Know How... 146

Net Casts you love, from people you trust. This is Twit! Bandwidth for Know How is brought to you by

This episode of Know How is brought to you by The online learning platform with over 3000 on-demand video courses to help you strengthen your business, technology, and creative skills. For a free 10 day trial visit 

And by SmartThings. SmartThings lets you monitor, control, and automate your home from wherever you are using your smart phone. Right now SmartThings is offering you Know How listeners 10% off selected kits and you get free shipping in the United States when you go to and use the offer code know-how at checkout.

Today on Know How we go hypersonic, SSD madness, a little bit of CNC routing, and what to do after you crash.

Father Robert Ballecer: Welcome to Know How, it is the Twit show where we build, bend, break, and upgrade. I'm father Robert Ballecer, the Digital Jesuit.

Bryan Burnett: Wow, that was a long title. I’m Bryan Burnett, the analog person. 

Fr. Robert: Try to work on your presentation. You’ve got to have some kind of a cool name like the Doge Father. 

Bryan: Or the Quad Father. Cranky Hippo just doesn’t cut it anymore. 

Fr. Robert: Our audience deserves more. That is all I am saying.

Bryan: I need a better title. Do you have any ideas Alex?

Alex: We have an audience?

Bryan: Not after that intro.

Fr. Robert: Now folks, we’ve got some crazy projects today. This is the show where we take the step that we have been working on and we give it to use so that you can geek out on your own. You might see on the table that we've got a whole lot of flash memory. SSD, flash drives, a couple of SATA cards, we are going to be showing you how to make crazy fast home built, probably the easiest home build we’ve ever done, flash drive. It will be cheaper and faster than the things you can buy on the market. But before we do that, I want to talk about a different kind of speed.

Bryan: Yeah, supersonic speed.

Fr. Robert: I’m supersonic. Hypersonic is faster than five times the speed of sound. Bastard than Mach 5. It is pretty quick. But, it is an interesting technological challenge because the traditional jet engine, the turbine engines that we think of when we think of passenger jets and fighter jets, they had issues going past about Mach 2.1. You get all sorts of strange aerodynamic effects that basically stall out the engine.

Bryan: But this article that you found talks about scramjet.

Fr. Robert: Scramjet. In fact it is talking about hypersonic lights as something that we will be doing in the very near future. We have been talking about hypersonic flights for a while. The most commonly known one was the X 40 3A, a beautiful piece of kit. Actually I have seen the model at the Smithsonian. It is not that big. It is not a passenger jet, it looks more like a big UAV.

Bryan: So probably will like some sort of military thing?

Fr. Robert: It’s definitely got military applications but it is currently the fastest aircraft on record. It was able to hit 10,617 mph. Just think about that.

Bryan: This is traveling at what altitude?

Fr. Robert: That is the thing. You can only do this when you have already been brought up by a bomber. And then launched by a rocket booster. We are going to talk about why you have to have that, because it doesn’t use a turbine engine it uses what is called a scramjet.

Bryan: Right. And the fascinating thing for me is that it doesn’t use any moving parts.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. You would think with no moving parts, it should be simple right? No. Not so much. The important thing to remember is that the scramjet is an air breathing engine. It is not a rocket. A rocket has all the propellant built-in. You need fuel, oxidizer and you combine the two, you burn it, it goes out the back and you get thrust. That gets heavy because now you have to carry all the oxygen with you. A scramjet uses the oxygen in the atmosphere.

Bryan: Which is like a jet.

Fr. Robert: It is a jet. Just a different kind of jet. It is a jet that only operates once you are above supersonic speed. So a scramjet will only ignite above Mach 1.6.

Bryan: There isn’t oxygen at that altitude either though right? I guess that is enough if you are going that fast, it is enough for fuel?

Fr. Robert: Exactly. Just imagine how fast you are moving. All that air is getting sucked into the engine. So even though it is a very thin atmosphere you are still getting enough oxygen to keep the flame lit. In fact, the problem is there is too much air. This is one of the biggest paradoxical challenges with the scramjet. Which is that you need a lot of air going through it, but it is like trying to keep a match lit inside of a hypersonic wind tunnel. It is hard to do. So, here is how it works. In a traditional turbine engine what you have is a disk of blades at the front of the engine that bring in the air, it compresses it and as it compresses it heats up. It is thermodynamic. So you compress a fluid and it will heat up. Now you have hot compressed air and you squirt fuel into it and you ignite it. Now the air gets even hotter and really high pressure. It moves back through the engine, it hits another disk of blades, but this time it turns those blades. That is connected to the disk and find which in turn drives more air into the engine, and you get rest coming out the back. Very cool system, very complicated. A lot of moving parts.

Bryan: And then struggles at Mach 2, you were saying. 

Fr. Robert: It is an efficient engine up to Mach 2 and then at Mach 2 you actually have either too much air going into the engine or you have so much air that is accumulating near the front that it kind of stalls out the engine. So, the fastest military craft that we have had, the blackbird is a kind of movable cone. So that it could actually shape the shockwave of the air moving into the engine, in order to avoid that stall effect. They call it an un-start. Essentially you have lost the oxygen coming into the engine but you are still dumping fuel and eventually it lights and you get a nice little explosion coming out the back.

Bryan: Wow. That is cool. That thing looks mean.

Fr. Robert: Now, imagine the SR 71 with no moving parts. That is what they are trying to build.

