Links to stuff on this blog

Use the Site Index of Projects page link above for an easier way to find stuff on my blog that you might be looking for!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Homemade Steadicam Camera Stabilizer

Recently I was trying to make some short videos of things and I wanted to walk around while filming, to get shots of all the sides. Trying to keep the camera steady while doing that was difficult so I decided to build a camera stabilizer! There are a lot of instructional videos of homemade steadicam camera stabilizers and the simple ones are nothing more than a counterweight that adds mass and keeps the camera stable while moving around. The tricks (if you can call them that) to building one is you have to have some way to hold the camera and stabilizer that decouples your hand and body movements from the camera. The other challenging thing to making one is balancing the camera with the weight so that the camera is at the right angle for your shot.

The easiest and most obvious way to decouple your movements from the camera is to have a gimbal of some sort that lets the camera move all around relative to your hand. I decided rather than building a gimbal I'd use a small universal joint that is used in the drive shaft of radio controlled cars. Other people have built camera stabilizers using these and got good results. I decided to use one because I had a few laying around the garage!
My homemade Camera Stabilizer and the parts I used to make it
The counterweight has to be adjustable so that when changing from one camera to another one of different weight or center of gravity you can level it out. Also if you want to angle the camera down or up you have to do that by adjusting the weight. Most camera stabilizers require you to add little weights and/or move them around on some kind of arm. I decided to get around that hassle by using a flexible gooseneck mount with the weight mounted to the bottom end. These goosnecks are used to position microphones and car accessories. This allows me to adjust the weight position and camera angle by just bending the gooseneck. Here are the details of how I went about building this, along with a video! Watch the video!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another Home Made Ranque-Hilsch Vortex Tube

As I mentioned last week I made another Ranque-Hilsch Vortex Cooling Tube that worked better than the last two that I made. If you are interested in the last two HERE and HERE are links to those attempts. In addition to those posts I also made some videos about the construction that you can check out by clicking on the Site Index of Projects link at the top of this blog and scrolling down to the Vortex Cooling Tube links. Below is a thermal image picture I made of the most recent tube in operation.
Thermal Image of my Homemade Vortex Cooling Tube

Before I drone on and on about how I built this I'll provide a few links to resources and information on the web about how these work. Like last time HERE is a Wikipedia link to a nice summary about what goes on inside a  Ranque-Hilsch vortex cooling tube. Also HERE is a 500+ page pdf with more information than you probably will ever want to know. Lastly HERE is a link (that is also on the side bar of my blog) to a guy that builds his own cooling tubes. Anyway on to the construction details and results of this experiment.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another attempt at building a Vortex Cooling Tube

This week I decided to build another Vortex Cooling Tube and run it at home with my compressor. There are a few differences between this Vortex Tube and the last one that I built HERE. This time I decided to use thermocouples to get a more accurate temperature measurement and also I ran this one on a smaller home compressor that has a limited pressure and airflow. Because I knew that I was going to run this one on a smaller compressor I decided to make it smaller. As always the 'garage' attitude and approach to my experiments prevailed in the design so I was limited to materials and tools that I have at hand. Unfortunately this tube didn't work very well for various reasons but I'm blogging about it anyway. Why blog about it you ask? Well because this blog is about the things that I am doing regardless of the outcome! Below is a picture of the materials that I used to build this Vortex Cooling Tube.
Vortex Tube Materials
There is some really interesting information about how these things work on the internet and an extensive study HERE for those interested. A simple explanation can be found HERE as well. The idea is tubes like this can separate hot stuff from cold stuff. What is supposed to happen is you put a fluid (usually  a gas) into a tube and get it swirling around (the vortex). The swirling gas travels down the tube to the "hot end" where the hot part of the fluid comes out. Whatever doesn't come out is cooler than the hot stuff and it comes out someplace else (usually the other end of the tube). 
Below is a description of what I built with a video of how I went about it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How to do Schlieren Photography at home

A few people have emailed me and asked about the setup that I use for taking Schlieren pictures. In the Site Index of Projects link there are links to all the posts that I have done explaining what I did to make the pictures. But I suppose that pictures (or videos) can speak a 1000 words as they say so I decided to make a video that shown what my setup looks like.

With that in mind I made a video and is linked to below explaining in better detail how I go about taking these pictures and making the videos. If any of it doesn't make sense please email me at or leave a comment and I'll be happy to explain whatever it is that isn't clear.
There are some really good sites with lots of information about how Schlieren photography works like HERE. Also if you are going to make a pin point light source like the one I use you should go to the source HERE of how I went about making mine!