Saturday, 26 November 2016

Finally! Maiden flight!

So.. this project has taken me far too long to realise! I finally got out for a maiden flight on this 450mm quadcopter I've built. It's probably about a year since I bought the bits! Many many many people have built and flown quads these days so it doesn't warrant a massive post but for what it's worth my (budget) recipe for this quad is;

800kv brushless motors
cheap simonk 30amp ESCs
1045 props
CC3D flight controller
FST6 tx/rx
2200 mah 3s lipo

Its gone together pretty well and I am massively pleased with how stable and easy to fly (I'm a stabilised pilot so it feels similar to the couple of small brushed quads I've learnt on... JUST A HEAP MORE POWERFUL!). It was easy to setup the CC3D flight computer using the brilliant free and opensource LibrePilot which gets even more praise for being available for ubuntu.

Theres a few jobs to do and some tidying required but really chuffed to have flown this today and
there's definitely lifting power and space on this airframe for some cameras so hopefully I'll get some nice footage.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

3d printing 3d printer bits (and circular economy)

So a friend got in touch this week with a problem.. he needed a bit printing for his 3d printer that had broke. I was very pleased to print him a replacement part. I love that 3d printers can replicate parts for themselves and other machines, as my friends machine is open source they actually sent me a file someone had designed that was an improved version of the part that broke. Brilliant. I hope, whatever the wibbly wobbly future of tech and community brings, that these aspects remain.... a great example of a circular economy.

In fact... we can go further.. 

My friends printer sits in an office in a company (the team in the office all chipped in to have a 3dprinter in the dept to play with!) and when I dropped of the replacement part they said one of the work uses for it was printing replacement gears for a part of the conveying system in the warehouse of the company.. a part no longer available for purchase. So my bit fixes his printer which fixes a conveyor system ... and as I was passing their location with another work task the carbon footprint miles of this part are reduced even further. 

And finally the part that broke is PLA so my friend can stick that part in his compost bin and it will decompose....

reuse, repair, reduce, recycle.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Rocket Ruler now on Thingiverse

Just in case anyone wanted one, I've put the Lasercut Rocketry Ruler design I put together for the recent rocket design workshop I ran onto thingiverse. The ruler is angled so that however it is placed on a tube/cylinder you will always be able to mark/measure a straight line parrallel to the centre line of the tub... very useful for all kinds of things but certainly for marking rocket fin placements! If you are wondering what the symbols at the ends are they represent the centre of pressure and centre of gravity the first of which must be behind the other to make a stable rocket.  Feel free to tip me millions on thingiverse! :)

Thursday, 27 October 2016

JETO... Just Enough To Operate, Learning and projects and play

I had a long conversation with the mighty last night that started off as a discussion around homebrew CNC controllers but ended up being a fascinating talk about learning and approaches to projects. I talked about an idea I have used for a long time and it made me think maybe I should blog about it.

So years ago ardent followers may recall I was playing with rolling my own linux live CD's/Images using OpenSuse and Susestudio. It was good fun bundling stuff up and deploying it in a virtual machine before compiling an image you could burn to disc or make a bootable USB drive etc. If I recall correctly it started with numerous presets including an "everything you could ever bundle into the core" down to an intriguingly titled... JEOS... Just Enough Operating System, this option of course had the leanest setup, no windows manager, low GUI, no frills.

This struck a chord with me as it encapsulated my approach to projects somewhat. I tend to learn just what I need to learn at any given time towards a given project during the project. I note things I find interesting but don't necessarily need to know more about at the given time and then tend to explore these when the project they relate to is finished. Therefore learning Just Enough To Operate.

This approach could be considered lazy, an example of "Jack of all trades but master of none", however I don't use this JETO idea to avoid complexity, rather I use it as a governor that stops my mind focussing into learning abstraction that I don't need to realise the thing I am making. Rather like the second and less often quoted part of that phrase;

"Jack of all trades but master of none,  but oftentimes better than a master of one."

I've also used this in some facilitation work, creating activities which allow participants to consider and strip away what resources they actually need to realise a project can be very powerful. It always reduces barriers and increases peoples permission to approach complex projects.

So for me, my JETO concept is really useful combined with my ideas around Purposeless Play (another blogpost at some point) it gets me through most projects.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Rocketry workshop at North Wales Tech 20th Oct 2016

Little plug for this upcoming workshop in North Wales.. there's only a few places left! I'll be bringing lots of model rockets, doing a basic rocket anatomy 101, an introduction to openrocket where people can have time to play at designing a rocket and simulating it's flight etc. We'll finish the night looking at tools and approaches to scratchbuilding rockets from lo tech solutions to 3d printing, laser cutting and CNC routing.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Speaking at Glitch Festival of Creative Disobedience

So I am speaking at this festival! "How I Accidentally Ended Up in a Space Race" is my title. I'm really looking forward to it particularly as the term "GLITCH" has made me think about the connections between where I started with things like circuit bending and glitch music and how they formed the following adventures that have led me to having CNC robots and making space parts! If you fancy coming along it's free and I am on at 2pm on the 16th October in the Mostyn gallery.. but do check out the entire festival.. PDF program here

ps it has the mighty Paul Granjon too :)


Been ages since I did some databending .... in fact I can't remember or find evidence of a period where I did a lot of it! I thought I'd blogged many moons back but apparently not (although my orange banner image across the top of this blog (which needs replacing!) is a databent image from that period! I needed to have some examples of databent images for an upcoming talk I'm doing and here are today's results.. I like them.. (would love to do some big prints and show them..) I made myself databend only images that were photo's I'd taken of things that I have made... enjoy!