Ask any airline executive what their plans were back in January 2020, and you’d probably get the expected spiel about growing market share and improving returns for shareholders. Of course, the coronovirus pandemic quickly changed all that in the space of just a few months. Borders closed, and worldwide air travel ground to a halt.
Suddenly, the world’s airlines had thousands of planes and quite literally nowhere to go. Obviously, leaving the planes just sitting around in the open wouldn’t do them any good. So what exactly is involved in mothballing a modern airliner?
Continue reading “Airlines Seek Storage For Grounded Fleets Due To COVID-19”
To be honest, we originally considered throwing [Zachary Tong]’s experiments with ultralight metallic microlattices into the “Fail of the Week” bucket. But after watching the video below for a second time, it’s just not fair to call this a fail, so maybe we’ll come up with a new category — “Qualified Success of the Week”, perhaps?
[Zachary]’s foray into the strange world of microlattices began when he happened upon a 2011 paper on the subject in Science. By using a special photocurable resin, the researchers were able to use light shining through a mask with fine holes to create a plastic lattice, which was then plated with nickel using the electroless process, similar to the first half of the electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG) process used for PCBs. After removing the resin with a concentrated base solution, the resulting microlattice is strong, stiff, and incredibly light.
Lacking access to the advanced materials and methods originally used, [Zachary] did the best he could with what he had. An SLA printer with off-the-shelf resin was used to print the skeleton using the same algorithms used in the original paper. Those actually turned out pretty decent, but rather than electroless plating, he had to go with standard electroplating after a coat of graphite paint. The plated skeletons looked great — until he tried to dissolve the resin. When chemical approaches failed, into the oven went the plated prints. Sadly, it turns out that the polymers in the resin expand when heated, which blew the plating apart. A skeleton in PLA printed on an FDM printer fared little better; when heated to drive out the plastic, it became clear that the tortuous interior of the lattice didn’t plate very well.
From aerogels to graphene, we love these DIY explorations of new and exotic materials, so hats off to [Zachary] for giving it a try in the first place.
Continue reading “Printing, Plating, And Baking Makes DIY Microlattices Possible”
When catching public transport, it’s very helpful if the bus or train in question has a large display indicating the route or destination. While many transit lines now rely on flipdot or LED displays, the classic rollsign still gets the job done. [diorama111] wanted to emulate this on a model railroad, and set about building a simulacrum at tiny scale.
Intended to suit an HO-scale model train, the build makes use of a tiny 0.6 inch NHD-0.6-6464G OLED display. It’s wired up with a boost converter for power and hooked up to a tiny circuit consisting of an ATMEGA328p and an infrared receiver. The microcontroller is responsible for receiving commands from the remote control, and displaying the appropriate image on the screen. The hidden beauty of this one is well shown in the video below as [diorama111] cleanly and meticulously assembles the circuit on protoboard with just an iron and tweezers.
What makes this project great is how neatly it’s integrated into the body of the train. Nestled inside the locomotive, it almost looks like a stock part of the model. While the nature of the OLED display does come across a touch anachronistic, implementing the vertical scroll really does add a lot to the final effect.
We love to see creative scale modelling projects, and we’ve seen some great work from [diorama111] in the past, too. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Model Railroad Engine Gets A Tiny OLED Rollsign While Showing Off Tidy Protoboard Skills”