Transit of Venus, DIY Solar Filter

June 5, 2012 · Posted in innovation ·  

The Transit of Venus starts at 6:04pm today. You can use an old floppy disk to protect your eyes.

The sun will damage your eyes if you look at it without protection. If you have an old floppy disk that is perfect for a homemade solar filter.

Remove the thin floppy part from the disk. Hold it up to your eyes while looking at the sun. This will cause the sun to appear red but it will be clearly visible.

Enjoy this once in a life time event.

3D Printer / CNC head positioning ideas

April 26, 2011 · Posted in innovation ·  

Ideas to make high precision low cost head positioning systems for 3D printer / fabricators / CNC machines. Precision stepper motors are expensive. What if you could use cheap analog motor? They could be very fast and cheap.

Electrical Resistance

Run a length of wire along each axis of the printer / fabricator / CNC and measure the resistance at the head position. Using a table of actual resistance measurements on the device could increase accuracy and even heat differences could be taken into account. This could be extremely accurate and low cost.

Optical

Optical is another approach, this is how mechanical mice and mane printers function. Using a digital camera with distance measurements on a scale printed from a long format printer could make the device very fast and accurate. Using optics the accuracy could increased fine precision even with cheap webcam sensors.
Optical Robot Head Positioning System

RF Triangulation

Mounting an RF transmitter on the head and antennas at the corners of the tracks could allow triangulation of the head to extremely high precision even over very large distances. This is the same technique used by GPS and cell phone towers. The precisions scales with size and frequency transmitted.

Electrical Balancing

Using opposing electrical currents to create a balance for any location along the rail. With the correct calibration this can be very accurate plus provide very fast movement.

Electric Drag Racer Sets Records

April 13, 2011 · Posted in innovation ·  


Plugin electric car beats gasoline muscle cars at drag racing. White Zombie set records with simple lead acid batteries.

The fact this car was setting speed records using simple, reliable, cheap, lead acid batteries is the major innovation. The definition of innovation is:

Profitably satisfy unmet desires

Profitably doesn’t necessarily mean money, it means all the desires are better satisfied for everyone involved in delivering the innovation. So far plugin electric cars fail to innovate as normal passenger cars because the range is less than gasoline, diesel, or natural gas cars. Driving very fast for short distances is a way for plugin electrics to innovate. Electric cars have more torque from the start than internal combustion engines, this makes them very fast off the line.

Finding a special use for a new technology is part of the evolution to a new paradigm. In the beginning internal combustion engines had severe limitations but eventually outperformed the previous technology in every way and even made new things possible. Airplanes became possible because of internal combustion engines.

Electric vehicles have a large amount of torque, are quiet, and don’t any toxic exhaust fumes while operating. This makes electric vehicles ideal for use indoors especially hi-lo to move heavy items in a warehouse. Electric vehicles work well indoors because they don’t need to travel far and can be recharged in between uses. This has been how plugin electric vehicles have been used for decades. The other use is for golf carts. Again, a golf cart has limited range and is quiet which is perfect for a golf course.

Mapping the steps from current technology and uses to the replacement and new possibilities reveals the lowest risk, highest profit innovations.

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