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