Thursday, June 17, 2010

Square Clamps

Finding ways to clamp onto pipe provides lots of options: kee klamps, speed rail, lighting c-clamps or mega clamps, or even leg sockets for platforms.

Berge Equipment offers several styles of clamps for square tube (1.5"), including a flange. Most of the clamps connect a pipe or tube to a square tube for railings.

The light Source has clamps for 2" box that are similar to cheese boroughs.

Palay Display carries a clamp that allows you to insert a 5/8" threaded rod on the top for construction specialty racks.

Wagner offers square tube flanges and flange covers.

For casters, Service Caster has square sockets for stem casters.

And for capping the tubes look to alliance plastics.

NRG Researchoffers a clamp that is reminiscent of a beam clamp. Once again you are limited to a 5/8 stud or receptacle for hanging from the clamp.

Also check out J W Winco for more options and their blog. The blog, by the way is actually very informative and fun - definitely worth a read.

Shape Products has a variety of square tube components (curved pieces, corners, flanges)

And for splicing two tubes together take a look at wagner.

For legs, the Leg-a-Matic II can be used with either 2" square or 1 1/2" sched. 40 pipe.

I suspect that the options are greater for round tube / pipe because it is more difficult to weld since you have to shape the round tube to match correctly (though this this is easier with the correct tools, or you can purchase shaped connectors to weld on).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Google Wave

I recently heard about Google Wave, and its a site worth referring. It reminds me of the software I used to use for shows from basecamp - that allowed all of the project members on the team to upload documents, make revisions, look at the schedule and to-do lists and generally see the status of the project. This is a little more involved, in that it also allows conversation - more like instant messaging, and thus a little more fluid.

Note that to best use the sight, you need to use google chrome for your internet browser.

What I am using currently is Newforma Project Center. It is great for organizing lots of jobs and indexing and searching information about the jobs. It also works nicely for both incoming and outgoing file transfers and rfi's. It does have some scheduling capacity, but nothing that quite compares to either of the aforementioned to-do lists. Also, conversation is the same as email, but it works nicely for managing a large number of projects at one time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Prototype This

Over the holiday weekend, in the midst of doing a variety of home projects I watched the 1st (only) season of Prototype This.

The show has a core team of 4 (an electrical engineer, special effects guru, Robotics guy, and a material specialist) that join together to put together some amazing prototypes during a 10 day to 2 week period. Some of the projects they tackled were a mind controlled car that went into neutral when the driver got angry,
a backyard water slide simulator, and a flying life guard, supplying life saving floatation devices to unmanned beaches.

I liked the series, and would recommend it for several reasons.
-They use alot of materials that are used in theatre
-They show alot of different machining technologies, cnc machines, vaccuforming, laser cutting, water jetting
-They use a variety of animation / feedback and other items useful to automation.
-It shows that you can do some amazing things in 2 weeks with the right resources (granted they weren't two 40 hour weeks).
-While cash certainly wasn't an issue (budgets other than time were not even mentioned), using resources wisely was important to meet their goals. They often went to the top of the field for what they were trying to accomplish to get ideas and gain knowledge.
-I think the prototyping process is important, and too often overlooked. And, on top of being important for the realization of a finished product, challenging yourself to do a proof of concept can help you learn a variety of skills even if a finished product is not the end goal.

So if you have a few hours, take a look!