Bryan: This has been tested. Is there going to be a passenger jet or something? It would be nice to go from here to London.

Fr. Robert: That is the crazy thing. This article is saying that you've got people from Darfur in the military saying we are going to have weapons and spy planes, sensor packages and it is probably going to be unmanned but we will be able to use hypersonic speeds, 10,615 miles an hour to get a sensor package over an area that you want to reconnoiter. But it is not that far to go from there to something that connects to carry cargo and then people. Although, at those speeds, slowing down and taking off would be scary.

Bryan: So you would yank and bank when you are flying that.

Fr. Robert: The other thing, let’s quickly go over what a scramjet is. A scramjet is that you have shaped the engine so that you have air coming in, it gets shaped by a structure inside the engine which because of the movement of that air actually compresses itself. So it is like a turbine engine, it gets very high pressure, it gets very hot, you squirt fuel into it and because it is so hot it ignites the fuel on its own and you get flame out the back.

Bryan: Yeah. Because it is being compressed so much. But how do you slow down? Do you just reduce the fuel? And it will kind of slowly back off?

Fr. Robert: Once you drop down below Mach 2 then you slow down. And it stops. What we have seen in the past is that they use a combination, provide engines up to Mach 2 and then they use a ramjet to get you to between Mach 2 and Mach 4 and then scramjet kicks then and then you have to reverse that on the way back. Otherwise, you end up just ultimately out of control. And, as Alex knows it is fun to tumble out of control.

Bryan: Oh yeah. When we go flying that is the first thing he does. Is go straight up from the runway and then tumble. Actually it is the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. I am really into roller coasters but…

Fr. Robert: You really stall in the plane?

Bryan: Yeah, he had to practice stalls. It is not actually so bad going straight up and then falling back down straight. It is when you start to tip left or right that is scary. 

Alex: The angle isn’t that high, Bryan.

Bryan: No, it’s not. When you are in a little rickety Cessna with Alex at the controls…

Fr. Robert: So now you are just ragging on his plane is that it? 

Bryan: Yeah, kind of. When was that plane built - like in the 70’s?

Alex: 1978.

Bryan: Yeah. It is not top of the line.

Fr. Robert: You know what? When you start flying a plane, then you can insult his. Okay?

Bryan: I fly quad copters.

Alex: It is all mechanical, Bryan. It doesn't matter.

Fr. Robert: All right. Let’s get off the scramjet. I could talk about that stuff all day. It is really cool tech. No moving parts. You still have control services but the engine itself is a technological wonder. Because you can really only design that stuff once you have the computing power to accurately model how the air will move through the engine. But enough of that. Let’s talk about a different kind of speed. The speed that we like here at Know How. We want fast. We want storage. Now, I had an experience the other day. I replaced one of the first SSD’s that I put in because it was too slow.

Bryan: When you first got that SSD six years ago…

Fr. Robert: It might’ve been eight years ago. This was the first mass produced serious consumer level SSD. This is a Samsung 64 GB. And I think it reads at 115 MB per second and writes at 80 MB per second. Back then that trashed hard drives. It was ridiculously fast compared to a hard drive.

Bryan: How much did that cost?

Fr. Robert: If I had paid for it probably about $1200. And then I went from that to this. This is a Samsung 820 GB. This up the game. This reads at 250 MB per second and it did writes at 100 MB per second. 

Bryan: How does it not catch on fire?

Fr. Robert: And then I replaced it with this. This is a Samsung 830. I think it did reads at 450 MB and writes at 200 megabytes per second, which was nice. And then I switched off of Sam sung and I started using Kingston. This is a Kingston KC 300 and this did reads at 500 MB per second and writes 500 MB per second. Which is also quite nice. But, it is weird that I am replacing these drives that I thought were so crazy fast just a couple years ago.

Bryan: Yeah. And at such a fast rate they are getting quicker and quicker. Doubling from year-to-year.

Fr. Robert: This is the latest and greatest from Kingston. This one I really like. This is their new hyper access Savage. This is the refresh of the KC 300 that I liked so much. It is super fast. This does 560 read and 500 write. But here is the thing. I love this upgrade kit because it comes with a USB three enclosure. So if you want to do a little bit of knocking around, this is a really cool kit. But, you are starting to see these drives that are running into the upper limits of this SATA 3 bus. 

Bryan: And that is why they are starting to move to PCI.

Fr. Robert: They have to because SATA 3 can do 6 Gb per second. But once you take in the signaling and the overhead, it is really limited to 580 MB per second. You can’t really get about that. And these drives are hitting that upper limit right now. And the technology could take them faster, but the bus can’t.

Bryan: Were you saying that the motherboard companies haven’t caught up to technology yet?

Fr. Robert: Some of them still haven’t installed SATA revisions which is weird, but. They are getting up to SATA revision 3.1, which will take it up to a 10 Gb per second. But before we get to that, this is the new hotness. I like this. The Savage is nice. This is part of a build. We are doing the video editing station and I am going to show people how you could have one SSD for the operating system, one SSD for the video assets and one SSD for the reddening drive. It is so fast. 

Bryan: Padre, I think you are going a little too far. I need to make a sandwich or something. 

