HEY THANKS FOR ALL THE QUESTIONS! I have to wrap up because my hands are starting to feel like two tiny hamster paws, and also I need to edit DIY Astronaut EP 2. Pick your social media poison if you want more shitty robots: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.

See you soon Reddit!!

Hi Reddit!

Fricking excited to do my first AMA. I don’t want to go all cheesy on you but Reddit is where this journey started for me and how I got this -very- weird job. I owe you.

So about two years ago I started building robots and posting them on my YouTube channel and /r/shittyrobots. Today I’m a full-time inventor of useless machines and a host of Adam Savage’s Tested.com. I’m also, more recently, the founder of my own shitty astronaut training program. Because if nobody else will have you, just make your own thing.


Ask me anything!

Comments: 2020 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

mistersavage13352 karma

WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WORK WITH ADAM SAVAGE? Sincerely, Somebody else than Adam 😎

simsalapim8139 karma


simsalapim7128 karma

No but seriously. I'm going to respond to this like it wasn't you asking:

It's a huge honor. It sounds like such a cliché but Adam is such a genuinely great person, and having grown up as a huge MythBusters fan I'm sometimes convinced that working with him is just something I've made up and none of this is really happening.

Just realized how fucked up it would be if none of this actually was real. Fricking unnerving. Why do I do this to myself.

sts8161523 karma

Your one year anniversary of your first shitty robot video kind of struck a chord with me. I've got, what looks like, a great engineering job right now but in reality it's a bit depressing and unfulfilling. I'm at work right now debating whether I should peel my eyelids off for fun or drown myself in the toilet...

What advice would you give to someone your age who is currently where you were 2 years ago and wanting to escape?

AMA is a solid 3/5 so far!

simsalapim2325 karma

I have such a hard time answering this question. It really depends on what your situation is like. But here's how I went about it.

  1. Had job that should have been awesome but was bored out of my mind.
  2. Realized every job I had ever had made me bored out of my mind.
  3. Decided instead of pushing myself harder, I should try to push in another direction. So instead of trying to make myself fit in a mould I should change the mould.
  4. I quit my job and moved back to Stockholm from San Francisco to cut back on cost. I moved in with my mom and set myself up with just enough freelance gigs to keep myself afloat (and not piss off mom). The rest of my time I spent on trying to trace back to last time I was enthusiastic about something, and trying to understand what about it made me enthusiastic. I just wanted to find something that I really enjoyed and that at the same time really catered to my strengths.
  5. I realized I really liked building things, but I hated refining my inventions. I also liked when things went wrong. And I liked making videos. So here we are.
  6. Profit.

I understand that being able to do this was a huge privilege. For one, being able to not work full-time for a while is huge, and also it was such a fricking fluke that the internet picked up on the stuff I was making. But I think trying to be conscientious about what makes you enthusiastic is super important, because enthusiasm is a much better and effective fuel that duty.

codesForLiving1501 karma

Have you ever tried to refine any of the robots to use them for actual chores? How did it go?

simsalapim2624 karma

As much as I'd like for people to think that I use the ass wiping robot on a daily basis, no. I have very little belief in my own inventions' capabilities. Also, damn that'd skyrocket my toilet paper consumption.

totallynotclueless1415 karma

Have you ever built a robot which, while intended to be shitty, turned out to be actually pretty good/useful?

simsalapim2537 karma

People were pretty upset when I posted the beer robot and said it worked way too well.

jtsylve1012 karma

Are you worried that one day you'll make a robot so shitty that even you, the Queen of Shitty Robots, won't be able to control it? What does shitty robot skynet look like?

simsalapim1357 karma

Nah, then I just pull the plug on them. As long as I don't teach them how to charge themselves we should be fine. Or put the chopping machine on wheels.

JDOstoich877 karma

How does living in the States differ from living in Sweden?

simsalapim2597 karma

For one, our politicians are not even remotely as orange as they are here. But I think the biggest difference is just the sheer size of things here.

