Miscellaneous stuff


Miscellaneous Stuff

Updated Oct 24, 2003 with new digital camera info.


People are always asking me how I make the pictures that appear on my web site. Up until early 1998, and took them with a Canon film camera and scanned them at 72 dpi. From then until late in 1999, I used an Olympus D-220L digital camera. At web resolutions (640x480), you really can't tell the difference in the two, but the $250 digital camera sure saved a lot of time, and film. It's already paid for itself several times. Several of us went to Wales for 6 weeks on business, and we took 2700 pictures with my D-220L. At an average cost of $10 per roll (which includes developing) I saved the company $1125! Batteries are rechargeable, so the cost was just about nothing! And the beauty is that we can email pictures (like we did from Wales) or transport every one of them on a single CD. No trips to the photo shop for reprints. And each 640x480 photo is only 100k, uncompressed. A little compression (using something like Paintshop) will get it down to 30K or so, with no real image degradation. That means the rather smallish 8M Smartcard will hold 80 pictures before you have to download, or just pop another one in for another 80 pictures.

But the real secret to my photography is "available light". Rather than letting the camera blast the subject with the strobe, I set it up on a tripod and set the self timer to eliminate camera shake induced by pushing the shutter button. When buying a camera, make sure that it will do both self timer and "flash suppress" at the same time. I know an Agfa that I bought at first wouldn't do both at the same time, because the same button toggled between them!

Back in December of 1999 I bought an Olympus C-2500L, an SLR digital camera that rivals film cameras in versatility and picture quality. If you'd like to see what it's capable of, check out this snapshot of my son Jordan that I made a few minutes after taking it out of the box (at http://www.n56ml.com/99120818.jpg, 512Kb). It cost $1000 at the time (now down to $600), but I was so spoiled by the D-220L digital camera that I never took pictures of the kids anymore with the film camera, so I needed a digital camera good enough for portraits of the kids. And with the 32M card it comes with I could take almost 400 pictures on one SmartCard at 640x480! Of course now I'm spoiled by the 1710 x 1520 resolution, which only gets me 60 pictures per card. So I now also have a 256 Meg Compact Flash card for it as well (it uses both, at the same time!), so I can take about TWO THOUSAND pictures at 640x480 without even bothering to download, or 450 photos at 1710 x 1520, the high resolution that I normally use. So now I don't bother to carry a laptop on long trips just to collect photos. Most of my web page photos taken between 1999 and October of 2003 were made with this camera. It is especially excellent for serious macro work, since you can fill the viewfinder with a postage stamp.

The one to buy now (October 2003) is the Canon Digital Rebel E0S 300D. For details, see the review at Steve's Digicam webpage. Ritzcamera.com is selling it with the lense for $1000. Make sure you don't accidently buy it WITHOUT the lense from somewhere else. You can't buy the lense separate, and it's a bargain at only $100 bucks. This is another "breakthrough" digital SLR camera, using the new CMOS technology. This is a real SLR with twist-to-focus focus and zoom, just like you're probably used to on your old SLR. SLR means "single lens reflex", which means you're actually seeing what the lense sees through the viewfinder, rather than an approximation through a little window. Although this new camera has 3 times the resolution of my old one, the big attraction is the ISO 1600 speed, which is a giant leap over my C-2500L's 100 ISO speed. Now I won't need to carry a tripod every where I go! I'll hand down my C-2500L to my kids so they can hone their photography skills.

All of the images on my web site are saved at 72 dpi, and most are compressed (using Cyberview) down to about 25K for faster downloading. Cyberview displays the image in two side by side panes. You slide a little slider to the right and watch the file size plummet and the the image degrade slightly, until you get to a level you can live with and save it. It's amazing how much compression you can do before there's any real difference in image quality, depending on where you start from. I have a directory I named "shrinker" that I put all of the output in, which I then send to my website for inclusion into a web page. That way my original picture files remain uncompressed. I use PaintShopPro (available from http://www.shareware.com last time I checked) to crop and resize images before I compress them. But it's easier to just shoot them at 540x480 to begin with, so you can at least skip the resizing step and go straight to compression.

As for the actual writing of the web page, visit the "HTML PRIMER" , and read the first few pages. This stuff is dirt simple. So simple, every page I do I do from scratch (well, I copy one of my previous ones and cut most of the old one out and replace it with new stuff). Then go visit somebody's SIMPLE web page. I'd recommend mine at http://home.hiwaay.net . Go up to the top of your browser and pick "View" and then "Source" and you'll open the page in Notepad or some other text editor. Compare what you see in the text file with what you see on the screen. You can save that file to your hard disk and edit the crap out of it. Just take my page and look it over, delete most of the stuff between the two "body" tags (one at the top, and one at the very bottom), change the URLs, image names, etc, and call it your own. Don't get somebody's complicated one that was made with Word or something and saved to HTML, or you'll never be able to figure out what all those funny symbols are.

