frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
Yay! First print with ABS that didn't warp it's way off the print bed within the first 5 layers.
In fact, it finished, and came out great!

Still in the realm of "black magic" until I can make it happen repeatedly, though.

frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
All those cables and connectors I mentioned in my last post. This project is far enough along at this point to mention it here. Here's a video of the side hobby project i've been working on off and on over the last couple of years.

[music by ENSMB. Buy their new CD. Just Sayin']

now, off to Baitcon!
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
The first aerial rig i built for someone *else* has just left my hands and entered the customers hands. It was taken home this afternoon after an orientation session with the new owners.

It has 19 foot high mount points, and breaks down into pieces 6 feet 8.5 inches long. Total weight about 230lbs. Can be set up to a lower height of 14.5. Goes up and down quickly and easily with 3 people.

It's the 4-legged structure on the right here )

Now to start hunting down prospects for more orders...
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
completed tonight: 8 brackets made from 2"-.125 square hollow steel section.

112 .375-inch holes
32 .5-inch holes

320 manual tool changes; 3 separate jig/hold-down setups. 4 trips to the drill sharpening station.

Tomorrow, the welder.
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
So, i'm currently in the process of building Aerial Rig number 3. It's another aluminum rig, that will be capable of being set up in either a 4-leg 19-foot height, or a three-leg 24-foot height. The 4-leg configuration will be able to be set up by three or four people in less than 15 minutes. the 3-leg configuration should be able to be set up with only 2 people, in about the same time. Possibly single-handedly with a special tool i'm thinking about. The 4-leg configuration will have much more open space at the top. [a full construction writeup will eventually appear on this LJ...]

Anyhow, the most recent thing i needed to do was to do a *lot* of plug-welds, to join tubes to internal sleeves. 96 plug welds, in 11/16ths holes, joining an inner .375 thickness sleeve to the outer .25 thickness tube.

Doing this in aluminum requires a pretty hefty arc voltage, and produces copious amounts of nasty welding fumes. I've got a pretty decent exhaust fan located a few feet above my welding table, that is sufficient for most things, but in this case i would need to be welding on the floor, much farther away from it. Especially since my plan is to attempt to sell rigs of this design to aerialists far and wide, i decided i really want to have a better system for dealing with the welding fumes. Professional welding shops can spend enormous amounts of money on air handling equipment to move the nasty gases out quickly. But I've been in shops with really good exhaust systems, and still, your head is *right next to* the arc. You're still going to get bathed in some nastiness no matter how good that fan system above you in the ceiling is.

I decided to attack the problem from a different angle entirely. I thought about SCUBA divers, and then did this: )
frobzwiththingz: duo fabric shot (silk_firefly_vt)
A small load no longer on my back; i finished and sent off the aerial rigging description/diagrams for the upcoming ENSMB/MadCapRumpusSociety show to the manager of the BU Dance Theater.

Documenting something can take almost as long as *doing* it sometimes. And boy, am i being Posty McPostyPants lately.
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
almost a year ago I wrote about This. Well, there is still a fair amount to do until it is complete, but as of yesterday, it managed to produce its first test part! Nothing too complex, just a simple pocket cut out of mahogany. But that pocket was modeled in Solidworks, then run through VisualMill to generate toolpaths, then handed off into The Machine for production.

Tool Porn Cut For Those Who Care )
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
Let it be publicly known, that on September 21, Year of Our Lord 2007, 12:53 PM, that [ profile] klingonlandlady opined that it would be a good idea if we had a kitchen trebuchet, for launching compost into the compost pile in the back yard.

So if/when it gets built, she ASKED for it.
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
It has a long way to go, but the form is starting to take shape.
frobzwiththingz: duo fabric shot (silk_firefly_vt)
Today we broke some rock climbing slings.

Cut to spare folk who aren't aerialists or rock climbers, and who probably don't care much. If you're interested, clicky for details )

Conclusions: These things are still quite strong, even after a lot of use.
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
So i finally got around to upgrading my trapeze. The previous one i had built did not have bar ends, and i eventually decided that i really wanted them. So finally one night i went down into the shop with the intention of cutting and grooving a new replacement bar, and then disassembling my trapeze and swapping the new bar in. But the original trapeze had been a prototype design to begin with, and in the time since i had built it i had come up with several design improvements. Plus, the original bar was 1-1/8th inch, and was pretty darned heavy already. So instead of simply swapping the bar out on the original trap, i decided to do a complete do-over and produce Trapeze Design Rev 3, with a 1 inch diameter bar. (Rev 2 was only on paper, and never built.)

The new trapeze is a cable core design, which uses a two-part donut-like assembly which acts as both a rope thimble and a captive collar for the wire rope core. The cable passes through this assembly, around a groove in the bar, and back out again. The rope is then passed around the thimble part of the donut and backspliced into itself, about 6 inches away from the thimble (so you can undo it and inspect the cabling without needing to undo the splice). Rope eye is then lashed together and down to the bar. Cable is 3/16ths 7x19 construction, vinyl coated. Rope is 3/4 nylon 3-strand laid.

