Thursday, 25 July 2019

Drone drop testing the Hexagonal Annular Parachute

A while back I came across this "Peak of Flight" issue all about odd chutes or odd parachute designs (Direct PDF download here). In it featured a tutorial for making an interesting looking Hexagonal Annular parachute, Ages ago I made a quick prototype using string and tape and the canopy cut from a plastic bag and it made me interested enough in the design to sew a small one from rip-stop nylon.

I wanted to test the parachute but didn't want to move straight to chucking it into a rocket so I decided to build a drop test mechanism I could attach to my drone. Rather than reinvent the wheel the servo holding pin pushing part of the mechanism (see video) was 3D printed from some files found on thingiverse here.

 In the (badly edited!!)  video above I walk through the main components of the drop mechanism and then show some clips recorded from today's test flights and test drops. Massive thanks to my son H (9yrs) for his excellent help in operating the release mechanism.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Rocketry Series Part 2, OpenRocket Walk Through.

In this episode we walk through a quick rocket design in OpenRocket and then simulate its flight. OpenRocket can be downloaded for free here 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Speaking at a Local Apollo50 event... I got to hold the moon!

Last night I spoke locally at MSParc a new science park building purpose built on Anglesey North Wales at a great event co-ordinated by MSParc and the local Dark Skies project. The event was family friendly and included a planetarium, some STEM activities, Dark Skies project info, displays of meteorites and local Astronomers showing off their excellent kit and work.

It was well attended and I was booked in to show some of my rocket on display and also to do a talk on SatNOGS and Librespace. It all went very well and was well received by a pretty fair sized audience for 6pm on a tuesday evening. What was really unexpected for me (as I hadn't read the full program!) was the final speaker booked after me was Dr Margaret Wood who spoke about her amazing career. Dr Wood has many accomplishments but in her early career she headed up a laboratory at Manchester University which was the most capably equipped laboratory in the world at the time to process and analyse the moon samples returned to earth by the Apollo missions. She spoke about this work and it was wonderful to hear and then she proceeded to produce some tiny grains of moon samples from that work (once Dr Wood found them in her hand bag!). It was an unexpected and brilliant end to a fab event to be able to hold a tiny speck of the moon.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Rocketry Series Part 1, Model Rocket Overview.

Just uploaded a video talking about model rockets, general overview stuff hopefully the first of a series with some more videos to follow on designing, running simulations and scratch building rockets.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Hand drill restoration.

So this had been my "ten minutes here and there" project this last week. I've had this old hand cranked drill for years and its been neglected and was ripe for a clean up. 

It was essentially in good condition but a bit rusty and faded so a quick strip down and repaint was about all it needed. Removing the spindle and chuck was slightly challenging as the pinion gear was held on with a press fit pin through the shaft which needed drifting out with a fine pin punch.
Quick sand down and ready for paint, I did consider staining the handle but after a sand it was quite pitted and not the nicest grain so paint seemed a better option.
Bit of paint and not being to precious as its a tool to be used not so sit on the shelf! 
Refitting the pinion pin and I was reminded why I adapted my little arbour press ram to accept and hold 10mm diameter tooling, it means I could just about reach in to get the pin refitted.
And there it is.. all ready for another stack of years of abuse! 

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Perfecto Shaper update, made the missing part!

Just posted an update video to the youtube channel with a video update on the Perfecto Hand Shaper having made the part which was missing, check it out and as the tubers say.. don't forget to subscribe!

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Liverpool MakeFest 2019

Had a great day at the mighty Liverpool Makefest It was great to catch up with a lot of people and see some amazing projects. I'd tweeted about wearing my SatNOGS tee shirt and was really pleased that lots of people wanted to catch me for a quick chat about that project, Indeed the very next day DoEs Liverpool got a simple SatNOGS station up and running. Anyway... here is a quick round of photos with some quick notes in no particular order! 

So the first people me and my daughter chatted with were the mighty #GirlsWithDrills crew. I've been a fan of their vital work to make maker culture inclusive, equal and equitable. Bought my daughter a tee shirt and after a fab chat went in.

Quantum technology club has an amazing sign that did music and light sequences and was very cool. Brilliant to see this lot were talking about radios, had a CW (morse code) practice activity set up and had an SDR setup etc. They were really keen on the SatNOGS project and also chuffed to be introduced to HackSpace magazine and started downloading digital editions whilst we were chatting! 

Coretec robotics! Stallwarts of maker events throughout the lands, great to catch up with them and Seren enjoyed working through the make a flying spinny disc activity (build a simple driver circuit, connect it to a Pi, write/code a simple python script to spin up a motor to launch a flying spinning disc). As usual Coretec had a plethora of amazing robot builds including a nice balancing one seen below.

This 3d printed shelf bracket is one of the many amazing things on the little sandbox stall. This project is typical of little sandbox and shows how brilliant they are... They get their young people to design and build things like this that become part of the spaces they use, it helps create a sense of ownership for the young people over the project as well as teaching them some skills. Fab. They are also actively pursuing SatNOGS as a project and Rocketry... LEGENDS!

Around 11 am and the bottom floor starting to fill up.

Fabulous racoing game... the brio track has been fitted with neo pixels and the controllers (to make your pixel travel round the track) were those hand crank generating torch things. It was a fantastically playable game... I loved the details such as you needed to crank harder and generate more power to get up the hill or you would roll back and you would then accelerate on the downhill... Brilliant. 


York Hackspace as ever had some amazing stuff on display including this gorgeous Altair 8000 project!
 Above and below... 2 different versions of the classic snake game... It really entertained me that at Makefest you could play 1 dimensional, 2 dimensional or 3 dimensional snake in different parts of the show!

The fabulous Lorraine with her Cubert project right by the front door! A busy day for her with a fabulous project.

And finally Mark Mellors and his Hacky Racer, I got to have a sneaky little go and I have to say a Hacky Racer project is definitely on the list of future projects.

So there we go.. a great day out... If you haven't been to Liverpool Makefest you really should... it's fab!