There are really only about 6 or 8 little things to know about HTML, and you only use about 4 "tags" over and over to make a web page. When you're done, you "ftp" this file and any associated images to "your" web space (usually your default login area at your ISP) and you will be in business. If you name your main page "index.html" it will open automatically if present in any directory. So my main page is but you don't have to type the "index.html" part. As you surf other web pages that have features that you'd like to copy, view source, cut and paste, and edit to get what you want. Database stuff is a whole nuther matter, however, and will require further studies on your part. Questions regarding where to put your files and how to get them there can be better answered by your ISP, but basically you use something like WS_ftp32 to get them there and update them later.

You can always use one of the free HTML editors, or even Word and save something to HTML, but you'll be clueless as to how to fix problems if you don't know the basics. Personally, I don't like all that garbage in my HTML file. If you want to know what I mean by "garbage", just check out most commercial web sites (with "View Source") and you'll be instantly intimidated by the level of complexity of the code. By keeping it simple I have a complete understanding of what's going on, and I never have problems to fix that take more than a few seconds...


If the rest of this page looks like somebody just threw it together from a bunch of pictures, there's probably a good reason for it. Occasionally I throw stuff out here for people, and this is the easiest way to keep from losing it...

For those wondering what size wire to use when wiring their panel, please see the chart below (this chart is also shown at http://www.n56ml.com/tbe/wiresize.html).

B&S GAUGE			22	20	18	16	14	12	10

milliohms/ft @68F 16.1 10.1 6.4 4.0 2.5 1.6 1.0

max fuse size (Amps, 7' max) 5 7 10 15 20 25 35 max Amps, 15' 2.1 3.3 5.2 8.3 13 20 33 max Amps, 20' 1.6 2.5 3.9 6.2 10 15 25 max Amps, 25' 1.2 2 3 5 8 12 20 max Amps, 30' 1 1.6 2.5 4 6.6 10 16 max Amps, 35' 0.9 1.4 2.2 3.5 5.7 8.9 14 max Amps, 40' .78 1.2 1.9 3.1 5 7.8 12 max Amps, 45' .69 1.1 1.7 2.7 4.4 6.9 11

These sizes are based on 0.5 volt drop. Composite and wood/cloth airplanes double distance for ground. Subtract 10% from current capacity for operation at 120F. Make sure your wires can handle the max capacity of the breakers to which they are connected. The whole point of breakers is to protect you from the smoking insulation of overheated wires (not to mention a subsequent fire), not to protect the devices at the end of the line. I sized my breakers to be at least 25% larger than the total of the devices they protect, and the wire the next size larger. My breakers are combination switch/breakers, made by Carlingswitch (see www.pocosales.com), but no longer sell in small quantities like my instrument panel. Newark sells the 5A and 10A version though. Potter Brumfield makes a nice one too (see AS&S catalog for only $13 or so) but it has a cheesy looking translucent orange rocker. The Carlingswitch rockers come in a multitude of configurations and colors, if you can find a supplier that will sell in small quantities. I highly recommend them.


This is the "differential elevator" mechanism from Don Cornwell's KR2. This concept was detailed in the October 89 KR Newsletter by Howard Kaiser. This was located half way between the stick and the elevator, and the cables were pinned into place inside the "pullies". The idea is to connect the round part to the stick cable and the elliptical part to elevator cable, and the elevator doesn't move much with large stick movements and moves more as the stick gets closer to the ends of its travel. I'm not sure that this works, and Lancair's solutions would indicate that this might be exactly backwards, so I'm not sure that I would try it, unless it's easily swapped out for a normal system.


This shows the area included for a wing tank located at the wing root of the RAF48. Use of the AS5048 will get you 20% more fuel in the same area, not to mention a 17% stronger main spar. There's 231 cubic inches in a gallon, so if your stub wings are 24" long, each would hold (24 x 108.6) / 231=11.3 gallons. I think the plans call for tanks in the outboard wings though, which taper a bit. And if you have tri gear, you have the gear leg bracket to dodge, which cuts into fuel tank volume considerably. Maybe the outboard wing is the ticket for tri gear.


My elevator counterweight.


Split flap system for the KR as done on N56ML.


Frise aileron for the KR, again as on my airplane.




This is the shape of the template that I made for the aft edge of my Dragonfly canopy.


This was a test to see if a "rolled" hinge (rather than extruded) could hold 150 pounds. It did! That's enough to prove to me that 72 inches of this will last far longer than the aileron or wing itself. That's a four inch long hinge. A 72 inch long hinge would carry 2700 pounds, which is more than my car weighs!


A view of my adjustable horizontal stabilizer, along with the elevator counterbalance. If you're wondering how it's adjustable, right now it's not. The spar is clamped between two angles on each side. If adjustment is required, I'll remove the two bolts on the front side, insert a drill thru the two angles (with sandwiched spar) and slot the spar. My spar is 3" tall, so I can afford a slight elongation. 1/10" will get me .75 degrees of incidence change.




Lionheart, near Moontown airport near Huntsville, AL. This was with a wide angle lense, so you know he was close! I took this out the window of Rick Stroud's Swift, with the window rolled down.


I think this canopy latch was in a Lancair 320 at the Perry Gathering.


Here's a comparison of the RAF48 and the AS5048, set at .5 degrees of incidence. I think 1 degree is probably a better bet for now.


