It might well be "cheaper than you might think" but their quote-based pricing sure gives the impression of "if you have to ask, you can't afford it". Any hints for people who are not curious enough to submit a fake quote request?
There are champagne corks popping today at Special Project Bureau headquarters as we announce we've cut a deal to have our Vulture 2 aircraft hewn from living nylon. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic Followers of our audacious Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission will know that we've already …
Friday 10th February 2012 12:26 GMT BristolBachelor
The reason that you need a quote based is because they have a number of (different sized) machines, and for low-cost items, they can batch up a number of designs into a single run.
So you have to take into account the machine size (and hence how much it costs to run it), how long hte build takes, possibly considering other items in the same build, the quantity of nylon powder used for your model, and possibly the time taken to clean the unused powder out of the model afterwards.
On my desk here, I have a very nice 6inch high chess-piece castle that has an internal spiral staircase going up the inside, and a double helix suspended between that. Sleaning the powder off the helix took a bit of time :)
Friday 10th February 2012 14:00 GMT Anonymous Coward
I've only had a rough briefing on a desktop 3d printer, but with access to a cheap printer you should be able to get something cool made for £200 and get drunk enough on the change for it not to feel like a waste of money.
You won't get a spaceship, I'm still in negotiations to try and get a 3d airport-style scanner to work as input.
Disclaimer: This post is described as going from memory and contains the phrase "get drunk enough" - apply skepticism as required.
Friday 10th February 2012 11:55 GMT EddieD
"and in our case the speed of the process will save us a considerable number of construction hours we can usefully dedicate to other aspects of the project."
Hopefully discussing it down the pub, and reporting here.
You may be madder than a treeful of monkeys, but El Reg's space ambitions are truly incredible.
Friday 10th February 2012 12:28 GMT BristolBachelor
Friday 10th February 2012 12:35 GMT bRick
Friday 10th February 2012 12:43 GMT Ru
Printing hollow shapes with a reprap is impractical. Hell, its not really the best thing to do with a proper commercial stratasys device.
SLS lets you build lightweight thin-shelled complex objects which include voids with structural parts in them without having to make super sure that you don't have too steep an overhang and without having to spend hours glueing bits together airfix-style.
Friday 10th February 2012 13:41 GMT Troy Peterson
I've built some incredibly thin and light things on my ultimaker (www.ultimaker.com). Also, as you can see on the homepage it has been used to print indoor RC helicopter blades - if it can do that then it can do just about anything required for this project. I might just have to try printing a whole flyable airplane and see what happens.
Friday 10th February 2012 12:45 GMT Ru
Friday 10th February 2012 12:54 GMT horsham_sparky
it has a tendancy to absorb water.. which there will be plenty of in the atmos, around the office, in the back of the el-reg van (or vulturemobile for the lack of a snazzier name)
Planes flying around normal altitudes are probably OK, but sending up into space? water freezing then expanding inside the nylon? some home nylon bakery + moisture proofing to avoid it all ending in tears (and possibly lots of itty-bitty pieces of plane) might be appropriate, as well as asking the venerable prof Scanlan how high he managed to fly Sulsa!
Also, a lot of plastics become brittle at low temperatures, would be worth checking what Nylon will do.
I'm sure you have thought about this of course, and have many answers ready for curious idlers such as myself, I will await the responses with baited breath :-)
Friday 10th February 2012 14:16 GMT Lester Haines
We're not aware of any hygroscopic problems with the material, but we'll probably coat the aircraft anyway as a precaution.
Nylon does tend to become a bit more brittle at low temps, but we've looked into it and don't think it'll be a problem for the length of time the Vulture 2 will be at altitude
Friday 10th February 2012 14:23 GMT horsham_sparky
I thought you would have looked at it :-)
quick google search shows gives the following useful link
so you can probably seal it in a chamber for a few days with plenty of dessicant to remove any moisture, then give it a suitable coating to seal it before it absorbs any moisture.
Friday 10th February 2012 13:42 GMT Troy Peterson
For anyone interested in 3d printing there are a lot of options out there now...
I have an ultimaker printer that I love (www.ultimaker.com). Also there's reprap (reprap.org), UP (pp3dp.com), various options from Makerbot (www.makerbot.com), SUMPOD (http://www.indiegogo.com/SUMPOD-1), and a zillion others...
Or, if you don't want to buy your own you can get SLS, or FDM 3d printing (or CNC and Laser cutting ) done at either Shapeways (shapeways.com), or Ponoko (www.ponoko.com), or a zillion others.
