And there's this thing...

Not sure what this is going to turn into.  I WANT a two seat rock-bouncer type thingy, that with minimal suspension/setup changes could also be ripped around on pavement.  But it turns out I have no idea what I'm doing and suspension design is hard.  I want to put either a high-power motorcycle motor (because they sound fast even when they're not), or I want to put a vee-dub motor in it.  I also want to sucker some of my coworkers and neighbors into helping me...

We moved!

We recently completed a move to a new house in Liberty Hill.  More land (to build a shop!  Finally!), and a bit further out (better to see the stars), and a great little neighborhood.  We've met more neighbors in four weeks than we did in the first three years in the old neighborhood.  We certainly miss our old neighbors, but we are keeping in touch with several of them.  So far the house is good, the 220V outlets are in and working, and I have already cut the first project for a coworker who is getting hitched, made some custom brands (artwork) for his groomsmen.  They turned out great.

Looking forward to get everything in its place soon, get the shop organized better...because it certainly isn't right now.  Several projects on the horizon, some for us, some for others, and as usual, the rare commodity is time time time time...  Check out the complete projects tab for some updates!

Peas out.

It's a blast to sand blast.

I am about 75% complete with design of my own big-ass sandblast cabinet.  By big-ass, I mean I could probably sand blast a donkey...okay, okay, a  short donkey, but still.  It will be big enough to fit a complete bike (sans wheels), although I cannot think of a reason I would need to blast an entire, assembled, bike.  But who knows!?  It will also allow me to bring all that (more expensive than you would think) work in-house.  I will be able to artificially weather wood, speed up deburr operations, and finally get all the pink paint off my wife's coffee mug.  Oh, thanks for that Camelbak.  Now all the cup holders in our cars look like we put pink lipstick around the top...that stupid mug leaves bits of itself behind a shedding cat...probably what happened to this poor fella, must of been sand blasted, owner got tired of picking up cat fuzz.  Yep, I'd be a bit upset too if I was you cat.

Okay cat, let's talk.  Clearly you're unhappy about being nekid, so all you gotta do is start walking into their bedroom at 4am, yowl one time in your "outside voice", then leave.  Repeat that each night for 6-7 years, they'll be sorry....OOOOooohh, they'll be sorry alright.

How to model a heating element: square helix, with another twisting helix!

I've been crawling down the path of making my own aluminum foundry, so I can rapid prototype some parts...make some casting investments...make some some I can make some other many steps until I get my finished parts!?

Anyway, I needed to model a heating element for a alternative foundry, one that is electrically heated instead of gas/charcoal fired.  Found some pretty easy ideas online of how to make the actual foundry, other ideas of how to make the heating element from nichrome wire, but how to CAD model the heating element...?  Now that I figured it out, and it is done, it seems easy, but was kinda tricky.  Here's how:

1.  Watch this video to get a 'square spring' to use as the path:
Not my video, but thanks a lot to "fadoobaba" for sharing the knowledge!

2.  But if you want to show more coils, the sweep/twist around path is limited to 100 turns!  So model your square surface for intersection curve at [height] / [qty of turns desired for primary spring/helix shape].

3.  Intersection curve between helical sweep and square surface:

4.  Composite curve, to use as path:

5.  Because of how I constructed my model, I was able to sketch the section to twist around the path on the Top plane...and the worst arrow ever to show the 'twist' around the path:

6.  Here is the Sweep with Twist Along Path (75 turns), this qty of turns is for the actual springy shape that follows the path (created above):

7.  And here is final step of Linear Pattern, with spacing of [height] / [qty of turns] from Step #2 above:

8.  Final part!  A total of (5) * (75) = 375 turns.  Punched that 100 turn limit right in the face!

2015 Sebring 12hr Race, More Awesomeness

For all of these videos, get some well-fitting headphones, turn the sound up until it hurts, then turn it up more...then you will get an idea of what it was like to be there.
The Corvettes were true ground-pounders, the sound without the vibrations in the air/ground does not do it justice.
The Porsches sounded extremely pissed off at being made to do what those drivers wanted, as if they were waiting for a good chance to bite back.
The Prototypes were a mixed bag, a few were actually quiet relatively, and others howled with hate and discontent.
The Miatas sounded like a hive of angry bees.

Chaparral 2 at 2015 Sebring 12hr Race = really cool!

