Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Screwdrivers, Allen keys and nut spinners.....My current kit

So even for me this is a geeky post! I wanted to share this current collection of tools which I am very pleased with and its covering most of my maker needs for screwdrivers, nuts and bolt driving and more. I have stacked of other larger drivers and kit but this seems at the moment to really hit the spot and cover a lot of bases in my day to day making of electronics and rockets and also maintaining my 3d printers and CNC's. So above from right to left is my Wera Tool Check Plus, my Xiaomi/Wiha 24 in 1 driver kit, my Sealey STM103 torque screwdriver and then a 1/4" to 4mm adaptor and finally a set of 4mm sockets rangeing from 2.5mm to 5.5mm. The Wera Tool Check Plus is a pricey but glorious bit of kit, the mini zyklop wrench included is a joy to use with its tiny degree ratchet and small size making it great for reaching and working inside tight assemblies. There are loads of reviews about the Wera Tool Check online so check em out!

The Xiaomi/Wiha 24 in 1 kit is a little gem... Wiha are a great German tool brand and apparently they loved what xiaomi were doing and partnered with them to make this set. Its definitely aimed at small electronics and phone assembly/dissasembly (makes sense in terms of the Xiaomi connection) but contains a range of mini torx, as well as allen, posidrive and other 4mm tools. Its available on lots of chinese retailers like banggood and fasttech etc and it is definitely worth the (not masses) of money. The driver handle has a spinning head to allow one handed use and is smooth and comfortable and oozes quality. The magnetic tray and the metal box all work flawlessly and make you (well me) want to keep it all in order! (rare for me!)

So the Sealey stm103 is a torque screwdriver that works by sensing the amount of torque you place on it.. it reads out the torque on the display, it has numerous modes and can read peak torque or, as I find more useful, you can define a desired torque and when the sensor detects you have reached it it will both bleep, buzz and also an LED lights. Its amazing that this can be bought for less than £35 and comes with a certificate of inspection and calibration etc. Very handy indeed. Finally the 1/4" to 4mm adaptor has been a great find and expands the repertoire of both the Tool Check and the Xiaomi/Wiha kit. Over the years I've had a few variable cheap multi driver 4mm kits and therefore have accumulated a few spares in that format.. including the small set of quite cheap and cheerful sockets... however at that scale and for low torque they continue to serve well.

So there we go... geeky post, but all this lives together most of the time as a little kit and I find it invaluable!

Friday, 20 July 2018

USB soldering iron hack

Been a big fan of these cheap and cheerful USB soldering irons since discovering them via @biglesp ... There's a couple of things with them, the first one is the well known fact that it's best to run them off a USB battery pack as otherwise they present a bit of current at the tip. This leads to the second thing that bugged me and I fixed! So the iron is designed to only heat the tip when the user has it in their hand..  it achieves this with a touch switch and also a motion detection system. The trouble is is that my USB power bank auto switches the power on and off when it detects a draw at the socket. This meant that I could plug the iron in and use it but if I put the iron on the stand and it timed out it would turn off but also wouldn't wake the USB supply when I retouched/moved the iron meaning I would have to pull the USB cable out and reinsert. So... I have modified it to be permanently on. The instructions are pretty straightforward..  remove the yellow wire to the touch switch that you can see in the top picture and then also remove the silver tube component (a small tube with a soft spring inside which acts as the movement detection switch). Finally you then need to bridge the 2 pads to close where the silver tube switch would have been (see picture below). Now your USB iron is always on!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Open Boat Tail rocket... Maiden flight!

OBT_maiden_7July18 from concretedog on Vimeo.

Ardent readers of this blog (all 6 of you!!) will recall a while back I designed and built a small rocket with a boat tail and I finally got chance to fly it at a family and friends BBQ last night. It flew really well on a classic Estes B6-4 motor. It was a really still evening but (even though I flew a pretty tiny parachute) it still managed to end up drifting the wrong way and landing in a thicket in a bog! After much rummaging however the rocket was recovered successfully!

I'd designed it with around 5 grams of mass in the payload section and as it was a maiden flight I didn't fancy sticking a pricey altimeter in it so a willing volunteer was found in one of my European Space Agency lego minifigs!

If you fancy building or improving on my design, it's all opensource and available here. 

Thanks to Rob for shooting this video on his phone!

Friday, 6 July 2018

ODR, Open Development Rocket. Now Opensource!

So here it is! Some of you who follow me on twitter may have seen me talking about this rocket build but this is the official release of the project. A while back I released the OBT small rocket design and this is the next opensource rocket ODR. ODR is either pronounced "owther" and is the mystical Norse force or could be O.D.R standing for Open Development Rocket! 

ODR started as a project for my needs, having passed my L1 high power certification I wanted to build an airframe that could fly well on L1 power but could also serve as a learning and testing platform. Therefore ODR has been designed with a large electronics/avionics bay and can be configured for single or for dual deploy recovery systems. Its simulated in OpenRocket and can fly on G-I 38mm reloads and as soon as I actually fly it I will update the project. 

There are numerous sections I need to finish and some parts that need much better documentation but I have done some docs and have supplied all the files on Gitlab. The main tubes are phenolic tubes purchased in the UK from the excellent (I have no link with them other than am a customer) Blackcat Rocketry. All the other components are designed in opensource free software and the files are included. It has used CNC routing and a 3d printer but equally could be done with a printer and a laser cutter. So find your local makerspace/fablab etc. 

So get in touch via Gitlab and or twitter @concreted0g if you have questions and I'll try my best to help. And yeah... that's a librespace foundation sticker... lets claim space.. the libre way.