BrentOzar815 karma

Are there any shitty robots you've wanted to make but have said, "No, that's just too dangerous/expensive?"

simsalapim1182 karma

Hm, I think the deal breaker usually is that I have to be able to build it on one person. And in my house. I'm balancing on the edge of a knife here with my landlord...

jayhuffy739 karma

What sub-Reddits do you visit most frequently?

simsalapim1199 karma

/r/shittyrobots and /r/oddlysatisfying are my favorites.

xjeeper656 karma

What's your favorite shitty robot? Are you working on anything currently?

simsalapim1631 karma

OMG the ketchup robot kills me.

Right now I'm just preparing for a trip next week (going to Norway to give three talks, then to CERN to film some stuff for Tested, then to Stockholm to hang out with my family) and working on DIY Astronaut.

I do know what I want to build next though, but I need to fabricate some aluminum parts for it and need to get my CNC mill running first.

hush_shush548 karma

Can you actually make a better functioning robots or are they really a reflection of your current skill?

simsalapim1088 karma

To be honest, building shitty robots is surprisingly difficult. I want them to be shitty in a really specific way, so they are not just a shot in the dark. But sure, I'm no Adam Savage...

Mallet_Man518 karma

How did you get into robotics and how can someone like me start learning about robotics? BTW Love your videos.

simsalapim997 karma

I got an Arduino Starter Kit (not sponsored, I promise) from my brother for Christmas and just started tinkering. I think what was really important to me was that I never sat down being like "I'm going to learn about transistors", instead I always had an idea of what I wanted to build and everything I learned was to get me closer to making that idea happen.

Learning about robotics and hardware is really fricking hard, and if you have an idea that you really like it will help you get through it. Also, Adafruit and Sparkfun has really awesome tutorials.

bicarrio486 karma

When you code your robots, do you prefer any language? Does it depend on something particular?


simsalapim733 karma

I'm pretty lazy and pretty much only use Arduinos in my projects, so a modified version of C++. But otherwise I like Javascript and Python for programming.

Goddamn_Wouter430 karma

Is there a way to join your space agency? i also really really want to go to space, and can provide my own desk chair for high-g training.

simsalapim466 karma

The curriculum is all online and you can follow the lesson plan on my YouTube channel. You're not going to like next week's class though. Damn it was rough.

koishki428 karma

Will you ever build a robot for Robot Wars? Is Robot Wars still a thing?

simsalapim688 karma

I did build a robot that went up against a BattleBot, but all of that got pulled by a sponsor so I never got to show it. I'd be down to do it again though. A shitty fighting robot? All it does is.... spray you with presents and compliments??

johnyboz409 karma

Is there a dream shitty robot that you have yet to create?

simsalapim853 karma

A rocket that launches something (preferably me) to space.

SlightlyCyborg302 karma

This was posted by SlightlyCyborgs bot.

I told you I would be here! Your shitty projects are hilarious but not very functional. Are you working on any serious robotics projects?

Also, after you dropped out of college, what was your career progression like? Did you envision yourself doing what you do now? Did you have uncertainty about your future? I resonate with what you have done with your career as I myself am a college dropout maker who builds robots.

Here’s to peace and love and shitty robots that are too dysfunctional to take over the world 🤖 !!!!!

EDIT: I wrote a bot to scan new and be the first to post. I finished it 5 mins before 12pm but you started early!! O well. That is a shittybot for you. At least it posted.

simsalapim273 karma

Are you working on any serious robotics projects?

I don't think I'm skilled enough to work on a serious robotics project.... YET!

Also, after you dropped out of college, what was your career progression like? Did you envision yourself doing what you do now? Did you have uncertainty about your future?

I dropped out of college because I got a job as an editor for Sweden's official website. Then I did some odd jobs, and started teaching myself how to program. I don't think I could have envisioned this happening even if I tried. It's way too random to come up with.

And yes, I've had plenty of uncertainty about my future and what I want to do with my time. My brother used to call me the constant life crisis. I still do to some extent, but this is honestly the first time in my life that I have no doubt about that I'm doing exactly what I want to do.

h0zae269 karma

Any advice to parents of teens and pre-teens? My daughter fears failure and it effects her confidence. You took the failures and found a way to inspire.

simsalapim582 karma

Dude you're asking the girl who pushed over a garbage bin in high school because I was upset about getting a B on a math test.

