Sunday, 31 March 2013

Video of recent guitar duo gig

I did a little gig a few weeks ago with the mighty guitarist Andy Hulme, we played a small set featuring a couple of my compositions, we were also asked on the spot to accompany a poet! As usual Andy is the epitome of style and composure in both appearance and sonically whereas I pull ridiculous faces and generally do my best to put him off!

greenhouse gig video

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Spotting Strand1

I was out for a wintery walk the other evening and was playing with the great free satellite tracking app "satelliteAR" when I spotted Strand1 on amongst the mix. I am a fan of Strand1 as it is a british cubesat and has put the first android phone in space. It also has some fantastic experimental propulsion systems on it. Hopefully I'll get my radio knowledge together to listen and maybe decode telemetry to Strand1 before it's orbit decays.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Catching up..I suck at blogs!

Yes indeed it has been a while! I've been busy and putting spare time into projects when I can. I decided a while back to set up a seperate blog just for the stuff relating to my cubesat/picosatellite obsessions...however I have been useless at getting any further than an opening post so I am making the decision to knock it on the head and my cubesat stuff with have to go in amongst all my other stuff here!

So on the cubesat I have been reading and reading and getting to grips with many considerations in cubesat design. I've also been using my cubesat obsession to develop some skills in sketchup and am trying to get a chassis design together that I could fabricate to the required tolerances using tools I have....more on the tools later!..

Here is the chassis design so far for "Dogsat" (click to make large)

So I have gone for a modular bolt together design as I can probably fabricate these...a lot of cubesat projects however use a monobloc design where a chassis is CNC milled out of a large single cube of aluminium...this approach is great for rigidity but obviously is expensive for revisions/iterations. My more modular approach will allow for lots of experiments and then I could consider a monobloc solution for a flightmodel (although a flightmodel is far from my mind!)

Also related to my satellite obsession I have joined my local amateur radio group to try for my foundation license as I am keen to listen to and possibly work some satellites by putting together a small groundstation...lots of satellites are about that you can do uplink and downlink to/from and its an interesting challenge. A by product of the amateur radio skills is it would give me some insight into antenna design and other related comms module stuff for dogsat!

Aside from the designing I've been tinkering with my tiny clisby lathe which is great fun and I've learnt a lot...

But I also have picked up this beauty of an old lathe with loads of chucks and tooling and a vertical slide (meaning I can perform milling operations on it) which is very cool...I can't wait to actually get my hands on it as I have had to put it in storage whilst I build another shed (the current one is full of bloomin motorbike projects!)
anyway when the snow thaws a new shed will go up to house the lathe!

Finally in amongst all this I have done a revision and redesign of the matrix mixer layout making them slightly easier to fabricate so more of these will be done soon and I have a couple of people interested/waiting.

I also have a new mixer related idea/design which I'll post about soon.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Last weekend I had a run up to manchester to spend a few hours at the northern model engineering show. It was amazing to see what people get obsessed with building and the time and the dedication they put into there craft. There were many many amazing engines and planes and trains and the like but for me this project stood out.

Yep thats right its a wooden bike! She's an absolute beauty in the flesh and is completely (seriously 100%) wooden, not one screw, nail, bit of rubber or anything! This project was on the Stockport and District society of model engineers stand and I got to chat to Nick Russell who is chairman of the engineering society but also one of the threestrong team who built this bike. They are hoping to challenge and beat the existing wooden bike speed record (currently about 11.5mph if I recall correctly) but also due to some very emotive personal links want to raise as much money as they can for the motor neurone disease association. Its a terrible disease so if you're impressed by these fella's wooden bike and feel like donating read some more about the narniabike on their website and also find out there how you can make a donation.