nick and i finished up the bridle, made wooden kitebars, found a diversion, made some pretty swarf, and flew our new 11m kite. good night to fly.
one of ten semifinalists in the IPSO-Alliance challenge!
I also made bowtie alfredo for lunch
and dyed my rod lavers blue!
I spent saturday at work, sunday at tep, and monday in lab with sulu.
Sunday I planted the mango tree!
I got a lot of work done on the jfet buffers and a wideband large input range amplifier for olopede on monday. I tried adding a diamond buffer to the output of the existing signal generator and mis-wired the collector of a transistor, which promptly exploded as soon as I turned on the power.
Tuesday I went into work and convinced my boss to plant some chia seeds on a paper towel. We hid a TH-12 wireless internet temperature humidity sensor underneath the paper towel to measure the humidity. When the humidity drops down to the room's humidity, you know you need to water it again! You can see it updating once every three minutes here. We even set up an ip camera so we can watch the seeds grow online, but we couldn't figure out how to access it outside redwire's firewall.
Today I went to a spring sound lecture where incredible vocalist Pamela Z and prepared pianist Hauschka spoke. I enjoyed Pamela's music and mindset, especially bone music and you, which you should listen to, then discover its meaning here. She also did some 3D sculpture + sound + performance work for an installation called Baggage Allowance. I really liked the Bag X-ray, weeping steamer trunk, and suitcase pieces. Most of the installation is pretty cool, though.
Hauschka told us a little about his life growing up, where life took him and why he diverted from those paths. How he started to focus on music coming from physical instruments rather than electronically synthesized music, and why he incorporates both into his pieces. He likes that acoustic instruments have soul because there is no possibility for technology to mask the meaning of the piece (ie. one trick technological ponies). He likes knowing that there are people who can replicate the sounds most people can only make with technology (violinist playing several loops in score). He wanted to expand the function of his piano, play percussion and other genre's of music.
He's a nice, quiet, guy who tried out modern composition/music making techniques and decided he liked the old way of doing things better, but couldn't live with a limited tone palate.
He even taught us how to play around with preparing piano.
Then I practiced with 'Hobo Joe and the Crack Smackers' for our first concert this saturday. We have a pretty excellent set list of covers. Maybe one day we'll record stuff and I can post it. Until then, you'll just have to come to deli haus on saturday.
Tyler and I met up tonight for some beer and conversation. We need EE buddies, so we're going to be each other's EE buddies. I'm excited!
When sewing a kite you want to use 1" slit ripstop nylon to protect your seams. You can buy it online or cut it yourself. we get ours from kitebuilder.com.
My friend sulu had the awesome idea to put your slit nylon on one of the sewing machine's spool holders. It makes it much easier to handle, and that way you don't have to pre-cut the nylon.
The idea is to make a strong seam with no exposed edges, since they could rip from fatigue in the wind. You start by figuring out how to make your ripstop 'sandwich'. To join two pieces of ripstop, you align them seams with the 'down' side of each ripstop facing each other, such that if you unfolded the sandwich the two pieces would be positioned correctly. Then, depending on which side you want the slit nylon to show, you place the slit nylon on top and start sewing a straight stitch about .3-.4" away from the edge.
To start sewing the edge, just help your feed dogs along and don't worry too much about alignment. Once you have the stitch going, align all layers of the sandwich and pinch hard with one hand about a foot or two before the sewing needle. With the other, grab the sewn sandwich hot off the feed dogs. Pull the ripstop taught and put the pedal to the metal, using your arms to control the feed rate.
When the straight stitch is in, now you can unfold the bottom piece of ripstop and fold the slit nylon over, then under the edge. Press it flat so it looks like a .3" stripe and the edge is folded onto the lower piece of nylon, which was unfolded outwards. Now you can sew a triple zig-zag stitch over the slit nylon 'roll'. Make sure of two things when sewing:
1 - pull the two pieces of ripstop apart from each other while sewing. If you don't do this, there will be excess material sewn into the seam and your seam will not be flat.
2 - make the zig-zag wide enough to hold the edges of the slit nylon 'roll' down. Images should help for this one.
Now you've sewn two panels together!
Need some loops for tying a bridle?
You can make loops out of slit nylon by folding the nylon in three then sewing a triple zig-zag into it. Afterward, cut 4 centimeter sections out, one for each loop you want. I'll describe how to sew the loops into a seam next time.
back into the swing of things, nick, dan, laura and i woke up to beautiful weather. we'd planned to have breakfast this morning, but nick preempted all of us and bought lots of tasty weggies, fruit, and cheese at haymarket. we ate a huge breakfast of green, red, white, and purple salad, black & blue, cheddar, and 'french' cheese, grapes and tangerines and pears, and some eggs for good measure. i left putz with a smile on my face, a full belly, and with a promise to work on our kite later that day. high spirits.