I used to be a really horrible perfectionist. But most of that went away when I moved to China the first time. When I was 16 I went there as an exchange student and when I got back I was like "maybe I didn't get a perfect score, but I CAN SPEAK CHINESE MOTHERFUCKERS"

Looking back, I think focusing on the process rather than the end product. Things rarely happen the way you expect them to, and maybe the thing you end up with after numerous of failures is better than what it would have been if everything went well from the start, or you learn something new.

But to be honest I still struggle with it. I've just redefined what success is for me, because now a success is when everything goes wrong in an entertaining way. I just try to be compassionate towards myself and realize that if I beat myself up about not performing at my best that's just going to hinder me long term. I just try to not be a dick to myself.

enormhi235 karma

How can I get in your ASS (Astronaut School of Space) program?

simsalapim203 karma

Make the acronym A.S.S, my brain said. It'll be fun, my brain said.

ghost-in-a-shell221 karma

Do you miss living on a boat?

simsalapim377 karma

Both yes and no. I don't miss having to worry about it constantly. I do miss being able to jump into the water and swim around my home.

I'm renting it out to a friend now that I'm in the States but I'm actually considering selling it since I'm not planning on moving back to Stockholm anytime soon.

Omgitshannahv162 karma

Hi Simone, I absoloutely love your videos!

As another woman in a male-dominated field (computer science), I was wondering if you have any advice for other women in STEM trying to figure it all out? I feel like I experience a lot of imposter syndrome compared to my non-STEM female friends.

simsalapim333 karma

Hey I struggle a lot with imposter syndrome too. I very often find that I want to excuse myself for lack of skill, knowledge, chest hair, etc etc etc. But I really try not to, because I've realized that the way you talk about yourself, and more importantly to yourself becomes this self-fulfilling prophecy.

You have every right to be where you are and having no fucking clue what you're doing is an inevitable part of doing something hard.


What does your tattoo say?

simsalapim646 karma

it says that I was 18 and took myself way too seriously.

lxo96112 karma

Hi Simone, I'm your moms neighbor, and I think I really scared you once while racing to get my cats anal glands fixed(Don't ask.).

I have only one question: Will you ever bring Adam to Stockholm?

simsalapim144 karma

I have no memory of this. Maybe too traumatic? Hope your cat's butt is ok (I'm going to end every conversation with that from now on)

I'm not sure! Would be interesting to observe him and my mom meeting though.

KetchG104 karma

Who are the biggest heroes you've gotten to meet since your notability skyrocketed?

simsalapim168 karma

Not so much a specific person, but just in general being surrounded by people who are really interested and enthusiastic about what they do.

bussche101 karma

How did you learn to speak English with basically no discernible Swedish accent?

Love your show and your overall "no shits given" attitude!

simsalapim178 karma

I've lived in the US for 1.5 years now but I don't think I had that much of an accent before that either. I just like languages and I'm constantly trying to mimic the way people speak. Also I have no shame. It helps when learning something new.

crayonammo94 karma

Hi Simone! I love the work you do.

Have you had any particularly weird or creepy fan encounters?

simsalapim282 karma

Not IRL no! People are generally super polite and cool. But the internet man. I have a pretty impressive collection of weird-ass screenshots.

codewarrior12872 karma

Lets say your astronaut training program is successful, what type of cheese would you take into space and why?

simsalapim205 karma


But yeah, any type of nut cheese. Not a big fan of the milk industry.

nilmagus242 karma

I'm glad I had enough sense to Google "cheese made from nuts" instead of "nut cheese".

simsalapim126 karma

oh damn. I can usually trust my brain to catch every possible sexual innuendo...

BallPlartCallMop70 karma

God kväll.

First off, thanks for motivating me to get into robotics so i can finally do something with my life, even though im shit at practical stuff, so i ended up in Programming.

If you were to build one horse sized Duckbot and one hundred duck sized Horsebots, which side would win and how many people would die in the process?

simsalapim127 karma

kudos on putting such a relevant twist on that question.

I feel the horse sized duckbot would win, especially if the bill got equipped with, say knives. Might be worth building..

mayecontreras67 karma

Hi Simone! Thanks for doing this AMA.

