Friday, 19 June 2009

dah da-da-daaaaa! 100th post.

Invention time again. Though I think a better phrase might be innovation. On my list of things to do before I die (alongside of 'make a necklace from a bullet that I have been shot with' and 'fire someone'), is 'Make a gauss or rail gun'. I'm sure that a lot of you haven't heard of either, and others will know it only from Half-Life games. Here's a quick layman's description, written by a layman.

A rail gun uses the magnetic force (called the Lorentz force), produced when a conductive object moves simultaneously along 2 rails. One of these rails is positively charged, the other negatively.

A gauss (or coil) gun uses one or more coils of wire around the barrel of a gun to attract the metal projectile towards and through it. These are often set up in sequence to produce a series of accelerating events.

I've seen the "ball bearing" gauss gun (, but I don't count this as a great life achievement to make one myself.

There's also a rail gun experiment (, but this really isn't very "gun" like.

Instead I will try using a mixture of ring and cylinder magnets. Hopefully I can get the cylinder magnet to accelerate along a "run" of magnets

For a irritatingly narrated look at what rail guns can do, see here:

Parts for my gun will arrive next week. Time will tell. Sooner or later... time will tell

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Slovikian SIM slots and Soldering

So time is ticking away before I am forced to leave (by my own misguided sense of adventure), to the opposite side of the world to meet my match against giant bugs. The glone Mk2 is looking more and more like it won't get finished before I'm off.

In the mean time I can at least update you and make a record of how far I reached so that I might be able to restart it when I get back.

A couple of major stumbling blocks so far:
The LCD soldering is MASSIVELY fiddly. I would seriously advise anyone who is thinking of doing something similar to ask a friend who does this professionally to give their advice or just do it for them. I think the ideal would actually to use soldering paste from a syringe that is set using a heater. The biggest issue of course is that if I allow the solder or wires to touch more than one connector, it will short the screen. It doesn't help that I can't get the solder to even apply to one of the connectors because, I assume, it is perfectly flat.

Using ribbon cable isn't as trouble solving, so much as trouble causing. It may look nice when it is all said and done, but to have nice neat flat ribbon coming from the box means that all the wires have to be kept together and split when they reach their contacts.

The 3310 does not use a common ground for its buttons as I had initially hoped. It's not even neat. The common grounds (for reference), are:
- up, down, 3
- Select, 2, 5, 8,
- Cancel, 1, 4, 7, *
- 6, 9, #, 0

Madness! Well that's how it looks to an outsider like me, but Nokia aren't the only ones to do this so I guess they must know a reason for this complication. It does leave me with some 36 wires coming from the arm box to the hand box for splitting up. Gah! Somehow this "simplified version" has exploded from innocence to a world of detailed electronics and colour coding of everything to maintain sanity.

Some pics of components:

The tactile switches used on the fingers (pen for scale)

The armbox getting a lick of paint. It's going to be metallic when finished.

The SIM card holder (all the way from Slovakia).