Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Too Many Dans on the Dance Floor


We've been all about getting together a fully functioning GOAT.


We've spent more long hours in the machine shop with Spencer.


We've tackled all of our "Road to Greenbelt" tasks and added more.


With so many people leaving for internships we've added an "intern" of our own. Here he is greasing the vacuum chamber without gloves as a form of hazing. 


The big push lately has been getting the "GOAT guts" all wired together and ready to roll. We've been trying to get an absolutely completed version of the GOAT for thermal testing. It's been a bit of a slog. Late supplies, new plot twists, low personnel and issues during testing have been challenging.


The GOAT is a fully sealed metal box with no hinges so you can imagine that it's a pain in the patoot to put together. We were hoping to weld some of the nuts onto the brackets so that you could put the thing together without being an ethereal octopus. It became clear that the zinc coating was going to make that impossible.




It was pretty exciting the day we got the whole thing together and finally weighed it. After months of staring at it in various reports...here it was! This lifted our spirits quite a bit. 

It's sometimes frustrating but things are getting done. The catchphrase on the team when something goes horribly wrong is, "We're learning."

But that's the truth. Every time something fails, it doesn't really, we're learning. This is why we test things and when the test doesn't work it means that we've prevented a disaster on launch day. Then we just troubleshoot the problem, improve the design and learn!


One day we even reached critical mass of Dans. 


And another day we reached critical mass of doughnuts! 

And then finalllllly after two weeks of preheating the incubator, we got to do some thermal testing with the real rig at 50 degrees C. Our early tests show that everything keeps running (yay!) but that the seal on the BABI starts to fail as things heat up. Also, our voltage regulator kicks out a troubling amount of heat.


We've also figured out the best ways to test our sensors.


You can seal a match in a beaker and make enough sulfur dioxide to see some readings on the sensors.


And a Bunsen burner with natural gas will make byproducts that will test all of our sensors at once.
 

The last thing we did was to test our GOAT in vac in the incubator. It wasn't the best test because it was like a Russian nesting doll of heat. BABI inside of GOAT, GOAT inside vac chamber, and chamber inside of incubator. It took a long time for the heat to get from the incubator into the GOAT. Our pump continued to perform so we're happy about that.

We are going to make some changes to BABI before we move on with more endurance testing. We're down to a small crew, summer is getting busier and time before MINI is limited. 

But.

We're learning.