Wednesday, October 15, 2014

'Beyond the Stream Table' and 'Using the Emriver Em2' at GSA 2014 Vancouver

Next week in Vancouver at the Geological Society of America annual meeting, there will be two Emriver-related digital posters included in the Pedagogical Use of Physical Models topical session.

The session is on Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Vancouver Convention Centre-West Exhibition Hall C. Authors will be present from 9-11 a.m and 5-6:30 p.m.

The session will host eight additional posters, including others by Emriver model users on such topics as  alternative modeling media.

Our Steve Gough and Emriver Em3 geomodel at GSA 2013 Denver. You can see our blog post about last year's GSA here.

Little River Research & Design won’t have a booth at GSA this year, but it's one of our favorite conferences. We hope everyone has a great time in Vancouver, and we'll see you next year at GSA 2015 Baltimore!

Many thanks to our enthusiastic Emriver model teachers and researchers, particularly Matt Kuchta, who's dreamed up many ways to use his!

In the left corner you can see Matt Kuchta at our booth last year at GSA. Matt used an Xbox Kinect to make a 3D model of topography in one of our Emriver Em2 geomodels (shown here is our Em3). You can see his posts about the Emflume1 at GSA here. You can see and/or join the Google+ Emriver Working Group created and operated by Matt here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The perfect machinist's apron.

(Ed. note: No river science or geomorphology today!  This is a post about the perfect shop apron, designed at Little River Research & Design!)

As a thanks to all the professional machinists who’ve helped me online, here’s a shop apron design.

Please note I am NOT selling anything here, not the design, not aprons; just passing along my experience.

You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this years ago if, like me, you’ve not liked any of your shop aprons. I haven’t been able to find a decent ready made one, so I made my own.

 I used cotton duck fabric. I started with an old apron and modified from there.  I can sew a bit, so I made mine.  If you don’t have friend or family to sew it, you can always find a local alterations place to do it; it’s a very easy project. In that case, just mock it up with butcher paper and take it to them; a good drawing would probably work as well.

There are also patterns you could modify.   Check a fabric store.   Especially if you want one that wraps around you, I didn't; that would be too hot for me.   Having a tight wrap-around apron (check "French apron") might be just what you want.

 Above:  Me at Little River Research with my home-made apron.  It goes below my knees; one benefit is that it usually catches things I drop when I'm sitting down.

 I made the pocket high and small (and the front of the apron, too, most don’t come up high enough for me) and just the size for a few things; notebook, scriber, pencil, ruler or two — and tight to keep chips out; that’s worked great.
The wide cross straps were made by seaming a tube (think seam-welded pipe) and turning it inside out.  No skinny string digging into your neck.  And the cross strap design just slips on like a t-shirt; you don’t need any ties or buckles.  You could add these if you’re not fat like me and want to look trimmer, or keep the apron out of moving machinery.

If you do work around dangerous machinery, perhaps use big buttons where the straps join the apron; something that will disconnect if it gets caught and not drag you in; I would change that on my design.

Length is about the knee; that’s optional.  I do like that this length protects my usually bare legs, and also if you’re sitting at the bench and drop a tool or part, it usually ends up in the apron and not on the floor!  I would also change this one so the sides wrapped around a bit more; I have the habit of using the apron to wipe my hands and I often miss and hit my shirt on the sides.

If you make it yourself, I'd recommend attaching the straps at the top (front, near pocket) and then experimenting a bit with safety pins on the bottom strap attachment point (and strap length) to get it just right.    Or make them adjustable; here a big button would work; maybe even one turned out of aluminum!

Straps are bar tacked to sides, but you might want to use something that would release if machinery catches it, like a big button or snaps.  I experimented with the length and attachment point until I got it just right; just use safety pins.

 The crossed straps are very comfortable and you just put the thing on like a t-shirt, no knots to tie.  No skinny string digging into your neck all day.

Bar-tacked front straps; again, something that would release if the apron is caught in machinery might be better.  A big turned aluminum button would be pretty cool.

I put the pocket high on my chest and made it tight with just the space for things I keep there; this has worked great to keep chips out, and things don't fall out when I bend over.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Summer of Flumes

We’ve had an exciting summer at LRRD. After six years of development, the Emflume1 is now on three continents, and we seem to be busier than ever.

Back in May, Emflume1 users at the University of Adelaide Australian School of Petroleum sent us several photos, and we've shared a few here.

Geologist and Ph.D. Candidate Jess Trainor, Lecturer in Sedimentology Kathryn Amos, and Geologist and Ph.D. Candidate John Counts pose for a photo with their new Emflume1.
Jess studies the Emriver Color-Coded-by-Size Modeling Media in the Emflume1.
Jess and John experiment with the Emflume1.

