Thursday, 24 August 2017

My first ever review! Tool Hanging Hooks!

So, a while ago I posted a picture of a rocket I was building on twitter in my terribly cluttered and untidy shed and an account, @1Buy_UK suggested I might find some tool hanging hooks they sell useful. I cheekily replied "feel free to send me some for review".. and fair enough they have!

So full disclaimer is I did not pay for these but today 10 of these tool hooks arrived and I've put a couple up in the shed. They are pretty good, they are large enough to accept tools such as a spade or shovel handle and will happily take a saw handle.

For less "garden" items they are pretty useful too, when I am using the milling machine I always need to hand my large hammer and my 12" adjustable wrench, the wrench for removing my ER32 collet holder and the large hammer to give my drawbar a sharp tap to free the taper in the spindle, these hooks are perfect for both items.

So, all in all a thumbs up from me, and at £3.99 for 10 plus £1.20 postage they are a bargain and even come with the right amount of screws. Get them here

So there's my first hardware review.... who's next!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Manchester Makefest 2017

So here is my little photodump after Manchester MakeFest last weekend.. It was an interesting event for me as it didn't really feel at all like a maker fair.. more a collection of kids activities in the science museum.. However.. I had my kids and they enjoyed it although didn't really feel like they'd learnt anything new.. (although they've been to a lot of maker fairs now tbf!). I must admit I was a bit wary of how this event was going to pan out as it was astonishingly quiet on twitter and social media in the run up to it. That all said, it was great to catch up with people and lots of people really put a huge amount of work into their activities so massive respect and kudos to them.. particularly as I know how demanding 2 day events can be.

A small robot I made at the Hacman stall. I called it "spod" it requires iterations... :)

Harri playing minecraft... supposed to be coding minecraft.. but just playing minecraft!

The mighty Manchester Girl Geeks, was too busy to have a go but they where doing great work with conductive sewing kits.

The Hacman stall with the hacman crew doing all the hot glue and soldering for the build a robot activity (punters not allowed :(  )

The fabulous Made Invaders by the corking DoESLiverpool team.

Steve Varding one of the Drake Music artists did hourly shows and frankly smashed it! Great sounds me and the kids had a bit of a rave!

 And finally... Manchester Science Museum is a treasure trove of gauges for my @gaugeoftheday account :)

Friday, 4 August 2017

Inspace One 3rd Aug 2017

So last night I ran a space workshop, inspired by some of the stuff I heard at the UK space conference earlier in the year I decided it was about time I started to push myself to try and get a few more people possibly interested in space stuff locally. I am really passionate about the fact that I think a lot of people think the space sector is less accessible than it really is!

So kindly NorthWales Technology  (a meetup organisation for North Wales technologists of all flavours) hosted me and negotiated a space within Pontio Innovation, and also arranged out fabulous event sponsor S2recruitment who paid for a mass of pizza and refreshments.

So about 25 people turned up and I started of with some slides about the different routes I have come across that different individuals, startups or not for profits I've linked into have taken into getting into the space sector. I also looked at how these entities had funded their activities (from bootstrapping/crowdfunding, angel/VC, European space agency funding applications and finally through winning funding through competitions!).  We then spent the best part of 3 hours exploring the Astrosat and Huntsville CountyChamber competition that sits within the range of competitions currently running in the Space Exploration Masters program which is headed by AZO and ESA.

We looked at the Dream Chaser vehicle and the competition requirements that state that they are looking for commercial applications for dream chaser that use the platform beyond current earth observation and crew and cargo resupply missions and develop “space as service” ideas around themes of wider exploration of the universe, interplanetary, moon, mars missions etc. I armed the participants with some dream chaser plans, 3d printed models and a heap of pens and paper and off we went!

The ideas within this really wonderful varied cohort of people were fabulous and everyone really entered into the spirit of the evening... I'd love to give a complete list of the fascinating ideas that arose but frankly there were too many! However here are a few I recall...

  • Flat pack space laboratories, Dream Chasers are used to deploy and equip expanding LEO laboratories to allow scaling of microgravity research.
  • Multiple dream chasers as a wide reconfigurable interferometry platform for deep space exploration/measurement/telescopy.
  • Dream chaser as Biological lab allowing remote un-crewed safe environment for experiments using volatile/toxic/bacteria etc.
  • Space ark... an off world seed bank.
  • Dream chaser as Bio lab exploring biofuel using the different decay rates of organic material on orbit.
  • Dream chaser mission for 200 commercial cubesats to be flown to the moon.
  • Using SLA 3d printing and dream chaser to enable new 3d SLA techniques to be used as Dream chaser could create different gravity/reaction at differing parts of the print process.
  • Dreamchaser in LEO as Deployer for interplanetary cubesat missions.
  • A Dreamchaser dock in LEO, a multifaceted structure with an IBDM berthing docking ring on each face, inside a robotic system acts as cargo shifter to allow exchange of cargo/fuel/equipment between Dream Chaser allowing flexibility in usage.
  • Space recovery, Using dream chaser to de-orbit space debris but rather than burning up in atmosphere debris could be sold into the high value space collectors market.
  • Dreamchaser space burial!
  • Dreamchaser space prison (although we all thought this would encourage crime)!
  • Space tourism..... but dream chaser would need windows!

And many many more! We finished off the evening with a quick look at how people entered the competition and what details the competition required for entry. So, finally, I think everyone had a good time, apparent both in the room and also on twitter on the hashtag #inspaceone, I got this lovely tweet which really made my day as reducing barriers to space is exactly what I was aiming for!

And finally this lovely bit of written feedback... and yes... here's looking forward to Inspace Two!