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erco
08-19-2011, 04:13 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIJINiK9azc

Very cool Festo-style shark/fish blimps look like they will become a real product. I still have my suspicions that they will not be simple to operate for small kids. Proper inflation pressure, ballasting, actuator adjustment, etc.

But for us BIG kids who can deal with those headaches, they sure look like a lot of fun!

An autonomous blimp remains perpetually on my "to do" list.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
08-19-2011, 04:33 PM
I want one! How much does helium cost now? I understand we're running out of this non-renewable resource.

-Phil

Update: They're only $40. :) But sold out. :(

erco
08-19-2011, 05:53 PM
Available at Amazon for close to $100 shipped: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B005FYCBR6/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new

Let the scalping begin!

Beau Schwabe (Parallax)
08-19-2011, 06:26 PM
C'mon Phil, we can use Hydrogen... we'll be careful... besides, it's relatively easy to make. :-)

Seriously, you can rent a tank of Helium for about $20

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
08-19-2011, 06:46 PM
... we can use Hydrogen ...

http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll185/JohnNLorraine/oh-the-huge-manatee.jpg


Seriously, you can rent a tank of Helium for about $20

Do you have to return the helium when the rental period is up? :)

Seriously, I've read that, due to some political blundering, the U.S. helium reserve is dwindling quickly:


http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2011/07/17/US-watches-helium-stockpile-dwindle/UPI-57731310924715/

It's already beginning to affect my nephew, who uses liquid helium in his physics research.

-Phil

Beau Schwabe (Parallax)
08-19-2011, 06:49 PM
Phil,

" Do you have to return the helium when the rental period is up?" - No, the Helium is all yours for $20, they (<-Just about any party store that sells balloons) just want the tank back.

erco
08-19-2011, 06:50 PM
Do not make me Youtube our "Battling Blimps" segment on Letterman from 1989...

Hydrogen fun.

Beau Schwabe (Parallax)
08-19-2011, 06:53 PM
erco,

Well, Gee erco... sounds like we might want to twist your arm now... you wouldn't have said that unless you were dying to post it anyway :smile:

piguy101
08-19-2011, 07:04 PM
But I read that many helium tanks for balloons contain added oxygen in case the helium is inhaled.

erco
08-19-2011, 07:11 PM
Gotta find the VHS tape, drag out a VCR, hook up a USB converter, blah blah... one day.

erco
08-19-2011, 07:15 PM
I'm an airship nut. One of my favorite "fun facts" about airships:

Only the US had helium-filled airships, 4 rigid airships (zeppelins) back in the 20s-30s. Crewmen would regularly patrol inside the hull, climbing ladders, inspecting the gas cells, looking for holes & helium leaks. They worked in pairs, calling back & forth to each other. When they heard their voices start going higher, they had found their leak!

Martin_H
08-19-2011, 08:27 PM
Pretty neat. You could make a neat indoor UAV out of one of those.

RDL2004
08-19-2011, 08:36 PM
Hot air blimp:

http://www.personalblimp.com/

I wonder how hard it would be to make a very small version.
They made a 1/4 scale model for testing, but that was 25 ft. long.

erco
08-19-2011, 08:41 PM
I wonder how hard it would be to make a very small version.


Pretty hard, you couldn't go much smaller than that to carry a person. Ground crew, risk, liability, prep, maintenance, a total PITA. Long term, more expensive, more dangerous and far less useful than a little Cessna 152.

RDL2004
08-19-2011, 08:53 PM
Hehe, I was thinking more along the lines of 3 to 5 feet...

erco
08-19-2011, 09:50 PM
Shucks... and you'll use helium, not hot air.

Although sometimes, you could fill quite a gasbag with all the hot air in some of these posts! :)

RDL2004
08-19-2011, 10:33 PM
No, I was wondering if hot air might be possible.

Helium is a non-renewable resource (well, not easily (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fusion) or quickly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_decay) anyway) and kind of expensive.

Its use in things such as "party balloons" is questionable.

There is plenty of it to be had however, if you can get to it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter).

erco
10-29-2011, 09:24 PM
Well they're in hobby shops now. My buddy got the store to match an online price of $30, and it does work as advertised. The main weird thing is, you have to manually oscillate the remote control to get the thing to "swim", and you leave it left or right to turn. Great fun and LOTS of attention-getting action.

The shameless copies are out, too. Here is one online from Ebay China for $22, free shipping!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Animal-Planet-Air-Swimmers-IR-Radio-Control-Fish-Flying-Shark-Floating-swimmer-/230689358718?pt=Radio_Control_Vehicles&hash=item35b628437e

prof_braino
10-31-2011, 12:13 PM
I saw these as iHobby Chicago last week. The wholesale price is even less if yo get a carton of 12.
In addition to the left - right control to manually wag the tail, there is front - back control that slide the lower ballast weight to the front or to the back, to make it point down of point up.
Should be no more taxing on a kid's thumbs than a hand held game.

Communication is IR line of sight, and the I think the guy in the wet suit said it runs for about 7 hours on the AAA batteries. (He didn't say if that was the remote or the fish)

Humanoido
10-31-2011, 04:07 PM
You can send a beam of warm air to a balloon. to give it lift without the dangers of exploding hydrogen. Try not to buy hydrogen from a company named Hindenburg Intl. to sub for helium.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster

erco
01-20-2012, 04:36 PM
For zeppelin fans: there was a neat old print of the ZR-1 Shenandoah from Nat Geo for sale at

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310372883121&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:US:1123

but just print yourself a copy from http://c590298.r98.cf2.rackcdn.com/NGM2_468.JPG

Nice resolution, looks great at 11x17.