Fr. Robert: Speaking of being done with sandwich time. This is the new hotness. So I told you how we are running out of band width on the SATA revision 3. Well this, is the sexy Predator. So this is in M2 format. This is actually the module right here. That is it. The cool thing is that is 480 GB, there are now motherboards that have M2 spots on them so you could put this natively onto a motherboard and get ridiculous speed. This will read at 1400 MB per second and it will write at a 1000 MB per second. It is just crazy. And the funny part is that you could actually push this technology a lot faster. That is a four lane PCI express card. If they give us the generation three of the PCI express standard, they could push that up to 2000 MB per second and 4000 MB per second. So this is on a PCI express card. This needs a four lane bus. Which is funny because I was going to install this in that Acer Predator to benchmark it. But the Acer Predator doesn’t have a PCI four-lane in it. It was taken up by the video card. So I am going to have to use a different one. But I wanted to put the Predator in the Predator.

Bryan: It does seem like it would be fitting right?

Fr. Robert: Exactly. So this is crazy fast storage. But, here is the funny part. There is one area of flash in storage that hasn’t really kept up. USB Drives. These are crazy fast when we first got them. Compared to USB 2, there is no comparison.

Bryan: What is the limit of USB 3?

Fr. Robert: USB three goes up to 5 Gb per second when USB two was limited to 480 Mb per second.k It is good. But, the problem is that the flash that is contained within the flash drive, unless you buy some freaky super high-performance drive it is not really up to snuff.

Bryan: I have a feeling you have a better solution.

Fr. Robert: I do. And it actually turns out to be the easiest build that we have ever had on Know How because it requires two clicks on Amazon and then a screwdriver with two screws.

Bryan: I do remember walking through the studio when you were working late and I heard the giggling at your computer. What are you working on tonight Padre?

Fr. Robert: I’m working on this. This is my little flash drive over here. This is how they compare in size. It is bigger then a flash drive that you might buy. But it is not a whole lot bigger. In fact, a lot of that is empty space. The enclosure doesn’t have to be this big. I am going to try to 3-D print an enclosure to get it down in size just a tiny tad. But, what if I told you that this was about 10 times faster than that?

Bryan: I would say you are crazy. What did you put in there?

Fr. Robert: Actually, I’m sorry it’s not 10 times. Inside of this it is just an enclosure. So this is a USB three to MSATA enclosure. MSATA Is the kind of enclosure that you might find in your laptop. It is actually very popular because they don’t have the space for these larger drives anymore. This is a 256 GB module, this is my favorite. This is a Kingston 480 GB module. So the same size will fit in the same enclosure and it is really as simple as this. When you want to install one of these, you just do this. That is the installation process. Done. That is what we had to do to do this project. And that in closure was about $14 - $15 on Amazon. This MSATA card was actually on sale for about $100. You can get this 480 GB card which I love, this is the one that is going to go in there when I’m done with the project. I think this would have cost me $300. It is more expensive but it is higher density.

Bryan: But when you are comparing this to a flash drive, was it pretty closing cost?

Fr. Robert: That is the thing. If I would have bought a 256 GB flash drive that was the highest performance that you could get it would cost me about $160. That is the average flash drive. This one will get you somewhere in 100 - 150 MB second read and about 20 MB second write. 

Alex: But it says turbo.

Fr. Robert: But it is turbo. That is actually really fast for one of those drives. You get something like this. And this is ultra supersonic. This is about $160. It gets you about 300 - 350 MB second read and 200 - 250 MB write. Which sounds fast, but that is already more expensive than this. This one cost us about $115 and if I have gotten in Kingston one it would have cost me maybe $130 and it would have been even faster than the one where going to show you.

Bryan: And their read/write is?

Fr. Robert: That is what we are going to show you. Hey Alex, go ahead and push the magic button.

Fr. Robert: To test how much more performance we could get out of home built MSATA /drive with USB 3.0 enclosure. We first needed a decent baseline reading. I used an A Data 64 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive to give me that reading. It is currently the fastest unit in my collection. Using Crystal Disk Mark I benchmark the A Data drive and got 112.5 MB per second read and 58.22 MB per second write in this sequential multi thread 120 8K test. 8.744 MB per second read and 1.7 MB per second write in the random 4K multi thread test. 11.8 Megabytes per second read and 58.52 MB per second write in the sequential 1 MB single thread test. And 7.344 MB per second read and 1.477 MB per second write in the random 4K single. That is actually not bad for a USB flash drive. Write speeds tend to hover near 10 to 30 MB per second so the A Data is definitely on the faster side. Of course, it is still just a flash drive. When I ran the same test on our home built M SATA drive I got 423 MB per second read and 385 MB per second write on the 128 K sequential multi-thread. 121.8 MB per second read and 147 MB per second write on the 4K random multithread test. 419 MB per second read and 384.6 MB per second write on the 1 MB single thread. And 24.67 MB per second read and 40.45 MB per second write on the 4K random single thread. In other words, our home-brew doesn’t just beat a fast flash drive, it destroys it.

Fr. Robert: That is a spanking.

Bryan: I like when your video first starts. That is a respectable speed. It is pretty normal. And then you see the end. That is like face melting.

Fr. Robert: It really is.

Bryan: In a couple years it is probably going to change again.

Fr. Robert: It probably is. Now, it is not just faster but the kind of flash memory, the cells they have inside of the MSATA would just last a whole lot longer than what you get out of a flash drive. A flash drive you could do maybe 3000 to 5000 program erase cycles. This could do about 100,000.

