Sunday, February 25, 2024

Attending a Writers Workshop

One of my all-time favorite writing machines, the Underwood 5!

Here's the link to the March workshop.

Woz Facilitating

I didn't expect this personal kind of writing!

I liked this SCM-made Sears Constellation

Friday, February 23, 2024

Culled Pages

Hermes Rocket at Snapdragon Tea, ABQ



Friday, January 05, 2024

Kid's Camera Invades Adult Party

The Camera in all its glory

I'm old enough to remember when all photography, and media in general, were "analog" or physically embodied. So it continues to startle me when younger people are so excited to see physical prints in-hand, even if said prints are crappier in quality than the worst halftone newspaper photos.

Yes, there are "better" instant photographs, like Fujifilm Instax and the "new" Polaroids, but those are rather expensive, over a dollar per shot in some cases, whereas these little thermal prints are literally pennies per print.

I mentioned to some people at the party that clear, 2-inch-wide packing tape works well as a Poor Man's lamination method for these prints. Which subsequently had me thinking that I should've brought some along for the ride.

For the group shots, I made extra prints so everyone would have a copy, which is a nice feature of this camera.

People have asked me for an online link to this camera; it was a gift from friend Gregory Short, however I think he got these from Ali Express, and I know that Amazon also sells many versions of these thermal-printing cameras, so look there if you're interested.

Typecast via Canon Typestar 220 (I think these are the darkest printing of all the thermal typewriters I've tried). I pasted these thermal prints onto the Brother letter-sized thermal paper via an Uhu glue stick.

Link to Rockit Hair Studio:

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Celestron First Scope Find

I'm using the three eyepieces I've had since the early 1980s when I bought my first 'scope, the rich-field 8" aperture, F/2.9 Sky Research Dobsonian, which are 28mm, 20mm and 7mm. The longer eyepieces give a nice image in this little 'scope, but the 7mm one is a bit cloudy. I'm thinking of getting a better eyepiece to replace it.

The First Scope also has screw mounts for a finder, but with the 28mm eyepiece in place it has a wide enough field of view to serve as its own finder, given the primary mirror's 76mm diameter and 300mm focal length.

It didn't come with a cover cap for the front of the body tube, so I figured I could 3D print one. I printed it in red PETG filament instead of the more usual PLA, since I wanted to print it in red and I had a spare roll of PETG from Ethan. Print time was a bit over an hour, because I'd over-designed it, making it thicker than it needed to be.

I printed the cap with a 4mm center hole, which I ended up drilling out to receive a 10/24 machine screw to afix the knob to, a part I found in my spare parts bin.

I'm pretty happy with the way the red body cap turned out. I intend on designing and printing a holder for the three eyepieces next, perhaps also in matching red.

I've only been able to look through the kitchen window at distant trees across the road, it's been a bit cool (!) lately (tonight will be down into the teens farenheit) but soon I'll get it outside for a proper view of stellar objects. It's a modest little 'scope, but is extremely easy to carry around and use. However, since it lacks a proper tripod bushing under its base, I intend on using my Bruneau's Pneumatic Tripod (an archaic photography tripod from long ago, that I use for the ABQ Box Camera) with a sizable wooden base to serve as a tabletop surface upon which to support the little 'scope.

Here's a phone shot taken on the day I brought home the little 'scope from the thrift store:

With a regular eyepiece in place, the image is full-sized and looks much better than the phone shot.

As I wrote in the piece above, I haven't been doing much stargazing these last few years, mainly because the convenience of back- or frontyard viewing has been negated by mature trees and neighbors' security lighting, which implies I've been a "fair-weather astronomer" all these years, not desiring to go to the trouble of heading out to some other location. So I wasn't in the market for another telescope that I wouldn't get much use out of, but for $11 this little 'scope was hard to pass up. Maybe it'll get me out more often, since I can essentially keep it in my car, as it's so easy to tote around. It'll even work well on the hood of my car if need be, no tripod necessary.

Friday, December 08, 2023

Wrangling Some Hermes's

This older-style H3K I got from a local collector, while the most recent find that I worked on earlier this week, the middle-era H3K, I got from my friend Bill. They're very similar mechanically. The curvy, first generation version has metal carriage end-cap plates, while the 2nd and 3rd generation versions are plastic. The 2nd and 3rd generation also don't have the sliding feet brackets like the first one does, so they're a bit less intricate to disassemble. I think if you're comfortable working on any of the three versions, the others shouldn't be a problem.

Besides working on these two Hermes's, I did a repair job on the Olivetti Praxis 48, also acquired from Bill. Besides needing a good clean, the main problem was the clutch mechanism for the powered carriage return was slipping and making a horrendous noise. It turned out the ring-shaped cork surface on the inside face of the plastic pulley was slipping. I made a corresponding ring of fine sandpaper and double-sided-taped it to the corresponding face of the metal clutch disc, rendering it functional once again.

