Tech Tuesday 07/22/19 – Cool Electric Motorcycles Edition


Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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31 Responses

  1. Avatar aaron david says:

    There’s sufficient evidence that Stanley Kubrick directed the fake moon landing film, but being a perfectionist he did it on location.

    – Runcie Balspun

    (Sorry, I came across that quote, and it just made me smile)Report

  2. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    TT05: This paper by Made In Space makes it sound like the major adaptations were structural, and a change in software because the thickness of the printed layers varies with changes in gravity. I have seen other articles that suggest the tougher challenge for use in the ISS was capturing the outgases and the fine particulates that result from heating the plastic.

    TT10: On the Curtiss motorcycle, the big silver bullet shaped thing is the battery case.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

      That would put the motor right behind it. Got it.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

      The paper is interesting, but light on the details regarding the modifications made.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Yeah, MIS is being pretty tight-lipped about it. OTOH, it can’t be all that hard. During parabolic-flight testing, MIS had modified commercial printers working successfully. China has 3D printed ceramics on their space station and the Russians successfully 3D printed living tissue on the ISS. The European Space Agency stopped their initial project after finishing the prototype in order to focus on the problem of printing objects bigger than the printer. That looks to resemble the robotic arm printer from last week’s post.Report

  3. Avatar George Turner says:

    TT09: I’m trying to think of applications where a magnetic fluid would be extremely useful. One thing that comes to mind is pumping a magnetic fluid through a series of pipes surrounded by coils of wire, creating an electric generator where the magnetic rotor is replaced by a flowing magnetic fluid.

    If that worked, you’d want a mechanical power source that naturally pumps or moves a fluid, such as perhaps a tide that pushes back and forth on a large membrane. A Stirling cycle engine also comes to mind, with the expansion and contraction of the working piston simply pushing a magnetic fluid back and forth through some tubes.

    If you pumped the magnetic fluid with a regular pump, you’ve already got rotary motion somewhere and it would be simpler to use a regular generator.

    Couldn’t they also come up with an analog to hemoglobin with rare-earth super magnets?

    However, I’ve given all this about two minutes of thinking, and there may be a simple piece of math that explains why magnetic fluids won’t make good motors or generators.Report

  4. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    TT01: That’s no fun. The Amazon drones are an opportunity for skeet shooting with prizes.Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    [TT01] “What happens if the drone is a home built using a controller that utilizes frequencies nowhere near those employed by COTS drones?”

    The control frequencies are mostly defined by the laws of physics; lower frequencies can’t always send data fast enough to be useful and higher frequencies need more power in the gear to get through the atmosphere and have enough range. You usually end up around K- or S-band, so a jammer can concentrate on those regions.

    And, sure, you could build a drone specifically to not use those frequencies, but there aren’t off-the-shelf controllers for it, so you’re starting to build your own circuits and it’s hard to do that at a size and weight that can fit into a drone and leave it with room for anything useful.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck says:

      That sounds reasonable. Although there is a lot of room between K & S. Do you jam everything between?Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Well, it’s simple to add a frequency converter (up/down) to an existing drone controller and run it in any band you want, given propagation limits. That just takes a couple heterodyne mixers and filters, and they’re commonly sold to allow off-the-shelf HF ham radio sets to work in the microwave bands. I suspect most of them aren’t optimized for size and weight, however, because desk mounted equipment doesn’t usually care about those things.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to George Turner says:

        At least on the receiver end, they’re doing some surprising things with software defined radio these days using a Raspberry Pi and front-end hardware that fits in a USB stick.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Cain says:

          I’ve seen some of that, including a beautiful Raspberry Pi satellite rig (for OSCAR satellites) that used your smart phone as the interface, even turning it into a spectrum analyzer.

          A frequency shifter for the Drone’s receiver would be trivial and light. Transmitting video data back probably wouldn’t be too challenging, either, considering the wide array of multi-media radio equipment that switches 802.11 networks into amateur bands.

          *checks Doodle Labs*

          Hrm… Their website’s home page shows flying drones and says “Licensed-band frequencies for international and government applications”, “4K video streaming from 10 km away,” mentions mesh networking, and shows industrial applications and military convoys.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to DensityDuck says:

      For a couple hundred dollars you can put together a Raspberry Pi, a motor controller, a 4G LTE cellular module, and a prepaid burner SIM from your local grocery or Wal-Mart. Add a tiny USB video camera. Palm-sized and the weight is almost insignificant compared to the battery you need for a medium- or heavy-lift drone. There’s a complete open source software stack available for that hardware to build a drone controlled over the cellphone network (unlimited controller range! modest real-time video!). Completely legal from a radio frequency use perspective. The FCC takes a dim view of even the authorities jamming cell phone frequencies.

      The guns are intended to stop stupid people who buy off-the-shelf drones.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Just no.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    It looks fine now, but the biggest problem with brutalism is that it does not age well in wet humid environments. The concrete always gets some sort of funk on it after a few years.Report

  8. Avatar George Turner says:

    TT14: The aerogel Martian dome idea might have overlooked a few things.

    The domes will get slowly buried with dust, and 2 or 3 inches of aerogel is going to have trouble supporting a cleaning crew. Maybe they could use hovering drones to keep the dust blown off.

    The reason Mars doesn’t have surface water isn’t temperature, it’s pressure, which is about 0.006 atmospheres. If you warmed water above 32F it would just boil into steam.

    Aerogels have great mechanical properties for their weight, but they don’t weigh hardly anything. The tensile strength of a good silica aerogel probably doesn’t reach 1,500 psi. That makes them virtually useless as a component of a pressure vessel, and given that the problem on Mars is the lack of pressure, all solutions will involve pressure vessels of some sort or another.Report

  9. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Proud Geek dad moment today, when Bug came out of science camp and told me how his radio controlled caterpillar used a signal below the color red.

    Yep, the kid was telling me about where on the EM spectrum the toy worked.

    Fist bumps and atta-boys!Report