Blogs

Kites: History, Aerodynamics and Uses

As with paper airplanes, we have Chinese inventiveness to thank for another wildly popular aerodynamic device – the kite. Kites have evolved over millennia to the extent that they can now provide useful motive forces to aid ships to cross oceans. However, their ability to thrill children (and those young at heart) with their grace and aerobatics remains intact.

Kites in FlightKites in FlightCourtesy of Jon Sullivan

Solar-Powered Airplanes

Steady progress in zero emissions, solar-powered airplanes recently culminated in an unofficial endurance record of 54 hours by a remote-controlled airplane called Zephyr, built by Qinetiq. Another solar-powered airplane, the Solar Impulse, hit the headlines recently when the team building the airplane announced the launch of their prototype that will, they hope, carry a pilot around the globe in a series of flights.

Helios PrototypeHelios Prototype:Solar-powered flying wingImage courtesy of NASA

Fab it Yourself

3D printers and other types of rapid prototyping machines are the latest innovation in manufacturing where components are built by depositing material (usually plastic) layer by layer. Until recently the cheapest machines were still expensive (in the $10,000s range). Not anymore – now there are freely available plans for fabricators (fabs or fabbers as they are known) that are well within the price range and capabilities (assembly required) of hobbyists.


Objects Produced by the CandyFab 4000Objects Produced by the CandyFab 4000License: CC BY 2.0, Windell Oskay

Texture Mapping

Texture mapping is a simple technique to make a 3D model more realistic. It is also a great way to brand either a 3D model or an image with a logo. It is even useful for arranging multiple images within a 3D composite image.

Texture Mapped ImageTexture Mapped Image: Rendered in POV-Ray

Simulation for Illustration

Sometimes an accurate simulation of a realistic scenario such as the aerodynamics of a racecar, is too much. Sometimes all that is needed is a simulation that highlights a simple concept or idea – welcome to simulation for illustration.

Curve Ball ExplanationCurve Ball ExplanationGeometry created and simulated using our Caedium Professional add-on, rendered in POV-Ray and annotations added in GIMP

Paper Airplanes

The Chinese are attributed with the invention in AD 105 of what we know today as paper. A good bet is that the first flying paper object soon followed as a screwed up paper ball flew toward a trash can. Recognizable paper airplanes appeared much later, with sightings coinciding with the first powered flight by the Wright brothers at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Paper Airplane World Record HoldersPaper Airplane World Record HoldersLicense: CC BY 2.0, gocarts

Flying Wind Turbines and Blog Action Day

Today (October 15, 2007) is Blog Action Day and upwards of 15,000 bloggers will cover subjects related to the environment. The aim is to raise awareness of environmental issues – this post is my contribution to the cause. Environmentally friendly, renewable energy generation is a theme I've covered in a number of previous posts ranging from wave energy to horizontal, vertical and micro wind turbines. Continuing this theme today I'm going to cover flying wind turbines.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Faceted Modeling

A vast army of 3D artists, initially led by movie and game animators, but more recently joined by students and hobbyists, have compiled an extensive archive of 3D faceted models. These models cover every imaginable item from the mundane, such as eating utensils, to the realms of pure fantasy, such as the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

57 Chevy Import1957 Chevy Model

Submersible Racecar

While on the surface it seems that submersibles and racecars share nothing in common – dive a little deeper and you'll see that they do. Racecar giants Lola and Cosworth are playing a major role in helping BAE Systems develop an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle known as Talisman.

Micro Air Vehicles

Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are a relatively new class of flying craft that are attracting interest from a broad spectrum of users spanning soldiers to children.

Wasp Micro Air VehicleWasp Micro Air Vehicle

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