I got to work at 11:45, but spent the rest of the day proving that the technology I'd been working on for the past few months is actually feasible. pretty exciting. I fooled around with mar and taylor, talking about sailing and crazy ee ideas. productive day.
The bike ride home was beautiful. It was so warm i didn't even have to wear a jacket. I rushed as fast as I could to see dan who was supposed to get home at 7 with a tasty orange chocolate torte. He stopped by and I met nick at MITERS. there we worked on our new 10 meter kite. I taught nick how to sew a kite seam (french seam with a protective cover) and we finished our second wing. We took some great photos of the process.
The mango tree is sprouting secondary roots like crazy. The stem's coming up too. I really need to get it some dirt.
i'm excited for tomorrow.
I woke up anxious and tired today. Dan assured me the night before that the weather would be warm and sunny. After falling back asleep twice, laura pulled me out of bed and got me on my feet. We ate the remainder of the sweets from yesterday for breakfast, along with some yogurt and another mango. After admitting my anxiety (finding a mentor for MENG, finding housing, working on olopede, getting plane tickets for makerfaire, renting a car, etc.) laura proposed a solution. She had me count the soft clouds in the warm blue sky. I complained that there were too many trees and buildings in the way, to which she retorted with a thought experiment. We imagined the boston landscape in the 1400's. A Forested subtly rolling landscape with a winding river running alongside us. No dirty piles of snow, no traffic signs, and no cars. The dome was okay, though. Laura let that building pass. We walked toward the massive concrete cap and noticed two geese chompin' on their breakfast grass. Laura wanted to say hi to one and walked it around in a huge circle around the lawn, as if it were her pet. We found some rhododendron leaves that looked like feathers and thought we could make more leaves into a beautiful goose. We headed to miters to find some chicken wire and ended up shelving the project to buy groceries for our trip tomorrow. We're going to my house in upstate new york.
We bought tortillas and bananas and ran into will. Laura wore the bananas like a crown. She looked like an egyptian queen, or a lion. The first person we passed pseudo-stealthily took a snapshot with her phone, ca chink. Four others also shot pictures - one from a moving vehicle. Another pair of tourists asked laura if they could take a shot. She was glad that they asked and allowed them to immortalize her. One of them had really cool pixellated glasses frames. I retrospectively wished I'd invited them to see MITERS. (we were right outside) I like the idea that I can change a stranger's path by persuading them to take a new fork. We walked into MITERS and hung out with steve for a bit, then continued back to senior house for a nap alongside maestro.
Afterward I headed back to tep for laundry and such. I hung out with puck and koharu while my clothes were spinning for fun. Koharu invited me to make dinner with her and sara. Roasted zucchini with whole wheat penne and sauteed snap peas. Laura came over to eat, I packed my clothes and we stocked up on food for the trip. We put all the grains and legumes in empty peanut butter jars. Grains were meant to be stored in jars. They're beautiful.
We're all excited for the trip tomorrow. It's going to be an adventure!
[President] Nick and I took the liberty to cut out a new kite template after the MITERS elections! We settled on a 10.2 square meter kite, since the dimensions worked out nicely with our 1.5 meter wide roll of ripstop. Used a new method for cutting the ripstop - a hot soldering iron - which worked great! Far more effective than trying to cut with an exacto knife, and much more forgiving. Plus, the sound and feel of ripping the two sheets apart after they've been seared is very pleasing. Check out the size of this one! And it weighs less than a pound!
I also had the opportunity to spend three hours of my time practicing new soldering skills at work today. Accidentally, I mixed up the chirality of a QFN-16 part, which means I laid out the pins as if the chip were flipped over 'dead bug' style. So that's exactly what I did. I flipped 'r over, glued 'r down, and deadbugged that poor MPPT power converter. It even worked afterward!
Laura and I spent thursday night installing hardware to put tEp's washers and dryers on the internet. We used optocouplers to detect when the washer door was locked and when the dryer motor was powered, both of which provide a good indication of whether their respective devices are in use. You can check out the schematic below for more clarity.
Dlaw prepped the raspberry pi to serve our laundry webpage and wrote some python scripts to decode what was going on. You can subscribe to a one-time-only e-mail notification when your clothes are done spinnin' for fun.