Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bumper stickers

Just print out in landscape, fold to size, and tape to window. Post election you can pull it off.
If you wait for real stickers, the election will be over before they ship.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Maker Faire

The Maker Faire events are one of the most fun ways to spend a weekend I've found, the only problem being when the stuff I bring proves to be one of the most popular items there and supervising an endless flow of kids keeps me from visiting some of the exhibitors I personally wanted to see.

Last weekends Faire filled a large exhibition hall at the Denver stockyards with demonstrations of everything from Rube Goldberg robot making to high end 3-D modeling software. There were exhibitors with fancy clothing 

Laser cut doo-dads like this light switch cover

 which might inspire other things made the same way

An exhibit of the steps involved in custom motorcycle building 

Some very fancy steampunk lamp fixtures 

An exhibit of stuff produced by the STEM students at a local school including fighting robots and pumpkin tossers 
Metal working, casting, metal cutting and engraving
Another exhibit gave everyone a chance to raid a junkyard for parts and build their own robot

And of course a chance for the kids to take a shot at a stuffed camel

with a huge Nerf gun 
This year the nerf gun featured a rifled barrel which got the kids noticeably smaller groups. This called for better sights 

 which the folks at Epilog Laser were kind enough to knock out right there

I also brought my can crusher and the kids ran some 3 large bags of cans through it for me. We discovered that when mounted horizontally, the crusher can't reliably hit a rectangular trash can sitting directly under it. Turned vertically, it tosses the cans about 12-15 feet giving the kids a challenge to catch them in a bag.

A rudimentary Iron Man exoskeleton which may find application in assisted living facilities was right next to me but somehow I don't seem to have any good pictures. That's it behind the crusher.

There was one drawback to all this. When the nerf dart (2in dia x 12" long) hit the table holding the camel, the bang of the impact on the sounding board of the table immediately attracted every kid within 100 yards to get in line for a shot. As a result I was busy herding cats being range officer from 9 AM to 6 PM at which point I was barely able to remain standing. It also meant I missed seeing some of the exhibitors I really wanted to talk to. The Solid Works rep, for example.

Joe Biden Near Death?

This article on Breitbart News suggests he may not be much longer for this world. My guess would be an accident involving two blasts from his own shotgun in an attempt to foil a botched robbery.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

If You Don't Like The Weather...

Just hang in there a bit. Even better here in Colorado we can supply everything on the same day. Possibly at the same time. Remember the lyrics from Sweet Betsy From Pike, presumably Pike county Iowa and not Pikes Peak, Colorado.
Check the weather this morning before letting the dog abuse me through the 'hood. Note not only the "36 but feels like 58, and note also the freeze warning in the yellow band. At least it didn't include a hurricane, flood, and drought warning.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Punkin Chunkin 2018

Held once again in the thin air at the Arapahoe county fairgrounds.

My friend Mike brought his air cannon, Kamakazi  whose best launch was his second of the day on Sunday - 3,970 ft.

He was in the lead until the last two launches of the event. Sonic Gourd came out of the woodwork w/ a distance of 4,209 ft., but was immediately edged out by Big 10 Inch at 4,276 ft., leaving him w/ the 3rd Place trophy.

The JCOS school where I help out was using a rolling arm trebuchet which was pretty much completely new this year due to last years treb being pretty much self destructed on their last shot last year. The old familiar scene of the team assembling the machine for the first time on the firing line played out about like you'd expect with a couple of pieces missing and frantic efforts to fabricate them.

 They got the machine assembled midway through Saturday, and tested it with minimum (180 lb) weights. The arm was supposed to fit between the deck plates about 6 ft off the ground, but the spacing of the deck plates and the width of the verge turned out to be exactly the same at 4 inches which left no room for wobble. Since there is always some wobble, the arm stuck halfway down and slightly damaged the 2 rear deck plates. By Sunday the oversights had been corrected and a first test shot got them 273 feet. This group holds the division record at 498 ft so optimism ran high. By the time they were ready for their second shot, time was running out so it would be the last. They loaded ALL the available weights ( about 1100 lb) onto the machine and let fly for a shot of 407 ft. This might have been enough to win it but the plate attaching the weight bar to the verge tore out of the verge and the verge traveled about 20 ft down range with the pumpkin. Alas this disqualified the shot. The 273 ft shot got them 3rd place. This week I'll be giving a lecture on splice plates, bolt spacing, and fastener count which should hold everything together next year.

The plan for next year is to reassemble the machine about a month before the event and sort out all the weak spots before setting up at the event. EX: dropping 1200 lb requires more than 3 bolts out near the end of the verge to keep the parts together. The bracket was whipped together the day before the event and absolutely NOTHING was actually tested in advance.

