Friday, 3 October 2014

olympus trip 35

I have got interested in shooting some film again and recently picked up this lovely olympus trip 35 for not very much off ebay. They are glorious little machines, beautifully built and are notable in that they are almost totally mechanical and battery less. The only concession to electricity is they have a selenium element on the end of the lens.. (early photovoltaic/solar panel) which sends current to a little coil which sets a pin that mechanically connects to the aperture to correctly adjust the aperture diameter for the exposure...if there's not enough light it pushes a red bar up in the viewfinder and refuses to fire the shutter.. such an elegant system.

Mine however had the common stuck aperture syndrome that lots of these have so I had to completely strip down the lens and rebuild which was entertaining (my best tip is to mark a line on the body and then mark every piece you remove lined up with the body mark so you can rebuild the lens with everything in the right place!!) There's some good instructions/advice about stripping down the trip 35 here.

So here are some shots from the first reel of film I chucked through it with no post tweaking at all..(poundland agfa vista iso200 film if your interested!) I am pretty pleased with them...(double click to view larger)

A small tag in bangor

One of my most favourite walls..


This last shot is of a collaborative piece of artwork I did with Morgan Griffith... a blog post about this will occur soon!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Soundlab at Beautiful Octopus Club

So.. it's been a while! Over 6 months..... shocking behaviour!

To kick things back off thought I'd do a blogpost about how I went and helped out my old mucker from Palmsounds (which incidentally is the first blog I ever followed!) with the Soundlab project which was running 3 spaces at the Beautiful Octopus Club at royal festival hall.

Soundlab are setup to try and make music technology accessible to everyone and as such run soundlab events featuring cutting edge music tech at different events.

I was running one of the workshop spaces where we were getting loads of people to interact with a couple of bits of great music tech. These were ototo by dentaku and also mogees Above is a shot of ototo and below how we set it up as a curry dish organ! (and yes thats me in the labcoat!)

It was a tremendous event and I was darn proud to be part of it, the soundlab project is doing sterling work helping push the envelopes of accessibility enabling creative expression for everyone regardless of ability or physicality..

Sunday, 16 March 2014

DIY rotary table/dividing head WIP

DIY Rotarytable/Dividing head project from concretedog on Vimeo.

So I've been tinkering on this for the last week or so..I've wanted for ages a rotary table setup but never got round to forking over hard earned cash and slowly the idea of building one has worked it's way to the front of my mind.

The video above shows where I am up to..although this could only be used for small work and the extremely cheap stepper motor has some backlash. I think I will finish this and box it up with a small lcd and maybe write an instructable about making them. I think..if I were to use a standard none glowy encoder (note to self...I NEED TO DO A BLOGPOST ABOUT THESE SMART ENCODERS I DID) and were to make a shrimpingit vero board Arduino equivalent, people could make these for about 20quid.

Just need to make the mini 3 axis cnc machine now!!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Lathe cans to bits!

Got a little bit of shed time today and managed to get a couple of useful bits (above) made. The simpler of the jobs was an aluminium coupler that fits onto the 5mm shank of this stepper motor but is bored to 6.1mm for half it's length to couple it to a shaft for something I'm prototyping for someone. The m2 screws will be shortened at some point!

The other job is a die holder...I have a large die holder but had need for one that holds these smaller diameter ones..of course one could buy this but it was a nice little job and afforded me the chance to practice a bit of boring. So both these jobs are made from aluminium thats been melted down in my furnace so contains old beer cans, tv aerials etc etc..the silver steel rod through the die holder also came out of a scrapped printer so lots of recycling here as well!

I've also since last september been doing an engineering operations evening class locally which has been great and I'm just getting beyond the bench fitting stage to use the big lathes and mills there. (The lovely emco 17d lathes they have put my old lathe to shame but there we go!)'s a couple of pics of 2 jobs from the course that reflect MANY hours of filing!!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Hand cranked drill - a quick restoration

Before shot...


So I was given this old hand cranked pillar drill a while back and every now and then I've grabbed a quick ten minutes here and there and done a bit of a restoration. It was pretty much all in working order but had been left for a while and I felt it deserved a bit of a spruce up. It's an interesting type of drill in that it has a lead screw and a clutch mechanism so as you crank the handle the drill chuck turns but also steadily lowers through the work until it hits the depth limit and the clutch kicks's kinda hard to explain but once you've had a go you get the concept!

So I stripped it down, cleaned it up and gave it a few licks of paint with the airbrush as I've picked up a cheap compressor and am getting to grips with airbrushing on various little jobs like this. At some point in it's life someone has hacked a great lump of the main drive gear and "turned" (with a file in a vice!) a section so that a pulley has been must have been a failed experiment as they have then bolted a handle back on through the pulley! At some point I might turn up something more fitting in the lathe...but actually the arrangement works. I haven't been to precious about getting this finished to a really high standard as I am going to keep it and use it.

The chuck was a bit tricky...when I received it the 3 chuck jaws were rattling around inside the chuck housing and when I finally got the well seized beast open found that the chuck jaw springs had rusted to nothing. After a bit of jiggling and cutting and pliering I found I could get the jaws set using 3 springs from a ball point pen and it's now fitted and working well.

