Christopher Thomas (cjthomas) wrote,
Christopher Thomas

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Work Miscellany, New Machine, Machining Plans, Birthday, and Pony FAQ

  • Juggled several tasks at work over the last couple of weeks. The fun part was researching several options for improved hardware for the data logger widget I'd built (of which at least two new variants are desired). I've found candidate processors and two candidate RTOSs to run on those processors. Most of that development is shelved for now, though, as there are higher priority tasks on the table.

  • Did a fair bit of mechanical design for an adapter widget for some of the scientific equipment we're in the process of ordering. This is still ongoing; I've just recently learned of several more design requirements, which turned about half of the previous work on its ear. Part of what I'm finalizing will be relevant for the equipment order itself (they're customizing pieces for us), so this is currently my highest-priority task.

    I'm not actually sure it's _possible_ to meet all of the requirements as I presently understand them, but it's still worth a shot. The fallback plan is to ask Prof. W. which requirements he wants to relax to get a design that's actually buildable (he'll be open to that if it comes to it, but I have to make a sincere effort to fold them all in first).

  • Installed and configured OpenWrt on the router I'd bought; it's now my firewall. The schedule for this was bumped up due to the old firewall (a PC) finally dying a slow and lingering death (as near as I can tell a fan failed but it's under low enough thermal load that it would still function for a while).

    Also installed and configured my new desktop machine. It's a small-form-factor mini-pc, so "bolted to back of monitor machine" is more accurate. It also has enough RAM that I should be able to run all of the Minecraft modpacks that I want, and enough grunt _and_ decent enough graphics drivers that I'm no longer frame-rate-limited (even in full-screen with lots of overdraw). This is nifty.

  • Started planning out a couple of machining projects. Plan the first is a clock, because sooner or later everyone builds a clock. This one has the gear train in a linear arrangement around the circumference of the dial, so there should be lots of interesting parts whirring away in full view when it's done. Estimated time to completion is a couple of months, mostly due to other tasks competing with the limited free time available.

    Project the second is the gramophone record scribing project. The good news is that I have it rendering vector graphics of record grooves, finally, and I also now have the "diamond phono point" stylus I need if I want to use CNC machines to do the work. The less-good news is that the shop's laser cutter software point-blank refuses to even load something with this many line segments (though the CNC machines are okay with it), and that I'll need to make a fairly complicated mounting jig for the stylus before trying the CNC machines (the material surface isn't flat enough to just keep it at a constant height), and that I'm going to have to do further software tweaking because right now there are at least two different situations where it'll produce tracks that a phonograph needle won't follow.

    It's still fun, and these problems will be resolved in due time.

  • Gaming happend, finally. Gaming was nifty. Because I had my birthday recently, the host brought out cake, and I got to pick the game of the evening (a playtest of the Space Station 13 RPG again).

    They also got a small Twilight Sparkle party balloon. I was touched. I also took photos (it was adorable).

  • Wrote up a very short introduction to MLP-canon for people who aren't already familiar with the series. This is three pages so far, which is much longer than I'd have liked but should still be acceptable (it's large type and is split up into bite-sized pieces discussing different topics, each with their own picture, so it's not a wall of text).

    The motivation for this is the fact that I've dropped off a few of my favourite fanfics with the host, who informs me that at least one of his stepkids enjoys reading and might be tempted by neat-looking books left out. We'll see if anything comes of it.

  • Plan for the work-week is finishing a small embedded widget upgrade that's on my desk, and then nailing down revised specifications for the mechanical design mentioned above. This has to be done soon, because in _two_ weeks I have to have a draft ready for a completely different mechanical design project (though realistically that one can be delayed with fewer bad things happening). Also on the agenda is a makerspace flyby on Thursday for maintenance. Plan for the upcoming weekend is relaxing and possibly more sorting-of-cruft. Plan for the week afterwards is continuing mechanical design tasks.

Now, bed.
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