Mar 29

Spoils of Tech Auctions


Feel a bit like a vulture....

Feel a bit like a vulture….

New Toys!

These aren’t cat toys!

Just snagged these new toys from a tech auction!!

  • Wind turbine generator (Danotek Wind)
  • 12″ hemholtz with a fluxmeter calibrated as a set!
  • USB/Serial out hotwire anemometer w/K type thermocouple.
  • Small demagnetizer
  • And, every size molex crimpers!!

Not in the picture, is a nice MSC 4ft engine lathe with DRO and a production torque screw driver! Oh, and of course a cat that thinks they are all toys for him haha.

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Feb 17

LADAR V2 Build Log – Part 2

And, were back!

All machined and ready for assembly!!

Machined and ready for assembly!!

Finished machining all the parts and onto assembly, woot! The discs turned out pretty well, they are all +/-  .02 of the 3″ dia, and since I drilled all of the wholes at once, they all lined up! Everything went on nicely for the lower half; I don’t have all the electronics in there yet, but I did put the autopilot in (OpenPilot Copter Control). The motors are some E-Flite 3900kv motors with a 3-cell 2Ah MS thunder power battery. The top half is a zombified Flybarless Walkera Coax Heli, it has a nice rotor setup with good balance, but the frame is crap. Will have to make my own once the CNC router arrives. Overall, pretty happy with the weight: 374g, I figure with the rest of the wiring and electronics, worst case is 450g. The motors are from a blade SR which is 340g with a 1Ah battery, so this should get some good flight time. More later!

Lower Half Assembled!

Lower Half Assembled!

Partial Assembly Weight

Partial Assembly Weight

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Feb 15

LADAR V2 Build Log – Part 1

This is ideally part one of many build logs of a LADAR prototype. The first version had some weight, vibration, and power issues, so this is an attempt to make a fix for those.

Without a laser cutter or CNC Mill, I was looking to get a general idea before spending on outside machining. I pulled out the trusty Dremel, got some carbide bits and a diamond blade for my table saw, and got to work! (Didn’t want delamination of the CF, so high RPM and diamond/carbide tooling is best).

Next best thing to a cnc mil......kinda

Next best thing to a cnc mil……kinda

Diamond Saw blades + 30,000 RPM Carbide bits = Win

Diamond Saw blades + 30,000 RPM Carbide bits = Win










I needed to make some 3″ discs out of 1/16″ Garolite and 1/32″ CF; the Dremel circle tool worked pretty well. However, the Garolite was a struggle for the Dremel – it had a hard time holding RPM even with carbide tooling and slow feed rates, but the CF was like butter! I had a shop vac taped on the table to get the dust – CF is nasty to cut, so its a must!

Also, as it turns out, Dremel makes a decent drill press add-on and some larger collets that can fit some good size drill bits, (up to a 24 wire gauge I’d guess).

Lining up the holes

Lining up the holes

Not doing this again.....

Not doing this again…..

Overall, it only took four hours to do most of the printing, routing, drilling, and cutting. I still have a bit more work to do so check back for part 2!

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Feb 01


Inards - Checking Wiring

Inards – Checking Wiring

So decided I wanted to measure the weather atop my 70ft tall building next to a freeway. The eventually goal is to get weather and vibration data over time, and compare it to the traffic patterns. This is the first revision using a sparkun weather meter, and weather board. Had a 900mhz xbee lying around so put that on it as well. I didn’t really want to have to worry about powering the thing, more set it and forget it. So picked up a 3.7V 2Ah battery and a 6V 3.4 Watt solar panel with a solar panel charger from Adafruit.  Overall decent data, but getting the data over serial was a pain, because I need a computer always on. Thinking I’m gonna upgrade the building Wi-Fi to hit the roof and dump the X-Bee for something better.

Ready to go on the roof. Naturally, the cats don't care

Ready to go on the roof. Naturally, the cats don’t care

Nighttime mounting

Nighttime mounting

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Jan 16


Turnigy Talon Frame, 10x4.5SF

Turnigy Talon Frame, 10×4.5SF

Just got this together and flying. I was on Hobbyking and saw this kit (Turnigy Talon), and figured since I had never put a Tri-copter together it was time I did. It flies pretty well, but one downside is that the kit has no alignment holes for the clamp-on motor motors, so getting them all leveled to each other was a bit tricky.







2013-01-16 17.34.55

Ardupilot Mega 2.5 w/Fatshark FPV and RemziOSD

Since this was a quick put together, I didn’t put much work into making this tri-copter lightweight or efficient. It gets about nine minutes of flying, or about eight outside in the wind.

Using Turnigy Aerodrive motors (not the best, but cheap):

  • 10×4.5 SF
  • Thunderpower 3.3Ah
  • APM 2.5
  • 3DR 915Mhz Radio
  • uBlox GPS
  • Specktrum receiver
  • RemziOSD
  • Fatshark 5.8Ghz

It does GPS hold kind of well, but I am flying next to a freeway though haha. Overall, pretty happy for a first attempt, but lots of work to do!

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Nov 11

FTC 2013 – Team 6035

We took 5th!

We took 5th!

I had the pleasure of mentoring and coaching a 1st-year FIRST Tech Challenge Team (6035). This was our first competition (practice round), and it was fantastic!

Out of 13 teams we placed 5th. The young engineers were super excited that they made it as far as they did; they learned a lot, and I may have convinced a few to go into robotics haha.

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