education. No public school. I'm teaching them everything i can now, but I'm planning on creating a small school that revolves around cooperation, not competition, and encourages learning and fun, rather than threatening punishments. Hmmm, ya, I had a bit of a harsh school experience. I plan to allow their curiosity to lead their learning.

save [–]ala-akbar 1 point 5 minutes ago What did you think about it? permalinkreportgive goldreply

MrShlee5 karma

Please consider recording your lessons for others.. like Kahn academy.

JaimieMantzel17 karma

I do. :-) its my youtube channel. :-P My lessons aren't structured like a classroom because life isn't structured that way. learning is something you can do anywhere any time. :-)

gamegoblin5 karma

If they decided that they wanted to go to public school, would you let them?

JaimieMantzel9 karma

If they decided that, yes. I'd let them. Seeing Aurora, my 2 year old, I can already tell that she's like me. She learns on her own by doing things. I suspect she'll have no interest in public school. Besides, she's going to be hanging out with other kids who are all learning at the rate of free curiosity. ....which is way faster than learning my threats.

ijon_cbo2 karma

Do you know of any areas of knowledge, that you dont know enough about to teach them, but which you consider necessary or useful for your kids? What area of knowledge is that?

JaimieMantzel8 karma

hmmm. I'm looking forward to learning along with my kids. I don't have to know a subject to know how to learn it. :-) That's a misconception about teaching. The teacher doesn't have to be better than the student to teach them.

bobulesca2 karma

I dunno, my mom had a really hard time teaching me algebra....

JaimieMantzel6 karma

Ha ha. That's not necessarily because she didn't know it. ;-)

medicalalphabetical11 karma

Just donated, you are an integral piece in the puzzle.

JaimieMantzel10 karma

Thanks! That makes it all the hard work totally worth it. :-)

silentape11 karma

How many hours sleep do you get a night?

JaimieMantzel18 karma

Hmmm. Totally irratic. I don't have a schedule. I once went 3 months sleeping an average of 2 hours per night. time I slept for 20 hours straight. Generally, I try to get lots of sleep, though. Being well rested allows full power operation. Having to devote a portion of brain power to being awake takes away from ones capabilities.

Andrenid8 karma

Another hug fan, been watching your videos for ages and always get excited when a new one pops up in my feed. Have also backed the kickstarter.

Anyone remotely interested in DIY, robots, building stuff, self sustainability, and/or MacGuyver style antics, should definitely check out Jamie's videos!

JaimieMantzel16 karma

A hug fan! That's great! I love hugs. :-P

thesage10148 karma

Where's the Kickstarter for the island?

JaimieMantzel8 karma

Are you implying that people might actually pledge for an island? :-P

hellomynameistimothy3 karma

Absolutely, but how would you approach it so it gets approved and what kind of rewards would be offered? What is the cost of islands you've looked at that would be suitable for what you want?

JaimieMantzel6 karma

I have no idea how to get something like that approved. Kickstarter rules say no real estate. Rewards? Hmm.... I spose invitation to the island. :-P Camping trip??? I've seen good islands in the 100k to 500k range. A lot of it is luck. ....finding one at a good price at the right time. :-)

TheRealGeorgeKaplan1 karma


JaimieMantzel4 karma

Oh, I think I want to move away from the New England area. Its been great here, but there's an entire planet out there. I just don't know why people would help me buy an island. :-P Maybe there is a reason, maybe I just haven't thought about it in the right way.

fantasticraig8 karma

What project(s) are you planning on doing after the giant robot is completed?

JaimieMantzel18 karma

Well.... I have a few ideas in mind. It depends on how the universe goes, but... I want to buy an island and build the most amazing place on earth (To me, at least). I'll build all kinds of things, and try to show people an alternative way of life that is positive, and happy.

I want to build a bigger robot. ....giant giant robot. I also want to build giant robots that can do really useful things. be construction vehicles. I've learned enough working on this last Giant robot to do so. :-)

Also, a big boat. powered and full of cool workshop stuff.

JaimieMantzel24 karma

Oh.... and I really want to build a robot suit soon. ...sort of like iron man, but not so flashy. I just want to build a suit that lets me lift tons, and do impossible construction.

SluffS7 karma

You're awesome.

JaimieMantzel8 karma

I umm... err.... wait, uhh... oh... thank you. :-)

Weeman897 karma

Have you ever had a close call with death while doing your crazy awesome stuff?

JaimieMantzel14 karma

I almost dropped several thousand pounds of wood on myself. I jumped out of the way scrapping my arm in the process. I barely made it out of there. It was stupid, and I was distracted while doing something dangerous. The most important safety tip I could give anyone is stay alert!

SphereDweller2 karma

(Its me, WILL :D) Woah when/ how did that happen!

JaimieMantzel5 karma

Ohh... It was a couple years ago. A stack of plywood sheets. I leaned them against something totally stupid. ....and there were a lot of them.

