3D Printing and a Storm

This week started out as a scorcher. Monday went without too much of a hassle when gathering data. We were only missing a chance to switch out the batteries for our Atmospheric Research Trailer for Environmental Monitoring and Interactive Science. In addition to gathering data, we underwent the exciting 3D printer training in Seeley G Mudd Library’s Makerspace! With the knowledge of using the 3D printers we were able to progress with making an adapter for the NOx Calibration Source to take 8oz N2O canisters in place of the 16oz canisters for calibration.

Our NOx Calibration Source is vital to confirming the trends and behavior of the NOx Monitor in order to help validate and better understand the data we gather at the Adam’s farm. Throughout the week, we ended up going through 5 different adapters trying to get the right shape with Tinkercad as our design engine. The first adapter we printed did not have tall enough walls to properly support the 8oz canister. With some quick adjustments, we were able to raise the walls for the second adapter. The third didn’t have thick enough walls to snuggly fit the canister. This knowledge pushed us forward to the fourth adapter, which I ended up giving the incorrect height. Being more careful since the last print, we made a working bottom piece! We finally tried to use the 8oz canister with the adapter’s help underneath the fume hood. Sadly, the shape of the puncture area for the canister on the top was too wide and let the gas escape. We hope to move forward with creating another solution for the top part of the canister with the experience we gained from creating the bottom piece.

Thursday held a challenge for us that we haven’t encountered yet. We had a large storm system coming through the Adam’s farm. Unfortunately, the batteries for ARTEMIS needed to be changed for a cloudy weekend, where the sun wouldn’t supply us with a self-sustaining amount of power for the solar panels on ARTEMIS. When we arrived on site, Nicki and I ran in with the 4 heavy batteries in tow and quickly changed them out. Immediately after the battery switch, we set up a structure securing the tarp over ARTEMIS so the instruments would not be ruined. Right after we secured the bungee cords, the second stretch of the storm came in heavy. We were able to breath with relief for a successful data gathering, calibrations, and battery switch for the day.

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