Image credit: XKCD
Having acquired a welder for working on my airplane, I got kind of distracted making some silly little projects. Click on the pictures or, if you don’t see the slideshow below, jump to my Metal Art Projects photo gallery, where you can see larger versions of the photos.
It’s done I welded together a welding table using my flux welder.
Here is the previous post, Welding a Welding Table, where you can see some of the in-process photos.
When I started cutting up steel for the back seat frame of my Bede BD-4C airplane, the chop saw threw off so many sparks that I singed the top of my wooden workbench. Being a bright boy, I thought that moving the saw to a metal table would be just a wee bit safer.
I went shopping and found the cheapest possible welding table at (no surprise) Harbor Freight. $79 seemed like too much money for a crappy tool, though, so I decided to build a welding table. It would be fun (I love flame!) and educational (I would learn more about welding) and less expensive (I’m cheap). I found a set of welding table plans at Lincoln Electric to use as a guide. Continue reading Welding a Welding Table
As you know, if you are a citizen of the universe, I am building a Bede BD-4C airplane and I have been writing about the process here on my blog for the last couple of years. Today I am going to write about something that few aviators, and even fewer homebuilders, write about. I am about to write about Lift Reserve.
Many people adhere to the common misconceptions about what makes airplanes fly: money. (Sorry… I couldn’t resist that one.) Many people adhere to the common misconceptions about what makes airplanes fly: a balancing of the four forces Lift-Gravity-Thrust-Drag. This is based in classical physics as taught to high school students and it is naive, to say the least. The problem with the LGTD is that it is simply incomplete. Lift Reserve is not addressed because, classically speaking, it is simply too hard to explain in a high school physics class. Continue reading Installing Lift Reserve
Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes I know it’s true love.
Who else but my beloved bride would let me keep the tail of my airplane in the kitchen???
Few wives are as lucky as Candy. Not only does she have a freshly spray painted rudder push-pull tube drying in her dining room, but it is hanging from her chandelier! I’ll bet that none of her girlfriends have anything anywhere near this cool.
Then again, maybe I’m lucky that she lets me build an airplane… in her garage… and sometimes in her house.
Several years ago, we got a Sony PlayStation 3 as a home theater PC and it has been a fantastic way to watch Blu-ray discs, Netflix, etc. It has not been a good way to listen to music for two reasons. First, listening to music requires me to turn on the home theater projector, since we do not have a TV. Second, the PS3 does a lousy job of organizing a reasonable sized music collection. (I have about 4700 songs.) The PS3 web browser is pretty mediocre, too, making the PS3 a poor choice for YouTube, Vimeo, TED talks, and so forth.
Ever since then, I have been looking for my ideal media center computer to compliment the PS3. It needed to be silent, inconspicuous, usable (for simple stuff) without turning on the projector, and an awesome mechanism to get my music to the receiver in the den. Beyond my own music, it needed to give me access to internet media such as YouTube and Pandora. It has been possible to build such a machine for quite awhile, but the multi-multi-hundred dollar price tag has always put me off.
For a total outlay of $76, I pulled together this hardware
- RaspberryPi – $35
- 32 GB SD card – $41
- leftover cell phone charger – $0
- leftover cordless USB keyboard & mouse combo – $0
The Raspberry Pi is a full fledged computer running Linux. You add an SD card as a “disk drive,” plug in an ethernet cable, hook up an HDMI cable, and add power from pretty much any old cell phone charger. Here is mine (click on either picture to see it larger).
The SD card works like a disk drive, holding the Linux operating system, the XBMC software, all 22 GB of my music, and a few miscellaneous videos.
Beyond buying the hardware, here are the software components that I gathered together to make everything work.
- I grabbed Sam Nazarko’s excellent Raspbmc, which is a bootable version of XBMC version 12 (Frodo) for the Raspberry Pi. I followed the instructions and, within minutes, had a basic XBMC system up and running.
- Since I am in the USA, I edited /etc/default/keyboard and set:
giving me a US keyboard layout. (The default is “uk”.)
The Official XBMC Remote for Android lets you use your Android phone or tablet as a remote control. This is key component, letting me play music without turning on the projector.
- I downloaded and installed the XBMC Frodo compatible version from here. The version in the Google Play store does not work with Frodo (yet).
You can easily add plugins from within XBMC and the Pandora plugin was one of the first that I grabbed.
- I downloaded the new version from https://github.com/rivy/xbmc-pandora to work with XBMC 12 (Frodo)
Oh, did I mention that all of this software is free? And did I mention that XBMC includes AirPlay, just like an Apple TV?
Be careful, though. A Raspberry Pi is an addicting toy! If you get one, you may find it hard to do anything other than play with it.
I know that this keeps you awake at night, wondering whether or not you will be able to avoid building an airplane while asleep. Let me encourage you to persevere in your efforts. At all costs, strive to be awake when building your airplanes.
Monday night, I built a set of ribs for the rudder of my Bede BD-4C and was very proud, indeed, of my accomplishment. Tuesday morning, before my coffee had sufficiently activated my brain, I double-checked my work by placing one of the ribs on the drawing for the top of the rudder. Here is the photo that I took.
This had me very worried because, as you can see, the bolt near the rear (narrow end) of the rib is not really “in” the rib.
Tonight, being slightly more conscious, I realized that I have the rib too far forward (too far to the left) in the photograph above. It should be positioned about 3/4″ farther back (to the right). When I do that, everything works beautifully, as you can see from this photo.
The rib extends well past the bolt so all will be well. I suppose I will never become a “morning person.”