Okayletsrock7 karma


JaimieMantzel9 karma

I bought 25.4 acres for 12,500$. Its not specifically a mountain. ....its a triangle shaped piece of land that happens to be most of one mountain, a chuck of a valley, and a chunk of the next hill over.

calebkraft6 karma

Love your stuff Jamie. I've featured you on hackaday and hopefully soon, eetimes (I'm working on it). want a raspberry pi? I'll send you one.

JaimieMantzel7 karma

Hey Caleb. :-) I'd love a raspberry Pi! Thanks so much for helping me out. :-)

BBuggins6 karma

Are you familiar with the work of Theo Jansen, and have you considered doing similar concepts?

JaimieMantzel4 karma

I know of Theo Jansen. I think his stuff is really cool. He's doing something very different than what I'm doing, though. He's tworking on creating creatures. ...almost living things that can operate autonamously, and be amazing oddities in the world.

I more want to build things that a person can operate themselves.

Killamac6 karma

What do you plan to so once you are done with your robot?

JaimieMantzel6 karma

I kinda want to auction off my giant robot. I'm still not sure if I will, though. It could pay for an even bigger giant giant robot, though! :-)

MrShlee6 karma

Hey Jaimie,

1) Is the Mark 6 bigger than the in-store attacknids? I'm going to buy one in store and just send you personally some money if this fails. 2) Have you ever looked into the earthship designs to maintain self-sustainable living or is the dome more homely than I think? Isn't it cold with all of those holes in the wall?

I love your mentality to life and found a certain number of your videos very inspirational.

JaimieMantzel8 karma

The Mark 6 kits are the same size as the in store ones. The basic core of the root is the same.

I have looked into Earthship stuff. The guy who designed those is amazing! Its so sad what the gov't has done to him. I makes me want to barf a bit., a lot. The dome is pretty good. Its very well insulated. There are holes in the wall??? Uh oh! I better go check!

Jeremy_Winn1 karma

Just so you know, I had never heard of Attacknids until today, and I am now losing my mind over these things. I've been looking for something similar to this for about a year now (the Hex bugs were close but no cigar) and these have so much more potential than I even imagined. These are not only a great children's toy, but I will be fully endorsing them for my project-- they'll be playing a role in supporting physical activity and friendly social gatherings for people of nearly all ages. So I just wanted to let you know that your invention is going to be used for a good cause. Please do more stuff like this!

JaimieMantzel2 karma

Thanks so much! That's really amazing to hear. ...and exactly the effect I was going for. :-) exactly! :-)

ThatAngryNurse6 karma

You're planning to test drive your robot on my birthday; this is surely a sign of your impending success! Good luck!

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Happy robot day! Ya. I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous.

ijon_cbo5 karma

I follow your videostream and it is amazing.

I would like to ask you to give a short description of each building that you built on your property since you bought it. Tell us why you built it, how you've done it (I know from the videos that some quite nice storys are involved) and please tell us the storys, that you havent shared on youtube.

Spoiler: If you are really lucky, he'll tell you about the 4th floor of his house, but nobody ever heard any informations about the secret 5th floor!

JaimieMantzel8 karma

Hmm. OK. The Dome. My main house. The first thing I built. Its 4 story's tall. The third floor has a 14' trampoline built into it. :-) My babies love it! OK OK, so do I. ...and everyone else who visits. There's a slide down to the 2nd floor. The 4th floor is my "Everybody leave me alone" room. Its sound insulated, and has a skylight. Sometimes I go up there, and stare at the sky. 1st floor is kitchen and living stuff. There's a rain barrel on the 2nd floor. Solar panels on the roof. The south facing side of the house is all windows.

Spring house. Its a concrete dome. I built it over a natural spring. The most delicious water comes up out of the floor! Its the thing I miss most when away. It runs into a frigid pool, then out into a stream. I keep food in the cold pool.

Banana Building. Its a retired airplane hangar. I spent 2 months scouting out, and digging a road through the mountains by hand so i could drive it up here in pieces. I insulated it with styrofoam boxes I got from grocery stores. They throw out piles of them!!!! One winter there was a snow storm and it collapsed. ....with the giant robot inside! The giant robot stopped the ceiling, but significant damage had been done to the building. I have it bent back into shape, but its just not the same as it was. The giant robot survived.

I also have a half finished tower at the top of the mountain.

There's an outhouse which is where pooing happens on the workshop level. Its painted pink, and has "Poo Haus" on it in blue letters.

TechnoL33T4 karma

For the wife:

Which is more important? The size of the mountain or the motion of the robot?

JaimieMantzel7 karma

Pshaw. One need not choose when there's a Jaimie involved. ;-)

Jubles4 karma

I love your giant spider robot! How much to make it?

JaimieMantzel5 karma

The giant Robot is mostly made out of scrap metal. A lot of it free. I did buy a bunch of important components like motors, gears, chains, bearings, etc. That's mostly been covered by donations to the project on my website. Its cost my almost no money to build. ....but a lot of time!

salpara3 karma

What's the biggest misconception you think your fans have about you?

