The KAPtery is open

The Redstone Rig and Picavet with Canon PowerShot A2200.

The Redstone Rig and Picavet with Canon PowerShot A2200.

The menu bar above will guide you to the downloadable files and the products for sale.

I have completed designs for a few aerial photography rigs based on parts manufactured by a 3D printer. These are rigs to hold cameras, and devices for suspending the rigs from a kite or balloon line. The files to print these rigs are open source (CERN open hardware) and freely available at Thingiverse. I have posted guides to printing and assembling the parts at this site (Kit information, above). Let me know if you try printing any of these. I hope to continue improving the designs, and any feedback is welcome.

The pile of rigs in the foreground is mostly early prototypes.  In front of the chair are the first Redstone Rigs printed in ABS.

The pile of rigs in the foreground is mostly early prototypes. In front of the chair are the first Redstone Rigs printed in ABS.

I ordered extra hardware to assemble the printed parts, and have built a store here (see menu bar above) to sell kits with exactly what you need to make each rig work.  For those without access to a 3D printer, I am also offering  for sale a limited number of kits with all the printed parts. These all require assembly, so check the kit information to see if you are comfortable with the required procedures. I don’t have any inventory of most of the 3D printed parts, so the kits will be mostly made to order, and it might take several days to get each one ready to ship. International shipping is too complicated for the free WordPress ecommerce plugin I found, so I can only ship to the US for now.

I can also do the messy parts of the preparation and assembly of the kits for an extra fee. This includes all the gluing and drilling, and the kits will be delivered mostly ready to fly. Unfortunately, I can’t do this for the Redstone and Titan 2 rigs without some very specific measurements of the camera(s) you will be using. Check out the details here, and contact me (below) to see if I have a camera similar to yours, and maybe we can figure something out.

The MakerBot Replicator 3D printer I have been using to prototype these designs was donated to Public Lab by MakerBot Industries. This aerial rig project seemed like a good exercise to see how 3D printing could advance the development of Public Lab tools. I hope these designs will improve with your help, and maybe more people will be able to get better aerial photos and make more useful maps of places important to them.

Material acknowledgement of Public Lab's contribution to this project.

Material acknowledgement of Public Lab’s contribution to this project.

Note about shopping: The first time you go to your shopping cart, I think it never shows the shipping cost. Just continue two steps into checkout (I think you will have to register at the site), and the shipping charges will appear. From then on shipping charges will be included in your shopping cart (I think).

Graft

Black Prince, a variety of Russian Krim tomato that I tried for the first time this year.

Black Prince, a variety of Russian Krim tomato that I tried for the first time this year. September 14.

I first heard about grafting tomato plants two years ago, but hot house tomato growers have been doing it for a while, and in other countries grafting has been an important way to increase vegetable production for decades. It was so important in Japan that a robotic grafting machine was developed in 1993. By grafting desirable tomato varieties onto selected rootstocks, generally increased vigor and also specific resistance to root-borne diseases is gained. My tomatoes have failed in two of of the last four years, so I decided to try grafting last year.

Buddles

Click photos to enlarge.

Stream in Soldiers Delight. I can't remember where this is. Fall 1973.

Stream in Soldiers Delight. I can’t remember exactly where this is. Fall 1973.

As a kid, my favorite thing about Soldiers Delight was playing in the streams. They were very different from all other streams I knew, which were muddy. In Baltimore County walking in a stream generally meant walking in mud. The water in Soldiers Delight streams was clear, and the stream bottoms were mostly stoney. The stream banks were also grassy and sunny. Streams elsewhere could be sunny, but even managed streams through pastures or parks were often lined with a thicket of woody plants. At Soldiers Delight long stretches of streams were lined only with tall grasses and wildflowers. Plus there were minnows and frogs and snakes. These were great streams.

Arrested development

Click photos to enlarge.

Entrance to the Choate mine.

Entrance to the Choate chromite mine at Soldiers Delight in Maryland. Fall 1973.


Entrance to the Choate mine.

Entrance to the Choate mine. Although trash was being removed from the area, fresh appliances had been dumped above the entrance. Fall 1973.

Soldiers Delight would be a lot less interesting to some were it not for its contribution to the economic history of Baltimore County, Maryland. Serpentine outcrops including Soldiers Delight, Bare Hills, and the State Line Barrens in Pennsylvania supplied most of the world’s chromium ore in the mid 19th century. Issac Tyson, and later his sons, owned land and operated mines at these places, shipping all the chromite to Baltimore and monopolizing the industry from the 1820s until after the Civil War. But the long term impact of this activity may have been more ecological than economic.

