Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inflator fan

The final touches on the envelope will be completed upon its first cold inflation (IE: installing the thermistor wire and turning vent lines). I am unsure of the exact length needed for the turning vent lines since I changed the location of the stainless steel rings to avoid the parachute line and turning vent lines possibly getting tangled. I am going to cold inflate the envelope, string the turning vent lines through the appropriate rings and tie them in. I will cut the final length once I have the balloon inflated and stood up.
Now that I have the envelope pretty much finished, I have a few new projects to start on. The first and most important being to build the gondola (chariot lower end). Unfortunately I don't think I will manage to get to that project till the beginning of December. However, I do have some smaller projects that I can start working on in the mean time.

I knew I would be needing an inflation fan for my balloon and was contemplating purchasing one from either Tempest or from Klein Fans. Tempest makes a fantastic safe and VERY effective fan which I have been lucky enough to have used on numerous occasions. I have not had the opportunity to use a Klein fan yet, but I have heard great things about their compact size and light weight design. So as I was contemplating which one to purchase, I stumbled upon an amazing deal through a customer of mine, Chuck Reynolds, who wanted to contribute to my balloon project. I was speaking to Chuck about what he liked about his fairly new 5hp Tempest fan and explained how I was in search of a fan for my experimental balloon. After a few minutes of conversation about how the Tempest was a great choice, Chuck offered up his old fan for next to nothing. I gladly accepted and am now the proud owner of this beast of a fan:

As you can see, it needs a little TLC. But, if you didn't notice from the has a brand new 8HP motor! Yes it is OVERKILL for my little balloon, but who cares?! Ill be able to cold pack my balloon on idle!

My game plan is to purchase a 6 blade propeller to replace the damaged wooden prop currently on the fan. I will remove the motor from the frame, weld up my own which will be a little smaller and will be easier to move around. In addition to building a new frame I am going to construct a shroud for the fan and I plan on using the existing cage to seal up the front and back of the unit. Of course...there are plans to paint the entire unit some form of gray, pink and lime green. I will wait till it is finished being built before I come up with a color design though.

That's it for now. Check back in a couple weeks for another update.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In the Bag!

There are some things I just cant resist putting personal touches on. Having things custom made or altered to be truly unique is a great way to stand out from the crowd and can make all the difference in how you treat your equipment. At least, that's what I believe...

So, it got me thinking...the envelope spends most of its life INSIDE its bag. Why not make the bag just as impressive as the envelope itself? So without further adieu...

The bag is made from VERY durable ballistic nylon. The pink and green fabric is from some cold air scraps we had laying around. I constructed the bag to be comfortable to carry and to last the abuse of being tossed, dropped or dragged around. Here are a few other pictures of the construction process.

 The diamonds are overlaid on the envelope bag.

 Some 5/8 inch rubber hose makes the bag handles much more comfortable to hang onto

As for the envelope, I still have to tie in my thermistor wire and turning vent lines. That should only take me about 30 minutes...which means...I am basically done with the envelope. All in all I am happy with how it has turned out (without seeing it inflated yet). The envelope has a few extra pounds here and there, but overall it should fly nicely when paired with the lower end I will construct over the next few months. I will be purchasing some of the materials to start building soon.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Installed the Parachute

Over the last few days I have managed to sneak in a few hours to cut my parachute lines and tie the whole thing in (with assistance of my trainee/coworker Angel). My fingers are SORE. In just a few hours, we tied nearly 70 knots and 70 back up knots. I also installed the upper and lower parachute lines. After the entire parachute assembly was completed, I installed the suspension cables (minus my four carabiners which I still need to get) and started working on the envelope bag. Here are some random pics AND a short video of us putting some air inside of it for the first time inside the shop.

Here is the link to the VIDEO

Hanging up the valve edge to partially inflate the balloon for tying in the parachute
 A little air anyone?
 Finished tying in the top.
 Upper and Lower parachute line with pulley and bridle lines.
 Interior shot of the balloons first partial inflation
 Inside my balloon
 Attached the suspension cables

 Another shot inside the balloon

The beginning of my envelope bag. It will be made of ballistic nylon and will have green and pink diamonds on the sides.

I only have three final things to install on the balloon! My carabiners, my turning vent lines and my thermistor wire. Those should only take me about two hours to complete. Once I have that done, I will complete my envelope bag and pack it up. It might take a few weeks to begin working on my lower end but I look forward to working with the stainless steel tubing. Check back in a few days for another update.