JaimieMantzel9 karma

Biggest misconception people online have about me. That I'm a ranting raving lunatic 24hrs a day. Generally a 10 minute video is a day or several condensed down to 10 minutes. I'm actually a very quiet person most of the time. I can easily go a day without saying a word. ...but I do talk a lot more now that I have my beautiful babies. :-)

MilesGayvis3 karma

Hey Jaimie! Thanks for being awesome.

JaimieMantzel2 karma

Aw, shucks. Thanks. :-)

hols863 karma

Have you considered writing a "how to" book on escaping 9 to 5 and all the corporate mumbo jumbo? I dream about having a self sustainable house one day. You have some unique know-how on how to get it done. BTW, you are awesome.

JaimieMantzel4 karma

Thanks! It would be hard to write such a book. ...because the most important thing it to realize that real life isn't structured like books, or classes, or any of the stuff we're taught growing up. Real life is fluid, unpredictable, and an amazing adventure. ....if you let it be. .....and sometimes to let it be, you have to fight other people really hard!

hols862 karma

I understand. The thing with the books is they are packed with all the things one needs to know to do something. A book is like a filter - you usually write down the most important things. I've been watching all of your videos so I get the big picture, but what about guys who are interested in a similar lifestyle, but don't have the patience o go through all the 430 videos you made over the years ? A book would be something they might get into. The point I'm trying to make - people are lazy plus "how to books" are a great source of revenue. You could sell them as PDF fairly easy. You might consider this when financing your own island. It's just my idea - you could write a autobiography. I would buy such book for sure if you could get into the nuts and bolts of living of the grid, escaping 9 to 5, financing projects etc. Good luck with all the projects Jamie. Respect!

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Hmm. ya. now that I think about it more, I have thought of writing a book about this stuff. Its hard to think about right now because there's so much going on. :-P

Maybe I'll have to sit down one day when I'm an old fart, and write one.

hammerdry3 karma

thanx for ansering my question and all these other questions. i've been reading the commentsan its all pretty interesting. i watched the slide video-too cool. so your other kids are boys? the one with the long hair is handsome. he looks like his dad. they are so lucky. les moms and a cool dad.

JaimieMantzel2 karma

1 boy, one girl. :-) ....and 2 girls who live with me. Ya, its really awesome being a dad. Being a great dad is something I've aspired to since I was very young. Its the kind of job where failure simply isn't an option. :-)

evjim3 karma

I have always wanted to have land in the mountains; when I saw your AMA last year it made me realize I should do it. I now own 11 acres of mountain too and am planning the first building. Next I will build a giant robot too. Someday we can have a robot battle maybe...

JaimieMantzel5 karma

That's so cool! I hope your building goes well. Don't worry about mistakes or setbacks! Success is created by perseverance. :-)

nathacof3 karma

How did you manage to acquire the property in Vermont?

Where did you meet your wife?

What was it like when you decided to leave conventional society behind and live the way you felt was correct?

JaimieMantzel7 karma

I found my land in Vermont on the internet. It was just in regular real estate listings. There are lots of sites now that specialize in rural properties. :-) I take it you mean the mother of my babies. Its a long story how we met, but... in a nutshell, a friend introduced us after I asked "Who's that cute girl on your myspace in the blue dress". She responded, "Oh, she's kinda wierd." ....and I was like, "Really!?? Cool!"

Leaving the "normal world behind was socially very difficult because everyone I knew told me I was making a mistake. In reality, everything in my life has gone more smoothly since making that decision. ....and I had to get to the point where I'd rather die than live "normally".

hammerdry3 karma

ok, i will defintley help if i can. i love your vids. on your youtube channel you talked about your kids that dont live with you. who are they and what are they like? will they grow up with the adventure builders club?

JaimieMantzel7 karma

So... I have 2 kids with some lesbian friend. They live about 45 minutes away, and call me daddy. They're super cool. I'm not in charge of their upbringing, but their mom's do think I'm a great influence for some crazy reason! ha ha. I'm teaching them the Adventure Builders virtues. My 2 year old daughter who lives with me is becoming quite the ABC expert, and helps. Honor means always tell the truth, she says. :-) So cool.

All 4 kids are in my slide video. ....where I make a slide in my house. The 2 oldest spent about 2 hours going up and down the slide laughing their heads off while the younger 2 watched intently. It was really amazing. They're all really great kids. All different, but all very inquisitive, curious, and active. :-)

whymyty3 karma


JaimieMantzel9 karma

Oh, uhh.... don't watch the video I made about Brown. :-P

whymyty1 karma


JaimieMantzel2 karma

At Brown? Not really. I found it to be an endless session of butt kissing lessons. I stopped attending classes. There was a bit of learning actual things, but it was so slow that I could just show up for exams, and figure it out on the spot. I did that hoping that at some point I'd have to start attending classes, but then I graduated. ...with a nice big debt. I would have been better off working at McDonalds and going to the library for 4 years.

jiml781 karma

I would just like to say that the general population could not just show up for engineering classes and pass them.

