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About Stratospheremodels

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    How i learned to love the 2nd law of thermodynamics

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    Level 40, in Sector 13
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    Creating model kits, rapid prototyping, nature, photography, humour, aircrafts, aerospace, technology, spacecrafts, etc.

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  1. Markus Kayser gave a TED Talk in 2012 about his solar 3D printing project and it's results. He is also a PhD and he also have a patent for the 3D printing of glass.
  2. Hi Mingling, oh yes it works, I invite you to have a look at the last link I posted above (and there is more in the other link before that), desert sand have already proven to be usable as a construction material, and potentially for skyscrapers as well. When it gets sintered by the sun it fuses to itself and you can then build any solid mass with it. It is actually for the manufacturing of structures made of concrete that desert sand is not usable and that beach sand is used instead (thus the huge ecological disaster for beachfront environments and erosion of coastlines due to our massive use of beach sand in that industry). The mixing of cement with beach sand and aggregates uses a chemical reaction, while the use of desert sand to 3D print with solar energy uses a reaction of physics, so it is independent of the shape of the grains to accomplish sintering. Since sand is often silica based, if you melt it it is similar to glass (though chemical elements content will vary from place to place), so sintering with the sun accomplishes that. The only thing I don't know is what other chemical elements sand from the Sahara does contain besides it's main silica content. It probably also varies from place to place, this would be a job for engineers to determine the sand of which part of Sahara would be best for this use, and what type of reinforcement structure would be needed, and how tall a structure could be when this material is used. I made a mistake when I was saying 2 construction cranes would be needed for building this type of tower, in fact it would be best to use a 3 construction cranes scheme on this one, like a giant Delta in fact :) ! which is fitting since it would be a giant 3D printer !
  3. I just found this absolutely fantastic project of building habitation towers in the Sahara desert with a solar powered 3D printing machine ! (and using the locally available sand as building material, sintering the sand with the heat of the sun !). I see this would require a couple construction crane with an horizontal axis rail in between equipped with a multi-axis robotic arm attached to the horizontal rail with the solar mirrors on the ro robotic arms to be able to build this structure. And you would have to move the crane around the tower to build the largest upper structure on all sides. Such a building would also require an internal metal reinforcement armature of steel, as i don't think sintered sand on its own would be strong enough for a tall building with such delicate structures (i am no engineer, but perhaps if they made the walls and "branches" hollow and program the 3D printer to build a complex system of internal structures to reinforce these, like some sort of honeycomb, maybe sintered sand alone might be strong enough to build such a structure ? They would have to test this on a grand scale, and see how well such a structure resists against sand storms and wind erosion, extreme temperature variations (and freezing and thawing damages) as well as earthquakes). The lace like structures at the top would further complicate things from a strength point of view, i think it is more for show than a realistic solution and that part would probably have to go and the whole structure simplified to work and keep cost and complexity down. Otherwise you would need a lot of support structures to keep the most delicate parts and the "branches" from collapsing under their own weight while they are being grown until the whole network of structures can get connected and becomes self-supporting (IF that structure was actually thought out to act as self-supporting, which may not be the case as this sounds more like a student work done to participate in a design competition (and a competition it was, the 2014 building design competition). But the concept is brilliant, the towers would produce their own water, through condensation, and using a principle similar to energy producing pipes/towers. However it would not be easy to build the underground part without having to resort to building that section with concrete (the orientation of the solar 3D printer in a deep hole would be complicated if impossible, or else they would have to dig a huge excavation, and spent more carbon fossil fuel in the process. However, they would have to modify their design to adapt it to the realities of that region, and most of those glass window surfaces would have to go, in a very hot and sunny environment where temperatures reach up to 50 degrees Centigrade or more in the middle of summer you would want to shield from the sun and have walls with only a few small openings on the outside. But otherwise the basic idea is fantastic. It remains to be seen how well this would old in comparison with concrete. But if it works, it would fix the very, VERY serious problem of the soon to be complete disappearance of beach sand necessary to build concrete buildings and structures (sea sand is apparently the only material that works to make concrete, desert sand does not work), so there is a whole series of sand mafias around the world (in Algeria, India and many other countries around the world) who strip beaches of their sand, who kill eyewitnesses, journalists and environmentalists, and who are not only accelerating coastal erosion (to dramatic results when we see recent record hurricanes and tropical storms), but also, it seems the whole world including finance, construction and developers seem to be in a complete slumber, and even governments seem to act as if the problem did not exist and that we would have beach sand forever to build more concrete structures, when in fact, according to reports, at the rate we build, the resource is already almost completely gone and we will very soon not be able to build any new concrete structures... I do not know if the authors of this projects were also aware of the looming beach sand shortage for the construction industry, nor if they have conducted experimental trials and