I don’t have very many details on what the event is about, but given GRASP’s description on their website that it “…integrates computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering in a vibrant, collaborative environment that fosters interactions between students, research staff and faculty”, it sounds like it could be a very interesting demonstration of some top-of-the-line robotics research projects. From the details on their site, it looks like they do some work with autonomous drones and quadrocopters. Could be really interesting.
I’m a noob when it comes to RC helicopters. I got a Syma S107 for about $30 a year or two ago and it is incredibly stable while being ridiculously bulletproof. I can fly it into walls, and I’ve never replaced a part. If it’s laying on its side on the floor, I can often get it to right itself by just gunning the throttle. (Do I recommend it? No. Do I do it? Sometimes.) A wire fatigued off the board once but that was the only thing I’ve had to fix. It’s a hell of a bargain and it’s treated me great, but being so stable and easy to fly, it has some inherent performance limitations. So I decided to step up a few levels.
I heard about the Blade mCP X helicopter, the first “real” helicopter of its size that came stock with 3-axis attitude-holding stabilization electronics. It weighs maybe double what my S107 does but its performance is amazing. It can do inverted flight, flips, all sorts of crazy stuff. That is, when supplied with an appropriately-skilled pilot, which I certainly am not. But I can fly it in my backyard in 30 mph winds, and this little beast can take it — pretty impressive for something that weighs the same as a good quality 9V battery. Being such a noob, I crash constantly, but I can usually patch things up without needing to buy replacement parts. Here is the list of mods I’ve performed on my helo so far, mostly out of necessity:
Grommet mod – tightens up the swash, reduces vibration (not my idea). Works great
Tail boom from mCP X2 – comes with a more aggressive tail rotor which helps with yaw authority
Created a simple tool to speed up resetting the main gear after crashes – just remove the battery and push this drilled-out rod over the gear hub to click it back in place, no need to remove the canopy or landing gear. I keep it zip-tied to my transmitter since I crash a lot 🙂
Lengthened tail boom – added perhaps 1/2″, seems to help with yaw authority
Added magnetic breakaway tail boom mount – after a crash the tail boom pops off instead of breaking, can be reset by simply moving it back in place and letting the magnets lock it down. Works very well, but be careful because if you have too much slack then with the right kind of crash the tail motor wires can get wrapped around the head. I’m sure I’ll keep experimenting with this one
Masking tape holding my canopy together? Classy
Hot glue holding my landing gear together? Not perfect by any means, but it keeps me flying until I buy a spare
For the second weekend in March, Hive76 is hosting a day of smashing, cutting, gluing, taping, painting, and general making and frivolity. We’re calling it “Art Hackathon”. Inspired by the Bravo TV Series Work of Art, and following closely in the footsteps of Art Hack Day, the event will focus on the rapid creation of meaningful works of art out of a provided supply of recycled materials.
Hive76 will provide massive piles of cardboard, tubs of glue, masking tape, tubs of spackle, box cutter blades, and a few cans of various colors of spray paint, to let every participating individual or team create a work of their choosing. The works will be based on a single theme, to be announced at the beginning of the event.
The event is split across two, four-hour days. While participants are free to use the time as they wish, the time is designed to provide time for planning on and a moderate amount of building on the first day, with some drying and curing time overnight before finishing up the next day.
A fee of $25 per person will be charged at the door, to cover the cost of materials and food that will be provided during the event for both days. Please RSVP for the event before March 6th by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is art? To me it has always meant indirect communication–the implied conveyance of ideas through conventions of shared culture. Anything is fair game for a medium, and anything can be a potential message; thus art is infinite in both dimensions. Continue reading “How I Made the Art Hackathon Image”
After visiting The Hacktory’s “Soft Circuit” event, PJ and I were inspired to take a stab at making some micro-controller circuits using alternative, “high/low tech” approaches. PJ made an MCU circuit using conductive paint (has potential, but needs some tweaks). I opted to try a circuit board using metal leaf. That happened to work on the first shot — although careful scrutiny of the picture on the left suggests there was some luck involved (there are holes in the circuit that come dangerously close to wrecking it). Continue reading “Crafty Computer …”