Work In Progress 2017

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Work In Progress 2017

Post by trilobyte » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:12 am

Trying to catch up on a few things, it's just occurred to me that we haven't gotten this thread revved up for 2017.... Work In Progress! Here's a link to the previous year's thread, but it's really simple. Burning Man is all about DIY and maker culture, and many of us either already had that spirit before they reached the playa, or were inspired by their dusty adventures and now work on some fun projects all year round.

So, tell us (or show us, if you've got pictures) about the stuff that you've been getting up to. It can be a playa project, but doesn't have to be.

I've been nutso busy lately, and working on a mix of boring stuff and fun stuff. In the boring department, we moved house and storage joints and then this past weekend the alternator went in our cargo van, so I had to figure out what I needed and how the hell to replace one of those. I don't have any pictures of that, other than one of my dirty hands snapped after finishing the job...



In addition to the move, I've been working on a backyard project for my sweetie, turning a bleak and sun-baked yard space into something fun and cozy. Going from living in SF down into the south bay not only means that we've got a yard to work with, but it also means the sun is a lot more punishing (especially as spring will turn into summer). I planned out a conduit frame style shade structure that would use thicker poles (1 5/8 inch fence posts, to be precise), which would support whatever hanging plants and nonsense that she'd want to have. I'd use aluminet for the roof, since it lets air and light through but blocks the majority of heat and UV.

Naturally, the day after I got the frame set up, I got a knock on the door from a guy at the planning department. He said they'd gotten an anonymous complaint about a structure being built and he needed to inspect the site. I showed him the yard and explained my plans (which he thought were great), but still had to issue a work stop order and tell me I needed to go to the planning department to talk about my plans. WTF? Neighbors on both sides of us have multiple permanent structures in their yards that look like they've been around a while, why am I being singled out? He couldn't say, of course. Next day, I went in to meet with them and apparently the city's rules allow for a very limited number of square feet to be covered by structures. It didn't matter that mine didn't have walls, and that the roof was shade cloth and not a solid material (though they are okay with that on different types of structures). I asked why I was the only one being singled out, because both the neighbors had stuff that was clearly over the limit, and their answer was that mine was the only one that got a complaint. They couldn't give me an answer, but only offered to act on the neighbors if I wanted to file a complaint against them (I absolutely didn't, their stuff does not bother me in the least). Unfortunately, the process to get an exception made was not only long and arduous and expensive, but apparently something that almost never gets approved for renters... so it was back to the drawing board to scale down the project. I was able to reduce the size of the frame using parts that I had, and then had to order a new piece of aluminet (fortunately I got it placed before prices started to go up and lead times started to get long). We could have cut the aluminet we'd just gotten, but we didn't want to mess up the big beautiful piece and have to sew and grommet edges ourselves. I've been rambling a bit and need to run for a quick meeting, but will try and circle back later with the rest as well as a couple pictures.

Who else is doing stuff? Spring has sprung, time to get 'er done!

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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by ygmir » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:39 pm

wow Trilo! do your batteries ever run down?
nice stuff!

I'm starting a new R and R on a gold rush era cemetery plot.
replacing damaged/stolen cast iron fence panels. re-set and pit monument, cut broken top off and dome/polish. re-setting granite curb stone.

heres a few pics, I'll get more, (if anyone is interested) as work progresses:
at the foundry:
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the parts we had cast:
17670987_10210856507521487_707141601_n.jpg
17795693_1264167226951651_342012277187496924_n.jpg
drilling and tapping :
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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by ygmir » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:42 pm

drilling and tapping for mounting bolts:
17760042_1264166956951678_3936047280409578602_n.jpg
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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by Ratty » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:09 pm

Trillo I'm sorry about your change of plans. You did the right thing not blaming the neighbors. (And taking revenge.) It's better to live in harmony. They better not mess with you or they'll have a 17 foot purple dick as a focal point from their windows. The code may be no dicks higher than 15 feet. Better check first.

Ygmir your projects amaze and impress. Metal, wood, stone, dirt...Is there any medium that you don't work.
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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by trilobyte » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:49 am

That's amazing stuff, Ygmir, so cool!

Thanks, Ratty. I'm certain it was the neighbors behind us (the only ones adjacent to us who don't have structures in their backyard). It's a shame that they couldn't have either come out back and said hello over the fence or knocked on the door when they came around the block to get our street address, I'd have been happy to have talked them through my plan and shown them what we were doing. I'm not sure what their deal is, their yard is a disaster and despite there being a day care facility's worth of kiddie toys in the yard we've never seen signs of human life there. The other neighbors we've met have been awesome, and we're walking distances to a few good places (including a british pub), so there's not much to complain about.