So from that perspective, you are not the norm when it comes to intellect and ability.

I see a lot of what you post and think it is sad that you portray school so negatively because most people would have zero chance to pull off things like you have been able to do.

I am likely to get downvoted big time but you see to be oblivious to this.....

JaimieMantzel3 karma

I think that people in schools could learn 100 times what they learn is they made school fun, and kept everything as simple as possible. Many teachers have a tendency to make things seem very complicated to confuse their students. This makes them feel smart because their students are struggling with the information. Over and over I've had experiences where I've summed up weeks of work for someone having difficulty, and they look at me totally stunned, and say, "That's it??? Why was it so complicated in class? This is easy."

I think schools are missing massing opportunities to make the world a better place by putting actual learning on the back burner, and raking in piles and piles of money instead.

borispavlov03 karma

Hey JME, how hard was it to keep going? I mean, have you ever had times where you wanted to give up trying to build everything around you and move back to the city?

JaimieMantzel9 karma

Moving back to the city was never an option for me. Things have been very difficult, though. In the past before living in the woods, I considered suicide, but decided that if I was ready to die, I had nothing to lose. After that, I decided to put all efforts into going for the best possible outcomes no matter how difficult. I'll get there or die trying. No exceptions, no quitting.

borispavlov03 karma

Oh wow, I am happy it turned out so well for you. I'm sure it wasn't easy to get to the state of mind that you are now

JaimieMantzel9 karma

It was easy once I decided that death was more acceptable than living unhappy. ...but ya. It was a bit of a rough ride getting there. :-) I'm still fighting a lot of things. It gets harder and harder to stay within the law when doing anything unorthodox, for example. Its just silly things like pointless regulations that make life more difficult.

anmoyunos3 karma

Hey Jamie, just wanted to say gratz on getting your Attacknids out!

Mine is awesome, and I hope like hell the kit robots get funded so I can have an even cooler one to battle with my girlfriend and terrorize my dog.

JaimieMantzel4 karma

Thanks! That's great to hear! Ya, I'm working on getting the kits doing. Its difficult for me because I'm not used to promoting myself. I like to do things much more than talk about them. I'm doing everything I can, though. I think the kits will be very important to certain people. :-)

BitterBeard3 karma

Jaimie, I am wanting to get two spider tanks for Christmas(one for each of my kids) and one deluxe for myself. Can you do this through kickstarter or are you limited to just one pledge for the drive?

JaimieMantzel5 karma

Kickstarter doesn't let me offer more than 1 item per reward, but what people have been doing is pledging the total of what they want, and adding a note in the comments saying what they're looking for. I find this perfectly acceptable.

JERKFACE90003 karma

In the future, do you think you'll be releasing schematics for your almost-spider robot? I'm excited to get a chance at building a little one.

JaimieMantzel4 karma

I've been planning to release several schematics for different things. I have to work on them to be 3D printable, first, though. they're useful to the most people. :-) Do you mean what I call the spider tanks? I have a simpler to build version than the store ones. Its easier to build, but couldn't pass safety for toys. :-P

tmr99992 karma

An army of tiny spider robots sounds amazing...

JERKFACE90002 karma

I wonder if anyone has gotten lots of attacknids on the same frequency to make them march in unison.

JaimieMantzel4 karma

You can link several to the same controller. Its pretty easy to do. :-)

akorbust2 karma

I love how you made your own sawmill to cut wood from the forest to make some of your structures. Very cool Jamie ! The robot kits are a great idea ... especially for kids. It will surely plant some seeds in young minds for future projects.

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Thanks! Ya, I really hope the kits go through. I'm doing everything I can to make it happen. :-)

Weeman892 karma

Would you rather fight 100 Attacknid sized robots or 1 giant robot duck?

JaimieMantzel4 karma

I'd rather fight neither. I'd much rather use them to explore outter space! ...and roam around alien landscapes. That would make me way happier. :-)

TheRealGeorgeKaplan2 karma


JaimieMantzel5 karma

I just bought 400dollars worth of batteries. That emptied out my paypal account which is where robot donations go. It ate into my savings a bit, but I should have everything I need, now.

On an awesome note, I've had so many awesome donations over the years. I wouldn't have gotten this far without them. Its sometimes overwhelming to think about how many people have contributed to the giant robot project. Its blows me away how much people will help another person fulfill a dream.

LaamaSwag2 karma

Thank goodness for friends teaching me to edit :P. is the test drive spider some type of all terrain vehicle or just an interesting way to get around type of deal?

JaimieMantzel5 karma

Its an all terrain vehicle. ....a prototype, though. I'm not entirely sure how rugged it is. Most of it is scrap metal. I'll find out soon!

