Sunday, October 4, 2015

Working shuttle prototype!

Simplify, simplify...after about a year of prototyping, I finally sent out some feelers and did some networking with some other fire artists, to get some feedback on my designs.  I had a good conversation with DaveX from BMOrg, who made a couple of observations that stimulated a line of thought that I had been rolling around in my head for a while.  I hacked together a prototype out of 6" diameter HVAC conduit and off-the-shelf end-caps.  All the "machining" I had to do with it was to cut a 1" slot freehand with an angle grinder, and I cut some strips from the leftover which I screwed into it to form it back into a rounder shape:

I drilled some holes in the end caps for the rails, and used the end caps from the previous prototype to hold them in place.  Then I threaded the old shuttle onto it.  With just the slot in the top, the effect is nice, but the flame is very concentrated, and it definitely has the aesthetic of something mechanically moving the flame underneath:

BUT...(and this is where DaveX's suggestion comes in), I then fit some aluminum screen over the slot, and laid some steel wool over it to use as a diffuser.  The effect is a much more organic-looking flame:

I think this looks great, and it's incredibly easy to build.  The only welding and machining is of the shuttle.  I have some issues with the hose tracking to work out, and I need to motorize it.  But this is going to be the basic design I'm going to go with for the eventual build.  I may even extend these to 8 feet long, if I'm going to start with a pyramid instead of an icosahedron, just to make it more impressive in scale.

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to start a new venture, starting up a software company.  That may or may not work.  But it is going to take up a lot of my time and my vacation is officially going to be over.  I'm very satisfied that I have a working prototype, and even if my progress slows down, I know I can get this up and running eventually.  Onward, and upward.

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