Bryan: At that speed you are going to be doing a lot more stuff.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. So, honestly, if you are looking for a super high-performance flash drive, you are so much better building it off your own. I do like the Samsung brand. But my personal favorite is the Kingston drives. They have been really good by me. But you can use any MSATA card, any MSATA enclosure and just give yourself so much more performance for about the same amount of money, or less.

Bryan: Well, I want one. Can I have this one?

Fr. Robert: No. This is mine.

Bryan: I want to do a multiple OS boot off of it. Windows seven, eight, 10 and have Linux and some other things.

Fr. Robert: You are just trying to figure a way to get around the lockup they have here on the twit editing stations aren’t you?

Bryan: That is always what I am trying to do.

Fr. Robert: One last quick demonstration before we move away. I've got a couple of drives here that I have loaded up right now. So this is our flash drive. Our super fast flash drive. I am going to plug in a super fast USB 3 Flash Dr., a standard. So what I would like to do now is I've got this folder on the desktop. It is about 4.25 GB. Which is about the size of some of the project folders we might be moving around. So, I am going to go ahead and start the copy over to this flash drive. It is going to take a while. I’m getting 18, 19, 20 MB per second. So we can have a conversation while we wait.

Bryan: This is when I go to the kitchen, make myself something to eat come back and it might be done.

Fr. Robert: Now that we got your sandwich, let’s go ahead and try copying it over to the home built drive. And see what happens there. Holy smokes. Solid 300. There we go. I can’t really do much more than that.

Bryan: I’m surprised there’s no fire coming out of your laptop right about now.

Fr. Robert: So, folks easy build. Super easy build, the links are going to be in the show notes but go ahead and build yourself a super fast flash drive.

Bryan: I am going to be building one.

Fr. Robert: You know what that reminds me of? Knowledge. You are going to need knowledge.

Bryan: I want something that I can read and write fast to my knowledge hole.

Fr. Robert: You need to use the words. Well folks, when we talk about knowledge here on Know How, we talk about not just learning things but also being able to recall things. Being able to reference things. Being able to go to one place and find out the little bits and pieces that you may need for that next project. Or the things that you may have forgotten on a previous project. That’s why we are proud to have Lynda as a sponsor of Know How. Lynda, As you’ve heard on this show is the place to fill your knowledge hole. They don’t just have training for software, or for your latest project. They can also give you knowledge about photography, knowledge about knitting.

Bryan: They are really on top of stuff to because they have already released a video on all the new Google photo stuff.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. Lynda does take time. They pay attention to what is happening in the industry so that they provide you with the courses that you are actually going to want. It is not just, “let me go to Lynda and see what I have to learn” it is, “you know what, I’m really interested in this and I bet Lynda already has a course on it”. 

Bryan: I don’t think I would have done very well on my C++ class if I didn’t have Lynda on hand. Because after a class I would just browse around on Lynda an supplement some of this stuff that I wasn’t quite sure about.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. Lynda is for problem solvers. Lynda Is for the people who want to learn, who want to know the go. Maybe you want to develop a new app, maybe you want to build a website, maybe you want to master Excel, maybe you want to learn a new programming language like Cranky Hippo, or maybe you just want to sharpen your HTML skills and you need a couple of tips about the things that you forgot. Well, has everything you need to feed your knowledge hole. If you are interested in photography, Lynda just added a new weekly series called DIY photographer with Joseph Lynesky, in the first installment he teaches you how to make your own macro lens for a few dollars. That is very Know-Howable. There are also new courses with exploring photography, dynamic range, creating panorama with light room and light room six, and light room CC essential training. This is what we like about Lynda, that they are not just going to give you one type of knowledge. Be it for business, your skills, maybe you want to learn a new skill for a new job, or you just want to improve your craft, your hobby. Lynda has it all. With a membership you can watch and learn from top experts who are passionate about teaching. You can stream thousands of video courses on demand and learn on your own schedule. This is particularly useful because they have transcripts or all their classes. So you don’t have to watch an entire module to find out one bit of information you need to finish a project. You can search for it, jump to the video, and be done with it. You are not going to want to be done with it because it is more than just a reference. You can take notes as you go, you can create a playlist, you can’t share it with your friends who you think should have the same knowledge as you. You can download these issues to your device. Your iOS and android device so that you have them on the go. Is really the best tool you can have as a DIYer and a maker. Now your membership gives you unlimited access to training on hundreds of topics all for one low flat rate. Whether you are looking to become an expert, you are passionate about a hobby or you just want to learn something new, I want you to visit and sign up for your free 10 day trial. That is And we thank for their support of Know How. 

Fr. Robert: Hey, Bryan, you know what?

Bryan: What?

Fr. Robert: I’m thinking about Maker Fair.

Bryan: Maker Fair? That was a blast. That left my first Maker Fair and they had some crazy stuff. 

Fr. Robert: We are going to be going back every year, but you know we are really kind of big into building stuff right?

Bryan: Especially after going to Maker Fair too. I want to do to the Robot arm with the knife, that might be a little difficult though. 

Fr. Robert: One of the things that I really like seeing was, remembered that a big CNC machine?

Bryan: Yes. Because we walked into the giant tent and just one section of the tent was being lit up with sparks and stuff. So, naturally we were lured over.

Fr. Robert: Speaking of being lured over, hey Alex push the magic button.

