Saturday, September 13, 2008

A day spent making pretty junk.


I joke now and then that I've owned a very nice shop for a while now, and have spent almost no time using it for fun. I can't say I had fun today, but I did do something less like work than usual, which was work on a nice acrylic device we're prototyping. When finished, it will hold an upward-moving column of water and a half kg or so of brightly colored plastic media, showing how particle size influences fall velocity. The prototypes so far have been very interesting, here's a YouTube clip.

I've built a lot of stuff like this over the last few years, and one thing is nearly certain: This will end up gathering dust in the prototype morgue. The thing I labored carefully over for most of a Saturday will end up as junk. And maybe even as soon as next week. As I finished this one, I could see a few things I'd do differently to make it better, and certainly a lot of changes to get to a production item. So working on these gets a bit weird as they near completion, and it becomes obvious what their fate will be. Perhaps like a musician writing a song he knows won't see much play. It's a good exercise, but maybe not worth it to polish that final verse.

But you're never quite sure until it's done, and in this case, hooked up to a pump and filled with water and media. The last two versions had sub-minute careers, I hope this one will work a bit better.

No comments: