Sunday, January 8, 2017

Airball for Linux Single-Board Computers

This weekend I started porting the Airball UI to generic Java code -- removing the Android dependencies -- so that it can be used on a Linux Single-Board Computer such as a Raspberry Pi or an Up Board. Here is the new Github repo:

This will eventually allow us to build the UI as a customized avionics "brick". While displaying the UI on smartphones and tablets is cool -- and likely how we're going to start prototyping Airball -- building a dedicated avionics box is essential for the following two reasons:

1. We can use a high brightness (1000+ nit) LCD panel for daylight visibility; and

2. The controls can be minimized to one or two simple knobs for ease of use.

As an example of the sort of thing we plan to build, check out the Dynon D2 Pocket Panel.

Work proceeds!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Probe mounted on car

This is the prototype of our probe on a car. The electronics will be external for the time being, then we'll work on packaging:

Friday, September 9, 2016

First probe nose 3D print

We just got our first 3D print -- the probe nose. That was from Shapeways in black high definition acrylate. We're going to let our aerodynamicists evaluate how much, if any, post-processing is required, or if it's good to use as-is, or if we need to go to a fancier 3D printing tech. For the moment, here are some pictures of the product:

Monday, September 5, 2016

More probe trickery

We've updated the probe design to ditch the messy and complicated bent and brazed metal static tube assembly. Instead, we added a 3D printed part that holds a straight tube and provides a conduit for the air pressure. Here is a couple of renderings -- from the outside, and as a longitudinal section.

We are also evaluating 3D printing shops, using Shapeways as our first pass. If Shapeways can make our critical probe nose part with adequate accuracy and surface finish, that'd be great. Otherwise we have to go with fancier technologies. Stay tuned for our results.

We are also working on ordering our pressure sensors.

Finally, note the protrusion on the top. :) This is a Honeywell TD4A temperature probe, because we figure we might as well measure temperature and absolute static pressure to get an estimate of true airspeed. The probe body is a 3/8" diameter by 1.5" long aluminum rod that is threaded for all its length. It is hollow inside, and contains sensing elements. One end has a pair of leads coming out of it.

If you want to look at our design as a 3D model, browse through our Google Drive folder and look for a *.EASM file. You can open this with SolidWorks eDrawings Viewer, which is a free download.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

More probe design news

The probe design is shaping up. The plan is to use a 2" diameter polycarbonate tube for the body, with 3D printed end caps and 1/4" aluminum tubes holding it all together. Any electronics can fit into the space using bulkheads that align to the tubes. Here's our latest rendering:

Airball featured in Airplane Geeks podcast

Last week, Airplane Geeks, a regular podcast hosted by a number of awesome folks including local flight instructor Max Trescott, hosted a feature about Airball! Check it out here:

416 Reducing Loss of Control Accidents with Airball

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Probe nose design ongoing

Currently working on the design of the probe nose -- a critical part that we hope to 3D print, perhaps with an agency that uses Carbon3D. Here are a couple of views:

We now have a shared Google Drive folder for things that don't belong in the GitHub repo, like CAD files, Google documents and the like. To start with, you can download the CAD files for the above file from there; just navigate the folder hierarchy in the obvious way. :) This is a link for access to the Drive folder:

Stay tuned for more!