Fr. Robert: We are here at the Raspberry Pi booth where they’ve got a very interesting exercise for children who want to learn basic conductivity. They’ve made the circuit boards that use conductive paint in order to do something. I have been told that if I did this right I should now see a picture of a plane in the color that I have chosen on the screen. What? What? 3-D printers have been all the rage here at Maker Fair, it allows you to fast prototype anything from ideas in your head to solid objects in your hand, but sometimes you don't want plastic. Sometimes you don’t want wood. Sometimes you want cold hard metal. I am here with Aaron Johnson from CNC router parts and he has a brand-new machine your that could put CNC capabilities in your basement. Aaron, thank you very much for talking to us. What is this?

Aaron Johnson: This is our newest CNC plasma cutting system. We have been doing routers for a long time, that this is our first foray into plasma that really allows people to cut metal up to half-inch thick with this machine for an affordable price.

Fr. Robert: Not too long ago I spoke with some representatives of a CNC company and something like this sold for $40,000. And that was on their low end. Wet way a kid like this costs now?

Aaron: So the kit we are exhibiting at the fair is a 4’ x 2’ travel machine. It runs about $8000. That includes automatic torch tightening control, hyper Power Macs 45 torch, and the mechanism and electronics that you see here.

Fr. Robert: Let’s talk a little bit about the process. So, how does one go from turning something into a design on paper into something that is actually cut into your metal of choice?

Aaron: Sure. So, the process is not terribly complicated. You need to get your drawing or file that you want to cut into a vector format. So some sort of 2-D DXF, DWG, EPS, there are a lot of those that will work. Once you have your file, you need to import that into a camp program that allows you to basically tell machine what side of the line you want the torch to cut on, how fast you want to cut and parameters like that. That program we used is called Sheet Cam, it is commercially available and it is fairly inexpensive, less than $200. There are a lot of good options for that.

Fr. Robert: I know our audience members are going to want to know what kind of materials they can cut. And a lot of that depends on the type of torch that you are using. Butt, what materials and what metals and how thick would I be able to cut depending on that torch?

Aaron: Plasma works by starting an arc between the torch tip and the material. End and that our turns into a plasma stream which cuts it. So as long as you have a conductive material you can probably cut it with a plasma torch. Still, aluminum, brass, bronze, those are all good candidate. Some materials like galvanized materials you don’t want to cut with the plasma because you can get things in the air that are not good for you. But, in terms of the thickness of the material you can cut 1/2 inch steel. It is really a function of what tort you get. If you get a more powerful torch you can cut 1 inch and thicker material. 

Fr. Robert: Aaron, after staring at 3-D printers with plastic filament all day, it was mesmerizing to watch you cut through steel. Thank you very much and if they want to find out more about CNC Router Part where can they go?

Aaron: You can find out a lot about us at, we also have a Facebook page for CNC Router Parts so check us out there. There will be more information on plasma at our site soon.

Fr. Robert: Thank you very much for talking to us. That is Aaron Johnson from CNC Router Parts. I’m Father Robert Ballecer now go cut some steel. 

Fr. Robert: Do you think we could convince Leo to buy an $8000 steel machine?

Bryan: I think clearly we need more signs around here. We could do a whole new board of Know How and stuff. 

Fr. Robert: This is kind of like when you were a kid and you are trying to talk your parents into something! If you got me a puppy I would do more things around the house. It would be nice to be able to cut steel on demand. I like 3-D printers but there are some applications where you would like a little extra strength.

Bryan: What if we made basically a tank quad copter? We could make the frame out of metal.

Fr. Robert: If we got a CNC machine week could print all the parts you would need to build 3-D printers. Maybe we could do that.

Bryan: Craziest part was when you said oh it is probably like $40,000. And I said that number sounds probably about right. It was some cool stuff. And it was really precise. Those signs they had were awesome.

Fr. Robert: We had a machine back in the trial of that and it was a $10,000 machine. We were interested back then. This is a bigger machine that includes a plasma cutter, so yeah.

Bryan: It was definitely one of the more popular booths. People were crowding around just because it looks so cool when they were cutting the metal. Sparks flying everywhere.

Fr. Robert: Folks, we need to move on. We are going to be talking a little bit about what you do after he crasher quad copter. But before we do that, hey Bryan?

Bryan: We are going to be talking about something smarter than crashing quad copters.

Fr. Robert: Much smarter. Specifically about automating your home. Would you like to automate your home?

Bryan: I would. We have kind of gotten into the era where it would be nice two walk through the door, have the lights turn on, turn on the temperature where he is supposed to be, I know that is the world that I want to live in now.