research to see if this material can achieve the structural strength and longevity required to build sky scrapers, but they better start doing that and find out soon, otherwise, we might be left only with steel and aluminum (or carved stones) as skyscraper building material, and steel and aluminum are not resources that are infinite either, given the enormous appetite for these materials by the Chinese manufacturing industry, and recycling these materials (or producing them new) uses enormous amounts of energy (the aluminum industry is one of the biggest clients of Hydro-Quebec here), and an enormous source of pollution, in those countries or states where there is no clean energy sources available. So, clearly if this can provide structures that are strong and acceptably long lasting, solar-powered 3D printing systems would be a priority to solve extremely serious raw material looming shortages and to address and help slow down global warming (the traditional manufacturing of concrete contributes to a very large extent to global warming, and also uses enormous amounts of energy as extreme heat is used in a furnace to produce concrete). In any case, whoever patents/builds these solar-powered 3D printers for desert sand and make it work might get himself very rich. Stephane Email: Website: SHAPEWAYS BOUTIQUE: LINKS: Aaaand it is starting already ! SOLAR POWERED 3D PRINTED IN SITU ! LINK:
  4. OK, problem fixed, all picture links from Photobucket are now working fine :) Email: Website: Shapeways boutique::
  5. The links are now working fine :) . I am sorry about the delay, i think it was probably related to maintenance at Photobucket, they posted a message about this recently. Here are more pictures of the first castings: Email: Website: Shapeways boutique::
  6. I am offering another SALE as i have another overstock of D-21 drones and X-37 ALTV USAF spaceplanes. I am offering them at: X-37 ALTV, 1/48th scale: NOW ONLY 53.95$ US, More than 30% OFF (Regular price: 75.00$ US) (ONLY 3 available) D-21 DRONE, 1/48th scale: NOW ONLY 56.95$ US, 35% OFF (Regular price: 85.00$ US) (ONLY 2 available) FOR 5 DAYS ONLY. The X-37 is my most detailed model kit. It features extremely fine and precise panel lines for the heat tiles over all the underside and on the sides of the fuselage and wings leading edges. It is also covered with myriads of tiny rivets (you might think it is 3D printed, but in fact it was all made by hand !) and is also covered with subtles textures. I wish more people realized this, as it is one of the best kept secrets of the modeling world. It will build into a superb model. And given that the US now have a US Space Force command, which include the X-37, this is a must have for every collector of modern 1/48th scale US military aircraft, to go right next to your F-15's, F-16's. F-22's and F-35's. My D-21 is also the only D-21 that i know of that have the correct wing shape plan view (and that wing is Very thin), as well as the correct panel lines and subtle fuselage shapes, plus little details that were never found on D-21 kits before. It include optional parts to build different variants and allow for different color schemes. And for those who may not know it yet, i have a set of very neat 3D printable 1/48th models at Shapeways right now to go with the D-21 Drone: The GTD-21 rocket booster :) and the D-21 rocket booster and D-21 dolly ! Now with the lower D-21 price, that's your chance to get those to go with your D-21 and make a spectacular dispay for IPMS shows ! Email: Website: SHAPEWAYS BOUTIQUE:
  7. And there goes nothing... Weird... Photobucket pics work one day but not the next... be it html, direct or IMG. There might be a BUG with the forum (?) or else Photobucket is acting out all weird. Each time i paste a pic link today i get a message that says: your link was now embedded (with a grey elongated bar underneath the post) (and no picture appears). I was not getting this yesterday when i posted other pics links to my Photobucket. Stephane.
  8. The first castings. I was rather astonished to see that despite the fact that the longest component (at 12 inch long) lost 1mm of length due to shrinkage (which is quite normal since it is such a massive piece), i was still able to load the original tooling part for the ammo clip into it and it still fit perfectly (!). (On the original tooling i can turn the model upside down and the ammo clip won't fall off. On the first castings i can do the same, it holds in place just a wee bit more tight than on the tooling). Aahhhhh..... :) Links are finally working. Dunno what happened before with Photobucket or whatever, i think they were doing maintenance. More pics are coming. Email: Website: Shapways boutique:
  9. You do know of course that the X-24 B lifting body (FDL-8) from NASA was built directly on top of an X-24 A Martin Marietta lifting body fuselage ? There are construction photos of it out there and it is quite fascinating to see how they build a whole new structure on top of most of the existing X-24A structural outer envelope (!). There is a more or less similar example with the much more recent low sonic boom experimental aircraft which was built by Northrup Grumman from a heavily modified F-5 fighter fuselage. The X-29 is yet another example of an F-5 fighter fuselage being recycled into another totally different aircraft (new reverse swept wings, new single engine, new fin, etc). If i was them i think the idea of just testing the water and see how their concept behaves in flight at low speed would not be a bad idea, so building a (possible) mock-up on top of an F-5 fuselage would make sense in that regard, before deciding to commit to designing an all new aircraft this time (minus the potential F-5 hidden underneath). Given that the X-24B was build with exactly that sort of thinking in mind (test for low speed approach behavior mostly, though it did accelerate to up to about Mach 1.6, thanks to a rocket engine), and NASA did so also to save money (recycling another aircraft fuselage as a base to build that one), something i think was one of the Iranians reasons for going that road also. Lockheed did build Have Blue prior to building their F-117, as a proof of concept, and that thing was not exactly stable (one prototype crashed at Groom Lake), so maybe they are just doing what most engineers do when they are trying something quite different and new: test it with smaller steps first, and then if it works and they iron out the bugs, move on to build the actual operational version. Now wether they would have the money to put such a version in service is completely different story.