Steve, Jim and I took two Emflume1s, two Em3s and one Em2 to the American Society for Engineering Education annual conference that was held in Indianapolis in June.

It was the first time Jim and I attended an ASEE conference, and it was definitely an enjoyable experience. We got to talk with some of our model users and curious LRRD newcomers as well.

Jim stands ready for thousands of visitors.
Jim demonstrates how the Emflume1 works.
A visitor experiments with an Emflume1.
Jim explains the impact of a human-built structure to the river channel in the Em3.
Anna talks with a visitor about the Em2.
Jim describes the erosion occurring in the Em2.

Later in June, Researcher II, Facilities Manager Andy Coursey with Southern Illinois University in Carbondale visited LRRD and picked up SIU's Emflume1.

Andy and Steve discuss the functions of the Emfllume1.

It's been a great season for water education, and I'm looking forward to shipping more models and the excitement continuing through the fall season!

Anna experiments with an Emflume1.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

An Emflume1 off to Switzerland!

We shipped an Emflume1 to Nikolaus (Klaus) Kuhn at the University of Basel today.

Klaus does some amazing work; check out this video at ZeroG flights.

Props to LRRD colleagues Jim Nation and Anna Durrett, who put in extra time to get this shipment done exactly right.  And to contractor John Cotter for his work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014 at Little River.

We've been too busy to blog.  Why?  Growing, busy, crazy.

A snapshot:  Beth Fisher's joined us in a planning/management role, Anna's her old self, Meriam remains our amazing business director; Keisha Lurhsen's working in the shop and office; Radia (Meriam's daughter) is a summer intern, Akiyo Matsumoto (松本 明代) is our Japanese laison.  My wife Kate's co-owner.  Jim Nation runs the shop, Cameron Lenzini is an undergrad intern; Wahid Rahman is a post-doc collaborator leaving for a new job next week, and Awoke Teshager  is an ABD engineer from SIU who will work with us on the Emflume.

Here we include our contractors John Cotter (left, a man who's certified to work on jet engines) and Bill Bauman.  No sentence, no book, could do justice to Bill and the things he's done in his life, and for Little River, so he's just Bill for now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The UK's Rivers Trust uses our Em2 to protect people from floods.
                                                                  >> Click the image above for link to video on Vimeo.

 Last winter England saw terrible flooding that has renewed concern over river and floodplain management in the UK and EU.

Parts of the UK saw the wettest January in history. 

The Rivers Trust is a key player in advancing knowledge and practice in this area; our Emriver Em2 was shown at its recent Spring Conference and featured in a well-done video news report by itv's Katie Hunter.

Flooded fields around the river Tone in Somerset. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA  (From The Guardian)
At the conference, floodplain managers from northeastern Europe and the UK discussed the ALFA initiative.  This EU-funded project aims to address increased climate-change-caused flooding in northeastern Europe.

Many thanks to Alistair Maltby (Rivers Trust Director - North) for letting us know about this coverage, and for his successful use of our model in this important role.

Our 2-meter Em2 models don't pay the bills at LRRD, but fulfill our mission to provide practical river models for education and outreach at a cost affordable to educators and non-profits.  Seeing them play this important role so well (in the able hands of Rivers Trust staff) makes us eager to get to work building more!

And speaking of building, this is a good opportunity to show Jim and Anna celebrating the shipment of our 200th model last month.

UPDATE:  June 26 Guardian article on UK flood infrastructure deficiencies.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Help us design a cart for the Emflume1.

We live in a shark-filled capitalist world where people steal designs, and the thousands of hours it took to make them.

So our design process has to be kept under wraps.  Usually.

Today I have a chance to reveal our design process and ask you for help!

Our Emflume1 --the result of five years of design effort -- was a big hit at ASEE 2014 last week.  We need a cart for it.  Design problems:

1.  The model should fit inside the cart for shipping protection and also for storage, which is a big deal for a lot of university departments. 

2.  We could build the cart from "80/20" extrusions.  Cool stuff we already use.  Or weld up an aluminum frame in-house.  Not much difference in cost.  Which would be best environmentally?  We might make 100 a year.

3. For the top and shelf, I'm considering Corian (we have a local fabricator); Starbord, HDPE, and other stuff.  Has to be very strong, zero-maintenance, and tolerate water.  The top is the toughest part of the design.

I've scoured the Internet for carts that meet our needs, and none do. 

LRRD's Jim Nation at ASEE 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA last week.