Fr. Robert: I’m sorry, Bryan, that doesn’t exist. No, that’s right, it does. It it exists with SmartThings. Now SmartThings is the best way to control your home. To control your devices, to control everything inside your smart house from your mobile device. Your android, your iOS, whatever it is going to be. It is not just an automation system. There have been a lot of automation systems out there but it is the way to make all your automation systems work together area now, SmartThings won the 2015 CES award for best automation solution. It is something that you really need to take a look at. It all starts with this. This is the hub. Now that have isn’t just a way to communicate with other SmartThings sensors. It will connect to the motion sensor, the moisture sensor, the open window were open door sensor. Maybe you even want to talk to your power plugs, or the alarms outside. That is great. But what makes the hub so unique is that it can also speak to Nest Thermostats, it can talk to DropCam’s, it can talk to your Sono system, it is one of these tie everything together products that we really have been advocating for the last couple of years. We are just so happy that smart things did it. It couldn’t be easier to turn your home into a smart home. If you have dabbled with automation in the past, you know that solving that problem of working with all that devices is the thing that you needed to do. And with the SmartThings kit you can do that. You could, as you said, have your home automatically recognize that you have walked home. End once you walk in and it will turn on the lights the way you like, turn on your Sono so that you have your music the way you like, you could even have your DropCams wired up so that when they detect motion it would send to you a warning for your automation system. This is smart. Because it doesn’t make you use your home the way it wants to, it lets you custom tail your solution to the way your home should be smart. Now, home automation, security, energy savings, water detection, these are all the things that come out of the box with SmartThings. We want you to try it. We want you to make your home smarter. We want you to be able to access all your devices from anywhere you are on any device that you are using. Right now, until June 30, SmartThings is offering its three most popular kids at a discount for our twit audience. You can get 10% off either the home security, energy saver, or water detection kit when you go to smart and use the offer code Know How. SmartThings, it is the perfect way to get things started with a smart home. For 10% off and free domestic shipping go to smart and use the offer code know-how. SmartThings, smart home, smart now. And we thank SmartThings for their support of Know How. 

Fr. Robert: Hey Bryan!

Bryan: Yes.

Fr. Robert: You know what happens sometimes?

Bryan: Sometimes we crash, and sometimes we have to crash so we can learn. Well it was very foreboding that when I took the 450 quad out, I sent out a picture saying, “We’ve been getting all of these videos on Google plus of people crashing and stuff, if I happen to crash this then so be it”. I really didn't think I was going to crash though.

Fr. Robert: The funny thing is in the past we would just have to look at your mangled quad copter. But, you actually had a camera on it right?

Bryan: I did. I almost murdered some of my friends when it took off.

Fr. Robert: Let’s take a look here. The first thing I notice is that you are using your quad in a very odd way.

Bryan: Yeah, because they are great for getting rid of leaves in the driveway. That is the first thing I found out. And chasing people two are begging you and stuff. Neighbors and stuff like that. 

Fr. Robert: Of course. That is natural. That thing does have a lot of zip.

Bryan: I really like flying the 450. They don’t do so great when you clip the tree though. I would like to say that there is a gust that pushed it into a tree, but it was just user error. My three friends that I was showing off for, I almost killed them. 

Fr. Robert: Is that your foot? That is your foot.

Bryan: It bounced off my house and then around it went.

Fr. Robert: That is the scream of pain. And if I remember correctly you broke an arm right?

Bryan: Not my arm, fortunately. But I broke one of the arms on the 450. And I know in the past you have said debate you have built these modules because you wanted to upgrade them. But that also comes in handy when you have to replace parts.

Fr. Robert: It does. And that is actually one of the reasons why I don’t like a lot of the shell quad copters. Because if you break the shell, you have to replace the whole unit. Where as with this, everything on this quad copter can be replaced. Which is nice. It comes in very handy. Now one of the things we wanted to do was go through some of the proper etiquette for what do you do after you have crashed your quad. Because it is not just breaking things, you have to consider the health of your quad copter.

Bryan: And so, when I crashed my quiet I didn’t actually have any spare parts because you had all of them. End the whole reason I was flying at that day was to practice for the next day. Because I wanted to do some filming. So I zip tied one of the arms and I taped it because that is all that I had on hand. And that is when you brought to my attention that you really shouldn’t cover the ESC is because those get very hot.

Fr. Robert: You tweeted a picture and said, “Hey Padre I fixed it” and you had gaffers tape around the ESC. It wasn’t real safe.

Bryan: Well, it worked. And the quad survived. But there has to be a better kids that I should keep around.

Fr. Robert: So let’s talk a little bit about what you should have in your crash kit. This is the box that I normally carry around with my 250. This was the Jobe LoPro bag. By the way, very cool story. We covered this a little bit on Before You Buy. And what we both said was we’d like this to be a back pack. Make it a bit more solid. LoPro makes very good camera bags, why couldn’t they do the same thing for a quad copter? Wind that be nice to be able to strap it to your back? But they got back to me, they like the idea and they are going to turn this into a backpack.

Bryan: And they are going to call it the Know How backpack?

Fr. Robert: Okay, so let’s take a look at what is inside this crash kit. Of course I’ve got all my batteries and stuff, you will notice I have an abundance of props. Because these are the things that break the most.

Bryan: You’ve got your plastic props.

Fr. Robert: And I’ve got my carbon fiber props.

Bryan: Let’s warn people. If I had been using carbon fiber and hit one of my friends, they would have gotten a really close shave.

Fr. Robert: So I never operate carbon fiber props when I am going to be working your people. Nylon props are great. I love the carbon fiber props that if they snap, they snap really sharp. And they will cut the heck out of you. Like a hospital visit cut. 

Bryan: Definitely be on top of your game if you are going to use the carbon fiber. Bit if you were doing acrobatics stuff it is nice to have that rigidity of the prop. So you have your plastic props on the other side.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. The other things I will have is I always have my expensive props and I like to have zip ties. Zip ties come in incredibly useful. Different sizes and different colors. Of course that means you are going to have tools. So the tools I will typically have on me are the screwdrivers I need to fasten and loosen all the screws on my arms, I will also have pliers end snips. Which I typically keep in here. But they are gone now. Snips so that I can cut the zip ties down to size. The other things I always do is I always keep spare sets of parts that are easy to replace in the field. This is a unique Because remember my 450 has clockwise motors and counterclockwise motors. So I keep one of each. So that I can replace it in the field.

