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October 29, 2011


Time and space warp routinely around your best laid plans.  When I am working on the design, progress seems painfully slow.  When the parts are brought into an assembly, modifications can be made to each component from features on adjacent parts.  I can copy features of one part onto another, but at a cost in time consumed.  The software runs a lot slower on a large assembly when doing these modifications.

The good result is in precision fitting parts.  If I chop off part of the solid model of the graceful airframe, it leaves a surface that can be turned into a bulkhead or a rib.  By projecting that surface onto a plane, a new part can be made as a thin flat bulkhead.  These can be laser cut from model grade thin plywood.  This is affordable and really accurate.  With tabs inserting into slots, parts are glued in place with extreme accuracy and strength.

Once a design looks pretty good I can calculate the physical properties of the assembled model.  The total weight and center of gravity may have to be adjusted if it is too heavy.  I recently decided to eliminate every other bulkhead.  That drove the locations of every part to a new location.  Back to the drawing board I went.  More hours of grinding are nearing completion.  You may still see sub-assemblies colored yellow because they need to be edited and modified.  Other colors represent different types of wood and blue foam.  The green tail cone may be a rapid prototype experiment.

So I spend a whole day to make a couple of new parts that fit well.  A lot of time is spent waiting for the calculations to update the image graphics while the computer grinds away.  This is agonizingly S L O W.  I sacrifice a little capacity to watch television re-runs on the internet.  I have worn out dozens of great old shows now.  By the end of the night I am helping the crew of Star Trek Voyager to escape from the Delta Quadrant…for the third time!

While the nights grind agonizingly forward they also burn pages off the calendar faster than a welding torch.  At times it seems to go as fast as my friend Boyd’s video presentation of the effort.

The time space continuum seemed to all come together when wings do their thing though.



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