I think this also appears in one of the KROnline articles, but it never hurts to show it twice.


Design data for Spruce and Douglas Fir. What is neglects to mention is the weight penalty that goes with the Doug Fir. And it doesn't mention the number one reason to go with Doug Fir, the PRICE! Be sure to get "aircraft grade", whichever you use.


A simple stick design.



Troy Petteway's original weight and balance sheet.


This is an image that Mark Lougheed (who did a stability analysis on the AS5046 wing) created using CFD analysis. It shows the wing at an incidence of 4 degrees and the flow field surrounding it.


Some more of Mark Lougheed's wing CFD work.


As is this, the new airfoil about to stall at 16 degrees of incidence.


Here's a very light Type 4 intake manifold runner made of thin steel, by Eurorace. The center casting is a little heavier, and the opening is wrong for our application. I think the whole thing was only $85.


Graphic demo of why it would be nice to change the bottom of the fuselage to match the AS5048 wing's aft end.


Jim Wier's antenna design, as published in Kitplanes. I built one, and the reception is astounding!


Basic gear design parameters.


Here's how I built my canopy hinge, modeled around the Beetle (Ghia) hood hinge. The left edge is the firewall, and the green lines are a scale, 1" apart.


View of the hinge brackets from the cockpit.


Here's a Dragonfly compared to a KR2S canopy. The Dragonfly is a lot longer too, but lighter because it's thinner.


Front view of the aft edge of the canopy, and aft deck in purple.


Here's how I defined the aft edge of the canopy to digitize it, using a polar coordinate system.


3D surface of the Dragonfly canopy, which I've since managed to delete, somehow.


Here's how I plan to do my cowling, somewhat like a missile. I think the engine in this view is a sub-atomic particle accelerator.


My instrument panel dimensions, which are just about stock. I scaled it from the S drawing package.


Prop drive shaft that I've since redesigned several times, and relegated to the Type 4 back burner, now that I've discovered the Corvair.


This shoulder belt design is for the KR series, sanctioned by RR.



Thse are the drag L/D plots of the 23012 airfoil. Note the point at which the wing stalls, very abruptly.


The23015 isn't any better, but is used on many spam cans, including the Piper 140.


Engineering data for Aeropoxy.



Here's what's kept me so busy for the last 2 years, Teledyne Brown's 25,000 pound aircraft loader, shown during testing at Travis Air Force base.


Solid Edge model of the loader. It takes a Gigabyte of RAM just to load it!


N56ML, with Corvair engine installed.


I bought this car new in 1974. Doesn't look too bad for 26 years old does it? It will blow the doors off of a stock 5 liter Mustang, and badly embarass any Porsche that's not lucky enough to have a turbo. I've done everything ever done to this car since it was bought, including the Imron paint job in 1988.




Compufire ignition installed on 009 distributor. Note fan shroud matches the rest of the Karmann Ghia.


This is a 3D model of the house that my wife and I designed (she did all the CAD work) and built (ourselves!) in 1990. Every board is in place. The plans were created by cutting sections thru the walls and dimensioning them...

  • Opinions, recommendations, and other biased information


    This is the beginning of some KRNet messages that I've typed several times and want to hang on to.

    The 009 has a total of 8.5 degrees of advance, which after being multifplied by 2 for crank advance is 17 degrees. That means that if you want to run a total advance of 27 degrees (which is about right for an airplane, maybe 28) you'd need to set the timing statically at 10 degrees BTDC (before top dead center), which is typical for cars as well. If you don't have timing marks, you can figure out where to put them by ascertaining where top dead center is (a screwdriver in the spark plug hole for number one, or better yet, a dial indicator) and mark the average of the two places where the piston starts moving again. The best way to do this is with a dial indicator with the head off, pressing on the piston top, and mark TDC on the back of the prop hub or flywheel where you can see it later.

    Then you can use an "advancing" timing light (dialed in to 27 degrees) to show the timing mark (dynamically) when the engine is wide open throttle. Watch that prop though! See ~http://www.n56ml.com/1aug98yp.jpg to see Jim Hill doing exactly that with my timing light Dynamically is certainly the most accurate way to do this, but you can get pretty close (assuming your distributor advance is working properly) by setting it at 10 degrees BTDC with the engine off, and then just check it at WOT. You can also add a mark at 27 degrees BTDC and use a normal timing light (non-advance) but you'll have to use pi and the diameter of your prop hub (or pulley) to figure the circumferential distance around the hub (or pulley) to find the proper location to put it. (Diameter x 3.14) x (27/360), which is 1.4 inches for a 6 inch prop hub.

    The problem with the 009 is that the advance is not all "in" until 2700 rpm, which is another good reason to check it dyanamically. Unless you're hitting 2700, your distributor is never advancing all the way.

    The Compufire doesn't factor into the equation. It just fires when the "electronic points" tell it to, so all other distributor characteristics are the same. Excellent choice, the Compufire.

    My bet is that a lot of engines out there are not living up to their potential because the timing is not set correctly. So easy to do, and so important to power output and engine longevity.

    More to come, a little at a time...