Friday, July 20, 2012

An Experiment in Sewing

Having never sewed anything but a few patches, this was an interesting project. Not entirely difficult, but it was sure tedious. I decided to sew this in preparation for the new 40k 6th edition rulebook, which I decided to fork over the $75 for when it came out. I went to the craft store, not knowing what I was doing, and picked out what I thought would be a pretty straightforward pattern and some nice looking fabric.

I got home, was shown how to use the showing machine, and got to work. Not 10 minutes into the project, I realized how darned confusing this pattern was, and had to spend the next hour deciphering it's odd wording and illustrations. However, after much confusion and determination, I was able to finish the thing, and added some of my own flair to it as well. So, here you have it: a one of a kind Imperium messenger bag:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Return of the Blog

Well, it's been quite a bit of time since the last post. Between moving out of the dorms, finishing finals of my Freshman year in college, and getting a bone graft on my broken leg, it's been a bit crazy. But on a good note, it's summer, which means projects galore! Some projects I plan on working on / finishing this summer include: A sewing project (just about complete), finishing my Imperial Fist army, building a portal gun prop for a friend, starting a Jurassic Park computer case mod, and some assorted art projects. I haven't got pictures of the sewing project yet, so to start things off, I'll go into a little bit about the blimp we built about a couple months back.

The blimp started as Ben Narin's idea, and he approached me asking for some help with the frame and envelopes. Having a little experience with RC helicopters and having built a couple of balsa wood airplanes as a kid, I agreed to help, and began design on a balsa wood frame.

We decided to go with just a single envelope (the balloon that holds the blimp up), so the frame was designed around that. Using some basic hard-balsa wood, I designed a frame around the two circuit boards we used (one was an OSU designed board, called a Tek-pet, which had usb outputs and a motor controller, the other board was an Xbee, a serial communications board).

Surprisingly enough, for gluing balsa wood, Elmers glue seems to work the best. Watered down a bit so that it soaks into the wood, it kept the frame together really well. For the propellers, I mounted them on some small pager motors, zip tied to the ends of a long abs tube. To allow the propellers to rotate, I attached a LEGO gear in the middle of the rod, put the corresponding gear on a micro-servo, and mounted the whole apparatus to the frame. Though simple, this seemed to work well for our purposes.

So, with the frame done, and Ben and Marshal (the other person working on the project) having finished their programming, it was time to test. We ended up adding a second envelope to carry the weight of the frame and board. After some initial hiccups, such as removing weight from the frame and changing some minor programming errors, we were able to get the thing in the air and fly around the room.

So, after tweaking a few things, Ben informed me that the blimp was to be entered into a freshman design competition (which I had no knolege of in the beginning), and that we could win some cool prizes. I was all for it, so we entered it. We ended up taking home about $500 in prizes, including an xbox and a high-end robotics kit.

All in all, it was a rewarding build. I look forward to working with Ben in the future.