16 September 2015

Todays result: ‘Restoring’ a wasp nest

I gave a wasp colony there home back. I printed little anchors, stuck them to the back of the unpopulated wasp nest, and hung it back where it used to sit. The wasps have since moved back in.

I have never liked wasps and flying insects in general. Seeing a wasp causes a strong instant fear reaction. On several occasions I have ‘ducked’ to the ground when they appears unexpectedly. The wasps didn’t seem aggressive so when they appeared a few years ago I decided to leave them there as a way to desensitise. There nest grew quite a large over the years with dozens of wasps.

Occasionally a wasp will rest on washing hung out to dry, but the biggest conflict occurs when using the BBQ. The smoke disturbs the wasps and they all start to fly around. This hasn’t really been much of a problem until I had guests over and people got quite uncomfortable. 

I didn’t intend to kill the wasps, just get them to relocate somewhere else. I evicted the wasps by burning mosquito coils nearby. When I was confident all the wasps had left I tried to cut the nest down. The nest was hung by a stem between the top of the nest and the ceiling of the patio. The stem was surprisingly strong. In the end it was the nest its self that broke away leaving the joining stem  intact. To prevent the wasps rebuilding I sprayed the ceiling with cooking oil which stopped them walking over the oily surface. 

Over the next few days the wasps returned to the wall adjacent to their nest, and then started moving into the clothesline box nearby. Eventually it became clear they wouldn’t go away without actually killing them. I felt guilty about removing the nest and it was a worse situation to have them in the clothesline box so I restored the nest as best I could.

Front of the nest, sorry about picture quality - I can't find the charger for my real camera.

Back of the nest, if you use your imagine you can kind of make out some wasps just left of centre.

24 August 2015

Todays result - chocolate stencils

I have made some chocolate stencils to order for a friend who owns a cafe.

I received the designs as images in an email. I converted the images to black and white. A custom program traced the images, smoothed the lines a little, and exported the resulting shapes as polygons to OpenSCAD files. I manually identified the polygons I wanted and used the count of pixels in the original images to scale the patterns to the right dimensions. Finally the patterns where subtracted from a stencil frame I had created previous project.

Once the steps where in place to process an image into a 3d model it only took a few minuted to convert the remaining patterns. Printing each stencil took about 13 minutes.

The stencils have some wavy edges that stem from the pixels in the original images. I remembered after I was finished that Inkscape may have been a better way to read the shapes from the original images. If I do something similar again I will try  creating a vector representation of the patterns using Inkscape's "Trace bitmap" function.

I am happy with the results, and hope the cafe owner will enjoy them when I deliver them tomorrow.