LaamaSwag2 karma

Sounds awesome good luck! If there's any way to see the maiden voyage I'd be much obliged to be informed of such outlets, and thank you!

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Ya, I'll get some video of it and post it right away. ...presuming I survive! ha ha

clownquoted2 karma

Hi Jaime, I've been watching your giant robot progress over the years. It's great that you are so close to a test drive!

I was very happy to back your kickstarter. I have two kids and wanted to get two so they each can put one together. There wasn't a space for quantity=2, so I just chose the level (Deluxe) and backed it with twice that value so I hope that's possible.

Thanks! Good luck with the kickstarter and the Giant Robot!

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Yep! No problem. If you double the pledge, I'll send 2. :-) I'll make sure I get details from everyone about exactly what they want. :-)

clownquoted2 karma

Thanks. I'll send the kickstarter link to some other parents that I think would love to build and play with a robot with their kids.

These will be a great experience for our family. They're fantastic with what's included and it'll also be cool to see what we can do to add features too (or at least interesting paint jobs:-).

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Cool, thanks! Ya, I'm really hoping this kickstarter makes it. I want to post designs for custom accessories that people can make for them, too. :-)

xolusmojo2 karma

Have you stopped using that crazy dangerous, giant bandsaw?

JaimieMantzel3 karma

I stopped using the bandsaw. I made another equally dangerous looking saw. :-P

Jeran2 karma

hey! another long time fan! i was wondering mostly about how you went about getting around legal requirements on housing for getting to live in the woods. did you have to get permits? have inspectors come by?

JaimieMantzel6 karma

I'm far enough away from any neighbors that I haven't had to deal with any inspectors. ....or permits. Its difficult to find a place where this is the case, but totally worth it.

Jeremy_Winn2 karma

I REALLY hope your Kickstarter is successful.

Actually, if it were a couple of years from now, I might have been able to drum up some significant sales for this. I've been looking for a product like this one for a large project I've been working on, and if the Kickstarter doesn't work out now, maybe we can work together on it some other time. But I really hope it is!

Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more; I'd be happy to talk to someone with your engineering talents any time.

JaimieMantzel3 karma

I really hope its successful, too! :-) I'd love to hear more of what you're talking about. You can e-mail me... [email protected] RElax, everyone. That e-mail address is on my website. :-P

JJlondon2 karma

Bit late to the party, but i bought one of the combat attacknids last year, loved it!!! Just wondering, any ideas for modding it? :)

JaimieMantzel5 karma

Sweet!!! Hmmm, modding them. So many ideas! I want to see what other people do. :-) The easiest thing to mod is the armour. Take it off... glue things to it... cut it, drill it, screw things into it...

hartscov2 karma

Love the project - I'm happy to be learning about all of the cool stuff you're doing and am looking forward to giving your kit to my son for Xmas.

JaimieMantzel2 karma

That's great! I'm working hard to make sure he can get the kit! :-)

LaamaSwag2 karma

Ok, so I'm new to Reddit so please excuse me if I go about this the wrong way. This caught my attention and sorry if someone asked this and I missed it but, can you tell me about the spider robot you're rest driving in August?

Edit: test* driving

JaimieMantzel4 karma

No problem. I'm a bit of a reddit newb, too. :-P So, I've been building robots for years. I decided to build a giant one a few years ago. I have a video of its first test drive here. ....just testing straight walking.

I've got the steering dine, and am puttign the electronics together tomorrow. ....hopefully. :-P Testing is planned August 6th.

teslarobot2 karma

Any tips to succeed on kickstarter? I've had an idea for pneumatic legs for industrial and exploration uses.

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Successful kickstarter!? Umm... I hope I'll be qualified to answer that in a few weeks! Right now I don't think i can answer that. :-)

hellomynameistimothy2 karma

I have been following the robot build on your Youtube channel for a few years now and I just wanted to thank you for taking video and sharing your adventure with me. I have a few questions for you if you have the time and don't mind:

  • I imagine you grow your own food? If so, what all do you grow throughout the year and how much space does it take?
  • What do you do for an internet connection while on your mountain?
  • What are the electronics on the kit like and how do they work with Arduinos or other microcontrollers?
  • You have mentioned that you would like to release and are working on some schematics, but you want to make sure they work first. Do you have any idea of when you'll be releasing the designs for the spider robot or any others?
  • You only mention use with 3D printers, how possible would it be with a CNC machine such as the Shakepo?

Thank you again for your time and videos.

JaimieMantzel3 karma

I grow a bit of my own food, but I've really slacked off with all the robot stuff going on. I'm hoping to save enough money to someday buy an island and create a truly self sufficient place. ....with mangos! I love mangos!

Internet comes via mobile phone connected to the computers USB port. It costs an extra 60$ a month. Expensive and slow, but it works.

The electronics in the kit is 2.4ghz RC. There are also 2 ports on the robot that allow one to override the existing electronics with things like arduinos and pi's. I'm working on getting the protocols for that from the electronics guys. I didn't design the main electronics. One could also just rip out the existing eletronics, and control the motors directly.

