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Nolan Kienitz

SAM: Brick Laying Robot

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I've seen bricklayers working nearly as fast. Robotics is going the way computers did in the 80's: folks are applying them in areas where they have little if any advantage. It's part of the learning process, I guess.

Marc

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I've seen masons work faster. But the machine never gets tired, never slows down, and doesn't need an assistant to feed it fresh mortar.

On the other hand, it does a terrible job of striking the joints.

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I am told my father and his father designed one in the 1940's and submitted it for patent, but I never saw the drawings.

John Henry, they say, left his hammer by the side of the road.

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John Henry, they say, left his hammer by the side of the road.

Recently I tuned an old wood jack plane. I mean it's as good as it was in 1860. After a few test passes, I had it perfect and the transparent layers just a few cells thick seemed motorized as they emerged from the throat. The stroke was effortless. Perfect ribbons of walnut fell to the floor. The sound was clean and indescribable. The tool felt happy.

When the bricklayer's skill is unnecessary, when no work is done with hand tools and the finesse lies within keys tapped by a programmer, it won't be a better world.

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Recently I tuned an old wood jack plane. I mean it's as good as it was in 1860. After a few test passes, I had it perfect and the transparent layers just a few cells thick seemed motorized as they emerged from the throat. The stroke was effortless. Perfect ribbons of walnut fell to the floor. The sound was clean and indescribable. The tool felt happy.

When the bricklayer's skill is unnecessary, when no work is done with hand tools and the finesse lies within keys tapped by a programmer, it won't be a better world.

...........I agree with Chad. As I write this, I think back to my summer-high-school job in the 1960's as a helper with a local builder. Nothing was subbed-out, all the tradesmen were permanent employees. As the mason would raise the chimney on each home, so to would rise the pile of empty beer cans at its base. Wonder why he always rode to and from work with a buddy[:-paperba Anyway, these were very nice homes then, built by real craftsmen, that command astounding dollars 50, years later.........Greg

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And poetry will die.

Bricklayer Love by Carl Sandburg

I thought of killing myself because I am only a bricklayer and you a woman who loves the man who runs a drug store.

I don't care like I used to; I lay bricks straighter than I used to and I sing slower handling the trowel afternoons.

When the sun is in my eyes and the ladders are shaky and the mortar boards go wrong, I think of you.

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I split firewood by hand that I cut from my woodlot. My favorite landscaping tool is a square point shovel. I hand-dig my vegetable plots with a 12 inch straight spade. I think about John Henry a lot. BTW he did beat that steam drill in the contest.

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John Henry, they say, left his hammer by the side of the road.

Recently I tuned an old wood jack plane. I mean it's as good as it was in 1860. After a few test passes, I had it perfect and the transparent layers just a few cells thick seemed motorized as they emerged from the throat. The stroke was effortless. Perfect ribbons of walnut fell to the floor. The sound was clean and indescribable. The tool felt happy.

When the bricklayer's skill is unnecessary, when no work is done with hand tools and the finesse lies within keys tapped by a programmer, it won't be a better world.

I laid up 1 3/4" mahogany countertops today and lamented that I had forgotten my Stanley jointer. I was relieved when my Maples 80 tooth saw blade left me ready to glue planks, but it wasn't as satisfying as the slick of a good plane.

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It may be robotic but someone still has to be a brick tender on the job, bricks and mortar don't show up by themselves. The machine has to be feed.

[:-magnify It also looks that the joints are struck by humans.

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...I think it is just a show of robotic skills improvement. A brick laying John Henry would leave this machine far behind, just like in Johnny Cash's rendition of the song.

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