Design, Build, Test, Iterate

ENGR 421 (Spring 2013): Team Cattlestar Balactica

Last spring, I took the Applied Robotics class at OSU (ENGR 421), where teams of three each built a robot capable of autonomously playing Crossfire. Below is a blooper reel from one night where I try to calibrate the system with a malfunctioning linear rail. I had a blast.

My favorite part was the shooter, which could shoot the 3/8″ diameter steel BBs at 170 mph but was regulated (PI controller) down to 10 ft/s.

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Turned 21 yesterday. I guess most people do something special for the occasion, but I’m refreshingly busy interning for SpaceX in California; all of next week, I’ll be at a cyclotron facility in Indiana to do radiation testing,  and the week after that will be spent hopefully playing with a flight control computer and designing a test data visualization and hardware control system (à la DRL, but for a rocket this time), highlighted by another SpaceX launch during the weekend.

So I’m freakin’ stoked, you know?

Triple booting Arch, Xubuntu, and Windows 8 with UEFI and Fake RAID 0

Another braindump post from months ago..

I now triple boot (with UEFI) Arch, Xubuntu, and Windows 8 on fake RAID 0 on my new ASUS Zenbook UX51VZ that replaces my dying MacBook.

I recently started interning at SpaceX. I dressed my laptop appropriately.

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I tried Emacs for two weeks..

..and felt the onset of Emacs Pinky, which is enough to convince me to stick with vim.

It’s like typing ls -l in Dvorak, except with the left pinky.

Nope, nope, nope.

I do, however, now have a newfound appreciation for how efficient I can be in vim without having to press and/or hold down more than one key at a time.

Ghetto Tubeless Conversion: Success

I have a 2011 Specialized Camber Elite 29er with stock rims, a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 in the front, and a Specialized Captain Control 2.2 in the rear. Both tires have folding beads.

I began my ghetto tubeless conversion yesterday with Gorilla tape and Caffelatex sealant and valves.

After several attempts, I learned the following two key strategies for making the initial pump-up easier that no one on the web mentions specifically:

The inside surface of my rims slopes upwards all the way up to the rim wall, so I had a hard time pumping up the Maxxis Ardent on the first few tries. I modified and finalized my taping strategy while pumping up the Specialized tire for the first time, so I don’t know if the Specialized tire would’ve been easier or not. Regardless, I was able to leisurely pump up both tires, without sealant, with just a floor pump and a bit of soapy water on the tire beads.

Per instructions on the bottle, I added 100 mL of sealant to both tires through the valves (with core removed). Small leaks at the valve stems were fixed by tightening the nut with a pair of pliers.

Gorilla tape nearly tore the skin off my hands. That stuff is really sticky.