Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Level of commitment...Budget and Life.

Level of commitment.

A Number of people have commented on how fast things are going together. I think this reflects on the number of hours we are putting in on the project. I worked 8am to 2am Saturday and  10am to 10:30 pm Sunday.  Monday I did a full day of work at NetBurner Then spent the evening organizing some of the electronics planning connectors etc.. I went to bed at the early hour of 10:30pm. Today I got up at 6:30 am and went into work to spend 2 hours building our control PCB’s under the surface mount microscope. I then worked till 1pm and took 1/2 day off to spend some time with my wife. (More on why later in the post) Then I worked from 7:00 pm to 11:30 making servo mounts. I will do it all again Wednesday. I’m a bit tired, but it feels good. For all of you who read the blog and are not working on some dream or project, turn off the TV and do it. It will feel better than anything you have ever done.


Last year we had some cash  set aside for the project, we used most of what was set aside. This year we are funding the project directly out of current income. Last year cost almost never figured into the project. If we needed a part or a tool we had it next day.This year we are much more cost aware. Things like building the SMT board myself instead of sending them to our prototype house to have them build them at $500 a pop.  Ordering the raw PCB’s with 5 day lead rather than 2 day etc…. Now in my primary day job we send a lot (more than a million $) of work to the PCB assembly house and I could call them up and say its a personal project and they would probably assemble them for free, but that is not how I do business. All business needs to be mutually beneficial and nobody makes money giving freebies. We have no budget issue with building two of this vehicle. The second vehicle we will lighten to the maximum extent possible. Based on our design info that may be enough to do the 180 second flight on 90% peroxide. It may not. If it is not we may seek sponsorship for the 180 second vehicle development. If anyone would like to associate their corporate image with our project please feel free to contact me.(  Paul At Romeo Alpha Sierra, Delta Oscar Charlie dot COM  Here to decode )



I would not be remotely as capable as I am if was not for my father. He taught me to build things, work on things and not to be afraid of hard work.  He was a career Coast Guard Pilot and retired to start a bush airline in Alaska when I was 12. He earned the Air Medal twice for daring rescues and in 20+ years in aviation in the harshest weather in the world never had a Fatality under his command. If you’ve seen the Discovery channel shows about crab fishing in Alaska, that is where dad flew for the Coast Guard. He did two tours of duty in Kodiak and one in Annette Island. Unlike todays Coast guard where pilots fly either Helicopter or Aircraft he flew both the large flying boats  and the helicopter. When my dad was stationed in the lower 48 he designed built and raced small outboard hydro-planes. He called his boats Flying splinters, hence the name for the vehicles in this project “Burning splinter”. In any case my dad is 78 and loosing contact with reality. He is to the point where he can not live alone and needs assistance with daily living. My step mother is going on a business trip and vacation to Paris for 14 days and we are taking care of my dad while she is gone. We have done this for shorter periods before, but two weeks is going to be a challenge. That is why I took the afternoon off to go hang out with my wife, for the next two weeks we will get very little personal space. I also expect that progress on the project will slow, but not stop. My dad likes to sit in the garage and watch us work. We are getting used to being asked what it is we are building…every 60 seconds like clock work.  


Wouter said...

And still you somehow find the time to update the blog to keep us up to date. You must have an amazing wife to have her support you to this extend.

You are inspiring, Paul. I mean it. I have dreams of projects to do, but indeed I spend too much time watching TV when I'm not at work. Maybe that should change soon.


heroineworshipper said...

My old man never built ANYTHING. "Buy it because it's cheaper" was the word of the times. Oh yeah, and save all your money. Well now he's broke with a pile of fiat money that won't even buy a fence.

What worked in the 80's doesn't work anymore. Got to save things instead of money & keep those DIY skills sharp.

In Silicon Valley, everyone does Web 2.0 by day because that's where the money is & builds robots by night because that's where the value is.

455rocket said...

Life is usually not a smooth ride and for most people after work/family/chores and the problems of life there's little energy left for anything else, let alone complex challenges. You are doing a great job... keep it up. I wish you and your family all the best.