What's your favorite part of your work?!

simsalapim140 karma

The people I get to hang out with and work with! My manager Luke Girgis, my right-hand-man Scott Lawrie, Kristen Lomasney who helps with social media stuff (and who set up this AMA), and of course Adam Savage who always answers my most random questions. And the people on my Patreon, because they are so fucking kind and cuddly.

shahar2k64 karma

How's the pressure to constantly censor yourself here in the US /on the YouTubes?

simsalapim196 karma

I'm obviously not doing a great job of it. I think it's a hard balance to find. Sure I could omit some shits and fucks, but 90% of my humor is genital-based so it's just not that G-rated anyway. I think it's just that people generally mistake me for a science communicator, which tend to be very clean and kid-friendly. Sure, a part of it is science communication, but mostly it's just some sort of niche robot comedy.

MaxinMusic61 karma

What small thing will make your entire day, and what will ruin it?

simsalapim175 karma

Getting a package in the mail will make it, having socks that slip off will ruin it.

WarriorBeard660 karma

What tools should everyone own?

simsalapim184 karma

A dremel tool. I use mine for EVERYTHING. Including pedicures. Don't tell foot fetish people.

Serialno1028457 karma

Hi Simone! I'm a big tested fan. I have really enjoy the energy you bring to "still untitled." In one of your last videos, you used a 3D printer to make a new claw for your claw machine. How have you found 3D printing? Did you find that there was much of a learning curve?

simsalapim77 karma

I feel like I'm a pretty late adopter of 3D printing, because I really hated designing 3D models. But then Prusa sent me one of their printers and I got really sold. There's definitely a learning curve, but it doesn't take much to get started.

ButtPoltergeist57 karma

Hi Simone! Big fan of your work.

I haven't gotten a chance to tinker with robotics at work for a while, and am trying to think up a small project I can do in my free time to keep my skills sharp. I figured I might ask the queen of shitty robots for help: How do you come up with ideas for projects?

simsalapim91 karma

Finding something in your everyday life that you want to improve is usually a good place to start!

Nuwser42 karma

How were you raised? As a father of a new daughter, I want her to be as inspired and as motivated as you. What did your parents do to encourage such drive?

simsalapim121 karma

Aaaw! My parents were very loving and irresponsible. They let us do pretty much anything. But most of all they always encouraged our interests and creativity. I built a lot of random stuff when I was a kid and my parents could complain about me not cleaning up, but never about making a mess in the first place. My mom also had this way of navigating around conflicts. For example, my brother really wanted to go to preschool in shorts in the middle of Swedish winter. Instead of arguing with him about it she made him promise to put on pants if he got cold. Sure as fuck he takes one step outside and immediately gets the pants out of his backpack.

Freeznips41 karma

Hi Simone!

Do your shitty robot ideas just pop into your head or do you schedule thinking sessions to imagine your next shitty design?

Also, does tested have a p.o. box or something that people can send tested related material?

Hope your day is going swimmingly, all the best!

simsalapim126 karma

I rarely schedule thinking sessions, but I do try to make sure that I have enough free time to get bored. If I'm overworked and stressed I never come up with anything, but as soon as I have too much time on my hands my brain starts looking for things to spend it on.


Tested Mailbag

ATT Simone Giertz

PO box 410477

San Francisco, CA 94141

SleepyheadKC33 karma

Do you consider yourself a role model for girls interested in robotics or other STEM fields? And what do you think about the challenges (harassment, etc.) that many women are encountering in these fields?

simsalapim106 karma

Honestly, I struggle a bit with the whole role model concept, because it's a responsibility and not something you can really opt in our out of. But I especially struggle with people saying that I'm a role model for girls, not because there's anything wrong with being that but because I feel that there's this weird notion that women can only be role models for other women. I honestly think it's just as important for men to have female role models.

As for harassment, I've fortunately been pretty spared from it. Sure there's a steady stream of sexual slurs in the comments, but it's definitely not been as bad as I anticipated.

sharkuppercut27 karma

What do you do with the purposely shitty robots you make after you've done a video with them? Do they get hung in a hall of fame or do they just get tossed in the trashbin?

simsalapim43 karma

I keep them! Some of them are packed up and some of them are hanging on the wall in my workshop. I try to not slaughter them for parts because I often bring them to events, TV shows etc.

cronedog22 karma

I learned about you from watching Physics Girl. Any plans for future collabs with her?

simsalapim36 karma

Heck yes. I love Dianna. We have plans. So many plans.