Much of this process i took photos of. So, much like the recent entry about the hoop, here is a photo log of its fabrication. Some of the assembly was done at craft nights at other folks houses, which is why there are so many different backgrounds in these shots :-)

Construction log follows )

Assembly )

Finished product here:

frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
this weekend saw significant progress on a recent project, and a decent amount of progress on an ongoing one. The recent project is a hoop trapeze, aka lyra, aka circeaux. It's not an apparatus that i expect to ever be any good at, as it seems to be made for much more bendy folk than I. But we have a few of those made-of-string folk at our aerials practice group, some of whom have expressed interest in hoop, and i'd like to play around with it as well. At some point i had planned to send mail off to Jackie Tan and see if she had any hoops in stock.

but then a couple of weeks ago that rolling cheap tools outfit Cummins showed up nearby for a day. They are a company that sends trucks full of cheap Chinese tools (think Harbor Freight) around the country for one-day stops at hotel ballrooms, and hawk their wares. Most of what they sell is total garbage. Dont even think of buying power tools there, or anything you need to be sharp, or precise. But if what you want is a cheap set of welding clamps, or a hydraulic jack, or whatnot, you can outfit yourself with something that will do the job but doesn't look very pretty. Such as this hydraulic pipe bender. 12 tons of bendy goodness; came with dies for up to to 2 inch pipe. I looked at that, and it's $99 price tag, and decided to purchase it, and build my own hoop.

Gory Project Details for the Tool Oriented. Step 1: materials and additional useful tools )
Step 2: make two half-circles )
Step 3: weld 'em into a circle. )
Step 4: making hanging tabs )
Step 5: weld tabs on )
OK, it's done. Would i actually trust this thing? Enter 'The Machine That Breaks Things' )
Pull Test )

Here's [ profile] klingonlandlady on the final result:

frobzwiththingz: duo fabric shot (silk_firefly_vt)
So, for the past 2.5 months or so i've hermitting in the machine shop, barely seeing anyone and occasionally emitting streams of expletives from the depths of the basement. I feel intimately familiar with all of radioIO AMBIENT, and have pulled enough all-nighters in the machine shop to have heard their entire inventory. I've been working on Aerial Rig Mark 2, a rig of a very different design as the one that has been in my yard. Object was to design a rig that needed much less people to erect, could be transported using the two vehicles we own (both scion xBs), requiring minimal extra support tools to erect, and most importantly, require *NO* external guy wires and be able to be put up somewhere without any ground anchors needed. I wanted to bring this new rig, if ready, out to Burning Man, and guy wires are a danger to the public at night. And this one should be lighter, and made of aluminum instead of steel. And i wanted a swiveling mount point integrated into the rig, so that we could make our silk rigging simpler.

Anyhow, this project has eaten all of my spare time since early May. I thought it would be much easier than the last rig. I mean, what could be so hard about building an equilateral pyramid, with a tension cable network at the bottom to keep it in place?

Of course, as it turns out, the devil is in the details. And boy were there details. I won't describe them here; ask me in person if you have any interest. And as the deadline for having things ready for packing onto the Boston Burning Truck approached, i began to think that i had bitten off way more than i could chew in time. Thats when the weekend all-nighters started. And then the stints in the shop on a work night until 3am. At some point last week i crawled into bed around 3 and said to [ profile] klingonlandlady, "I don't know how much more of this i have in me."

Today, however, all of the work has seen fruition, as we did a successful full-height test raising of the not-final, but good-enough to be functional rig. It only took 4 people to raise and lower, as opposed to the 8 or so the square rig requires (or the *30* you need to raise the square one in an open field)

I was sort of dreading the test today, worried that we'd find *some* fatal problem in either the design or raising method. But everything worked! Lots of thanks to [ profile] klingonlandlady, [ profile] sensesurfer, and [ profile] doze_e_fish for their help in the project today. More thanks to [ profile] sensesurfer for the use of the Multicam 1500 CNC Machine Of Doom. Onward to the Playa! much much much thanks and love to [ profile] klingonlandlady, who has put up with me during this long episode of hyperfocus. Hoping to relax a bit now.

More details and pictures behind the cut )
frobzwiththingz: (Default)
Today was spent digging holes and casting concrete anchors for the backyard aerial silk frame. The idea of digging 4 12+ inch diameter 4-ft deep holes by hand seemed completely ridiculous. So i rented this mofo machine from O'Connors Hardware in Billerica. [ profile] sensesurfers' van was used to tow it home, along with buttloads of concrete mix. (I did haul 1000 lbs of concrete mix home in the xB, but in 2 trips). I had the machine outfitted with 15 inch auger.

This machine worked exceedingly well for two of the holes, carving out two 15 inchers 4-5 feet down in a matter of minutes. But the other two holes needed to be drilled in a lower location in the yard, where the Dreaded New England Rock Layer reared its head. That, combined with the very high water table, made it impossible to sink 4 feet of Sonotube. Instead, we ended up digging wider 3-foot holes 6 inches down past the water table, undercutting them, and pouring these inverted concrete mushroom shapes into the resulting holes, using doubled up 3-mil contractor trash bags as a barrier to the water such that the concrete would cure. Some of the rocks we hit were large enough to cause even this machine (the largest O'Connors had to rent) to stop dead in its tracks. and we had to relocate one of the holes a bit. I've heard that in the midwest folk have to *pay* for rocks... Anyhow, the machine worked well enough that we were able to get it back to the store in time to only get charged for a 4 hr rental rather than a day. We spent more time measuring and driving the machine back and forth than actually digging. Mixing and pouring close to a ton of concrete still takes a bit out of you, though. [ profile] sensesurfer and i spent the whole day on this, with some help from [ profile] klingonlandlady, who is fighting whatever current Ick is going around, and really should have been getting more rest that she did.

Next to be done for this project is to weld up the new crane bar, and the extension pieces that will raise the height of the frame from 20 to 24 feet, while widening it another 5 feet as well. Perhaps i can set up some sort of tarp/canopy such that i can weld outside in the rain tomorrow. Meanwhile, off to sleep now.
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