We’ve fleshed out (a little) the plans for the ballistics day for this year. It will be held in Delapre Park, hopefully very close to the NSME facilities (inside the park, next to London Rd). If fate intervenes and we need to be further away, we will mark up on the NSME gates where we are, for ease of navigation in the park.
We had a (very small) meeting this week, which mainly consisted of planning the Ballistics Day (details in a second post). I also attended the NSME committee meeting and that was also productive:
- If we start supplying bracket specifications to the NSME someone will produce the resulting brackets, possibly producing cardboard ones first to check fit. We’ve agreed doing one axis at a time would make sense. If the mill is useful to the club they would then consider purchasing the parts that are still Martin’s. If the endeavour fails or is unused by the club then Martin’s parts can be given back, and the rest sold.
- A marquee will be left in the clubhouse for use if required on the Ballistics Day. There is also a water supply and hose for steam trains and water rockets which we can use.
- The NSME are impressed with our railway clock, but do not desire one of their own, as it would not be in keeping with the station’s aesthetic.
Alan gave a very interesting talk on Stirling Engines, and buoyed by his information that they’re very simple and have few moving parts, we tried to make one.
- Poor tolerances
- Wrong materials (it’s supposed to be a steel can for a better temperature differential)
- High mechanical friction
In other news, the Ballistics Day approaches, 6th August. A poster is being prepared, and will be posted on here shortly.
Monday was a busy evening in the end! Mat demonstrated a robot that he’s building (no details, it’s a secret!) for a competition at the end of the month, and took advantage of the concreted courtyard in the NSME. Adrian brough some Nanodes to show to the group, and I (Stephen) talked about neural networks, ably assisted by Nicholas. The slides are on the wiki. This was attended by some visitors from the Northants Linux User Group (mailing list here) who hopefully haven’t been permanently put off.
I investigated how to polish 3D printed stainless steel, and Alan tried another form of light-painting, where a long night exposure is taken, and the subjects are lit with a flash gun and many flashes. Pictures hopefully to follow.
We’ve not done anything with the mill regarding controlling it yet, and so we discussed that as well. The feeling was that we should continue the computer control of it, but only with the assistance of someone who could manufacture the brackets required. We will ask the NSME for assistance, rather than attempt it ourselves.
The next meeting is on the 27th June.
Monday’s meet was relatively quiet, but this gave Alan and I an opportunity to turn the lights out, and try some photography tricks. The first was an art form of blurred photography called Bokeh. By placing a cap over the lens with something interesting cut in it, all the highlights that are out of focus become much prettier.
Secondly, we tried light-painting. As can be seen, we’re not terribly good at it, and are slightly transparent. We have learnt more for the future though. This could be run as a workshop in the winter, when it’s nice and dark outside.
I’ll host a talk on the 13th on Neural Networks. No previous knowledge required! It’ll start at 8pm on Monday 13th June. There will be a project night, for people to come and do whatever they like, on Monday 27th June. Alan will give a talk on Stirling Engines on the 11th July. The space will open at 7pm on these dates, and you can still come and work on talk nights.
For those who’ve missed it, we’ve also moved the date of the Ballistics Day to 6th August (still a Saturday), so that more people can come.