Christopher Thomas (cjthomas) wrote,
Christopher Thomas

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Mechanical Design and Mechanical Fun

  • Continued with the mechanical design task from last week. The fiddly part of it is close to being finalized, though I may end up having to revise it or make it larger to meet other design constraints. If I can keep its current density, it actually surpasses our design goals for the unit, which was a pleasant surprise.

    Whether it ends up being manufacturable, or ends up having design flaws that become apparent in service, is another issue. I should ask Prof. W. about commissioning a machine shop to make an enlarged-scale mock-up so that we can check this before ordering the real thing (the real thing is tiny enough to be quite difficult to make).

  • Didn't touch the mechanical design task that's due at the end of this week. I'll ask Prof. H. about pushing it back on Monday.

  • Finally got around to implementing a fun mechanical design project: using the makerspace's router to cut gears. I've confirmed that these can be made at reasonable scales using the tools I have available, and I've confirmed how much I need to offset the surfaces so that everything turns and meshes cleanly (0.005 and 0.010 inches for gears and hubs, respectively, though gears work fine at 0.010 as well).

    The next step is confirming that I can use "dowel pins" as axles (and measuring the clearances for those too). After that, it's time to start building that clock. This will be nifty.

  • Returned to the group Minecraft server, after a few weeks' absence. Still not particularly motivated for the big projects, so I implemented two small projects (building a long-range teleport link and adding a portal to one of the host's art projects to the nether-rail network). In the queue is a nether-net link to a village claimed by one of the newer players, but that's on hold until I get their formal permission.

    In order to encourage people to travel the normal way, the teleport links are designed to be tedious to use. The one that's currently up uses a "Labyrinth" pattern (the meditation-type, with a single winding path that takes a while to walk). I've considered putting a "Towers of Hanoi" puzzle-lock on to another one, but I'm still thinking through how to implement that in Minecraft.

  • Got a pingback about my concerns from Feral 2016, finally. I'll look at this later today (now that I have timeslot that's free when I'm fully awake, rather than having to rush off to work immediately). Best-case, all is fine and I'll happily attend in 2018. Worst-case, a falling-out occurs.

  • Costed out attending Further Confusion. This is tempting, because I've enjoyed it in past years, but not tempting enough to drop $3000 on. I can afford that now that I'm on salary again, but it will represent 2-3 swanky pieces of equipment, about 10 medium-sized projects, or about 30-50 small fun expenditures that I'd have to not make in order to attend the con.

    It's still tempting. The deciding factor would be if I had several friends who were attending it whom I'd be able to see again (right now, 5 are in the area, only 2 are known to be attending, and they're usually not available for in-person stuff).

    The cutoff for getting a hotel room is somewhere between "book right now" and "book a few days ago", so I'll likely just push this off until the 2019 con, with my debts paid down and my employment situation for 2018-2019 sorted out.

  • Plan for today is relaxing. Plan for the upcoming week is mechanical design, and in-person meetings with Prof. W. now that he's back in town (skype had horrible problems). Plan for the upcoming weekend is boardgaming with friends. The following work week will likely be overflow from the second mechanical design task, and maybe a chance to do that embedded hardware stuff as a break.

Now, a day off.
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