Sunday 26 April 2015

New Workshop - Roof

Just another quick end of the week progress report on the workshop.  This week the roof has been tiled and pointed so other that the lack of doors we are finally water proof.  The remainder of the beading and scratch coat has been applied so things are moving along nicely.

Next week we should be getting the soffits, fascias and guttering up. If the weather holds off and with a bit of luck we may even get the render on.

Friday 17 April 2015

New Workshop - Scratch That

This will just be a quick progress report, largely to help me keep track of progress. Things started slow this week but really picked up as the week continued.  The scaffolding has now been taken down giving for the first time a feel of how big the space is. Some times it feels huge others a bit narrow, but regardless its much bigger than the old one!  Work has started on the rendering.  Nearly all the beads are on and both end wall have received there scratch coats. 

The roofing membrane is now in place along with most of the tile lath. Friday afternoon the tiles arrived so all being well the roof should be completed by the end of next week providing the weather plays ball!

Sunday 12 April 2015

3D Printing - Printrbot

I first saw the Printrbot kit on a Tested week of builds and as they seemed to like it I decided to order a kit. I was just about to order when a friend who I had discussed the printer with told me he had ordered one so I decided to wait and see how he got on with his.  Pretty much everything I heard was positive so after something of a long wait whilst other things got in the way I placed an order which arrived about a month ago.

Finally had a bit to spare time this weekend so decided to build my Printrbot Metal with heated bed kit.  I've had the kit for some time so was itching to get it done.  It was all in all a pretty simple build but there were a couple hassles / problems along the way.

  1. There are currently no instructions for the version with heated bed, you have to figure it out using the the Printrbot Metal assembly instruction and the upgrade to heated bed instructions. This is not the end of the world but you do have to think thing through, some one not experienced in this type of thing might find it a bit confusing.
  2. The kit came with the heated bed insulator for simple metal, which is a good thing as with out it it would appear the bed struggles to get to a high enough temperature for ABS. There is however no mention of what to do with these in either set of instructions.  I did later find some upgrade instructions on the Printrbot site, although not until I had completed the rest of the build.  When I am ready to start printing ABS I will fit this upgrade but until then, I will leave things as they are.
  3. The biggest issue I had was that I could not get the Printrbot to power up to start with, naturally I assumed I has made a mistake somewhere along the way.  I started checking everything thinking I might of shorted something out or plugged something into the wrong port.  After a lot of trouble shooting I traced the fault to the scotch block they had used to plug the switch line low.  It had not made contact on the switch line.  It was a quick fix but finding the fault wasted a lot of time!
Other than the issues mentioned above everything went pretty smoothly and whilst its a bit early to draw any conclusions I pretty happy with it. So far I have only printed a test block and the fan cowl but I am looking forward to having a go at printing something a bit more complex.  I am also keen to have ago at using OctoPI to control and monitor it, when I do I will post how I get on.

Sunday 5 April 2015

DataOn 1640 - On trial - Final Thoughts

So before we get to the specifics about the DataOn 1640, a few words about SOFS and Storage Spaces.  In short I'm really impressed, I had played with them both in a visualized lab environment but this was the first time I had used them with physical hardware.  Up until now we have been using internally and selling solutions either based on Starwind or HP Storageworks, in the future I thing in most cases my first port of call will be SOFS and Storage Spaces.  Its quick and simple to setup and does not require any propitiatory hardware or software.  The other big benefit is that its very simple to expand for extra capacity and or performance.

There are however a couple of issues with going down this route.  The main one seems to be persuading clients that this really is faster than there existing iSCSI solution (in fact in may cases we have found it faster them Fiber Channel based solutions as well).  The other is the usual difficulty of getting people to spend money on a software based solution, they just seem happier to spend money on hardware (often because they can get asset finance.

Back to the DataOn hardware its self. First of all its worth noting this is a very simple device, it does very little, but what it does it does very well.  There really is very little you can say about it, other than that through out our testing it performed flawlessly.  As I mentioned previously the disc carriers are a little flimsy but other than that the build quality is excellent.  Its worth noting that HP have now got there 3700 series enclosures certified so this is certainly an option and we will be testing them soon. Going that route however does mean you would need to buy discs via HP at up to a three times price premium although if you already have HP disks to transplant that could be a Bonus for you.

So to sum things up, at the risk of jumping the gun before we have had the opportunity to test the HP 3700 I think we will permanently adding a DataOn 1640 to our lab and subject to further testing going well we will be recommending the DataOn 1640 in future to our clients.

Friday 3 April 2015

New Workshop - Roof Structure

Evolution EVOMAG28 Magnetic Driller
Made loads of progress on the workshop over the last few days, despite a last minute hick up on Tuesday afternoon. The steel supplier announced that they would not be delivering the steel in the morning as agreed and that I could either take delivery in the next hour or sometime next week. Thankfully a couple of my friend and colleagues, Mark one of the developers from Asptech and Steve our heating engineer volunteered to help unload so with a lot of effort and foul language we took delivery.

First thing Wednesday morning my new magnetic driller arrived, man this thing is good.  I have hired them before but finally decided it would be worth buying one in the long term.  We took the opportunity to drill the steel whilst it was on the floor.  Unlike when drilling by hand I did all the holes with a single bit, we didn't even need to drill a pilot hole.

Then came the really hard work, getting the steel into position. I hired a genie hoist to provide the bulk of the heavy lifting but we did still need to use my old trusty chain block to raise it over the wall. Well that and Dave and Steve's inhuman strength. It does not matter how many times I put a steel in, moving something that heavy, that high in the air still leaves me feeling very nervous.  I was very glad when we had it sitting in its final position on the pad stones.

On Friday morning we bolted a timber to the top of the steel using the holes we had drilled on Wednesday.  With that in place we marked up and cut a template for the rafters, luckily everything was pretty square and even so we could cut all the rafters identically.  Thing were a bit slow going at first but after lunch we really got into our stride.

We got the last of the main rafters in just as it started to rain heavily so we decided to call it a day (we had nearly run out of timber anyway, as I had not though we would of got so much done).  So thanks to Gareth, Jonathan, Rich, Rob and Steve for all your hard work and hopefully we will be able to get the barge board rafters in tomorrow.