Wednesday, December 25, 2013

hardy tools

After much wishing I had some hardy tools, I made some hardy tools.  These tools fit in the square hole in an anvil.  Hole sizes are nonstandard, so it's often worthwhile to make your own.  Smiths typically make their own tools anyway.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Device For Converting Motion"

I got a railroad forge from craigslist a few years ago.  beautiful flywheel, but rather rusty.  I ran the blower on an electric motor for a while instead.  I decided I wanted less noise and more control.  There are a few variations out there for people powered blowers, one of the most common being the hand-crank blower.
This one is a bit rarer as far as I can tell.  Perhaps that's because of its relative mechanical complexity.  However, unlike all of the hand-crank blowers that I've seen, it does not require gears.  It's all belt driven.
the flywheel assembly was all rusted together, all one with the steel shaft.  I was certain that it was some kind of clutch, just not entirely sure what of it was meant to spin independently on the shaft.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

summer at Sandhill Farm, Rutledge MO

This post has been a long time coming.  Guess I've got some phase lag to deal with.

I never did set up an engineering job for this summer.  Instead, I worked at Sandhill Farm, an agrarian cooperative and community in rural northeast Missouri.  I went there to learn about small scale food production.  Folks at Sandhill grow upwards of 80% of the food that they consume.  To pull in some income, they produce and sell condiments (horseradish, mustard) and sweeteners (honey, maple, and sorghum syrup).  I also went to learn about modern alternative culture.  It's been a while since the 1970s and 80s, when many books on natural building, alternative living situations and homesteading were published.
front to back: echinacea, green beans, and salad greens

Monday, November 25, 2013

overtone flute

Here's a video from June 2013 of an overtone flute I made.  It's a fipple flute (like a recorder or pennywhistle).  This one had a bore of 7/8" and was almost three feet long.  I regret having drilled holes in it to make it into a low whistle.

kitelandboard part two: the saga continues

after not one, not two, but three complete failures at composite layup, I decided to switch approaches.  Using some high-tech material which appeared in MITERS after a neighboring shop was being cleaned, I made a new deck.  The material is aluminum honeycomb.  It appears to be bonded with some sort of epoxy (does well under heat) to two sheets of ~2mm thickness.

I debated for a while whether it was worth bending up the ends to give the trucks the necessary angle, or if I should just leave the deck flat and machine some angle brackets to go between the trucks and the deck.  Bending the deck beyond its 'elastic' region crimps the material, leaving a very weak joint.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

kitelandboard in progress

after almost a year of getting hauled around by a big kite or two, I decided it was time to get some wheels between the kiter and the ground.
Plenty of people kitesurf on the water.  Some people do it on land with large pneumatic tire'd skateboards.  They can be had online for upwards of $200 or so.

I want to make a laminated deck.  I decided to make a mold that could squeeze some layers of whatever together while the adhesive sets.

I scavenged some plywood from the N52 loading dock and cut them into rectangles of approximately the same size.

Monday, October 7, 2013

still kiting

 me and josh went to Pleasure Bay a few weeks ago.  It was a cold tuesday morning.  We left MITERS at 5:30AM.  We took the T with our wetsuits and kites and a board.  I had to be back for class at 10.  The wind slowly picked up as the sun got higher.  Just before we had to leave, Josh got to skimming.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I took one of the big project classes in Course II (mechE) this semester, 2.007.  2.007 is Design and Manufacturing I.  The class is interesting because it attempts to teach you how to design and build mechanical things, in a semester.  That's a pretty ambitious goal, especially given that the class contains about 200 students with varying levels of experience in building stuff.  To give students a better chance of learning what they want to learn, 2.007 has a few separate sections.  This year, there were three.  The standard (and largest) 2.007 section is robotics, in which students build robots to compete in various tasks requiring clever mechanisms, dexterity, and programming skill.  The other sections offered in SP2013 were underwater robotics (led by Ed Moriarty and TA'd by djwise, among others), and electric vehicles, dubbed 2.00gokart.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Huge Kite (10.9 M^2 Nasa Para Wing)

Muffin and Me just finished sewing up our enormous kite.
It's a scaled up version of the one he had made before.

It hauls!

Tricopter "Mechanical Fuse"

Last Summer, I hastily cut a tricopter frame from carbon fiber + foam laminate.  The stock I'd found wasn't large enough to make the whole thing, so I attached the arms with 4-40 nylon cap screws.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I cut out some roof panels for the yurt after doing some (very) approximate trig.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

by a hair

I need to write this down: it's 10:33 PM on the last day of spring break.  The sun has set on this brief period of freedom from the machine.
Memory dump follows:

Monday, February 18, 2013

borked copter

wicked crash!  The carbon fiber foam laminate broke in a place where it had already been weakened by holes.


I heard from Josh that he'd been working on kites.
josh flies the kite that he and laura made (2.3m nasa para wing)

a few more hooked knives

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

another Hooked Knife

Back at home and in the presence of the forge, I took the opportunity to make a proper hooked knife.  For this one, I used a chunk of steel from a leaf spring.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

forge and drawknife photos

A drawknife is a useful woodworking tool.  It's often used in conjunction with a shavehorse.  Here's how I made a drawknife