The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

When Life Gets Busy

Posted by Tom Benedict on 24/02/2011

Life has been busy.  Late last year I was called to jury duty, which started mid-January.  I won’t go into any details, though I’m officially off the hook and can speak freely about the trial now.  Suffice it to say it was long, ugly, and ate up far too much time.  In the middle of all this we’ve been building scale models of our facility at work in order to do some fluid dynamics tests on them before we modify our building.  At the same time the Telescopes from Afar conference has been looming large on the horizon.  Over the last week, everything finally hit at once.  Needless to say I haven’t done much KAP in the past few weeks, and though I’ve now got three short stories in the pipe, none of them are ready to share.

A couple of weeks ago we did our first dunk test on our water tunnel model.

Water Tunnel Model - In Tank

Since making this photo I’ve added turbulators to simulate the weld joints in our dome (0.004″ nylon monofilament threads CA glued onto the outer surface of the dome), and a bunch of detail parts one of our engineers made using a 3D printer.  Along the way I made some 7″ inside ring gears on the CNC mill along with the mating pinion, we made the remaining domes that have variations on the vent geometry from the one shown here, and a whole host of other changes that would be too long to list.  Everything went in the shipping crate last night, then promptly came back out when we discovered we were 70 pounds over weight.  This morning everything went back into two separate crates and went out the door.

Shortly after I started work on my poster for the Telescopes from Afar conference that starts Monday.  Two and a half hours later the poster was done, and I started the process of installing print drivers for our new photo plotter.  I’m still trying to get the drivers installed two and a half hours later.  There’s something fundamentally wrong with this, but I haven’t put my finger on it yet.

Telescopes from Afar 2011 Poster

The poster isn’t my finest work, but considering the time frame it’s not bad.  I even did the photography of the computer and phone in the two and a half hours I had available.  Right now done sounds better than great.  I’ll settle for done.  If I can’t get the driver loaded in the next few hours I’ll have someone else print it from their computer.

Monday the conference starts, and the following Saturday I fly to Seattle to use the University of Washington water tunnel facility.  Between now and then I hope to get at least one KAP session in and finish at least one of the short stories I’m working on.  If I can swing it I might even get code loaded on a little Arduino-based KAP controller I’ve been working on.  We’ll see.  For now I’ll settle for a good night’s sleep and a morning without anxiety attacks over pending deadlines.

– Tom

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