Here are the pics of the yard project...

Image

Image

Image

In the big pots next to the chair in the last pic are some meyer lemon trees I picked out, other than that all things foliage and gardening are Pandora's doing (I just did the lifting and carrying). The back yard was pretty barren, so it took a bunch of bags of ground cover bark to fill things in. Looking at the structure in the top pic, you can see I've got it wired for lighting (we're not savages hehe), they're Edison-style LED bulbs - minimal energy usage, plus they can do colors... and we can control them with a remote. The aluminet's as magical in the yard as it is on playa, if not more - since it doesn't get covered in dust haha). And yeah, the thing on the left side of the top-most picture is a hot tub. It's actually a portable and inflatable tub - as renters we didn't want anything permanently installed, and we preferred to do something small and easier to deal with. The red thing hanging from the shade structure in a couple pics is a hummingbird feeder - those cute little science birds are all over the place around here, so we've got one there and one at the side of the house near another window - and man, the cats love watching those little guys.

The bulk of my time lately has been spent working on testing and developing stuff for a new virtual world. It involves lots of weird hours (their lead developer's in Sydney, and their business office is in London), and ridiculous amounts of tinkering and testing and frustration (when things don't work right), but I'm making some good progress. Over the winter I started to learn and use a tool called Speedtree (same software they used to make trees in films like Avatar and the most recent Star Wars films), and I've been using it to make my own custom trees for the environments that I'm planning to build. I love using the tool, it's all kinds of powerful, and gives me the ability to adjust things down to the leaf - as well as fine tune the settings for wind and other geeky bits.

Image

I've got a few of them on an island I've built for our clothing shoppe, and I've been working like mad to build a library of trees and plants to use on a piratey & steampunk project that's in the works. I made 79 last month, and 4 pieces so far this month.

Another thing I've been working on is my virtual Black Rock Desert project. This has some real potential. I've created a giant 8km x 8km space that's got a crackly playa surface and is surrounded by the familiar landscape of the Black Rock mountains (made with an accurate 3D model I've been working on for years).

Image

I'm still working out getting some realistic dust storms going, then I plan on putting together a trash fence and doing a city layout and getting things to the point where veterans, newbies, and future burners alike can all come and set up a camp or build art and whatnot. Aside from the software being easier for users than stuff like Second Life, the Space virtual world will eventually be much more accessible. There are apps for computers and it even runs in a web browser, and eventually there will be apps for tablets and smartphones too. I think I'm actually going to do some workshops at Burning Man about this, it's as good an excuse as any to meet and socialize.

Anyhow, I need to get running. A few more technical things to work out, then finally SLEEP! Next up, I need to make a couple tables in the next week or two. I'll try and remember to take more pics of the work in progress.

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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by ygmir » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:57 am

wow Trilo! that SL thing is cool! will you have Perimeter patrols around the outside of the trash fence? BLM/LEO?
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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by trilobyte » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:24 am

Actually I was joking with a friend about that. I don't know how to do it myself (at least not yet), but in theory it is possible to do perimeter/blm vehicles that would chase somebody if they crossed over the fence, and maybe when it caught them it could send them back to a center camp or some other starting point with a warning message... and I think that'd be a blast.

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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by ygmir » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:26 am

trilobyte wrote:Actually I was joking with a friend about that. I don't know how to do it myself (at least not yet), but in theory it is possible to do perimeter/blm vehicles that would chase somebody if they crossed over the fence, and maybe when it caught them it could send them back to a center camp or some other starting point with a warning message... and I think that'd be a blast.
hahaha well I can suggest some Perimeter characters.........
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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by trilobyte » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:59 am

This weekend's project is boring and nerdy, and something we've been meaning to do for a while. It also comes with a public service announcement.... BACK UP YOUR STUFF!!! Remember, the hard disks, flash drives, and memory cards you use to store all the stuff on your computers and devices are things that eventually wear out and fail. Even though they've gotten more reliable over the years, they are still considered consumable items... and when they do fail, often times you no longer can access any of the files on it. The only way to protect yourself from losing your stuff is to have a backup copy stored on something else.

Pandorra and I have both been making digital artwork and using computers professionally for a couple decades, and we've known more than our fair share of digital heartbreak because we didn't have something backed up when the drive it was on bit the dust. If you're asking "Do I have to back up everything?" the answer is "No, only the stuff you want to keep."

Okay, putting the soapbox away. We are all about backups. For the last few years, we were using backup drives on an older computer, plus a small RAID (a box of hard disks especially designed for hdd performance and safety) on my main computer. As it was getting to be time to replace the older drives, we decided that it might be a better idea to increase the size of that RAID (by replacing the drives with bigger ones) and then use it for the bulk of our backups and file storage (it's much faster and safer). That will also let us unplug and decommission some older gear, stuff that's literally been plugged in and running 24/7 for the sake of the hard drives. We finally got all the new disks we needed, and so this weekend it's time for hard drive mojingo!

