3DConnexions Spacemouse joins the workshop

To date I have used Fusion 360 with just a mouse for screen manipulation.  Over the past few months I seem to have developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my right hand. (But there again it could just be old age taking its toll). This is painful at times but does depend on what activity I am undertaking.  Some days just using a screwdriver can be taxing.  I have begun wearing an elasticated wrist and thumb support which seems to have helped. 

While watching one of my many favourite Youtubers mention was made of the big improvement in 3D image manipulation that can be achieved with a 3D mouse.   There is also some evidence that such a device does ease the strain on the wrist.

It seems there is one major player in the market and that is 3DConnexion.  I went through my previously published decision making process on a potential purchase and my Wireless Spacemouse arrived yesterday.

It is supplied with a soft storage pouch and there is a training course app with it which is straightforward.   You can then play a quiz to see how good your hand / eye coordination is.   Perhaps it is not good to dwell on the results of this ….

Initially it is certainly weird to use but then it seems to click (?) with brain and muscle memory and then becomes a major step forward when using Fusion 360.  You use your left hand on the Spacemouse and the right hand for normal mouse activity.

I like it.  In fact I like it a lot and wonder why I hadn’t latched onto it before now.

Hopefully it will ease the strain on my right wrist and probably pass the burden to my left wrist …. arthritis rules.

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3D Printed ESAB Warrior Tech Helmet Hinge Latch Plate

My TIG welding frustration suffered more than usual the other day . 

I have an ESAB Warrior Tech helmet which works really well when welding but it would not stay flipped up when I wanted to see things in daylight.   Every time I leaned forward the helmet would drop down over my eyes and thump me on the chest.  Added to the fact I was trying to TIG some thin wall tubing I was no in no mood for distractions.

Before the helmet joined the happy hunting ground over the neighbours fence I took it apart to see why the latch up action was not working.   Inspection revealed that the backing plate had cracked around the latching cam.

I could have bought a completely new head band assembly but the part in question might just be 3D printable.   The Fusion 360 sketch ended up being very complicated based on eyeball guesses on curves and centres but on the second version I had a printed replacement which did the job …. for the time being anyway.

3D printed ESAB Warrior Tech latch plate replacement
The final version of the replacement plate for the ESAB Warrior Tech welding helmet latch.

If anyone is suffering from a bruised chest let me know and I will forward the Fusion file.

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After 3 years of waiting I have finally got bees in my hive

Bees Down the Garden

This is something way left field to my usual stuff.

Three years ago almost to the day my wife bought me a beehive for my birthday.  This is not one of my normal activities and it was not a normal type of beehive.   The design is marketed and I believe manufactured in the UK by Gardeners Beehive and you can see from the picture below it is very unconventional.  It is meant to represent a hollow tree stump and is more in keeping with the natural home that bees would inhabit in the wild.

gardeners beehive
The unusual Gardener’s Beehive that has waited 3 years for some bees to arrive

The concept of the design is that once you have bees in residence you leave them alone.  No white suits, smokers etc that are the norm for conventional hives.   After the first year you can add honey boxes on the side of the hive. These act as additional storage for the bees over and above the bulk stored in the main section of the hive.  Taking honey from these additional storage boxes does not drain the bees main store which they need to survive the winter.   The hive does not deliver loads of honey in the way a conventional hive would but you get some busy pollinators buzzing round the garden.

So why has it taken three years to get bees in residence ?   To be honest I don’t know.   I followed all the instructions with the hive which detail the best location and the use of lure spray to attract the searcher bees but to no avail.    Perhaps it was because swarms are most common in June, July and August when we would normally spend time in France so we missed the opportunities.

This year, isolated at home, we have spent more time in the garden and we have now seen three swarms pass overhead.   It is quite an impressive sight if not a little intimidating. The third one took a fancy to a pear tree in our garden and this looked like a long awaited opportunity to get some residents.   

There is a couple we know in the village who are beekeepers and we quickly rang them and asked for their help. They climbed into the tree and managed to shake most of the swarm into a cardboard box and then drop the buzzing contents into the top of my peculiar hive.   It was then a matter of waiting to see if we had captured the queen and the swarm would like their new home.

Friendly local beekeepers transferring the swarm to my hive
Friendly local beekeepers transferring the swarm to my beehive

All seems well so far with lots of traffic to and from the hive so maybe the three year wait is finally over.

And if three swarms weren’t enough, next day I found a small one down in the vegetable plot clustered on one of the bed protection nets.  It seems it  is a good period for swarms.

Bee swarm in vegetable patch
Another smaller swarm the next day

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