I build a zeppelin.


Look at my Zeppelin. My zeppelin is amazing.

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20 Responses:

  1. jorm says:

    Please tell me that it is made of lead.

  2. strspn says:

    Are you going to skin it?

  3. gfish says:

    I totally understand that weird mental shift. I've been working with some very precise imaging systems recently, and it's been really changing my internal conception of precision surfaces. Everything around us is so sloppy.

  4. autopope says:

    One of the things that really sucks about growing older is your eyesight going, at least to the point where you have to give up all hope of ever being able to assemble a fine detail model ever again.

    (I hit that point some time ago, but presbyopia -- long sightedness -- that hits once you reach your mid-forties really twists the knife. Maybe in another few years there'll be binocular hi-def webcams for the likes of me ...)

    • jwz says:

      I've definitely noticed some vision degradation lately, and it's quite upsetting. But, apparently I had superhuman vision to start with. These days I can only focus sharply about 9" away, and I used to be able to focus 3" away (and when I was ten, I had the collection of painted D&D figurines to show for it!) I keep meaning to go ask a doctor about it, but from reading Wikipedia, I think I can guess that their answer will include laughter.

      Those really wide desktop magnifiers give you binocular vision, don't they?

      • emeb says:

        Depends on your definition of 'really wide'. I've got one of these (amazon.com) which seems to give reasonable binocular vision while working on fine-pitch SMD electronics.

      • autopope says:

        I haven't had binocular vision -- with or without lenses -- since I was 24, alas. (Retinal whoopsies will do that to you.)

      • strspn says:

        Get the free eval from these people. It's free, after all, and if you're one of the tiny percentage who needs to catch one of the really bad degenerative disorders, it's an even better deal. And if they can fix you up, why not?

        However, I wonder how worth it LASIK is against slow degeneration -- they have a lot of incentive to want you to correct today, when maybe the best plan is to wait to e.g. age 55. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, because my prescription has stopped changing from the slow degeneration I experienced from about age 20-35.

      • violentbloom says:

        yes if you get a good one. I have one to do wood engraving, which is very tiny indeed.
        I have this one...
        Daylight U90946 Flexilens Rimless Magnifying Lace Magnifier with Table Base
        http://www.amazon.com/Flexilens-Base-Daylight-Company/dp/B003AJVU66/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1278322301&sr=8-3-fkmr0

        I got it at university arts and there's one in the city.
        I like that it doesn't have fluorescent light, and it had the flexible stand so I can angle it however I need it.

  5. mentallill says:

    Want to make it fly? Sure, the surface/volume ratio means it will never fly under normal conditions, but you can fix that by scaling the "atmosphere" by a factor of 1,000, too (I'm assuming it's a 1:1000 scale?). Air has a density of 1.2 g/l at sea level. A sugar (sucrose) solution can be made to have a density of 1.2 kg/l. Hydrogen has a density of .09 g/l. You can get PU foam at 6 pound/cubic foot (7% too much), or presumably mix it with PU foam of 4 pound/cubic foot to get an even better match.

    And as a purveyor of sugary drinks, you know you can layer sugar solutions of different density, so you could create a sucrose density gradient in a fishtank, tie your model in a condom (or skin it another way, but rapid prototyping is always best performed with latex) with 16 g of extra weight (probably a bit more for payload), and it should float in mid-... uh, well, mid-sticky-water.

    For extra points, get yourself another modelling kit, make a block of PU foam at the right density, and assemble the model around the PU foam.

    I have no idea whether the optical effects of sucrose would make this look really stupid or quite interesting. You can probably twist the optical properties a bit by adding alcohol, which is also optically active. The internet tells me between 44 and 45 percent of sucrose w/v would give you the right density.

    I don't know how long it takes for a sucrose solution to un-layer. Sucrose will eventually hydrolyse in water to give fructose and glucose, which again might have interesting effects or not.

    Do not use high-fructose corn syrup.

    • mentallill says:

      Okay, after getting carried away with all this, I should have thought about the surface/volume thing more. It's unlikely your model is really a full millionth of the Hindenburg's mass while only filling a billionth its volume. Is it even the Hindenburg?

      Sorry. I'd still put it in a tank of sugar, if only for the novelty value of purchasing dozens of kilograms of sugar. And a condom.

      • jwz says:

        This model is of LZ 127. The Hindenburg was LZ 129, which was a little bit longer and a lot thicker.

        • netsharc says:

          I spot a mannequin's leg and a typewriter in the background!

        • mentallill says:

          If my units(1) is correct, LZ 127 weighed (at most, and very roughly) 56000 kg. If your scale model were of the same material, it should weigh only 56 milligrams (and would produce 60 milligrams of, er, "useful lift".

          I assume it's closer to 56 grams, which was my scaled-in-length-and-width-but-not-thickness guess?

          (I've already suggested you buy sugar (clearly supporting Cuba by refusing the American alternative of high-fructose corn syrup) and a condom (sexual deviant!), so I don't feel unspeakably bad about also suggesting you go find a precision scale in international units (which offers two possibilities of unamericanness: you might be a drugs dealer, or a scientist))

    • mentallill says:

      The CargoLifter AG tale is incredibly sad. They set up everything for cool new airships, then failed and had their hangar converted into .. something horrible.

      I'm a pessimist, but I assume they're now hanging on to patents covering anything even remotely to do with buoyancy and will prevent any other companies from succeeding in the market until they expire.