Leonardo’s helicopter – model much improved

Posted by jerry on June 7th, 2004 — Posted in History, Journal, Technology

Another quick update on my model of Leonardo’s helicopter – I have made a larger diameter rotor and achieved a couple of flights across the room. The rotor diameter is now about 18cms (about 7.5 inches) and made from cereal box card. The helix winds one and a half times around (one circle plus a half, with the lower circle split along the radius to the centre and the extra half attached with masking tape. There was some sag, which I rectified with a masking tape brace – you will notice that Leonardo’s helicopter design had string braces to support the rotor structure – I guess he had problems with sag too 😉 Anyhow here is a picture of my model (current configuration as flown). The drive is the same spinning-top launcher that I was using before.

Leonardo\'s helicopter - version 2

And Leonardo’s one for comparison:

Image as displayed on the Leonardo Museum in Vinci – they also have a model based on Leonardo’s helicopter, but using fabric rotors the way Leonard’s original envisaged.


Full Circle band – Demo preliminary version

Posted by jerry on June 5th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Music

Well, the first mix was a bit over cooked with the delay – it sounded like this was recorded in someone’s bathroom! So another mix and it is sounding much better. Good enough to burn off some testers for the band members so we can agree on which numbers will make the final demo. I also took the opportunity to try out Belkin’s CD Launch Pad – CD labelling system. I bought it because it was the only one promising mac software for formatting the labels. The labelling machine has a rather twee ‘Star Trek’ look to it, but it is well shaped for a person to grip it easily and comfortably – even a left-hander like me.

I used the label templates for Adobe Illustrator (there is PC software included, but only templates for the mac) and selected a suitable background from the fairly wide range provided as free art, and placed the text within the boundaries… and guess what? It worked first time 🙂 It does an excellent job of positioning the label on the CD and the supplied labels worked well with my ink jet printer to produce quite a professional result. So I am a happy chappy!

Now to produce a CD cover and with luck, I should have a decent looking and sounding demo ready to post off on Monday…


Full Circle recording session

Posted by jerry on June 3rd, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Music

Phew! after a hectic session we’re pretty happy with the initial pre-production results – some good raw material to work with for our demo CD. In case you were wondering why I haven’t been updating my blog the past two days – that’s the reason 😉 We now have enough material and hopefully I should be able to complete the mix-down and run off the first CDs this weekend.

I also designed and wrote a promotional pamphlet for the band so hopefully, that, along with the business cards, should provide a professional presentation for prospective folk festivals and clients. It all seems to be happening at once as most of the festivals for next year want(ed) applications in by 1 June this year! Oh well, we can but try.

At this stage it looks like we have four useable songs and two sets of tunes for the demo CD – a good few weeks work!

Now I just need to find a CD label-making kit and mac software…

Ah time for a beer and some sleep!


Leonardo’s helicopter – model update

Posted by jerry on May 30th, 2004 — Posted in History, Journal, Technology

After receiving a great email from Joseph Harriott with a lot of detail about the aerodynamics, I thought I’d better let you know what I have found with the models. I have read in several sources that leonardo probably got his idea from a flying toy that has been traced back to about 100 years before Leonardo’s time. One can only guess at the way the toy was made, but it was likely to have been a version of a propellor on a stick or straw (perhaps bamboo). The email pointed out that IBM have built a version based on Leonardo’s drawing and he pointed me in the direction of the site related to the Pierre Gianadda Foundation’s Leonardo exhibition.

So to my version. Firstly, using an idea from a spinning top for propulsion, I made a basic model using thin dowel and cardboard. I tried using a disc with a slit cut and one side turned up and the other down – this resulted in a blast of air, but insufficient lift. then i added a further half circle and was quite amazed at the increase in lift. The model as shown lifts off for short hops. That is, it lifts itself clear of the launcher, rising about a foot or so (about 30cm) before landing on its point and falling over. I also tried considerably larger rotors cut from the lids of two pizza boxes, but found that there was too much inertia for the rest of the model, and I broke several strings, and then switched to fishing line – but that broke the main vertical shaft. So back to the original design, but I shall try larger ‘system cards’ for the rotor. I’ll let you know how I get on. Meanwhile – here is the basic model:

Leonardo\'s helicopter - Jerry\'s modelMy model of Leonardo’s helicopter


Seminar done – on to the Irish Club!

Posted by jerry on May 25th, 2004 — Posted in Journal

The seminar went really well – loads of stimulating discussion. And I think some eyes were opened to the vlaue of postmodernism, and that it is still possible to be relativist and make meaning.

Exhausted now though! So off to play some music and sink a noisy pint or two of the Guinness between tunes 🙂