  10. Email:: Website: Shapeways boutique:
  11. ALL NEW KIT FROM STRATOSPHERE MODELS ! And now for something totally different :) This is a special project i started in 1998 (believe it or not), and i completed most of the final detailing in 2015-2016. It is the TUNED'S GUN, 10mm HSA (High Speed Ammunition). It is used by a young female cyborg soldier named GALLY (Battle Angel Alita in the English version of the story) working for the G.I.B. (the Ground Inspection Bureau), an organisation dedicated to the defense of Tiphares, a utopian city floating above the dystopian world of the "Scrapyard". Tiphares is a Jacob's ladder, a structure suspended in the sky by a giant shaft going all the way to orbit, holding it there as if it was suspended in the sky (something that other sci-fi writers such as Arthur C. Clarke also wrote about, and which we may be able to build one day). The Tuned agents use all kinds of advanced special equipment and are directly linked to the super-computers of the G.I.B. to help them accomplish their mission. A lot of people have designed various cosplay costumes of Battle Angel Alita, the character who uses this weapon. Many of these costumes are quite nice but they were missing a crucial element, the TUNED'S GUN. Now they can add this missing piece, and all fans of Battle Angel as well as fans of interesting, realistic looking weapon props will no doubt also be interested by this kit. The TUNED'S GUN looks a bit like a Hammerli or a Walther Olympic competition gun, but in fact based in part on the FN Herstal P90 sub-machine gun. I designed the trigger so it can move, I also designed a movable cocking mechanism (just need to add small springs). And to make it even more realistic i designed the ammunition clip to be removable. The total length of the kit is about 12 inch, it is a massive ! I hadn't installed the optronic sight when i took the photos but it will be included with the kit, i didn't want to damage the lens part before i make the mold. I am currently making the remaining molds. This is going to be a Limited Run Kit. I plan to make myself a version a "battle worn" version full of dings and scratches as seen in the story. The kit include 15 parts and is made with high quality pressure cast resin. The price of the kit is 108.98$ US. I will get pics of the first castings soon (already make 2 of the biggest part, and they look quite nice). All pictures and drawings are copyright Stratosphere Models. Stephane. Email:: Website: Shapeways boutique: Email:: Website: Shapeways boutique:
  12. I think discussing politically loaded subjects would be better left out of the forum, I have read the book written by Belenko and although i would not model his aircraft and would rather do one of the other ones which were in regular USSR or Russian service or one of the exported aircrafts, in the context of the Cold War i did understand fully what he felt and his reasons. We are not going to rewrite history, he made his choice, and lets be honest, the USSR in the 70's was not what you would call a country where people were free, otherwise there would not have been the wall nor shooting at those who tried to move to the West. Both sides of the blocks had their rights and wrongs, like i said we won't be rewriting history. And if VietCong soldiers can today shake hands with American soldieres who visit their country, then i say lets bygones be bygones. If one wants to travel the road of controversies, here is another one: i remember seeing an injected model kit for a Sukhoi Su-15 few years ago, which company name i forgot, with the boxart showing the aircraft flown by the pilot that shot down a Korean passenger aircraft with hundreds of passengers aboard, even though at the distance he was flying from it he could clearly see that the aircraft was full of passengers. The pilot was unapologetic about his actions and called it doing his job and duty. In other parts of the world it is called warcrime. So, just a little comparison to get things in perspective (though, i understand he was just a cog in a bigger machine and was trained to follow orders, there is something that also exists about not following illegitimate orders. I think there was a Soviet Navy sailor or officer who refuse one such order and avoided the launch of missiles that would have started WWIII. Makes me wonder what happened to him after, but the whole planet can call him a hero for saving everyone). Just like i said, better let bygones be bygones because if we start to nitpick at every event in recent decades from both the East and the West involving illegal acts during war, or in peacetime, we are not out of the woods my friends... One thing i would like to know though, if you are knowledgeable about the subject, is why RB aircraft Bort 46 received a medal (for what mission exactly ? What were the distinguishing circumstances for the award ?), and its got so many missions markings, i would like to know if it flew those missions over Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Western Europe, any info would be welcome as i am interested in those histories from the Cold War, we know a lot about the SR-71 and A-12 missions, but very little if anything about the MIG-25 reconnaissance missions (apart from that flew from Egypt). I would like to learn more about the other ones. MIG-25RB Bort 45 does also have a lot of mission markings and the same citation and medal markings, Bort 44 and several others also have the citation markings (though have no mission markings visible). I was wondering if those citation markings were for the whole squadron or were meant for individual pilots ? Ok, back to the airplanes.
  13. I am prolonging the sale for 2 days, for the whole weekend ! :) St├ęphane Email: Website: