Friday, January 31, 2014

Progression of Ideas #1 - Foam Gliders

In my recent presentations I have tried to get across a common theme of ideas and inspiration, this can be seen in almost all aspects of life. Last evening I was watching a television show about the music of the sixties and it was brought out how musical groups were always inspiring each other to expand on their musical styles.  For me I have looked at many project ideas and have taken the ideas in many directions. Probably more common would be to start with a simple idea and make it increasingly complex, with the model foam gliders I created an airplane that required too many pieces and too long to build, so I worked on a progression of simpler models.

The FPG-9 (foam plate glider) gave me the idea and inspiration to create many more model airplanes from foam.

On One Foam Jet II Glider Radio Control was Added

Hammer Down Catapult Glider

Materials for Hammer Down Glider

When I designed the Hammer Down Catapult glider I wanted to use fewer pieces and came up with the idea of creating the wing in one piece from a foam meat tray.

Teachers Built Foam Glider and Added Propeller

Tested New Design With Kids Too

Created a Larger Foam Rubber Powered Airplane

Foam Gliders on Website
Rubber Powered Foam Airplanes on Website

Bill Kuhl

Join Simple Foam Free Flight Airplane here  - I have started a Facebook Group for people interested in simple free flight model airplanes made primarily from foam.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bud Ramer the Businessman

"Ramer attributes his good fortune to salesmanship and a constant search for new markets. "Any idiot can go out and catch a boatload of fish," Ramer says. "The real trick is finding someone who'll pay for them."

From DNR Webpage

Bud Ramer

Besides my father I know of another guy who built up a successful business from almost nothing, his name was Henry Ramer but everyone knew him as Bud. I don’t know the details of his life I had heard he had been in trouble as a youth.  He had a successful retail and commercial fishing operation in Winona Minnesota for a lot of years. I had met Bud from seeing him at Shorty’s restaurant, on occasion I would help him out with a problem on his computer at the store. He would always try to pay me but I would always refuse, it was more fun to get to go out on his fishing boat instead.

Fish Delivery Truck
Hoop Nets 

What impressed me besides his extension knowledge of the Mississippi River and commercial fishing was his business savvy. He once told me that he would pay the extra money to get some new technology before other people had it because it gave him a jump on the competition. He had purchased some kind of depth finder when it was really expensive but felt even afterwards it was worth it.  I also remember he purchased a special radio control submarine that would pull a line under the ice so nets could be strung under the ice.  Before that long boards were pushed between a series of holes cut in the ice which took a lot longer.

Air Boat

Once a week Bud would drive a truck full of fish to markets in the Twin Cities area, some of the fish were live because he had found a market for live fish.  He knew a lot of people and with his connections he supplied the catfish that was used in the Grumpier Old Men movie, there were pictures at his store of him with the stars of the movie. If something was not making him money, he would cut his losses and discontinue it such as the fish store he had in Rochester Minnesota.

Bill Kuhl

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rainbow Connection Software

It sure can be fun to reminisce about the past, in an earlier blog article I had mentioned the business I had for the TI99/4a computer Kuhl Software, it just so happened that a relative of mine Wayne Diercks was doing something similar for the Radio Shack Color Computer. We worked together in some ways and converted programs to run on both the TI and Radio Shack computers plus the Commodore 64. We attended some trade shows for the Radio Shack computer in Chicago and Forth Worth.

MC10 Was Smaller Radio Shack Color Computer

One of Wayne’s claims to fame was his football prediction program “Pigskins Predictions”, the prediction was for picking the winning team for a game. I remember using it in a football pool I was in and darn if the first week I won the pool but the next week someone won the pool by picking the helmets of the team they found most attractive. Wayne had a couple of other programmers working on programs, I remember the one programmer was proficient in assembly language and ended up working for a company that made games for the Colleco Vision game system.

Floppy Disk Version

Cassette Tape Version of Several Games

Computers back in this era were very limited in the RAM memory and also external storage, some customers were purchasing programs that were stored on audio cassette tape, the floppy disks of the time stored very limited data also. Wayne had developed a clever data compression technique that traded a little computer processing for reduced storage requirements. I used this technique when I wrote the computer billing program for construction business and another programmer used it in an accounting program for credit unions.

Rainbow Connection Advertising

Thinking of this reminds me about how terrible I did in school when taking accounting, in fact received a failing grade one quarter. After I decided to return to college to finish a degree in computer science I had to take accounting again. This time working with numbers seemed so much more interesting and I remember getting A’s in two quarters. Amazing how getting to work with some practical application can increase your skill in that area.

Monday, January 27, 2014

500 Years of Aviation History Through Models Presentation

Recently I gave another aviation presentation as part of the Frozen River Film Festival Fringe Friday activities, much of the presentation was like previous presentations but with the addition of rotary wing flight (helicopters and quadcopters).  For being during the work week and so much else going on I thought attendance was really good. My estimated time of 25 minutes was a little short and I had trouble getting the tiny Estes quadcopter started for some crazy reason. Also I had so much stuff on the tables I was having trouble finding things I needed for the demonstration.

Added from my previous Aviation History presentation was flying the Mini Vapor RC plane, two different quadcopters, the floating ball demonstration, two wood models of Leonardo Da Vinci ideas and a walkalong glider. I tried to carry through with the theme of how ideas and inspiration shaped not only the history of aviation but the model aviation projects I have done as well. With the floating ball demonstration I commented how there still seems to be debate on how the airflow over a wing creates lift.

Mini Vapor RC Airplane

Ball Floating on Air

Leonardo Da Vinci Aerial Screw

Leonardo Da Vinci Ornithopter

When I got to demonstrate the walkalong glider made of super lightweight foam I was running out of time. The next day at the film festival a couple of people that I did not know complimented me on the presentation which made me feel good, I know it will be improved the next time I give this.

Walkalong Glider

Tiny Estes Quadcopter

People enjoyed my story of the AR Drone that Drowned.

Bill Kuhl