Friday 10th February 2012 19:11 GMT The Indomitable Gall
Saturday 11th February 2012 10:56 GMT Anonymous Coward
Don't rise to the bait of the Playmobil Canucks!
LOHAN is all getting a bit too hi-tech for my liking. The PARIS project was a proper good ol' fashioned string & sealing wax affair, of the kind that made Britain [allegedly] great.
Using these kind of advanced manufacturing process and these modern materials, It's going to be a lot more difficult to contrapt something which still fails miserably, in a suitably British manner. Have you thought of bringing Prof. Colin Pillinger onto the team, just to make sure?
[PS. The official unit of madness is the 'balloon']
Sunday 12th February 2012 22:03 GMT popper
whats the actual mission parameters this time ?
from the prior link back in dec
"So, you'll be asking yourselves, what happens next?
Well, we've provided the design team with the mission parameters and technical details of the Vulture 2 rocket motor and on-board camera and tracking kit, and we're leaving it up to them to take it from there."
so is the mission parameters/plan?, to go to the same stratosphere hight again, beat it , stay there longer.
go there by weather balloon, then release and fly the "stratosphere plane" for a bit while taking HIGH DEF high profile 1080p video ?
perhaps you are going to ask Samsung UK office to donate their new "Samsung Stratosphere" :) although that is said to only have a 5.0MP camera, and strip that down to lower the overall mass of the "stratosphere plane" if so you should ask them of they also have a consumer ultraviolet CCD HD cam too as i think that would be a very good thing to add to the mission spec's.
and how do you intend to remove or at least lessen the massive shaking of the video capture as seen in your last PARIS version and all the other peoples YouTube weather balloon Stratosphere captures before and since ?
do you have some kind of CCD mounted Super Precision Gyroscope such as this UK made kit you can modify and mount to lessen the camera shakes http://gyroscope.com/d.asp?product=SUPER2#
how about as an extra bonus, the Vulture 2 "stratosphere plane" doing and videoing an internal micro "vomit comet" experiment of some kind for giggles and show NASA you can do it cheaper , can it withstand that free fall and recover to be remotely piloted to the pub as it falls/glides so you don't need to travel to find it like last time and loose valuable drinking time if all goes to plan ;)
Sunday 12th February 2012 22:03 GMT popper
whats the specs
part 2 as you limit the text allowed
....and as a final note i hope your not trying to say that the http://regmedia.co.uk/2011/12/13/southampton_postgrad_team.jpg is the basic design as its NOT going to be stable all the way up there in the massively thin Stratosphere and so massive cam shakes all round again, i do hope we see a a second UV cam on-board though, that could provide some interesting shots never seen from the garden shed inventors perspective
Monday 13th February 2012 08:45 GMT popper
well i didn't realise you had several stories already , reading http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/03/lohan_thruster_update/ now
but it seem to me your calculations are wrong, or perhaps they saw the flow and corrected it ?
namely, you are firing the rocket in totally the wrong direction and so getting an estimated 1.797 G in the wrong direction as in its gravity assisted thrusting down not up ,Diagonal,or in the horizontal
plane lessening the thrust if your intent is to clime and not plummet.
ticked Post anonymously, is it not working ? yes or no.., it says i cant choose the icon, but can i see my make, hmmm.
Friday 17th February 2012 08:23 GMT ReflectOnLight
My rocket shrinks in the cold
Given the shrinkage with temperature they are showing in the video, I suggest you study the mounts for internal parts like electronics and rocket motor closely. Coming late to the party I suggest a steam rocket. It won’t give much distance compared to the solid propellant but should make a very nice vapor trail to let you see when the rocket launches from the ground. Put some really good insulation around the payload box and a battery to keep the temperature up. A spring mechanism should be easy to rig to launch when the balloon pops if the payload is suspended by it.
Friday 17th February 2012 08:24 GMT ReflectOnLight
propelent volume goes up as the cube of smallest dimension, more or less
Fill your balloon with hydrogen instead of helium. You get 4 times the lift and it’s a bit cheaper. Suspend your payload from one corner so the rocket points up and slightly to the side to miss the payload parachute. Then launch the rocket through the gas when the balloon pops to ignite the hydrogen. Pretty!!!
A lifting body style rocket might give you more volume for your propellant, r^3 and all that. And you don’t have the problem with wings sticking out creating drag vortexes.