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Although my current profession is (mostly) related to system administration, I am more interested in playing around with materials than software.
I became a PTL member to build a carbon-fibre recumbent bicycle, specifically Robert Riley's Ground Hugger XR2.
Below is a screenshot from the CAD drawings included on the CDROM that came with the plans and an image of the finished bicycle.
This set of plans was bought in 2004 for US$100 but I never got around to building it. Maybe if we did not already have a Rans Rocket and a Rans V-Rex in the house, I would have stronger motivation, like Steve Roberts who hacks and rides a recumbent simultaneously.
Since the construction involves laminating resin-soaked carbon-fibre sheets and spray-painting, the project is difficult to do in a place with poor ventilation, like a typical apartment. If the work pieces were a bit smaller, I would consider setting up a ventilated clean-room like this. Hopefully, PTL will soon have a workshop with adequate ventilation.
In the meantime, I have to be content with a mailing list and going to the PTL supper every 2 weeks in Geneva.
“Show-and-tells” are kind of interesting. Lately I have been working with these nice little SheevaPlugs from www.newit.co.uk for making Debian/Ubuntu-based NASs. They have an eSATA port as well as gigabit ethernet, USB2.0, and a slot for a SD card. The SATA write transfer speed seems to be about 71 megabytes per second. These 12cm boxes use 7W max and contain a 1.2GHz ARM processor, 512M of RAM, and a 512M flash with Ubuntu 9.04 pre-installed on it. Not bad for about CHF180, TTC.
Lately I have become interested by small physical hacks that use a few grams of plastic to modify tools and other consumer goods to make them much more useful.
Sugru is a hand-moldable silicone rubber that hardens to a tough rubber after about 1 hour of exposure. It is sold in little 5-gram envelopes for about CHF1.50 per envelope, so it is very expensive per gram. The Sugru gallery has hundreds of user-submitted ideas for hacks that are doable with a few grams of the material. So far I have used 3 envelopes to replace the knob of a bathroom sink and to fix the handles of a pair of window blinds.
On September 16th, 2010, I received my first kilogram of polycaprolactone (also known as Polymorph, Shapelock, Instamorph, Plaast, etc.). I was able to buy these pearl-coloured beads from MUTR delivered to Switzerland for CHF36. This stuff is a thermoplastic that fuses around 62°C and hardens to a nylon-like consistency. My first project used 40g of the beads to produce a crude stand for my new mobile telephone (an Android-based HTC Desire). If the stand looks like something else, it is a purely my wife's imagination, I assure you.
For what it is worth, here is the start of my test blog. If you show this page, you can see the syntax of the starting tag. All blog material is stored in the private namespace “people:rossen” under “blog”, so the full namespace path is “people:rossen:blog”. I tried abbreviated this using the Dokuwiki syntax ”.:blog”, but it did not work as expected.