Model Expo Sunday

Some random pics from Sunday at the 2010 Helsinki Model Expo.

The two 1:10RC scale yachts look nice, but must take an enormous amount of time to build, and are 140cm long and weigh 10kg (like a 1970-80s Marblehead?). All of which contrasts quite strongly with the MicroMagic, where presumably some of the better sailing this season will take place. We had one PIKANTO hull and some components on display, but we really don't have a handle on producing these hulls or parts at a rate or cost that would make it possible to sell or market them (yet?).

Some lathes, and a miniature Proxxon machine-park, on display. But nothing running EMC2 or the size/speed/awasomeness that would have raised my interest further. If I finish the lathe this summer I think something like a hexapod must be next on the todo-list...

1090 euros (about 1450 USD!) seems a bit steep for a MakerBot CupCake kit, which seems to cost about 750-950 USD elsewhere (googling gets me here or here or review-here). Unfortunately this kind of pricing is quite common with companies that import stuff. I won't miss these companies when they go out of business because everyone (sane) orders directly from Germany/USA/China/etc.

In a normal BLDC motor the windings are stationary on the outside, and a permanent-magnet rotor in the middle rotates. On outrunners this is reversed: the windings are stationary in the middle, and a rotor with permanent magnets is on the outside. The pictures here and here show a DIY electric motor I had not seen before. Both the windings and the permanent magnets rotate, in opposite directions. They are coupled to two propellers which rotate in opposite directions, and it apparently works quite well!

Model Expo 2010 setup

It's time for this years Model Expo in the Helsinki convention center. We set up some boats yesterday and will have Micro Magic, IOM, 5.5mrc, and as a new thing for this year 1:10RC-boats on display. The big 1:10 boats (behind the table against the wall) are built by a local enthusiast fairly accurately to scale, length ca 140cm, weight 10kg, with pretty big/sturdy fittings by modern racing radiosailing-standards.

MicroMagic sailing in the pool will be the main radio-sailing attraction as usual.

Helsinki Model Expo 2008

Model Expo along with cats, dogs, snakes, and Llamas at PetExpo, and everything family-ish you can imagine at Child'08 happened over this weekend at the Helsinki fair centre. Like last year (see here and here), we had the MicroMagic's sailing in the pool. This year with four less noisy fans and up to 10 boats.

The RC-pilots were only allowed to fly in a large hall with a net separating the planes from the public, but after the doors had closed the braver pilots did some flying over the pool!

Helsinki Model Expo 2007 - Day 3

Last day at model-expo, my first try at using google video!

First the new Futaba 2.4GHz radios. There are two wheel-model radios already on the market, and I was told two stick-radios (a 3-channel and a 6-channel model) will be in stores very shortly. Priced close to the Spektrum offerings at around 200 eur. Then to the pool for some scale-models. A fast electric racing boat after that, followed by some aerobatics, and some car-racing at the end.

(the noise from the fans was not as bad as it sounds in this video...)Then MicroMagic sailing! We had a lot of fun and a fair bit of spectators for each of our sailing shows, about 15-20 minutes every hour. You can see that the two fans we brought with us don't cover all of the pool, and that the wind speed is quite fast near the fans and lighter downwind. More boats and more fans for next year!

When someone interested came to talk to us it was so easy just to point to the many MicroMagic vendors and say 'there, that's where you get it and it costs around 250eur with everything (boat, radio) included.' This relates to what I wrote earlier, I believe the success of the micromagic largely depends on it being cheap and easily available.

So, for the IOM class to experience continued growth I think it would be a great help if a competitive boat would be mass-produced (in ABS or similar). I know Graham B in the UK and John E in the USA have had some plans... but nothing seems to have materialized yet. Newcomers to our sport don't want to send 1000 or more euros overseas and then wait 3-6 months for a (hand made) boat, they want their new boat now, cheaply, and from the local hobby store.

Thanks to Jari for lending me his MiniDV camera.

Helsinki Model Expo 2007 - Day 2

A long day at Model Expo today...

Our main new attraction for this year was Micro Magic sailing in the pool - and it worked great!

This picture shows a general view of the pool, the marks, and the blowers(the yellow and blue fans at the top of the picture) that created wind for us. The size of the pool was 14x17m and we sailed a windward-leeward course along the diagonal of the pool.

Here the boats are rounding the leeward marks.

Rounding the top mark, with one of the fans in the foreground.

Looking for the stream of quickly moving air on the run.

What can be done better next year? Now we have three boats, but there's certainly room for more. Perhaps up to 6-8 MicroMagics could be sailing at the same time. I'm sure that would please the crowd as there will then always be something to watch and incidents all the time. One or two more fans would not hurt either. The power of the fans was fairly OK with a nice gust towards the top of the course and steady decreasing wind towards the leeward marks. Finally, frequency allocation between us, the motor boats, the car track, and robo-war was a bit of a hassle - bring only 2.4 GHz radios next time!