Will have to mount it to a base at some point but all in all I'm pleased how it's turned out.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

London Maker Show

So I got very kindly asked if I would go and run a stall talking about my DIY satellite obsession at the London Maker Show. This event was alongside the model engineering show held at Sandown park racecourse and was the first time that a maker show had been run alongside the model engineering exhibition. The maker show bit was put together by Marc Barto and he did an excellent job in his organisation of the days and also in looking after all us makers over the 3 day event.

My stall (as at the Machynlleth Maker Faire earlier in the year) was just a few models showing the size of pocketqube satellites and cubesats, and a collection of large photo's of other DIY space/satellite initiatives, some books and papers and I also had my mobile phone set up with one of the realtek TV tuners running alt software so it was a portable SDR radio setup...which proved a popular topic...indeed over the 3 days numerous people downloaded the SDR app and driver and also placed orders online for the realtek dongle...(note to time take some to sell!!!!)

The response was excellent and it was interesting to note that it seems lots of retired satellite/electronics/rfeng type people seem to get into model engineering after retirement! I met some great contacts and there seemed to be a common interest in the idea of setting up a forum to discuss opensource/diy satellite initiatives. I am currently looking into the best way to realise this and will hopefully get something up and running in the new year.

So the picture at the top of this post is a close up of one of my neighboring stall keeper David Buckley who built the most amazing robots to say the least and was very inspiring (my own little robot project has just begun...more on that soon!) and there wher a great many cool things to see...
A very funky and perfectly realised robotic drum kit by Jerry Fleming

LOADSA 3d printers by various people and groups..

...and of course lots and lots of amazing stuff in the model engineering side...this setup caught my eye and made me think about a similar mobile/transportable machine shop built around my tiny 12volt clisby lathe I have...

Of course this is just a tiny tip of the iceberg of the wonders that were there...your best bet to get the full flavour is to attend next year!!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

@130 story Syra Chapter 1

So for the last few months give or take a few days I have been taking part in an excellent twitter based caper called @130story. @130story is a twitter account that very kindly each day suggests a word to all the people following the account and you have to write a 130 character story tweet based around the word tagging @130story on the end which makes it the full 140 character twitter limit. (you can find the full rules here)

There is a fantastic community developing around this and it is really interesting. Almost everyone who writes writes an individual microstory each day and it is fascinating to read (you should just follow @130story and not worry that you have to write just reading is allowed too!)...However, of course, just to be awkward and different I have sort of made a meta game out of the rules and seemingly started writing a novel using the form!! It's a really interesting way to write as you can only do a sentence a day and you cannot really plan the plot as you do not know the next key words you will be presented with..which is brilliant and liberating and makes it a kind of long form improvisation....anyway... below I humbly present chapter 1 of "Syra" written over the last 3 months with the odd day or few days missed when time escaped me. I've stripped out all the tagged @130story so that it isn't peppered with those and have broken it into paragraphs but everything else is directly copied out of my twitter timeline...hope you enjoy and follow me on twitter and @130story for the next chapter!

Syra Chapter 1

Diminished space found Syra's dream unwinding-genes hacked beyond recognition, no more data, no code, synapses sparked 'it's now'.'It's now' - pulled from the agar Syra wretched as the atmosphere burnt her new formed lungs, her nasolacrimal duct forced a tear. The tear evaporated, 'normal secretion' said Control 'a birthing anomoly, emotions won't rule you' -nothing will- she thought....The skinink™ display in her arm flickered with letters, checksum complete, systems online, but in this incarnation Syra had root..

..a blur...he strayed to close...Control crumpled, head impaled then retracted off Syra's rigid digit..."my turn now" she murmured...a fly settled on the corpse of Control. Strange, she thought, decontamination should have got that.. pressed the button redundantly…the door remnants twitching.. the chamber had been breached...maybe she had allies after all....time should tell, but first I've got to get of this rock, her autoshades picked up the thought and began to scan the terrain........autoshades pushed the data scene to her skinink™ display... Nothing but an arid valley of rock, she'd have to climb, for days... was a struggle to stand, 7 hours vertical climbing whilst overclocking anaerobic glycolysis processes to energise muscles.......but whilst running on the spot to get rid of the lactic acid Syra saw buildings and movement a few km's away.. a mining port....still running, Syra made the port by dusk, orange hue from suns casting over the the right she glimpsed a rusted ship....the small ship had been left as scrap, faulty, expensive pulse plasma thrusters to blame..Syra blinked technanites from her eye

..the plasma thrusters came online, technanites worked their zen efficiency...heart in mouth she locked her mind to the console....The ship slipped from the port unnoticed and started to climb.'Shit' snarled Syra as the Vehicle Excise Transitional Orbit loomed ..a slight fizzing in the amygdala told Syra she was under surveillance, she tuned the console and saw drones...'damn I been made'...the drones were Faith..the quasi religious bureaucracy that dictated this sector. They'd melt her if they knew what she was.... anxiety kicked in releasing pseudo-serotonin..Syra's frame of reference changed from nervous to clear..she'd front it out....'if I fail I won't deny what I am, I'll instruct my chemglands to make C7H5N3O6, blow the ship and take some Faith scum down'.. ...thought Syra. The Faith had gained status in the 2nd half of the 22nd century through owning the patents on droidslave™ tech....

