Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Crocallis Elinguaria

I don't tend to go out looking for moths at night, not because I wouldn't enjoy it but because it would probably not go down well with Bryony who really doesn't like moths at all. This means that I really don't know how many different species we get in the garden but this Scalloped Oak (Crocallis Elinguaria) that was hiding by the bins the other week is one I haven't seen in the garden before.

Having done a little gardening yesterday I can also say with some confidence that we will again have lots of Cinnabar moths next year as there are very hungry caterpillars everywhere.

By the way I'm not sure why I started using the Latin names of the moths for the post titles but if it is annoying people let me know and I'll switch back to their more common names.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

3D Printing

Last Friday I set you all a mystery object quiz and today is the big reveal. So what was the object?

The object was a 4mm to the foot scale model of a spark arrestor for a steam engine. Now some of you may be wondering why I blogged about this here rather than on my other more relevant blog. Well firstly, blogging it here meant you didn't really get any clues as to what it was (which seemed fairer/meaner to me -- delete as you think appropriate), but even if you aren't interested in trains I thought you might be interested in knowing how it was produced: 3D Printing.

I'm not going to go into the full details of it's production here, I've blogged about it in excruciating detail in a more appropriate place, suffice it to say that I simply designed the model on my computer (using Blender), uploaded it to Shapeways, paid for it to be printed and then waited for it to arrive. I then painted it to match the model it was designed for (not very well I admit).

It was a fairly painless process (3D geometry can give you a cracking headache) and I'm happy with the result. There is no way I could have produced the model in any other way due to the fine detail it contains. While the process is still fairly expensive (although for small models the postage cost is the annoying factor) I think as the technology improves and the price drops 3D printing will eventually become something we all take for granted and use on a regular basis. I know I'll certainly be printing more things in the future -- I'm already in the process of modelling a couple of other small items.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Jessica's Postbox

So as I'm sure everyone in the UK knows by now, Royal Mail are painting one of their postboxes gold for each gold medal Team GB win at this summers Olympics. I've no idea where most of them are, but I knew that I had a good chance of seeing at least one, as Jessica Ennis is from Sheffield and was expected to get gold in the heptathlon.

She delivered a stunning performance to take gold and so Royal Mail duly painted a postbox gold. I'm not sure how they chose which Sheffield postbox to paint, but on my way to work the other day I couldn't fail to spot it. The crowd of people taking a picture of it was huge!. If you are in Sheffield and haven't seen it yet then it's in Barkers Pool just to the left of City Hall.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

She Wears A Black Cap

Since we bought our house we've seen quite a few interesting birds in the garden some of which I've blogged about (try here and here) and Bullfinches are now so common as to not be something out of the ordinary. Recently though we have had a new interesting visitor to the garden; a female Blackcap.

Apologies for the state of the photo but it was shot on full auto, at the limit of the camera, through a window that needs cleaning, and without the help of a tripod; i.e. not ideal shooting conditions. Anyway at least it helps record the fact that a female Blackcap was eating the tayberries (incidentally I've now picked over 6lbs and turned 3lbs into jam). This was actually the second time I'd seen the female, but we definately have a pair in the area as the first bird I saw eating the tayberries was the slightly easier to identify male.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Mystery Object Of The Week

So a quick quiz to start the weekend. Name the mystery object. The answer will be revealed sometime next week. Feel free to leave a guess in the comments.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

John, Paul, George, or Ringo?

During a rare dry spell we did some gardening this afternoon. There were a lot of butterflies around (Gatekeepers, Small Tortoiseshells, and Ringlets) but there was also a beetle.

Now I'm not very good at identifying beetles, but I thought given the iridescent purple strip down either side of it's body and the iridescent blue markings on it's head that for once I would have no problem finding out what it was. Unfortunately I can't seem to identify it from any of the books we own or the internet.

Anyone have any ideas what it is?