Bouncing from project to project, I’m trying to figure out how a time traveler could derive standards of time, distance, and mass accurate enough that common physics and engineering formulas (G = 9.8m/s2, for example) would be accurate and reproducible.
I like the idea of publishing the exact length of Cheops’ sarcophagus, so a time traveler could use that to derive a meter, but I’m sure there’s a simpler way.
I’ve been trying to get the Retropod store up by Memorial Day weekend, so that I’ll at least have finished one recent project. I wanted to make a nice gasket to hold an iPod in half-inch neoprene. Measuring and cutting with an Xacto knife leaves a wandering, haggled cut. After Googling on “neoprene gaskets” for a while I discovered that what I probably wanted was a “steel rule die”, which is basically a knife edge mounted on a piece of plywood.
I found a place in West Chester that makes dies, so I sent them an Adobe Illustrator file of the shape I wanted and, a couple of days later, picked up the die. Man, that was fun — like printing out a thing.
The next challenge was to get the neoprene to actually cut. It’s very squishy, and it takes a LOT of force to get the knife blade to pierce the neoprene all the way around. I tried jacking the car up onto a plywood, die, and neoprene sandwich, but that worked only intermittently — one corner would cut, the pressure would be relieved, and the rest would only be lightly scored.
After futzing around for a while, I discovered that all I had to do was kind of push the top plywood-and-neoprene layer down with my thumbs, working around the die in a circle. So, less industrial, but better results. Now I’m working on putting up the store page!
Sooner or later, everybody you Blog about reads the post. It’s because of Google, of course — everybody does a search on their own name and their friends’s names occasionally. Here’s a list of various people that have contacted me after finding various bits of this site:
I’ve ordered a steel rule die so that I can start marketing the Retropod in a few weeks, but nothing I can say can compete with those BABY PICTURES!
For those of you who remember The Mexican Forklift Story, Part One that I posted last year, or those that I’ve told the Missionary Man story to, you might remember hearing about my Mexican friend Rommel. Who I just heard from for the first time in 12 years: now he’s a leader of a SWAT team in Mexico, and instead of a nitrous-injected Mercury Tracer, he drives a 2002 Crown Vic Police Interceptor. Here’s what he’s been up to lately. Nice collar, Dr. Kott!
Rommel sent me some pictures of himself in a tactical vest, bristling with explosives and weaponry, gripping a distinctly nonplussed FBI Top Ten fugitive by the elbow. Which, in a rare display of restraint, I’m not going to post here.
Kate, Lydia, and I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday. I was tricked out like a German tourist with fore-and-aft backpacks; Lydia in front in the baby bjorn, and diapers, wipes, and an umbrella behind. Ever since high school, I’ve imagined myself wearing a baby backpack exactly like Bill and Ted, after they go away for a year of intensive rock-and-roll lessons in the time machine, marry the princesses, and have babies, returning in time to change the world by playing “God gave Rock and Roll to you.”
Well, now that I look at those photos, I’m not sure that I want to dress exactly like Ted did.
Kate has some pictures of her plunder on her blog, as well as a link to a Bingo card web-app thingy I made with stuff we spotted at the festival.