The Big Think

December 10, 2014


Filed under: The R2 Project — jasony @ 11:38 pm

More R2 progress! I needed a mental break today so I spent 8 hours standing at a manual milling machine. Some break, huh?

But first I dropped by Metals4You here in Austin and picked up about 9 feet of 3/4″ aluminum rod (6061). Alas, I’m about 12″ short. So unless I want to go spend another $20 (not a terrible amount), I’ll be looking for a remaindered piece but if I don’t find it I’ll make do.

I started off by cutting the rod in TechShop’s metalworker, a huge press that’ll cut through 3/8″ steel. Aluminum plate is not problem. I cut a few pieces from some bar stock then tried to cut the 3/4″ rod. It cut without a problem but mangled the end pretty badly. So I ended up cutting 15 pieces on the metal band saw. Awesome machine that made short work of it.

One of the benefits to being a TechShop member is that I can just walk in and use some pretty great machinery. I absolutely couldn’t do an aluminum R2 without being a member there. A wood frame wouldn’t be a problem in my own shop, but if yer gonna build a droid, ya gotta go aluminum.

Once all the pieces were cut I went off to the machine room and spent the next 8 hours slowly milling the pieces to exact (exact!) length– down to the thousandth of an inch. Metal is a cool to work in but, wow, do you have a different level of accuracy. I could have made these parts in wood in about an hour, and 1/16th accuracy would have been fine. But in metal, if you’re going to have two threaded holes lined up, you have to get the accuracy smack on. I’m learning a lot.

One of my good TechShop friends, Tim, saw me struggling with the crummy house bits. They’re used by everybody, abused, nicked, damaged, and not very good quality to begin with. About an hour later he walked in and surprised me with $160 in brand spanking new solid carbide bits. An amazing gesture. He basically said “they’re in my locker… use them like they’re yours”. Such a nice thing. And they were incredible to use. Like a hot knife through butter with a beautiful. near-mirror finish. I got 8 rods machined to length at 7.575″ long…. exactly.

I’m going to retake the lathe class tomorrow so I can start thinking about the tapping and drilling procedures for some of these parts. That scares me quite a bit since if I screw up there I’m basically back to square one remaking the parts. Hopefully I won’t break a tap off in a hole or drill in the wrong place. Pressure!

I’m already thinking ahead to the next phase of the frame. Won’t surprise you at all to know that I’ve decided to overcomplicate it. But it’ll add even more of a coolness factor. Stay tuned.

Pics should be coming along with these posts as soon as we get the camera/phone situation worked out.

Fault Lines

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:31 am

Fault Lines:

“In each of these stories, two deep and consequential fault lines are evident. These fault lines aren’t about the usual left-right or elite-populist divides. They’re not solely about race or gender. They’re more fundamental — and more dangerous to the nation.

First, the once-honored and vital role of objective journalism in our society is at a crisis point. Members of the media know how reckless, sloppy, and partisan many in their field have become, but like a gambler going all-in, they keep tempting Americans to call their bluff.

The media wonders why a growing number of Americans no longer trust what they see in the news, but it’s not a mystery. The media’s customers have been burned over and over by bias, and by reporters with an agenda or an axe to grind. They’ve searched for news and information, only to be forced to piece it together on their own when the Official Media decides they’re going to ignore a story. Importantly, they’re exhausted by the constant lectures (disguised as news stories) that they’re ignorant racists, fatties, and hayseeds living in Free Market Jesus Paradise and killing the planet with their SUVs and their Walmart fashion sense.

Many reporters and editors loathe how aware people have become of the journalistic process…

…The left’s desire for separate legal and social standards is a mortal danger to this country. The moment we have two standards is the moment we’ve abandoned the constitutional and moral grounding of this country. So far, conservatives have largely just grunted, “no” and hoped the madness will pass. It seems unlikely, and the reason traces back to the media’s problem: the political fantasy of the Left is being granted legitimacy by a media unwilling to stop picking sides and playing favorites.

The fault lines in the Republic are real. On one side, the social justice warriors are screaming for the end of a nation where one standard applies to all. On the other, it seems their cheerleaders and enablers are willing to play along until the earthquake comes.”

I’ll say it again- fix the media and you fix the country.

Broken Badges

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:13 am

Applying ‘Broken Windows’ to the Police: “‘If tolerating broken windows leads to more broken windows and escalating crime,’ he asks, ‘what impact does tolerating police misconduct have?’ “

Interesting perspective. You can certainly argue that opposing this idea is tantamount to accepting the escalation of police misconduct. Good for the goose and all…

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