Thanks to everyone who sent in recommendations for smallish CNC mills last week! I'll be looking at options over the next month or so and will send updates as appropriate.
The most clicked link in last week's issue (~12% of opens) was an interactive bus bunching simulator.
Planning & Strategy.
- Cambridge, MA will now require bike lanes to be installed on any street that's slated for reconstruction.
- Tesla and Panasonic are "freezing plans" to increase capacity at the Gigafactory, and Panasonic will no longer invest in Tesla's Shanghai factory.
- New research on polymers whose thermal conductivity can be varied by subjecting them to UV and visible light.
Making & Manufacturing.
- Lucas is looking for a repository (book? website?) of annotated exploded mechanical diagrams to use for reference. Got one? Send it.
- A very good survey of the many manufacturing methods behind Jeff Koons' art. If anyone out there has a lead on a Koons that will tolerate being disassembled, holler :)
- A pretty neat video of a 5000 L tank being blow molded.
- A video of extremely low-tech sand casting of aluminum pots. Note that the most used tool in the whole video is an old spoon, and that the furnace's lid is an old car wheel.
- A quick instagram video of fences being sand cast.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- My Mechanics restores an old micrometer. I find these videos almost frustrating - I love the mechanism restoration, but after all of the polishing and filing and bondo-ing I just miss the patina :/
- A very short video of used clothing being reprocessed in Kandla, India.
- Drone footage of the Oroville dam coming back online after about two years of repairs.
- On display at Grand Central Terminal currently, a collection of underwater photos of the subway cars that the MTA dumped along the eastern seaboard in the early aughts. This method of disposal only makes sense when large numbers of cars are being decommissioned all at once, which is no longer the case in NYC.
- "PG&E electricity rates could double after more wildfires, report says."
Distribution & Logistics.
- Amazon acquired Canvas, a startup whose marketing video shows a scaled platform of autonomous carts, augmented with 3D vision and moving around people both indoors and out. "Canvas Technology uses 'spatial AI' to enable mobile robots to navigate safely around people in dynamic environments. It claimed that its combination of sensors and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) software can enable [autonomous mobile robots] to operate without relying on a prior map. The robots can continuously update a shared map, according to the company." Related, a short and inoffensively fluffy video of Amazon's new Staten Island FC.
- During a rocket launch, propellant initially sits at the bottom of its tanks - but once the vehicle enters microgravity it floats around and needs to be resettled. As a result, rockets since Apollo have had ways for crew/command to see inside the tanks during launch. "Small rocket engines, called "ullage motors", are sometimes used to settle the propellant prior to the main engine ignition to allow the formation of a temporary free surface (with a distinct boundary between liquid and gas states)."
- On the New York & Atlantic Railway, a small freight line which serves about 80 customers on Long Island.
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- On Twitter, Nick Pinkston answers the question "why is the machine tool industry so concentrated?"
- An academic paper that uses declassified U2 spy photos to see historical sites in the Middle East that have since been destroyed.
- A quick view of what it's like to shoot with a Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L, a *huge* telephoto lens.
- Landfills around Seattle are struggling to deal with large numbers of bald eagles, which distribute trash around the area and are illegal to "shoot, trap, molest or disturb."
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared. Thanks also to the following readers for sending links: Daniel, Miguel, Sam, Dillon, Julia, Craig, Russ, Reilly, Andrew, Kyrea, Daniel, Paul, Drew, Eric, Chaz, Severin, Santosh, Xavier.
p.s. - We should be better friends. Send me a note - coffee's on me :)
p.p.s. - Whenever possible, we work to encourage inclusivity. Here's how.