Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A Visit to Hack Oldham!

It's ages since I did a "I visited a cool hack/maker space" post so very pleased to say I got to go visit the fantastic Hack Oldham as part of my work with Indycube last week. A great visit where we swapped stories from the trenches of co-working, community development and making! Its a fantastic multifaceted space with lots of room and some stunning kit. Massive thanks to the mighty Andy ( @p0welly ) and Lisa ( @StudioG_Oldham ) and Keiran ( @Keiranwdigital ) for showing me round and taking time to talk! If you are around Oldham and need somewhere to work or make or both... get in there!

So above is the main space on the ground floor, bright and cheerful and really useful and reconfigurable. A great place to co-work and a decent sized event space. 

The geek bar and behind it storage for regular users of the space.

Still on the ground floor here is the permanent full time residents area 

That's a fab prize!

So.. moving into the labyrinth of basement rooms where the fab kit lurks its good to see good old rule zero in effect!

 Into one of the maker spaces, some fine woodwork tools to be seen. They had a great system where they had all tools on mounting boards with a uniform bolt spacing so that the tools could be reconfigured/moved and yet alow people to follow health and safety requirements for a minimum distance between tools. A great solution.

 LOVELY old Myford in good order. They had recently converted it to single phase... Great to see machining tools get some space in maker spaces.

 The electronics lab bench area with a good range of kit available and also a fab honesty box system for commonly used components below.

 Lasers and vinyl cutters.. classic tools for maker/hackspaces!

More bits and bobs... 

 I think they knew about my vice addiction! Great set of record vices here!
So there we go.. a fantastic visit, hopefully I'll get to work with them in the future and get to go back and pester them again.. better not upset them though... they have Daleks!

Monday, 4 June 2018

OBT, Opensource Boat Tail Rocket project


Over the last week I've designed, simulated and then scratch built this little rocket with a boat tail. The boat tail is the small section below the fins which tapers to the minimum diameter of the motor mount. I wanted to learn about boat tails and make one as they are useful for a couple of reasons. There primary function is to smooth out the airflow and they create a lot less turbulence than a typical square ended rocket (there's a great PDF on boat tails here). The second reason being that boat tails are often used when coupling a smaller rocket to a larger booster for example in boosted dart type projects or other multistage designs. This OBT (Open Boat Tail) rocket has a decent payload section and should be a useful addition to my rocket collection as I need to do some flying of the new nanoalt altimeter from the flame trench with other commercial altimeters to see how it compares.

The OBT is made with some 3d printed components and I have CNC routed the fins out of 2mm balsa but that could easily be achieved with a craft knife! It uses classic estes tubing BT50 for the body and BT20 for the motor mount tube. All the supporting software I have used is opensource as indeed this design is so feel free to check out the repository. If you make one I would love to see it!

All measurements can be got by opening the openrocket file (.ork) and you can see the general placement of the parts..its a crude simulation really and could be dialled in a little more. Its worth noting the 3d printed parts are over ridden in the simulation with their actual mass and depending on your approach your components weight may differ. There is a pdf of rough instructions on the repository with some pictures (repeated here) that show the general assembly. All the STL files for the parts (centring ring, boat tail, nosecone etc) are provided, but they are scaled and tweaked for my printer and the shrinkage of my current PLA filament.. so they may need tweaking.  I've generated these models in OpenSCAD and therefore if you download OpenSCAD (again free and opensource) you can tweak the dimensions to suit your printer. (hit me up if you need help on how to do that).

So here it is... all the files are on this repo