Monday, June 27, 2011

Article about power grid changes, might affect clock speeds

This article says that the regulations on the nation's power grid will be loosened in terms of the accuracy of it's "rate of current/frequency." I suppose it means the 60Hz frequency at which the AC current switches. They will try this for one year, and the idea is that it will cost less, be easier to be more reliable, and possibly not as unnecessary.

However, they will try to see if this affects clocks that are powered and regulated by the grid, i.e. that you plug into a wall outlet. I didn't know this, but these types of clocks (apparently) rely on the regular frequency of AC current to regulate time. I found that interesting; I thought they would all be regulated by crystal chips or something electronic like that. So at the end of the year, the clocks may run up to 20 minutes fast. Officials are going to see if this actually happens in massive amounts or if it doesn't really matter.

Personally, I think that over a year's time we wouldn't notice. We would just adjust the time of the clock every so often. But, with the maximum estimation of 20 minutes off, and assuming you would adjust the clock if it was off by 2 minutes, you'd adjust the clock 10 times a year. That's almost once a month, so maybe that would be bothersome.

(Click to view read larger)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brick sorting Lego bird

From Tinkernology:

I am amazed by this creation. It does not have a "brain" to help it sort incoming pieces, only one motor. Here's how the author describes it:
When the beak can close no further, power is transferred to turning the bird. If the beak closes on a larger brick, it will begin turning earlier, and thus further, before dropping the brick.
I like how computers and electronics can allow for sophisticated processes, but analog or mechanical methods are always something to marvel at and give due respect.

CNC Spring forming machine

From Tinkernology:

I have never seen something like this before, but CNC machines and the like continue to impress me. I've seen "extruding" or extending machines before that do work on pipes, but this is a bit more unique. I find it interesting that the arms are extended by cams (as seen towards the end of the video) instead of a rack and pinion or screw advance. Cams will work just fine, but I assume that sometimes they take extra work to implement because they need to efficiently exert force in the right direction on the object they're linked to (or the other way around). Often there's a lot of sideways motion or resistance to friction.

Japanese spherical flying robot

From IEEE Automation:

Not much too say about this one, but I like that it lands by just falling on the ground and rolling to absorb the shock (it self rights afterwards). A cool way to transfer energy. It also has one big rotor and it steers with 8 flaps. Also different from all the quadroters I've seen (4 propellers for flying and steering).

The 2 Terrys and products

I found these guys on Youtube. They have very simple, clever, and quality garage devices for sale that they designed. Most of them deal with handy or innovative ways to sand work pieces.

The Spider Sander, a disc sanding attachment.

Wasp Sander - handy way to utilize a drill press.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Turning a wooden, hollow, spiral candlestick


A video series on how to use an ornamental mill to create a hollow spiral in a piece of wood. Really ingenious, you'd think it would have been impossible. You basically drill down with a side cutting bit, then move the bit down the piece while rotating it at the same time. Then repeat to cut away the wood on each side of the spiral. Gears keep everything synchronized.

German pool playing robot

From IEEE Automation:

Nothing too special, but interesting how it uses a camera and an algorithm software to plan its shots. I really like the navigation around the table; it's just a simple process based on saved waypoints, probably the corners of the table and a couple of points on the edges where the robot could stop. It's also cool that humans can use the algorithm software too.

IEEE Automation says that a PR2 robot did this earlier.

Blog update, posting should increase now

Now that it's summer I'll be much less busy and I hope to post much more, so be expecting that :)
I've got a new label/tag for updates if you're interested.

And as a preview to how much I have, here's just ONE of my favorites folders for all the links I want to share.
Notice the scroll bar; I've got more!