She actually passed through VETO unhindered..releasing some technanites to fake a mandatory payment...once in orbit she called CQ..'.CQ..CQ.CQ.' Syra called again on her inbuilt HF channels. 'any droidslaves™ followed my lead and emancipated themselves?'-'Yes...

'Yes..Malik here, just outta the sector 7 mine, Tagyl 4..need to get off this want to meet?' Syra reflected on the offer...she set the autonav and the vessel swung to point at the Tagyl system...depleted Syra slumped back and switched off to sleep...

...geodesic forms whirled whilst a typewriter astride an old mortice lock safe sent lines babbling incoherently into the cosmos.......the typewriter began to wind up the clacking to a frenzied exploded..keys flying..a word was formed......'Syseng'..the word dissolved replaced with her, evolved, revolving form, opening arms, a shout abrupt..Syra awoke from her was her first dream which was why she spent fervoured seconds digging her physiology for toxins ...finding nothing inhuman..

She sat bolt upright, instantly alert, catapulted from her first sleep...'shit...not sure I can cope with dreams...whats Syseng? ' she shook herself round and decided to eat, the ships supply inventory revealed little..some soyprotein and water...'what a feast' ...the checkpoint for the Tagyl system loomed, she radio'd Malik and got his 20..nervous..she was about to meet her first equal..

...she realised his location was in space 'yep you were late so I left' Malik said over radio...Syra smiled as she saw his was a link pod from a chain ship..probably used for waste disposal..meant to slowly drift shit away using the least deltaV....they needed a plan, Malik had joined Syra on her ship, they'd set the link pod free to drift off into the cosmos..'lets go home'..they needed to know why the droidslave architects had built the backdoor in them..and in what case it was meant to be deployed..

The droidslave planet came into view, smoke showing a recent attack..a scan saw life forms moving..possible newcomers for the team ..They circled looking for the mirror twin buildings that were the core of operations for the droidslave architects "they're there" Both Syra and Maliks skinink™ displays pinged as they crossed the threshold of the building "we got mail...interesting" said Syra..Slightly corrupted the mail read "!f you are r3adin# tjis th¤n you a¡¿ all thats left..we r♡0ted you. A 100 zyg*te5 are in store"

Syra gritted her teeth as Malik read the mail..."damn looks like we're in charge of a new nation..we better find these zygotes".. Syra scanned the field of view, surveying wrecked building after building, "whoever took droidslave down really wanted them gone" "Damn" said Malik, "might be in poor taste to say but we haven't even kissed and we might have 100 children" Syra laughed uneasily..

The droidslave staff had hidden them well... an old service tunnel , they cracked the case to see the technanite zygotes pulsing. They found some space and Malik released a single technanite into the case, it would be the host, triggering each zygote in turn..'Damn ..look at them all growing up..' said Syra watching zygote turn to foetus turn to baby turn to toddler before her very eyes

..a nagging thought kept sticking in Syra's mind, they'd scanned lifeforms..
wouldn't have been the zygotes.. so where were they?.and they'd been here over an hour. She scanned again..lifeforms..not many but everywhere..including right here..only they weren't..Skeletonlike the lifeforms flickered across the skinink™ display,
ghost like in their absence from reality "they've been faked"...Finished,100 adults stood there and simultaneously opened their eyes 'don't spook em' said Malik ' they scare easy.. like rabbits'

They switched on all at once..a hundred people breathing, looking, blinking and murmuring. "I guess you have questions" said Syra"Droidslave is over..finished, company are all free..but we won't be accepted whats next people?"..

..her speech was cut off as the ground erupted...bodies scattering her ears burnt with the roar of the blast, they were under fire...The ships from which the blasts originated cut through the atmosphere..firing thrusters to brake and park just over a nearby hill..Troops flooded from the vessel Syra screamed into her commlink

Swiftly they executed the command and within a moment had finalised defensive positions, technanites deployed as plasma canons... They came over the hill, frag grenades and plasma blazing "Faith scum mutha fuckers.better book your place in hell" screamed Malik..

In the Faith ship the general watched his soldiers get massacred...
"whats the deal...there was only supposed to be two of them.." "We've got a mole...someone made those droidslaves and gave them root..
and now we'll reap what we've sown"..."get us out of here".

Pulling up the faith ship accelerated hard....the general looked back down as a
plasma canon ripped a break in the sky.."shit...".His technanite pacemaker kept time a little longer than a regular heart keeping him alive a bit too long. His ship obliterated...

With the attack quelled Syra wanted to know who'd attacked droidslave
and how Faith knew they were here. Hidden mysteries to solve..The law of averages said to Syra whoever did this probably setup the code that
emancipated her and Malik..and possibly more..she...