A general trend across all disciplines in model hobby(cars, boats, airplanes, etc.) seems to be towards smaller, lighter, and cheaper models. New tiny electronics makes it possible to build these models. Here's a plane with a small LiPo cell in the front (I'm told these cells can come from bluetooth headsets or similar), a combined receiver/motor controller in the middle, and two motors in each wing for propulsion/control (people use motors from CD-players, cell-phone vibration alarms etc)

Even the smallest mini servos are too heavy for the lightest models, so people use these more or less home-made coil/magnet actuators. There are two magnets, one on the moving control surface, and one on the stationary part. The stationary magnet attracts the moving magnet and thus centers the control surface. When a current is applied to the coil the control surface can be deflected each way. Weight 0.3g . Brilliant!

More and more devices are showing up on 2.4 GHz. This is a ready-to-fly plane and transmitter from the Kyosho stand. With the electronics becoming cheaper and cheaper all the time I'm sure these things will show up in supermarkets for about 50 eur or so.

There were many heli/airplane simulators hooked up to a computer and a wall-projector. Great fun, and no expensive re-building after each crash. I might actually get one...

Another futuristic looking transmitter from the Kyosho stand. (is it for a simulator?)

One company was showing tiny cnc-lathes and mills. These were from some uknown Asian company. Looks like they are entry-level hobby-cnc stuff: small stepper motors connected to normal threaded screws.

These machines are kind of cute, and may be suitable for making a small number of very small parts in soft materials. I'm afraid that Jari's and my own cnc-hobby (or is it an addiction? 🙂 ) will require something substantially bigger and more expensive for our next machine (think Haas Minimill or similar...)

A nice long-exposure shot of one of many slotcar tracks.

I'm hoping to shoot some sailing videos tomorrow.

Preparing for Model-Expo

I spent most of the afternoon and evening preparing the Finnish RadioSailors stand at the Helsinki Model Expo which will be open Friday - Sunday. The plan is to have 2 IOMs, one 5.5mrc, and about three MicroMagics on display. A 32" LCD screen displays sailing videos while people interested in the sport can pick up an information leaflet or ask questions from our club members who will be manning the stand. New for this year is MicroMagic sailing in the pool (which is 22cm deep I am told) on Saturday and Sunday. Timo and his team from Tampere are bringing three MicroMagics while I fixed the wind: two powerful blowers leased from cramo (the two black dots in the far corner of the pool below). A quick test run showed that two blowers of this size were quite well suited for the 14x17 m pool. When blowing diagonally across the water all but the extreme corners were covered with wind, and even at the far end we had at least 2 m/s. Ofcourse the wind speed distribution is a bit uneven with the speed going significantly up close to the fans, but you can't have it all...

Helsinki Model-Expo 2006

This years Model Expo was held during 5-7 of May 2006 at the Helsinki fair centre.

The Finnish RC-Sailors exhibited a Noux IOM and a local class boat, the 5.5mrc. Our stand was moderately interesting to the 10000 or so visitors with a handful of people interested in either buying second-hand boats or building a boat from a kit.

These radio yachts caught my camera - both probably too small to sail well in all but drifting conditions... To my annoyment, the importer of the ThundreTiger Voyager continues to market the boat as a 1M, or One Meter, or similar - a boat which of course does not come even close to an IOM, the worldwide premier radio sailing competition class.

Two nicely built still-models of sailboats. I understand the Swan can actually be driven around using an electric motor - unfortunately not sailed !

One of the electric competition boats that were skillfully driven around on the indoor pond. Unfortunately the depth was not enough for us to go sailing... (+we would have needed big fans to generate wind)

The Futaba 2.4GHz system, still not on the market according to the contacts I spoke with. Probably will be during the summer months. If the preliminary price indications are correct the Spektrum DX6 is probably a better buy.

The flying hall hosted all kinds of flying exhibitions with free-flying, rubber-band, or electric helicopters and airplanes. Here a 'freestyle' competition where aerobatic flying is performed to music and judged.

Among the flying modelers, a simulator like this was definitely the thing to have on the stand. Using a video-projector is not a bad idea - maybe something for us to show videos from competitions next year ?

A number of people had set up big slotcar or railway setups.

Cars this year seemed to be either very small, like the micro car above, or very big, 1/5th scale below. Both nitro powered.

A simple hydrocopter-thing...

Two home-built Stirling engines.

Another homebuilt engine

Intricate gear-cutting machinery used by the engine builders.

Cute miniature woodworking machines by Unimat. 'machine-park in a drawer' !

The Model Expo also hosts an annual robowars competition.

More war, a big part of the exhibition hall was set apart for warhammer games. Some kind of mix between a boardgame and a role-game, if I understand correctly.

Still more war. Two examples of the several 'soft-air' vendors at the expo. Distasteful if you ask me, and not a particularly creative hobby for our spes patria...