Monthly Archives: February 2012

Microsoft Project

Broke down and obtained Project 2010 through MSDN. Much more solid than OpenProj although I see where OpenProj got their inspiration.

So I am all set up now and can see what I need to do and when I need to order what. No progress this week as I have had sick child (my son) today and I had an allergy attack yesterday.

Moment of Inertia

The original base frame was made of 2×4’s sandwiched between 3/4″ plywood. I hired a structural engineer to estimate the uniform load capacity for the 7′ length of a sistered 2×4 beam and it was only rated for about 500lbs. Since then I have gone back to the drawing board and determined the relative strengths based on Moment of Inertia:

2×4: 5.36
4×4: 12.505
2×6: 20.8 (almost 4x as strong as 2×4)
2×8: 52.73 (almost 10x as strong as 2×4)
2×10: ~115 (more than 20x as strong as 2×4)

Thrust Levers

After seeing Aliens for the hundredth time this morning (thanks in part to my son) it dawned on me that they don’t have a conventional power quadrant (thrust levers).

I drew on my professional experience flying jet aircraft – manual manipulation of the engine output is dwindling. There are basically 5 modes (detents) on a modern day thrust lever (FADEC):

  • Takeoff / Go-Around (TO/GA)
  • Flex/Max Continuous Thrust (FLX/MCT)
  • Climb (CL)
  • Forward Idle
  • Max Reverse

Is it possible to map this control to the flight stick? Because of the VTOL nature of the Dropship don’t we need some kind of fine control? Like in hover – to climb or descend?

I can envision a “auto-hover” which will reduce the pilot workload but what about landing on a grid reference? Using pitch trim in VTOL mode? Not sure what else it would do.

Acrylic Sheets and Gantt Charts

The project is getting a little complicated – I am always waiting on a bolt or nut and I stare sometimes for what feels like half an hour before I figure out what I can actually do in a given session. I remember my project managers used Microsoft Project (MSPROJ) years ago and the Gantt chart it produced seemed like it would do the trick. I found a free version online that can import/export MSPROJ files called GanttProject. Here is an example of the current items and their dependencies.

While we are on the subject I started looking around for acrylic sheets. My first inclination was to get a large sheet from Home Depot and then cut it. Somehow I landed on Professional Plastics where they will cut to size and deliver for the same price or less. I am currently working up an order for the 1/8″ thick inner window panes for the six (6) monitors.