Bryan: Does mine have the motors that if you just switch the plugs you can do it either way?

Fr. Robert: Yes. But these are threaded. You need to keep the thread, otherwise sure drops fly off in mid-air.

Bryan: These are the plastic props that are self-tightening right?

Fr. Robert: Right. Then that are actually built in. I also carry to ESC’s. These aren’t actually ready for my kit because I carry my ESC’s cut down with the bullets on them already. So if I blow in ESC I can just pull it out, plug it in and I am good to go. They are nice and light. They are easy. Toolkit, a can of compressed air which is very important and I will explain why. And I also keep two extra arms. Typically one of each color. D important thing to remember about our crash kit is that you are not trying to prepare for every inevitability because otherwise you just carry an extra quad copter with you. You just want the parts that can be easily replaced. For example, if I were to break two arms, two motors and two ESC’s I could be back up and running probably in about 15 minutes. 

Bryan: I was planning on using it the next day to get footage. I would have been really bummed out if I hadn’t been able to use it. And they are actually very strong. If the arm hadn’t snapped, the frame probably would have snapped.

Fr. Robert: That is actually the point on these larger quad copters. The 250 is solid, it actually doesn’t impart a lot of force.

Bryan: Which makes it all the more impressive when we see those videos of snapped 250s.

Fr. Robert: But on this, if the arms are too strong that force is going to be transferred into here. And this is the part you don’t want to break.

Bryan: You aren't going to bring all another frame with you.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. End the electronics on here, so I don’t want in snapping around the electronics. I want this to break. Break an arm, because if you break a arm you probably aren’t going to destroy the ESC because this is so flexible. Break an arm, or break a motor but don’t break the frame.

Bryan: I had all the parts and I replace the arm in about 10 or 15 minutes. It didn’t take very long.

Fr. Robert: And want to get practice it is even faster. So that is what we carry in our crash box. But, there is also a post-crash procedure. This is the one that I follow. You don't have to follow it but you should have a procedure that you follow every time you put your quad into the dirt. It doesn’t have to be a crash or something breaks, this could just be a hard landing. Like you flipped it upside down and smacked it into the ground. The first thing you do is kill the power. Get the power source away from the quad. Actually I have a LiPo safe battery bag, I gave you one too. Put it in the bag and set it aside. Because you kind of want to watch it, because if it took an impact you are going to see it bubble, or pop up. That tells you that it is probably not good anymore. The second thing you want to do is you want to test with a fresh battery. So have a fresh battery in your bag because you are going to need to find out whether or not the electronics are working properly before you put it back up in the air. Third thing is to assess prop or structural damage. So look around. Not just the obvious, but flip it over and look for micro cracks. Especially on these ABS frames that can flex and then flex back. The cracks aren’t obvious. 

Bryan: I noticed on my crash along where the motor is attached at the screws, there is little fractures.

Fr. Robert: Out from the mounting holes look for that because it could mean that your motor will just let go from the frame. So, go over with a fine tooth comb and just make sure that when you put it back up in the air it is not going to fall apart again. Other thing is manually rotate the props and the motors. So with a finger, move it around because you want to see if there is any binding. 

Bryan: So you can feel resistance.

Fr. Robert: Normally it would go around benefit sticks a little bit and then goes used probably got either debris in the motor or sometimes what happens on party impacts is one of the magnets can ask to come off of the can.

Bryan: Okay. Is that what the compressed air is for?

Fr. Robert: So, I always blow compressed air through my motor is because I am probably going to get dirt in there. You really don’t want to get grit Inn there. These are sealed so they will operate forever basically. Unless you get foreign object debris end there. Then things start to wear down. Blow them out and then then next step is to check all the electrical connections. So you are looking for anything that may have shook loose. Look for the bullets, especially towards the motor or inside. Just look for the copper. If you can see copper you know it is coming apart. The next step is to power up with the props off. Take off the props, plug in a fresh battery, end just do a quick test.

Bryan: Don’t go full throttle as soon as you put it all back together.

Fr. Robert: Wind it up, see if all four motors turn end of all four motors are turning you are pretty good. Then line up to full and leave it for a few seconds to make sure you are not have any binding issues and then bring it back down. If that works then you know that you got good electronics. Be other test I like to do is to take it while it is spinning and I will tilted and listen for the motor speeding up and slowing down. That is the controller trying to fix the level.

Bryan: To make sure the controller is working properly.

Fr. Robert: That tells me that the controllers are good. And and the other part is the hover test. But the props back on, and it is just like when you are first learning to fly. Take it 3 feet off the ground and just leave it there. 

Bryan: And see if it starts tilting one way or another?

Fr. Robert: Did I mess up my trim, is something dragging and also if it is going to fall out of the air you wanted to fall out of the air 3 feet.

Bryan: What happened to me is when I first put to zip ties on the arm to hold it together and what happened when I was doing my hover test is that the arm that was broken was slightly higher than the other three. I could see it. The propeller was off tilt. And it was just fighting itself.