Exception: I tested the Microlaminate verge before cutting the taper in it using the E value supplied by the manufacturer (2,000,000). Then I calculated the actual E value based on the deflections I got (1,000,000), then calculated the actual allowable taper we could use. Then added half an inch. That part worked.

 L to R: The SCA brought 4 trebs and assured us that the old ways were best, Acme Catapults used about 20 garage door springs and made some impressive throws, over 2000 ft as I recall, and Pluto, essentially 2 trebs on one arm and about 3000 lb of concrete, turned in its usual impressive performance. Alas I don't have numbers for them.
The centrifugal machine on the far end had some teething problems and was not run. Too bad, they had an aircraft turbine to power it up. So there's my days at the range. How was yours?

Monday, October 8, 2018


"Beer is proof that God loves us and want's us to have fun and put Brett Kavanaugh on the US Supreme Court."
                                   Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Thank You

A heartfelt thanks is due and goes out to the people who made Justice Kavanaugh possible.

First Sen. Harry Reid who made thenecessary reforms to the filibuster system.

Second to the Democratic Senators who were the face of the Democratic party during the hearings and made it crystal clear who Judge Ks enemies were. After all one can learn about as much about a man from his enemies as one can from his friends.

Thirdly, if any doubt remained, I'd like to add the boys and girls of Antifa for providing the anti-social behavior up to and including the death threats to the congressmen, their spouses, their friends, and their children. We now fully understand that behind the collegiality of the hearings there is an army of kneecappers ready and willing to commit violence against our elected representatives. 

Fourthly the various witnesses provided by the Dems who got up there and forthrightly showed us that there are an unlimited number of the party faithful who are willing to risk charges of perjury, witness tampering, and suborning of perjury and the associated time in the Federal Clink, to take one (or more) for the team. Suggestion: Next time don't use Hollywood horror movie writers to prepare your scripts. They come across as a bit over the top.

Lastly I'd like to thank the Republican Senators who have figured out that standing up to bullies will berewarded at the polls. 

NOTE 1: If you think the Donks have learned anything from this, just wait. If Notorious RBG should shuffle off the mortal coil on Trumps watch, the use of nuclear weapons will not be off the table. Kim Jong-Un could probably sell one to Antifa for delivery in Mexico with shipping up to the customer.

Note 2: If you think Roe v Wade has anything at all to do with this, be advised that the Donks don't really care if you live or die. After all you vote for them either way. Just watch the gun control laws that now come up for review. Armed, mad, taxpayers are the lefts worst nightmare.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Gun Sales

Overall gun sales thru October came in pretty flat with no mass shootings or big political setbacks in the news. I suppose a lot of people are waiting to see how the Kavanaugh nomination fares, and to a lesser extent, the mid-terms.

As of right now, Judge K seems like a pretty secure bet.

Speculation abounds as to what might happen if the GOP loses the House with the latest being Impeachment proceedings beginning Jan 22 next year against the Judge and with that presumed success, a move on the President.

Winning the House would make the attempt possible, but you need super majorities in both houses to make anything stick and it may already be dawning on even the party faithful that the reputation of the Dems is currently on a par with some of the more violent inmates of selected state institutions. OTOH as has been observed, no one ever went broke underestimating the tastes or intelligence of the American public.

For A Good Time

Quit watching the news and pop on over to the Punkin Chunkin event held in the thin air of Aurora CO at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds. If you happen to be in town, it's on the south side of Quincy Ave, just East of E470 and is well marked. They'll want a few bucks for parking, but that's about it. Look for the Dead Ent, which is my schools entry.

Tomorrow and Sunday, 9 to 4.

Next weekend is the Denver Maker Faire featuring everything from simple crafts to fighting robots, to a full scale B-25 built by trade school students. No, it doesn't fly, but it makes up for that with noise and your kids can climb up and sit in the pilot, bombardiers, or turret gunners seats. Denver stockyards coliseum on the North side of I-70, Saturday and Sunday. Bring kids, they'll love it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Next Election

OK there are a couple of things on the ballot this year which probably deserve to pass. Initiative 109 promises to do much needed road repair without hitting us with a big tax increase. One can hope.

Items X and Y promise new and improved gerrymandering. They're one of those things where the Stupid party and the Evil party get together to do something that's both evil and stupid which is called bipartisanship. Might help, might not but it seems like it shouldn't make it any worse.

