Meet the Makers from MAKE Volume 27: Hobby Roboticist Gordon McComb


Gordon McComb, who’s been dubbed “the father of hobby robotics,” has been building robots since the 1970s, and wrote the best-selling Robot Builders Bonanza . For MAKE Volume 27 Gordon wrote a how-to article called Teleclaw: Remote Robot Gripper, which is controlled with an ordinary TV remote. Tell us a bit about yourself — where you live, what you do for a living, what you are interested in? I come from San Diego, California, best known for its climate, but it’s also a great place if you’re a robot builder. That’s thanks to the US Navy, and all the military surplus it generates. Cheap parts for projects are never far away. When I’m not building, I’m usually busy writing about something. It might be a book — I’ve done over 60 so far, and new things keeps coming out that I want to write about. I did a 13-year stint as a weekly newspaper columnist, all about computers. I’ve written all kinds of articles for magazines like Popular Science, and I’m jazzed about doing builder projects, like the Teleclaw, for MAKE. Read the rest at Make: Online


  1. I know its just the lighting…but holy crap that dood’s eyes are blue. Are we sure he isn’t a robot?

  2. My god, he’s posing with a Heathkit HERO, an Androbot, and an RBX-5 (and those are just the ones I can name offhand). I know he’s good with building robots — I own several of his books — but I didn’t realize he had a collection to rival that of the guy who owns TheOldRobots…

  3. I think I checked out Robot Builder’s Bonanza (the one circa 1987) about a dozen times from the local library when I was a kid.

    This was probably the spearhead for me getting into the world of electronics.

  4. Guys like Gordon McComb make me hopeful for the future of robotics. It’s guys like him and the kids inspired by him that will one day bring us something like Star Trek’s Mr. Data or, maybe sooner than that, something a little more like Rosie from The Jetsons.

    That said, when I first glanced at the headline, I thought it said “hobby racist.”

  5. I miss my HERO – It had the voice synth board where you typed in the hex values for the phoneme. Unfortunately, it also had a short in the arm somewhere I never get around to fixing.

  6. I’ve got that Toby The Talkbot at the back right. I found it and Brian The Brain at my local thrift store. I love robot toys, someday they’ll replace teachers (I just made myself sick a little).

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