Sunday, May 31, 2009

Exploding LabVIEW Cannons

So, I was talking with Stephen on Gmail today after he and Alex had been working on the fruit cannon and, well, I'll let it speak for itself:

Stephen: hey
cannon is mostly built
Stephen: we had a bit of an explosion at the end of the day
me: hahaha
Stephen: so... we have to recure some of the parts
with the PVC cement
but, it is awesome

Friday, May 8, 2009

We Must Be On So Many Watch Lists...

So our very first project coming out right before the 4th of July is going to be having a program automatically synchronize a fireworks show with any input song. Of course a necessary ingredient here being fireworks. The problem? We live in Texas where consumer fireworks are illegal until the week before the 4th not leaving us anywhere near enough time to film, edit, post.

I looked at a couple of options
1. I tried to get an ATF firework license for interstate purchase of commercial grade fireworks. Unfortunately, living in an apartment I don't have an ATF certified magazine canister. (Plus my complex got mad at me for putting decorative lighting up, I don't think they would react to well to commercial grade explosives)

2. David found "a guy" who would sell us consumer fireworks before the legal date as long as we brought an out of state ID. This seemed a bit sketchy ... even for us.

3. Drive to Missouri, the closest place that sells them year round and buy them ourselves. Unfortunately the amount of Red Bull we would need to complete the trip in one weekend exceeds our budget.

4. Make our own fireworks. Since most components are controlled substances I feel like just the shopping I have done online has landed me on more government watch lists than I care to be on and I don't really have the stomach for being waterboarded.

So if you or anyone you know has a Class III weapons license or ATF Insterstate Commerce License, feel free to hook us up!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Waterloo Profiles

Meet the team!

Doug F.
Mechanical Engineer
Georgia Tech

Doug is smart, handsome and not at all full of himself. After graduating with a degree in being awesome he pursued a job with NI so he could get paid to blow stuff up.

Stephen M.
Mechanical Engineer
University of Texas at Austin

Stephen considers himself a native Texan even though he was born in the "North". He sates his Northern urges by watching Stars hockey games.

Will S.
Electrical Engineer
University of Michigan

Will comes from Minne-soh-ta and gets excited when it snows in Texas. When building snowmen isn't an option he sails, plays
volleyball and takes pictures.

Hunter S.
Electrical and Computer Engineer
Baylor University

Hunter is half-nerd and half-theater freak always looking to combine his love of multimedia and tech. He would like to direct movies someday, or become a robot, or a robo-director.

Anita B.
Chemical Engineering
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Anita got lost on the yellow brick road and landed here all the way from Kansas. When not engineering, she attempts gardening on her apartment balcony and spends copious amounts of time basking in the warm Texas sun.

What Is Waterloo Labs?

Waterloo Labs is made up of engineers from National Instruments and other nerds from around Austin, Texas. Our mission is to show you great and fun DIY projects that you can accomplish on a budget.

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel to watch our videos. If you are trying one of our projects, post a video response or comment. Maybe even shoot us a tweet at @WaterlooLabs. We would love to hear what your ideas are and incorporate them into our next project!