Tank Bot

The tank bot is fully functional.  Sort of.  Actually not at all.  After hours of work fitting the frame, wiring the electronics, and tweaking,  it turns out there's a fundamental design flaw.  The wheel edges aren't high enough to keep the tracks on-track.  Despite the setback there's no question about the potential of this rough rider.  It's a beast, and once we get the bugs corrected and add a few extras, its going to be one-of-a-kind cool.  I see angry bot delivered paint balls in the future.

A New Take on an Old Theme - Railroad Spike Knife#?

Rich is a new member and made this knife his first day.  Not stopping there, he's already contributed to such projects as the soon to come power wheels racer.

As an intro to Fredhack, we like to make sure people know what they're getting into so we turn up the temp to 3000 and give them a hammer to hit things with.  Nice job.

It's cool to see how everyone has their own take and you can definitely tell Rich put some time into this making it curvacentric.  If you throw it does it come back?  I'm not sure I'd want it to.


Celebrating Tabletop Day - Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator

Fredhack celebrated Tabletop Day on March 30th by playing Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator.  Alright alright, before you start yelling, "But that's a video game which is totally not what Table Top day is all about," let me make my case that its ok.  Maybe.

First, we put all our laptops on a large table, thus tabletop.

Second, the way the game works, requiring coordination between multiple members of the "bridge" mostly through talking back and forth, gives that work together and laugh a lot feel that is somewhere between LARPing and tabletop play rather than the arguably standard insular video gaming situation.

The highly interlocking co-oping of Artemis requires players to work together in a way that is even more interwoven than say your standard WoW run.  One person on navigation, one on weapons, one on engineering, one on science, etc.  And everything everyone does effects everyone else.  If people don't report on the bridge and do particular tasks at the right time, we all die... on our ship together. 

Third, we met the makers of Artemis at Nofolk Maker Faire where they presented, which has no relevance other than we like that, so there.  Case made.

Regardless if your convinced by my argument, Artemis is a great game and we'll be playing it more in the future as team Fredhack voyages into the great beyond conquering alien intruders of all kinds.  We've even been talking about fielding a team to go and fight another team.  We shall see.

Having a Blast! - Sandblasting for Project Lettering

With a combination of paint, vinyl, and sandblasting we learned a new technique for lettering objects and simultaneously invented a new Fredhack award, the "Stump of the Week".

First the sandblasting:  We used Garrett's sandblasting rig which is setup for fossil preparation and is pushed by a giant air compressor through various conditioning apparatus.  The particulate used was mainly sodium bicarbonate, but there was a mix of other mystery medium included in Garrett's secret blend.  

We used vinyl lettering from the hardware store to lay-down the lettering.  We then blasted the area around it leaving a relief.  Another thing we noticed was that the "early wood" in the grain pattern (see wikipedia entry on Dendrochronology for wood grain info) which is less dense was removed more easily leaving behind ridges of "late wood" (or "summer wood").  Without knowing it we independently discovered a traditional wood crafting technique called udukuri.  Here's a link to another project that uses the technique.

Alright, now for the new Fredhack award.  As a collective of self-taught DIY'ers we embrace mistakes.  In honor of that, we decided that instead of just throwing away our test piece, we'd make an award to be given to the member that made the most notable mistake, thus becoming the "Stump of the Week".  Russ quickly won the award in the process of making the thing by leaving the bottom hatch of the sandblaster open when reloading it, thereby dumping all the sand straight on the garage floor. Classic!

See the sidebar for "Stump of the Week" winners list.

Here's the sandblasting going down.  This is of course after we swept it back up.

Here's the award.  We decided to leave the vinyl lettering in place because the beat-up look goes perfect with the award idea.  Also notice the raised grain of the "summer wood".

Terrarium Fright

Beth put together this terrarium. Originally she was going to print some images of founding fathers to make a cardboard-backed paper doll diorama or maybe 3D print some other historical characters to insert since she's a history nerd, but then she dropped the eerie wind-up toy eyeball in the scene and thought it looked perfect.

That thick looking freaky plant in the top right is an unspecified succulent which refers to its water-retaining properties that fatten up the leaves. Aloe is a common example. Just like an Aloe, it was ooey gooey inside when she dismantled it.  The creepy stalks give the terrarium a "Land of the Lost" feel which is perfect for monster eyeballs to stomp through.

Here's an instuctable on how to make your own terrarium which is similar to what she followed.  Though terrarium making is widely covered on the net, we think it's all about what you add to the scene that makes a terrarium memorable.  Think "Anecdote of a Jar" by Wallace Stevens.

Glass bowl, dirt, pebbles, plants.  Nothing to it.
It's looking at me!!!!

 A few more of her terrariums presented after the jump.