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A gaming and technology blog by TWHL admins Penguinboy and Ant. A music blog by TWHL users Ant and Hugh.

User Journals

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TJB's Journals

8 comments | 9th November 2017, 09:21 AM

I got a new friend for my dog the other day.

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So far he doesn't have a name but he has shown us that he likes to climb pretty much anything.

5 comments | 12th April 2016, 16:11 PM

In my last journal I wrote about how for university we're making a model aircraft which has to be capable of carrying a 32oz bottle, and it must also be capable of being disassembled to be carried in another model aircraft.
Today we had the flights, and my team's plane performed fairly well. It had one problem, in that the landing gear wasn't rigid enough and the wheels were too small, so it caught on the ground a lot and flipped over when that happened. We had three flights, but there were also three failed attempts where the plane flipped before it left the ground, and on one of the flights it flipped on landing.
We fixed the problem with some zip ties however and none of the flights after that had any problems.
I'll upload some pics from my phone and write more about it tomorrow, but until then I will leave you with this very important piece of news:

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7 comments | 14th January 2016, 20:58 PM

I'm sure I mentioned it a few months ago, but as part of my final year at university our class is put into teams and each has to design and build a radio controlled model aircraft to perform a specific task as set by the AIAA foundation's Design Build Fly competition.
This year the aim is to build two aircraft; a Production aircraft, which must be capable of carrying a 32oz Gatorade bottle around a set course, and a Mission Support aircraft, which must be capable of carrying the production aircraft (stored internally, disassembled) around the same course.
We've spent the last semester designing the two aircraft, and manufacture started last week.
I'm in the fuselage group for our team, and in the last few days we've been busy building. Since the production aircraft is intended to be broken down into different parts, we've been able to work on the fuselage independently of the other groups (wings, gear, etc.)
The majority of the design is carbon fibre tubing and laser cut plywood and balsa wood. Here you can see the laser cutter cutting out some wing ribs from balsa:

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While the laser cutting is pretty impressive, the one they have at the university isn't great. Because the plywood we're using isn't laser grade, parts need to be cut out in multiple passes, but the cuts are in slightly different places on each pass, so they don't come out very well.
Here's an image of what little we could salvage of our first attempt at a fuselage, with a Coke bottle for scale:

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Here'a a pic of our partially constructed second attempt:

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To account for the poor accuracy of the machine, the parts were all cut slightly oversized, and then hand fitted. While this is labour intensive (two of us spent three or four hours filing and sanding and we've got more to do tomorrow), it allows for a very close fit:

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Those two images are of the parts we have ready so far (plus one that was accidentally broken). There's no glue or fasteners used there, but we were able to hold it by the tailboom and shake it fairly vigorously without anything coming off. Also in those pictures you can see my two 3D printed parts. I was pretty excited about those as it was the first time I had seen something I had designed on a computer as an object in the real world.

Also, as an extra: While the laser cutter isn't very accurate, it's perfectly fine for small objects that can be cut in one corner of the cutter bed. So I've been making keyrings.

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I have a few more designs I'd like to cut in the next week or so:

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5 comments | 11th August 2015, 16:01 PM

Breaking news, I am in Lanzarote on holiday. It is warm and sunny, and there are penis bottle openers in every shop.
More on this story as it develops.
[Edit]
On the off chance that any TWHLers look this journal up in future before holidaying in Lanzarote, I would recommend Groucho Pub in Puerto del Carmen, if you happen to be staying nearby. It's a pleasant place to spend an evening, and the music is good.

5 comments | 22nd June 2015, 18:03 PM

Yesterday I was in Belfast for what is currently the only concert I've been to. I went to see The Who for their Hits 50! tour. It was really good, especially since we had some fairly good seats for it.

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I was with my dad, because next week he'll be moving to Australia for at least a year, although quite possibly longer, so it might be the last time I see him for a while. Since I'd never been to a concert before I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I quite liked it. If I had to describe it in one word though that would be 'loud'.
Belfast itself was also pretty interesting. It's the first time I've been to Northern Ireland, and it's odd. The landscape and the people are obviously Irish, but it's weird because how English the architecture and infrastructure seem. As well as that, you can really see how much of a divide there is between the Protestants/Unionists and the Republicans/Catholics. I don't think I've seen so many Irish Tricolours or Union Jacks in my life. I'll have to upload some photos of it when I get home.

9 comments | 16th April 2015, 15:41 PM

Fairly long journal incoming:
For the past three days I've been doing what is probably the most interesting part of my university course. We've been at the airport, and an instrumented aircraft from Cranfield University has been taking us up and performing various manoeuvres to demonstrate aircraft handling.

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The class was split into two groups, so one group would go up and fly for an hour, we'd change over and the second group would fly for an hour, then there would be an hour for us to make calculations using the values we recorded from the aircraft instruments. There would also be a lecture at the beginning and end of each flight type.
There were four types of flights, in order to demonstrate different things. Since the mass distribution of the aircraft was important for some of the calculations, we had our weights recorded and then our seating was assigned. Thanks to this I had the best seat on the plane for all of the flights:

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Not only could I see the readouts on the screens we had, but I could also read the pilot's instruments, which was very interesting.

The second flight was certainly the most interesting in terms of content. In the first part we had to take down numbers while the aircraft was turning. As it went on the turn got tighter and tighter, until by then end it was pulling around 2 Gs of acceleration, and it was banked by about 60 degrees.
As well as this, they demonstrated the plane's stall warning and avoidance systems. They went up to about 7000ft and then flew slower and slower, with the plane being pitched up so it wouldn't lose altitude. It was pretty scary to hear the warning systems in the cockpit going apeshit while the pilots ignored it and continued to pitch up. The stall warning system causes an alarm to sound in the cockpit, and the stick to shake, both of which were very audible from the cabin. The stall preventation system uses a hydraulic ram to push the stick forward. However it does so suddenly and very forcefully, so it feels like the plane has suddenly dropped by a huge amount. I tried looking it up on YouTube, but since none of the videos have the camera pointed out of the windows it just looks like everyone is freaking out for no reason.

The fourth flight was also interesting, as on that day they were apparently filming a documentary about the airport. Since they wanted some footage of what we were doing, I was given a camera to hold and film while the plane started spiralling. Basically I had to point the camera out the window, or out the front from behind the pilots, and the footage would have been similar enough to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWo-sryzQiQ
You can see the cameraman here filming students boarding the plane:

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Unfortunately since I was holding their camera I wasn't able to do any filming for myself, so Iíll have to wait until the documentary is broadcast before I can see the footage.
I did however get this photograph of the tip of the Cliffs of Moher:

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15 comments | 9th January 2015, 23:08 PM

I have a new little friend:

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She doesn't have a name yet. Unfortunately my family don't seem enthusiastic about my idea to call her Reginald.