If this root kits goes well, I'll try to put out a bunch of schematics for the Spider tanks, and other accessories around the time people start getting them. :-)

I don't know anything about Shakepo, but you should be able to CNC parts that I set up for 3D printing easily enough. I'll have to make sure I give out IGES files. ...which are compatible with most things.

dewknight2 karma

It would be great if you could find a fellow minded adventure builder close by that has line of sight to you as well as real internet, and set up a microwave connection so you had faster speeds.

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Ya. heh heh. There isn't a single dwelling with line of sight to my place. :-P I could set up a repeater somewhere near the house on top of the mountain, I spose.

ijon_cbo2 karma

You could probably increase your internet-speed by mounting a strong antenna on the highest point of your property, directed to the next cell-tower. There are such devices, that can be bought right away. Here are examples:

I dont know what carrier you use and I dont know what frequency that carrier uses, but if you tell me both, I could research the right antenna, a proper outdoor-housing, and a proper UMTS-Modem, that you could attach to your antenna. If you then mount the whole unit as high as possible and direct it to the next umts-cell-mast, you will get faster speeds. Such a system might need up to 7W (12V), but usually will stay below 5W.

I would advise you to hang an Ethernetcable in the Trees down to your dome, because that uses less power then a Wifi-Connection through the Woods

JaimieMantzel2 karma

But, umm... what I have is fine. I don't want to be online that much. I don't want to devote that much work to being online. I come online to communicate briefly, but the large majority of my life is offline, and i like it that way. :-) After all, if I spent all day online, who'd make the giant robot!?

hellomynameistimothy2 karma

Yeah, I like your outlook/philosophy on most things and your island sounds awesome and something I have wanted for myself for a long time. Unfortunately I don't think I would have much to offer your island at this point and not sure how I would get in on that.

As for the electronics, great! That is what I was hoping for and when I get a robot (If the kickstarter doesn't go through then I imagine I'll wait for schematics to 3D print or CNC my own) I have access to both Arduino and Raspberry Pi, but imagine I'll do most of the stuff through Arduino. I'll make sure to get any thing I do over to you so you can share and/or use.

Anyway, thank you for sharing your life with me on the internet and taking the time to respond to my questions! I look forward to seeing everything else you put out there!

JaimieMantzel2 karma


....and to get in on the island thing, you just have to be able to take care of yourself, and not be destructive. Its a surprisingly tall order for people today.

TheRealGeorgeKaplan2 karma


JaimieMantzel7 karma

  1. I decided that normal corporate life wasn't for me because I learned that businesses that are motivated by money do very bad things to make said money. The ones that don't do those bad things go out of business. Its a flawed system. 1b. After having kids, I've become more determined to give them a better life than I had growing up. Now there is no room for failure.

  2. A luxury I wish I could afford is freedom. ...and a spaceship! ...and an island. ...with mango growing on it. mmmm, mangos.

  3. Living off the grid isn't challenging at all. All the challenges come from the people who live in government buildings who think its their job to make life difficult for the people who pay their salaries! I really love having clean water, fresh air, and the space to do things I want to do. With todays technology, there isn't anything you have to give up living off grid.

  4. At first, every toy company I approached about the spider tanks said they were amazing :) Yay.... but they didn't have any place for them in their marketing scheme. :-( poo. Then a company very suspiciously came out with my design soon after showing it. ...then it was difficult working with other engineers once I did find a toy company to work with. It is a rarity to work with a person who values positive end results over all else. Usually greed, ego, insecurity get in the way of doing anything.

  5. August 6th I'm testing the giant robot. ....full test. That's Tuesday, right?

TechnoL33T3 karma

What are the basics of living off the grid? Where does food come from, and how do you replace all of the modern amenities I'm used to enjoying?

JaimieMantzel5 karma

Food comes from an organic farm thats near here. The basics of living off the grid? Umm... basically, its awesome to have no electricity bill! ...or water bill, or gas/propane/oil bill. Also, when the zombies come, the power stays on. ;-)

What are the modern amenities you enjoy? I may not enjoy them. I don't have or want a TV. My fridge is a bucket sitting in the cold water that comes out of a spring. I cook on a wood fire.

Hmm... other than that, I love to go outside, and build things that may cause problems in a city or the burbs.

TechnoL33T3 karma

What about electricity for your tools? Internet connection?

JaimieMantzel5 karma

Oh, right! Solar panels. There are a few batteries in a wall downstairs, and internet is through a mobile phone plugged into the USB port on my computer. :-)

TechnoL33T3 karma

How do you upload videos with a phone that likely has a bandwidth cap?

Idk if it means much to you, but I've been watching your videos forever, and I'm super excited that you've been replying to me.

