Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Payload - Part One

There's pretty much two options available for creating the payload:
  • Buying a pre-made polystyrene (styrofoam) insulated box. Commonly referred to as fish/cold boxes that are used as packaging for transporting chilled goods. Examples can be found here.
  • Making your own custom made design from polystyrene sheeting.
After a bit of research, we decided on making our own. This would allow us to create precisely the size we needed, something that our components would fit tidily into and into which we could also include internal compartments. Furthermore, the available pre-made sizes seemed to be rather heavy so we figured there was a weight saving to be made with a DIY box. A heavy payload before we'd even filled it with components = bigger balloon, more helium, bigger parachute, which in turn = more £££s. Something to be avoided wherever possible.

Quick drying, colourless, anti-aging,
and waterproof.
After a brief chat with the good people on UKHAS we were directed to the Hindleys website. We purchased two sheets of the 600mm x 1245mm x 25mm Blue Styrofoam. We only needed the one - but better safe than sorry. We were advised that the blue styrofoam made less mess when cut than the white. Less hoovering, excellent. We also purchased some UHU Por glue from eBay. Regarding cutting the polystyrene, we looked into the benefits of a hot wire cutter but since we were only cutting straight lines we decided to take our chances with household tools.

Testing various cutting options!
Saw was rubbish. Bad idea.
Large non-serrated knife. Nope.
Bread knife. Not great.

The trusty Stanley knife ended up being the tool of choice.
Measure twice, cut once and all that.
Planing and sanding for a smooth finish.
Some gluing.
Putting it all together!

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