Red Dog Redux

Click photos to enlarge

Red Dog Lodge in December 1967. Photo by Ellis J. Malashuk.

Red Dog Lodge in December 1967. This is the crop marked on the print I bought (see below) of a photo taken by Ellis J. Malashuk, December 7, 1967.

I was really pleased to learn that the archive of my own black and white negatives includes a 1973 photo of Red Dog Lodge. But last week I found a 1967 photo for sale on eBay, and it’s much better than mine. It was taken for an article that ran in the Baltimore Sunday Sun Recreation section (page 11) on December 10, 1967. I inferred that from notes and stamps on the back of the photo, and from a citation of a Paul Wilkes article “Campaign to Save Soldiers Delight” from that date.

Marker historical

Click photos to enlarge.
<em>The Soldiers Delight historical marker in 1969.</em>

The Soldiers Delight historical marker in 1969.


The Maryland Historical Society installed the Soldiers Delight historical marker in 1968. It looks brand new in the 1969 photo from The Baltimore Sun archives, and it appears to be on the west side of Deer Park Road near the overlook. I photographed the marker in 1973 when it appears to be on the opposite side of the road. It also appears to have been repaired after being broken off the post. I found a recent photo from August 2009 showing a completely new sign now back on the west side of the road next to the overlook parking. The wording of the sign has not changed, only the number of paragraphs and the number of spelling errors.

Seldom scene

Click photos to enlarge.

A mouse eared chickweed at Soldiers Delight. I don't know which species this is.

A mouse eared chickweed at Soldiers Delight. I don’t know which species this is. Spring 1975.

There are portraits of more than a dozen species of plant among my old negatives of Soldiers Delight. Most of these are characteristic plants of the barrens, like post oak, blue stem, and moss phlox. A few photos are of plants that are uncommon in Maryland except on serpentine. I don’t know these plants well enough to be sure of the identification, and some might be impossible to indentify just from photos. I photographed these between 1973 and 1975 before I paid very close attention to plant names, but I must have been aware that certain species were special at Soldiers Delight.

Assay office

Click to enlarge photos Land purchased by the State of Maryland for the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area included two historic buildings: Red Dog Lodge and a log cabin said to have been built in 1848. The lore is that…

Stemming the tide

Here is a diagram that was never shown to me in science class. Alfred Wegener proposed his theory of continental drift in 1912, but it was not until 1959 that most scientists began to accept the new paradigm that continents move around. The idea of crust formation at mid ocean ridges came even later. So when scientists and teachers in the 1950s and 1960s presented a story about the serpentine rock underlying Soldiers Delight, they got it wrong. Serpentinite is formed in the lower oceanic crust, typically at the mid ocean spreading centers. That’s where it picks up its heavy minerals, like chromium, nickel, and magnesium, which are more abundant in the mantle and deep crust. When Africa floated over here 300 million years ago, a little bit of this oceanic rock got pushed along with it and ended up in the Appalachian Mountains, and in Soldiers Delight. Nobody knew that in 1960.

Click images to enlarge

A diagram of magma rising through the mantle and forming new oceanic crust at a mid ocean rise. This is where serpentinite is formed.

A diagram of magma rising through the mantle and forming new oceanic crust at a mid ocean rise. This is where serpentinite is formed.

Red Dog Lodge

Click photos to enlarge

Red Dog Lodge in a recent photo from the SDCI web site.

Red Dog Lodge in a recent photo from the SDCI web site. Both benches have plaques on them, I think one of them has my mother’s name on it.

Red Dog Lodge was built in 1912 as a hunting lodge and has been a symbol of Soldiers Delight for me since I started meeting, playing, and hiking there when I was a kid in the 1950s. It always seemed like a place with secrets, a place were men once did things that weren’t done anymore, things that Tom Sawyer would know about because he had seen them in a book. It was built for Mr. Dolfield, who gave his name to the road I grew up on, and also for the namesake of Sherwood Hill Road where our three-letter friends the Lees and the Coes lived. I knew Mr. Hibline who used the lodge after World War II, but I never knew that he was a person who used it, or what it was used for. It never occurred to me that somebody owned it. So I didn’t know much at all, but it was always good to be at Red Dog Lodge.