JaimieMantzel1 karma

No bandwidth cap. We got it when they still had unlimited plans. We can't ever change it! :-P Heh, no problem. :-) I'm definitely nowhere near the most important person in your life, though. ;-)

TheRealGeorgeKaplan1 karma


JaimieMantzel5 karma

Thanks! Hmm. I like to pick my own mangos, but... I may need an undersea robot exploration captain. :-)

ijon_cbo3 karma

I would like to be interviewed for that position, if it is still open.

JaimieMantzel4 karma

Ha ha. The position doesn't exist yet! I'm working on it!

[deleted]2 karma

If you and your robots started a band, what would it be named?

JaimieMantzel2 karma

Adventure Builder Band! ...I think. ...and we'd have all the symbols from the Adventure Builders Club all over the stage. :-)

MarshallX2 karma

Can you tell me the story of the Attacknid vs your Spider Kit?

What made you decide to do a build-it-yourself kit and how does WoWStuff feel about it?

Have you ever thought, "You know, this giant robot isn't worth it" even though it's what got you the popularity to move into toys?

JaimieMantzel3 karma

The Attacknids are cool, but I'm not really into marketing violence. Sure, its fun to blast things for fun, but there are so many other things you can do. Positive things. We learn how to destroy so well, but not how to create. The robot kits are about creating.

The guys at Wowstuff are really cool. They're very supportive of my efforts personally, even if they want to go in different directions on a business level. They're helping make the kits possible.

The Giant robot is worth it. I can't tell you how much I've gained personally from building it. My skills and resourcefulness have gone way beyond what I thought they ever would. I've learned that even when something seems impossible, the tiniest steps in the right direction quickly add up to real progress. I hope that other people watching it take that lesson, too, and are encoutraged to take on their own impossible projects.

kaysea1122 karma

How much did the mountain cost?

Why did you build that giant robot?

Are you some sort of closet super villain?

JaimieMantzel5 karma

12,500$ for my mountain. Why did I build a giant robot? ....I just love to build things, and there weren't any of them around. I figured the world would be coller with a giant robot.

No. I am not a villain, however I'd likely be portrayed that way by the media because I don't necessarily follow the rules. I'd say I'm one of the good guys, though.

onlyhereforfantasy2 karma

How did it feel to be the first freshman to win the Heisman? Do you expect to repeat this year?

JaimieMantzel4 karma

Well, I didn't show up to the award ceremony, so I didn't actually see who won.... wait... did you say I won??? Wow, really? Sweeet!!!

hammerdry2 karma

jamie, does each donation on kickstarter equal an order?

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Not necessarily. People can donate for nothing. A few people have done so. Also, a lot of people have donated enough for multiple robots. One guy that I know of ordered 6. :-P

tmr99992 karma

Have you ever thought about the idea of trying to add a jumping ability to your robot design?

Also it's been a while since your website has been updated with more recent events. I'm know you are very busy but I love your candid, diary like life stories.

JaimieMantzel4 karma

I do have other robot designs that jump. I made this frog once. ...just a first prototype, but it showed a lot of promise. I might get back to it sometime. :-)

hellomynameistimothy2 karma

What was the size of the frog prototype and how well do you think it'll scale?

JaimieMantzel2 karma

The frog is about 15cm long. What scale are you thinking? A giant rideable one? It would be difficult to survive the acceleration of the jump. :-P

hellomynameistimothy2 karma

Well what size are YOU thinking? I think the landing could be quite rough as well, both on body and the frog. Either way, frogs are cool and a frog robot would be neat.

JaimieMantzel2 karma

I was thinking the size of a big bull frog. :-)

hellomynameistimothy1 karma

Rad, that sounds like it would be a fun project and at that size you can afford to get some pretty good jumps! I hope to see it come to fruition some day!

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Its kinda funny because the toy company was asking me about the frog recently. :-P

lolwaffles69rofl2 karma

How did it feel winning the Heisman last year?

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Someone already asked that. :-P

Giovani422 karma

What was your biggest injury? Btw I find your robot very cool. Where does the idea come from?

JaimieMantzel5 karma

My biggest injury. In University, one day I went to track practice, and told the coach that I should run that day. ...I felt a muscle pull coming on. An agrument ensued, I ended up running, pulling a hip flexor really badly, kept running to go to NCAA, ended up being unable to run a single step for 7 months. I've since recovered. ...and now I never let anyone push my into doing something stupid like that!

The robot idea for the spider tank originally came from a cartoon called Shadow Raiders. Do an image search for... Ice tank shadow raiders I thought, "I can totally make that with 2 motors". :-)

JoeRuinsEverything1 karma

Hey Jaimie, long time fan here. I've been watching ever since a friend sent me the first giant robot video. Your videos continue to inspire me in so many ways. Because of you i actually started to build and create some things i always wanted to create, instead of just thinking about doing it. Whenever i get stuck on a project, your videos always cheer me up and keep me going. The way you live also inspired me to be way more self sustaining and and it made life so much more enjoyable.

I hope your Kickstarter project succeeds and you can one day buy that island!