We already had two, and yesterday the other two big drives we needed arrived.
Image

You know how when you clean out an aquarium you need to have a bowl to put the fish in while you do that? This next pic is a lot like that. The black thing with the blue light is an external drive accessory I have that lets me pop in and use a drive for a while, then eject (and disconnect the accessory) when I'm done. I hooked that up and put in a spare drive, and then copied all the stuff that was on the RAID.
Image

Once that's done, it's time to empty out the RAID and replace the smaller drives with the bigger ones. The drives get screwed into a special tray so they can be added and removed easily.
Image

Once in the tray, they slide right into the RAID box. If when a drive fails, an indicator light (as well as an alert in the computer) tells you where the problem is, and you can pop out the bad disk without even having to shut the computer down (and when you pop in the replacement, it automatically does all the work to rebuild everything and check to make sure all the files are safe).
Image

All 4 new drives are in, now it's time to configure the new RAID and get all the files moved to where they need to be. That will take a little while, but once it's done our setup will be in much better shape and I'll be able to decommission some of the other gear. My older computer is still useful and powerful, but it's not as energy efficient and really only needs to be run when we're working on a big 3D rendering project. Not having it running all the time will save a few bucks on the electric bill.
Image

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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by Traveller in Time » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:41 am

Drool by the Hardware, just left with my last working laptop . . .

Discharging wristbands ? Handling loose parts will cause static.




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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by trilobyte » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:24 am

No need, I've got mats and pads all around the equipment rack.

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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by EGAZ » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:40 am

I've had my share of data loss. Raid tower, four drives, Promise hardware controller, (as opposed to software controller) Battery back up, the works. Then the perfect storm. All of it failed! Batt back up flat died during a power outage. No run for a bit then die, just flat shut down. At the same time the hardware controller died, scrambling the raid array and data on the drives. I tried for a week getting things back with no luck. So yea, even if you do it all right, it all can fail. :? I have external drives that Sync/mirror main drives, backups for those, and another offsite back up for all of it. :coffee:

The pic of the WD black. I thought the drive was kicked down the street...... Until I realized it was the foil bag. DOH! LOL
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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by trilobyte » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:26 am

Haha - that's not to say I haven't kicked a few drives down the street over the years (retired/dead hard drive destruction can be very cathartic), but yeah they were still in the bag. Best way to prevent death during power outage is to put that gear on what's called a UPS, or uninterruptible power supply. It's one heavy mother of a surge protector on steroids. It's actually a large battery backup, that can provide anything from a few minutes to an hour or more of continuous power even after a power outage (the amount of time depends on the wattage of the UPS and the wattage of what's plugged into it). The nature of the design makes them by far the best surge protectors and power signal cleaners you can get (I've even seen a couple cases where a building was hit by lightning and the gear on the UPS was not destroyed). Another thing to consider is off-site storage of backups. For us, that means that when I retire a drive that's older but still functional, I make a copy of my essential work and art files and then it goes into storage. Both of us also keep our core document folders securely backed up and synchronized via the cloud (that gives us the added benefit of being able to work on something on the desktop, and when switching to the laptop it's already there (and vice versa).

Anyway, data migration all complete and everything running smoothly, and its on to the next thing. I finally got a chance to hit the lumber yard yesterday and pick up the wood I need to make a couple tables. With some luck, I'll get time to work on that later today and over the weekend.

Oh yeah, I'm also making a little progress on my Black Rock Desert project in the virtual world of Space. I beefed up the terrain texturing, which I think helped me get to a playa surface that looks and feels right...
Image

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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by ygmir » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:08 am

thought I'd revive this thread. There are a couple of earlier versions, too, if anyone is interested. IIRC "work in progress" and "work in progress, 2015" or some such.
It's fun to see folks projects, on and off playa.
So many people here are so talented.

I decided to "re-groove" my M35 tires myself:
(seems the photos doubled, and I can't figure out how to fix it in the edit part)
44293337_443544196169526_385732687891005440_n.jpg
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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by ygmir » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:20 am

also did some work on the Hof:
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42462588_272034330306515_9162310658606235648_n.jpg
41617457_339374743483505_8655799113780035584_n.jpg
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Re: Work In Progress 2017

Post by Ratty » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:49 am

Ygmir. Wait a darn minute. Regrooving with a chainsaw!? And...Those two projects look suspiciously alike. (Little squares). You're a man of many talents.
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