Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Overdue Update...

Man, life has been busy in the last few weeks!

First off, I have been working on a really cool Speed 400 Racer that I have named Any's LanceAir. AnyAirRC designed it for me, and I think it resembles a Lancair, hence the name. It has a 28" wingspan (with a KFm4), is made entirely from FFF cut on my PhlatPrinter, and will utilize the Park Jet Combo (2212-06 V2) from Grayson Hobby. With a 6x4 prop, speeds of around 80mph should be easily attained! I am planning on using a 3S 1000 Zippy LiPo battery for it, as well as some good 9gram servos. I haven't finished it yet, as the weather here in Central Texas has turned and if we're not dealing with winds, then we're dealing with cold. I am hoping to finish it and get a maiden flight in within the next couple of weeks.

My time has also been quite consumed with another endeavor. I think that there are quite a few people that have been struggling with learning to use Google's SketchUp for working up their planes to cut on the PhlatPrinter. While I am certainly no expert with this application, I have learned to do a few things. I decided to put together a series of tutorials to help my fellow PhlatPrinter enthusiasts. I downloaded a Demo copy of Camstasia Studio 6, and it has proved to be a great application for capturing what I'm doing on my screen as well as allowing me to record audio simultaneously.

So far I have worked up 8 videos. I've tried to develop a curriculum that's very easy to follow and I've been keeping the videos on the short side to allow the viewer to absorb smaller nuggets of information at a time without getting swamped by tons of instruction all at once. The shorter videos also allow me a more managable file size when uploading!

At first, I uploaded the videos to YouTube, but after they downsample the crap out of my work, you could barely see what I had going on, so I have moved the videos over to Vimeo. They don't downsample as harshly, and they also allow you to download the videos to your computer and play them with QuickTime directly from your machine (no waiting on buffering!).

I call this instructional series PhlatPrinter SketchUp Basics - Getting Started. Following is a list of what each video covers:

Video 1 - File Organization And Creating Your Template
Video 2 - Creating A Parts Layout Reference
Video 3 - Using The PhlatScript PlugIn Part 1
Video 4 - Using The PhlatScript PlugIn Part 2
Video 5 - Generating PhlatCode
Video 6 - Importing DWG/DXF CAD Files
Video 7 - Cleaning Up The DWG/DXF CAD Import Part 1
Video 8 - Cleaning Up The DWG/DXF CAD Import Part 2

You can access my videos by clicking the following link:

There are a few more topics that I would like to cover in the Getting Started series, but it will probably be next week before I can get to them. After that, I am hoping to put together an "Advanced" series. Of course, I need to learn more of the advanced techniques before I can teach them! lol

Sunday, November 9, 2008

HandyCam Update

So, as I mentioned earlier, I have been trying to get my Sony Digital8 HandyCam (Thanks again, Mark and Trish!) to interface with my Mac so I can push some video up to YouTube. I am happy to report that I have finally been able to get this thing to work!

It turns out that the problem was with my FireWire cable! The first one I bought was a 4 pin to 6 pin cable. Since it was "no-worky", and I had read on the interwebs that some of the older Sony cameras were hit and miss with Mac computers, I decided to buy a second cable (4 pin to 4 pin) to see if I could get things to work on my PC. It was still no bueno!

The eBay seller that I got the first cable from sent me an email and said that some of the cables that they sent out were bad and that I should expect a new cable to arrive shortly. It came in Friday and I tried it on the Mac yesterday. Success!!! It turns out that the first cable was, indeed, bad.

Last night, I sent an email to the supplier that sold me the cable for my PC; I told them that it appeared to be defective as well, so they have agreed to send me another cable for free. I actually prefer doing video editing on my Mac, but since she's an older laptop and I don't want to risk killing her on video processing, I want to do my editing on my trusty Alienware laptop. It's a much more robust machine and I spec'ed it out with video processing capabilities in mind when I ordered it.

I should be receiving that new PC cable in the next week, or so, but in the meantime I plan to push the old Mac iBook, but I will be keeping the videos very short.

If there are any "Foamie Build Tips" that you would like to request, please feel free to email me and I'll see what I can do for you! My email is (I expect you know what to do to that email addy to get it to go through).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Updates: No, I'm Not Missing!

I want to apologize to those who may think I've dropped off the face of the Earth. Life has been very busy this Fall and I've been kind of emerged in some other projects lately.

First off, I got my Plantraco setup in, but haven't had time to even take any pictures of it to show off here. I am hoping to start the build before too much longer.

Second, project "PhlatPrinter" is moving along great. The machine just works and works without any problems encountered whatsoever. In fact, I have a few projects to get cut for some friends in various parts of the country!

Third, all of my free time here lately has been taken up by researching all different forms of CNC Routers out there. I am hoping to start the build of a new machine just after the first of the new year, so I've been trying to learn all that I can to make this build successful right out of the gate. I am looking to build a full-motion gantry flatbed machine with a cutting area of 2' x 4'. This should allow me to capture all of those projects I want to cut that my trusty old PhlatPrinter cannot (balsa cuts, flight boxes, etc.). When I start this build, I will be covering all aspects of the build right here!

Finally, I have been working hard to figure out how I can get my new HandyCam to properly interface with my PC or Mac so that I can get some good video on the web for all that I can see. My hopes are to put together a series of video blogs that will show you guys some of my build techniques and such. It looks as though this camera may have a bad firewire port, as I cannot get it to work no matter what I do. That being said, it looks like I am still on the hunt for an inexpsensive video camera with Firewire capability.

Please be patient - I will have some projects available here soon!