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Wow, that's really awesome! Thanks for telling me. :-) That's pretty much the exact effect I was going for when I started making videos. Its really awesome to know that my embarrassing myself is worth it. :-)

I'm trying really really hard to get that island. :-) The kickstarter is a bit of a sidetrack since its a lot of work, and not much money for me, but totally worth it. :-) I'll make decent money from the in store toys, anyway. :-) ....i hope.

MrShlee1 karma

How do you handle the essentials? Heat, Water, Food...

btw.. the marketing on the WOWSTUFF toys are funny "we are now very happy to let you know that both Stryder and Doom Razor are available to pre-order" DOOOOM RAZOR!

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Ya. I don't have anything to do with the Wowstuff marketing. Apparently, they like my names, though. ha ha.

Heat is mostly sun. ...and wood stove. Water comes from a spring. Its deliciouso!!! Food, I want to grow more, but I've been getting food from a local organic farm, and the grocery store. ...'cept for the pizza those guys brought yesterday. That was from the pizza place. :-)

MrShlee2 karma

So your place isn't too far away from a town? Not in the middle of the rockies? :) rude question Do you have income from a bunch of difference sources? or savings? or royalties?

How does being a wild nomad with an awesome child and lovely lady in an amazing dome feel?

JaimieMantzel2 karma

I can walk to a town. I want to be more remote. I have income from toy robots lately. I've thrown all eggs into that basket. Oh wait... I do get a bit of money from youtube videos, but... its really not much.

Life in general feels good. I have some demons I fight regularly, and some things to figure out in life, but I seem to be making progress. :-)

Slabee1 karma

what's your favorite pokemon?

JaimieMantzel5 karma

Well, I call my 1 year old Squirtle. Not because of the pokemon, but still... I like squirtle extra just because of that.

hammerdry1 karma

oh, ok. yeh, i can see how the one with the nappy is a girl now. shes really cute too.

JaimieMantzel2 karma

Heh heh. Ya. She's my giant 1 year old. :-P opposed to my little 1 year old. Babies are funny. They come out so different.

hammerdry1 karma

wha??? she's 1?? she is giant! i thought maybe 2 or 2,5. so, you have 2 one yr olds a 2 year old and how old is your son> that's amazing!

JaimieMantzel2 karma

He's 3. Ya, they're all really close in age. I'm hoping it'll be really cool for them as they get older, and that small age gap becomes less significant. :-)

JERKFACE90001 karma

Jaime, after your less than ideal experience with the lulzbot 3d printer, have you found one with better service?

JaimieMantzel2 karma

No! I just fixed the 3D printer, and now I refer to it as a Mendel Max. ....which is basically the design they sell. I made a few modifications, and now it doesn't have any of the problems that would require customer service. :-)

If I were to get a different one right now, though, the Printrbot looks really good, and it cheap. ....with a heated bed.

SnowingSwede1 karma

How's it going?

JaimieMantzel2 karma

Hmm... Open ended question. Things in general are going better than I expected a few years ago. I still have a few difficulties I'm working on in life. I do have a fair amount of difficulty dealing with people in our culture. Ya, I could use more positive relationships in my life.

soopahcanuck1 karma

So hyped for this project, Jaimie! I'm getting three kits; these are going to be so awesome for me and the kids to build, paint and play (battle!) with this winter! What are the kinds of customization you envision people doing with these spider tank robots? I'm not the best at electronics, but I was wondering about incorporating proximity sensors and creating an autonomous mode.

JaimieMantzel3 karma

That's awesome! Just pledge triple the amount for 3 kits. ...and leave a note in the comments so I'm sure to know what you're looking for. :-)

I don't even want to guess at what people will do for custom robots. I'm really psyched to see what people come up with. There are some really great hackers backing the project. I'm betting some of them will put up tutorials about how to do sensors, and stuff. :-) Still, there's so much you can do mechanically. :-)

soopahcanuck1 karma

Hey Jaimie, you've talked in your videos about finding a place to test the giant robot, and that near your home is not ideal. can you transport the giant robot anywhere except under its own power? Not like you can strap it to your back and hike it out. Helicopter airlift???

JaimieMantzel3 karma

Strap it to my back and carry it out. :-P Thats it. It comes apart into relatively manageable pieces. ....sort of. ha ha. Either way, I'm doing it!!

TheRealGeorgeKaplan0 karma

Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck zombie or 100 duck-sized horse robots?

JaimieMantzel4 karma

I'd rather reprogram the horse robots to be radio controlled, and use them to blast the zombie. I generally don't like violence, but I make an exception for zombies.

breakingmad1-1 karma

would you rather fight 100 horse sized LEmurs or one Lemur sized horse XD

JaimieMantzel2 karma

I want to make friends with the horse sized lemurs. I wonder how their large size would affect their intelligence levels.

ala-akbar-1 karma

What did you think about it?

JaimieMantzel4 karma

Umm... what did I think about what?