My dad (Wesley Sweet) spent several years during 60's and 70's working for Jim Hall at Chaparral.  He helped build most of those cars that literally redefined several aspects of car racing, including the Chaparral 2 in the videos below.  I am very happy/proud of my dad's time doing something that literally changed the way cars are raced today, that he and that team built these cars essentially by hand, and that they were literally so dominant during their day, that several of their achievements were promptly made illegal by the rules-makers.  Pretty damn awesome if you are so good at what you do, that it causes everyone else to piss and moan about it to the point the rules are changed...

Jim Hall has a pretty great quote:
"If I come up with a better mousetrap that is within the guidelines of the regulations, than I ought to be able to use it."

I agree.  If people like Jim, my dad, and the other teammates that made these cars winners had been completely unshackled from the rules way back then, I am confident we would have flying race cars by now.


My son lives and breathes rockets every day.  Not literally, but that would be even more awesome if he could, breathe in rockets, shoot rockets right back out of his nose, wait, those would be snot rockets...wha?  What am I talking about...?  Never mind.
Anyway, he plays with straws, Legos, books, dog treats...doesn't matter, it ALL ends up being a "rocket".  It is so great, so cute, so awesome.
So decided to up the ante just a tad, looked up water bottle rocket and launcher plans from (pretty sure that was my source), and slapped it together with cardboard fins and went to launching.  It worked well for 3-4 launches, fins came off...we kept launching that rocket anyway.  About as aerodynamic as a two liter bottle without fins = not very.
...rapid prototype machine said "psst...hey, over here....I can make WAY better fins that won't come off."  I said "that sounds super, let's make it happen!"  And so we did.  Laser scanned a Dr. Pepper bottle, designed/fabbed up a fin alignment jig along with interlocking fins, added a parachute nose cone, and BOOM, kickass rocket launching all up in yo face!  It was one of my....less formal...projects, but turned out great and above all, helps me and our son bond over something we both love.  Rockets.

Check out the videos below.
One is perfectly normal.
One is perfectly awesome in slow-motion.
One is a perfect (and comprehensive) malfunction on the pad.
Which is which will become clear.

New sign up on the wall!

Well, not my wall, but Val and Laren's wall!  Check out the Fit Force sign in Completed Projects.  It was a fun project, and there was a cooperative effort with Val to surprise his wife with a logo for her company.  It was cool to get to know our neighbors more in the process, and the sign turned out great.

Finishing > Starting

Finishing a project is always better than starting, however, my favorite part is the pursuit of the finish line, figuring out all the struggles along the way, making things fit just right, making CAD bend to my will, etc.  The sign I just added to Completed Projects page was not too tricky though.  The color combo came out great and the antique bronze-ish finish on the text portion looks pretty dang sweet...

Speaking of finishing, just had an idea to complete the Robot Table on the In-Work Projects page.  Going to do some thrust vectoring control surface thingies...maybe hop into the way-back machine and cover them in canvas like they used to build 'em back in the FIRST days of airplanes, out of wood and cloth!  Yes...methinks this a good idea I just had...yes, actually it did hurt my head, thanks for asking.

RP machine is working!

Finally completed my build of a SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v2!  Wiring was nerve-wracking, instruction manual was great but a few parts had sneaky asymmetry, building it was fun and I am certainly confident that if problems arise, considering I built it, I can fix it.

Printed the two test parts of fan ducts, both printed VERY well, maybe it was beginner's luck.  Since then been struggling with printing ABS.  Apparently ABS is more tricky than I thought, so says their forums as well.

Tried a few things and early this morning, a 9+ hour print completed.  A bit of a risk considering it was only my 8th print total!  But it worked.  Using it to validate first prototypes of secret thing I am planning on developing...

Rapid prototype machine is on the way!

And to christen it, wait, have the build the thing first...then to christen it, dammit, once I get it all built and up and running, I will have to smash a champagne bottle on it...?  Wha?  That doesn't even make sense man!  Anyway, I ordered a machine that by all rights appears able to produce semi-professional looking parts up to something like 9" diameter and 14" tall!  What you say!?  Yeah, it's gonna be huge man, huge.  So I need something to print, onto which I can bust a bottle of champagne.  That print shall be per pictures below.  Going to break this down into parts, some will interlock, others will screw together with hidden threads, other parts will just sit there looking awesome.

The lathe is working!

Finally completed the lathe table a while back, finally got the lathe up on top of it (thank you new engine hoist!).  Now I just have to procure some various tooling bits, then figure out how to use it...  Already turned some PVC tube into smaller PVC tube.  Pretty fun!