Canada’s Wonderland sign

Modelling things in Solidworks has become sort of a hobby. With every new attempt, I’m learning about more features and how to accomplish things in other ways. Earlier this week, I wanted to try modeling a building but that didn’t turn out so well. Today, I tried modeling something I’m very familiar with: the “old” sign from Canada’s Wonderland. It went through many changes over the years until it was finally removed last year. Here’s a picture I used for reference, taken with my crappy camera phone in 2011:

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It began very well. I learned how to do arcs (for the Cedar Fair coaster logo) and how to use a picture to sketch something (the logo text). I ran into a lot of errors doing the text that I almost gave up at that point. I tried working around it, and eventually just turned off the warnings altogether.

cwsolidworks I also learned a lot about appearances in this model. Not only did I take coloring a little more seriously this time around (remember observation deck USA?), but I also used images on this model like the stone on the pillar and the Cedar Fair coaster. This is the final sketch with shading and borders:solidworks_final_sketch

And here are the “photoshoot” photos. They’re rendered at the maximum setting, which my computer did not like at all.final_front final_upwardfinal_dimetric

Back to school. Sort of.

I’m enrolled in the continuation of the Programmable Logic Controllers program at George Brown College (Toronto). This new program covers a newer system from Allen-Bradley, RSLogix5000. I’ve used it before when I was at Seneca, programming a CompactLogix PLC that was apparently sitting there for years unused until our section came along. It wasn’t even in the syllabus but I was lucky to have a good professor. I had completed the first PLC program (that covered RSLogix500 and SLC500) before I took that course at Seneca ¬†so I found the Seneca course to be a little underwhelming and basic, but I got some good troubleshooting experience by helping out other people in the lab. Seeing as I felt that course to be basic, I was interested in doing this second program because I’m sure I missed out on a lot of things for this newer system.

I don’t have anything else to say, and I don’t have any of my own graphics for this post, so here’s a pretty picture from Wikipedia…… Bye.

English: This is a picture of one PLC or Progr...

Flip flopping on Ubuntu

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Windows 8 Lockscreen

I’ve always been a Windows user. Macs are fine but I can’t afford one and am a bit turned off by compatibility issues (though that doesn’t seem like a huge problem anymore). The other platform is Linux. Ever since I got my netbook a couple years ago, I’ve jumped around to different Linux distros but always ended up back at Windows. Through my jumping around, I found Ubuntu to be the nicest.

Ubuntu obviously can’t run Windows programs. The whole point of getting the netbook was for school so I needed to run several software programs for my courses that only work on Windows (sometimes would even throw a fit if you weren’t running XP). Now that I’m done with school (conventional full-time school, anyway…), I decided to put back Ubuntu since all I use my netbook for is web browsing now. I found Windows to be too slow to do simple tasks on the very basic hardware.

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Ubuntu Desktop

I really like Ubuntu because it looks nice and works with what it gets. When I was first researching about Linux OS’s, I kept hearing great stories of old computers being brought back to life because of the use of Linux. I find it to be generally faster at doing everything compared to when I had Windows on it.

The downside to Ubuntu is that if there’s a problem, I generally have no clue what I’m doing. It usually involves copying and pasting cryptic code from the internet that makes little sense to me. But, I suppose that’s better than sitting around waiting for Windows to troubleshoot something and then come back with, “LOL DUNNO”.

I’m happy to have Ubuntu running on my netbook again. It always breathes new life into this slowpoke. I hope the flip flopping stops here.

Windseeker turned Observation Deck Americana

3D modelling is a lot of fun, at least when dimensions and structure don’t really matter. I tried modelling Windseeker. I started with the top of the tower. When the “UFO” was coming together, I realized how thick I had made the tower. It looks a little chunky but whatever.

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Next, I did some detailing at the base of the tower:

windseeker2 And this is what it looked like at that point:

windseeker3 I started an attempt to make the Windseeker lattice gondola structure with no good results. It’s just too complicated with my limited skills right now. I decided to make it a simple observation tower:windseeker4I didn’t bother adding cables or machinery. I felt it looked good enough since I was doing this to get more of a feel for the program. Any model I do is open to a revisit.

All that was left was to color/texture the thing. This was the result…..windseeker_USAGod bless the USA, even though I’m Canadian.

A few short notes:

  • The railings on the UFO are way too small. The model is shown with shading and borders. Without the borders, you wouldn’t see any railings because they’re that thin.
  • I need to start naming the different features in the model. Up to this point, I’ve been going with the program’s default names for everything so it can be a little more organized by manually naming important features.
  • I shouldn’t go with the first color scheme I come up with at 2 in the morning…

Saying farewell to another project/friend, Frank

Everyone fell in love with Frank because of his cute smile and, well, the fact that he had a “normal” name. With my proposal for a new project (coming soon), I needed some parts on a $0 budget. As a result, both of my running Arduino projects have been taken apart to reallocate the parts to this new project. While the new project won’t be using each and every part from Frank, it will be one of the largest projects I’ve ever done if it all works out.

Here are all of the parts I used to make Frank:

frankpartsThanks for following this project. It was fun doing a conventional robot. I will eventually do one again, but right now I need a fresh project. Details on that will come when it’s ready.

First Solidworks results

I’ve been meaning to learn how to use SolidWorks for a long time now. I was looking for a good book or guide on how to get started, not realizing until now that the program has some decent tutorials already in it. I went through the first ones that shows how to make a part and assembly, getting used to the different tools in the program. Here’s the final product from one of the tutorials:

solidworkspart1Of course, I had to try my hand at doing something coaster/ride related. I was able to make a single support column but I’m sure there is so much wrong with the file to a professional…support

I found a video tutorial on how to build a spiral staircase which was great except he stopped the video just before doing the handrail. After a full day of messing around, I managed to do it, along with a midrail.stairsfinalI still have lots of learning to do with this program but I’m totally enjoying it. I’m sure I’ll have lots more half completed models to show you soon.

Lights out.

It’s time to put this project to rest.

This was probably my favorite project to date. It’s produced something (videos) that can I always go back to for some homemade entertainment. For something so hastily put together, I call it a success.

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In the past few weeks, it sat in darkness. I lost interest in making new shows because they were tough to keep fresh. The only way to keep things fresh were the minor tweaks I did as every new show came out. I had nothing left.

Since the last show (Strength of a Thousand Men) with the rough ending bit, the setup started to look hurt. I also managed to drop many things on top of it because there’s a shelf right above it… You’ll notice from the picture above that the paper screen is crumpled a bit and the left pillar is leaning a bit. With this damage, I decided not to move around the servo spotlights in the final show:

Right after I finished doing the video for this last show, I immediately got to work dismantling it all. The RGB spotlights remain with the lengthy wires, perhaps for use in a future project. The servos are in storage. The breadboard of LEDs remain wired up to the Arduino because I don’t have the heart to take it completely apart until I decide what the next project is. This is what’s left of the spotlight pillars:

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Thanks for following this project, if you have. I hope I can follow with something even better.