Fr. Robert: That is what you are looking for. Those little signs. And then this is the fun part. Punch out test. Punch out just means that you go full throttle. Debts not really a test, I just like putting it in there. Although really it is because that is the most stressful thing your quad is going to do. If it passes the punch out test then you are good to fly.

Bryan: It is so much fun. You could see in the video when I did the punch out on the 450. So the 250 sounds like a bunch of little angry bees, these 450s sound mean. 

Fr. Robert: Like a Harley versus the Kawasaki.

Bryan: As close as you could get. As far as quad copters go.

Fr. Robert: Before we move away from this segment I did want to show you this. I had a weird thing happened to me last night. For some reason in my booze brain, I thought it was Thursday and I didn’t have a show until 1 o’clock. So I was up until 4 o’clock and then I realized oh wait, I have to be up in four hours. Because I am going to be taking a trip in a couple of days, I am driving across the United States to help a friend move, so I wanted to bring my quad copter. I want to gimbal so that I can get some smooth shots. That if you put the gimbal in its normal place here, the legs get in the shot. If you put the camera up here the props get in a shot. So, I actually hung this gimbal off the front ledge where the camera stabilization platform normally goes. It is low enough that it doesn’t see the props but it is also forward and not that it doesn’t see the legs.

Bryan: Can you balance that out okay?

Fr. Robert: Oh yes. So what happens is I've got a battery, the battery goes all the way to the back plus I’ve got a smaller battery so this actually goes on the back plate like that. And it gives it just enough ballast to even itself out.

Bryan: Oh, so that is the separate battery for the gimbal.

Fr. Robert: I always use a separate battery just because I don’t want to cut into my flight time. And I’ve got so much cargo carrying capacity on this thing it really isn’t going to matter.

Bryan: Looks like you really nailed down that gimbal.

Fr. Robert: So, the nice thing about this is that the location is going to lend itself to getting butter smooth shots.

Bryan: That is what the 450 is great for. I had a lot of fun with the GoPro on it.

Fr. Robert: Oh by the way, I named my Quad. Catbud. 

Bryan: It is just going to make it hurt even more when you crash it, Padre.

Fr. Robert: I know. 

Bryan: Mine is just names Quaddy. 

Father Robert; Someone is asking why I can’t have a retracting gimbal. I’ve actually got a retracting landing system. But I haven’t had time to put it in yet. I will say, I kind of butchered the frame a little bit. To get the gimbal to tie on. soap, and are here is the frame that normally held the clean plate. I wanted to make clean cuts but I was really tired so I just used my Dremel and you can’t really see it but these cuts are so rough. I will show you how to do this. End then I inverted the gimbal so that the controller is actually on the top plate rather than on the bottom plate. But I just wanted to get it working. I am almost positive that those bolts are going to let go at some point. So I am going to have to secure this before I do serious flying. Folks, we know that this has been a lot of material. That is every show. We know the SSD build is really easy to do but you still need to order the parts, and go get one of these. You are going to love it. And also you want your procedures for your crash kit. And maybe you want to take a look at some CNC routers. But before we go, I thought may be Alex could play a parting shot. 3-D printing is cool. CNC cutting is cool. But what if you could combine the two and have 3-D printing of metal? This actually comes to us from William in the Google plus group. He sent and a video when he was with his son and his son took a quick video of the metal printing machine that he has at work.

Bryan: So metal 3D printing with lasers?

Fr. Robert: The way it works is you got a nice little container of titanium. So that little thing that spreads out a layer of the powder and then you have a laser that goes over end you are going to see it start shooting the structure everywhere the laser hits it is going to flash smell that metal, that powder and turn it into a solid. And it just keeps doing this layer after layer after layer. It is like a 3-D printer except it is building it like that. The cool thing about a process like this is that it is working like 3-D printing but it is metal. It is solid. It is not plastic. It is cool technology. I was actually thinking about building one, but I need a higher power laser. I think the minimum is a 40 W CO2 laser.

Bryan: I was wondering how he was burning all those holes.

Fr. Robert: That, that might be a future Know How project. If you want to center metal, or freaking lasers we might be doing that. Folks, don’t forget that you can get everything from our show notes. Which they find where?

Bryan: I believe that is And all our past episodes are there too. You can download the audio, video low or high. End if we are doing a project where there are prices or you need links to find stuff, like our SSD stuff. It is all going to be on the show page.

Fr. Robert: The best of us are on our Google plus group. It is the most active group in the twit Army.

Bryan: If you go on there, be prepared two have an hour ahead of you to just thumb through the stuff.

Fr. Robert: It is so much fun. I love what you guys come up with. Just go to Google plus and search for the Know How group. I think we are like 8700 members now. I want to get more people in there because we’ve got brilliant people closing projects, answering questions.

Bryan: People posting their crash videos. Which I should probably just throw that on there.

Fr. Robert: We’ve got a couple coming up. I pulled out some of the best. If you don’t like Google plus you can always find us on Twitter. You can find me @PadreSJ. 

Bryan: And I’m @cranky_hippo.

Fr. Robert: And if you want to talk to our TD @anelf3.

Bryan: There he is, the man in the shadows.

Fr. Robert: Until next time, I’m Father Robert Ballecer.

Bryan: And I’m Bryan Burnett.

Fr. Robert: And now that you know how…

Bryan: Go break it! Or fix it with zip ties and then break it again. 


All Transcripts posts