Saturday, 5 October 2019

New Sewing Machine! Parachute deployment bag prototyping!

So sadly (and despite replacing the two drive gears for the feed dog mechanism at great effort) the older 80's singer sewing machine we had had some other terminal failures and was beyond economical or technical repair. I'm really lucky to have been long term loaned this new(ish) machine (around 2 years old). It's a Brother FS60 and today I read through the manual and got started with it. 

I LOVE IT! Such a different level of tool compared to the old one, despite only using a basic stitch it has numerous features already that make it excellent to use. It has a mechanism that enables automatic needle threading and a clever system to allow for a more drop in of the lower bobbin and the user not having to "pick up" the thread with the needle. It also ensures to stop with the needle always in the down position that means it is super simple to turn and continue seams etc. 

I've not gone too wild making things today, but I wanted to test how the machine performed on the very lightweight ripstop nylon I use for parachutes and it performs admirably. I quickly knocked up this useful storage bag for the annular parachute using some off cuts of the same material the parachute is made from. I then went on to do a quick and rough prototype of a small deployment bag using some dark blue nomex cloth and some 10mm elastic. Its great to confirm that this sewing machine can work across a variety of materials and deliver good results.... Now, if only the seamstress operating it (me) had some talent!!

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Thoughts on the TCT show 2019 and picture dump

So yes, got to go to the TCT show last week at Birmingham NEC and see the huge array of snazzy industrial CNC equipment. Lots of 3d Printers and definitely a lot of multi material extruders and systems for tool changing on 3d prints seemed the de rigeur for this year. 

There seemed to be a lot of smaller, but still largely unaffordable outside big industry, SLS type machines capable of sintereing lots of differing types of metals. There was a tantalising machine that doubled a SLS process with a 5 axis CNC mill, enabling,  for every few layers of sintering, a pass with tooling meaning that internal geometries could be finished to a very high standard and tolerance. 

Other stuff that caught my eye was there are some interesting filaments starting to hit the market that are desinged to be used in lost filament types of casting in combination with vacuum furnaces etc. Again its stuff that is not even potentially affordable to academic "maker" spaces, let alone community spaces, yet, as ever, it would be amazing to see these tools given to the really creative end of the maker community to see how far they could be developed and pushed! I live in hope!