Here's a sticker that should get you through most elections. You should never have to take it off from one election to the next. Click to get the full size, print it out on landscape and tape it to your back window.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bad Weather

Back in the day when the Russians were industriously attempting to nationalize the agricultural sector, farms were appropriated and tossed into collectives which were managed by bureaucrats favored by the party. To no ones surprise, agricultural production tanked. The blame was promptly placed on capitalist resisters who were summarily shot, but the food shortages continued.

Apparatchiks, anxious to avoid the fate of the Kulaks, began reporting that "bad weather" was responsible, and used this excuse so often that it became widely reported in the U.S. that the Russkies were working on weather modification devices so powerful that they got blamed for any untoward weather in the U.S.

Today it is reluctantly observed that the agricultural disasters were the fault of the bureaucrats put in charge of the farms but the meme is a powerful one, assigning blame to a bogeyman who conveniently cannot be called to testify, put in jail, or shot.

The latest politician to ride this hobby horse is Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York who doesn't want his states economic woes to be laid at his feet in a possible upcoming presidential run. With New York leading the nation* in economic exodus, he is blaming the outflow of refugees on ........ Bad Weather.

Right. Eventually someone is going to figure out that there is nothing happening on Wall St that can't happen just as fast and at half the cost at an address on Pearl St. in Dallas.

*Maybe not first but certainly in the top 5.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Pickups From Down Under

I have been looking over the offerings in the way of small pickups and have discovered that anything much smaller than a Kenworth just doesn't seem to be available in the U.S. Outside the country, however, there's a bunch. In Mexico GM sells the Tornado/Montana whose name varies depending on weather the Montana van in also offered, and Ford has the Bantam/Courier .
Chrysler has the Ram 700, a Fiat Stradabased pickup 
Shown here in long cab configuration, this is a 3-door.
GM has the Tornado, a Chevy Cobalt based unit 

Ford has been selling the Courier,based on the Focus 

for a while now  and the Bantam .

 The Courier may even make the US market eventually.

The Aussies have/had the Ford Falcon ute 

and the Holden which comes in a couple of styling and performance variants 

The long cab version is called the Crewman.
To the best of my knowledge, no cars are currently being produced in Oz right now. Seems the government originally subsidized auto manufacture to the tune of some $3200/unit in order to increase employment, but couldn't keep that big a subsidy going. The subsidies ended and the resultant economics produced no profit margin for anyone. Sucks to run out of other peoples money eh? Aussie cars are currently being built in Thailand.

Nevertheless, you can get a Falcon or a Holden in the U.S. if you don't mind paying a premium for the shipping and the required mods. Left Hand Utes will build you a Ford or a Holden in the $45K and up price range which will be equipped with either a Corvette or Mustang V8. Nice looking cars, real head-turners, and fast as well.

The process starts with getting a nice clean ute in Oz and having the engine and tranny removed. This makes the remainder classified as “parts” rather than a automobile, which the feds would confiscate at the port of entry. The parts arrive in Denver and the remaining odd bits are removed, the headlights, parts of the electrical system, the dashboard and the firewall panel. These are replaced with matching parts from a donor car, either a Mustang or a Pontiac GTO. The finished vehicle is given a US title, using the original VIN number and is ready to go.
Next to a mustang for length comparison.

Standard equipment includes a fiberglass bed cover and everything you'd expect in a performance vehicle.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Amendment 74 To Shut Down All Municipal Governments In Colorado

At least that's the way the opponents are portraying this one. Here's the text:
 “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution requiring the government to award just compensation to owners of private property when a government law or regulation reduces the fair market value of the property?”  
Sounds like someone cribbed this from the U.S. constitutions 5th amendment. That's fine, but the potential for required compensation from the municipalities to bankrupt the municipal governments is what sells me on this. I suppose their past actions would be grandfathered but a lot of what they do would be brought to a sudden halt.

Pretty much any regulation regulating anything would impact the value of all properties within the reach of the regulation so whatever the City Council does would invite a class action suit from the city residents.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Colorado Dem Platform

The complete platform can be found here. It's pretty predictable, higher taxes, more regulation, opposition to charter schools and gun control.

The gun control stuff is on page 5 and starts right off with a call for a ban on "assault weapons". Note the phraseology here. Almost anything can be a weapon, and adding the word "assault" simply means that the weapon in question is specifically called out either by make and model or by physical description. I other words, anything we don't like, which would be all of them.

And of course, opposition to Citizens United. Seems that when a group of people get together to do something they couldn't otherwise do individually, it's OK if they're paid by Michael Bloomberg, but not OK if they're being paid by the Acme Corporation.

It goes on and on.

Drug Testing Congressmen

And women too of course. In some districts a positive result would probably increase their vote count. In any case one could count on a Republican to withdraw/step down, and a Dem to flaunt the results.