Monday, September 29, 2014

Robotic Fabrication Class

This semester, I started taking an "Intro to Robotic Fabrication" class because since architecture is finding more ways to incorporate technology into design, development, and fabrication, I though why not.  We use Rhino as our base software but also use the Grasshopper and Kuka PRC plugins, pretty much as a user interface, to help us program and visualize the robot movement on the computer.

At first, I was pretty lost because whereas almost the all of my classmates were grad students, I was a sophomore.  I was just beginning to learn how to use Rhino and I hadn't actually programmed before.  A month into classes, though, I'm feeling like things covered in class aren't flying so far above my head anymore.  I'd like to thank my group members and the teachers for that because I've gained most of my knowledge from simply watching them.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Revival, Restoration, and Rebirth: A Reflection

A recent post from Velouria, the author of a blog that I follow called Lovely Bicycle!, finally put to words something that had been nagging at the back of my mind for a while.  This past summer, when I was in the process of restoring my 1958 Raleigh Sports, a strange feeling came over me that still hasn't completely left since then.  To sum it up, my faithful, dependable 3-speed no longer quite felt like the good ol' bike that I knew and loved.  Not that I regret restoring the bike at all, but this experience, as well as Velouria's post, combined to teach me a little something about how simply setting out to erase the battle scars and rust from an old machine may get you a little more than you bargained for.

Memories of this bike before I had the chance to rescue it seem so distant, even though the earliest one is only about two years old.  The story really only started ten months ago and even then, it feels like ages since this bike was finally freed from its decades-old parking spot because so much has happened since then.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

1979 Ross Gran Tour - Updates

I have very quickly gotten very used to riding my "new" bike after a week.  I've gotten a little more accustomed to the super stiff frame and crouched-over riding position, but that didn't happen before I ordered a new spring saddle for it.  More on that later in this post.  I'd even go so far as to say that I've been riding the old Raleigh even less than I would like to, the main reason being that I live on the top of a pretty long, steep hill and most of my classes are on top of another hill.

This bike looks kind of nice from far away and I love the clean lines of a classic ten-speed, but lean up close and you'll see that the paint is actually pretty badly chipped (therefore rusted) and it appears that somebody rode through a puddle of paint years ago.  These grassy photos were taken during a slightly longer ride I took in Gallup Park a few days after getting the bike.  At that time, I was still getting used to it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

1979 Ross Professional Gran Tour and Then Some

In the previous post, I briefly mentioned how lugging 45 pounds of steel up the hills between the University of Michigan campuses was quite literally a pain in the butt.  I love my Raleigh Sports so much and the ride quality is unlike any other, but I don't really want to keep arriving to class all sweaty and out of breath.  I wanted something lighter for daily commuting, but I didn't want to retire the old 3-speed entirely.  Also, I can't say that the energy and time invested in keeping my 50+ year old bike in nice shape hasn't been worth it, but there is always a nagging possibility in my mind that something could happen to it.  It's nearly bulletproof, but I don't want to beat it up.  I wouldn't like to be hit by a car while riding it, and other students' bikes scratching it up at a rack is always likely.

Enter the 1979 Ross Professional Gran Tour.  Described as being "neither professional, grand, nor touring" by someone on an online forum, it is now my daily driver/beater.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Starting off the School Year on the Bike

Alright, so it's been a week since my last post and at the moment, my Raleigh is sitting in a puddle of water waiting for the rain to subside.

I've been riding my bike between North and Central campus four times a day since that's the way my schedule works out on most days, and I can't say it's very pleasant fighting the 45-pound-ish beast up the hill on both sides.  I almost always choose the bike over the bus though, because there's something about being on my own set of wheels that gives me a rush like no other, whether it's a car, a bike, or a razor scooter.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rubber-powered Planes

Here's a short-lived hobby of mine.  In 8th grade, I joined the Science Olympiad team and signed up for Wright Stuff, an event where we were to build rubber-band powered airplanes and have them stay circling around in the air as long as possible.

I first had to buy a kit containing instructions, two propellers, rubber band hooks, and the rubber itself.  I bought a 16:1 gear ration rubber winder.  The white plane was my first and my friend and I accidentally ruined the delicate Mylar so I used grocery bags to cover the wings.  I also used delicate balsa to make the lightweight frame, following the instructions.  The most challenging part perhaps was getting the dihedral angle correct, in other words, the shallow angle at which the wing is V'd upwards.  The two sides are also twisted to make the plane fly in a circle.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cool Classics and Other Luxurious Rides

During the past spring break, which was the first week of March, I had a short, very informational internship with an architecture firm.  After work every day, I'd stop by the store just to look at which cool Hot wheels cars they had for sale.  I ended up letting go of some cash in exchange for some exceptionally interesting cars.