I really like the Praxis 48, not only for its style but functionality. The owners manual states it's capable of 160 words per minute. I can't type that fast but I appreciate that it can keep up with whatever I throw at it. The machine sports some interlocks that prevents two type bars from overtyping the same space. It has a nifty paper centering scale that many machines from this era lacked, and the margins are set electrically. Here's a glamour shot of the Praxis 48:

Olivetti Praxis 48

Here's a video about the Praxis 48:

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Fireworks at Boca Chica

(Screen grab from Scott Manley's YouTube channel)

(Errata: Typewritten date should read 18 November 2023)

Okay folks, I know I could've included the rest of the screen grabs of the launch in living digital color, but since I'm archiving this blog article in a 3-ring binder for my progeny to have to deal with when that time comes, I figured showing them as low-res thermal prints, hand-pasted-up like in ye Olden Days and filed away along with the typed sheets, would just make a whole hecka lotta more sense. Also, you just can't beat that low-res pixelated appearance this toy thermal-printing camera makes. I've also posted previous blog articles about this little toy camera, here, here and here.

But just to be fair, here's Scott Manley's video about today's second test launch of Starship:

Friday, November 17, 2023

Typewriter Workshop at Cotton Prep

Be sure to watch the ABQwerty Type Writer Society Substack page for an article about our workshop. Subscribe if you haven't!

Saturday, November 04, 2023

Brother EP43 3D Printed Battery Cover

Here's the link to the CAD file on OnShape, if you're interested in printing your own battery cover.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Silver Prints from a Toy Thermal Camera

The toy thermal-printing camera

The other day I was thinking about the poor archival quality of these little thermal prints I've been making with this toy camera, and suddenly an idea hit me: make silver gelatin darkroom prints! Of course, the thermal prints themselves are positives, and a direct contact print onto darkrooom print paper would result in a negative image, so I'd need to make an internegative.

A layout of toy camera thermal prints

Then I remembered I had some Arista Ortho Litho 2.0 film in 4x5 sheet film size. I've tinkered with this film before, attempting to eek out some semblence of a grayscale from its lithographic emulsion, and never had good results. Attempting to control the excess contrast with dilute developer only resulted in a mottled appearance. But with this new project, I realized that the halftone-like dots of the thermal print are perfect for litho film, as it doesn't involve any intermediate grayscale, just pure black and white.

So I got the darkroom cleaned and arranged, and managed to make some contact prints of the thermal images to this litho film, developed in paper developer. I was pretty pleased with the results.

Here are three internegatives I made, placed on a lightbox, next to the camera itself. The film has a thinner base than conventional B/W film, and the emulsion is sensitive to both scratches as well as pinholes caused by hydrogen gas evolution in the emulsion when it encounters rapid pH change. The preventative for the first problem is careful handling techniques, while the second problem can be reduced by buffering the film between developer and stop bath by a water tray.

Once the negatives were dried, it was time to do some enlargements. Time to get the Besseler 4x5 enlarger set up!

These prints were just under 5"x7" in size, made onto Ilford warmtone multigrade RC paper. I was pleased with the results.

Ethan Moses

Chairs, Special Collections Library

Royal MME, Special Collections Library Printing Museum

I'm please with the outcome of these silver prints, despite the little toy camera having no exposure control. It's certainly a unique look, it doesn't hide its digital origins, but knowing these prints are on silver gelatin paper, made from film negatives, means those fragile thermal prints now have a way of being archived, and displayed in a more pleasing way.

I'm just scratching the surface of what could be done with these images. Having an internegative means silver prints can be made of various sizes, which could also be hand-colored, opening a plethora of other effects.

Here's a video I made about this project:

Friday, October 20, 2023

3D Thermal Prints!

Next are two vertical prints. The foreground object (a ten-pack of thermal printer paper) was slightly off-frame for the lefthand image, so you may have a more difficult time converging the images. What helped for me was to try converging the "Paper Fingers" poster on the wall.

I made a visit to the Special Collections Library today, partly to get these shots but also to submit my entry into the History Harvest project the library is holding this month. This project aims to document firsthand accounts of people who lived in the area of East Downtown and Martineztown. I wanted to submit an entry, because my grandparent's house was across the street from the library and we'd spend many weekends here.

Here is a collection of more thermal photos taken today around the library:

I also took these inside the library, including the printing press museum where you can see the Mergenthaler linotype machine, and a Royal HHE on display, that seemed to work pretty well, better than the last time I visited.

These images were literally "pasted up" using an Uhu Stic glue stick. The thermal typing was done using the Canon Typestar 220.

Ted's article is here.
The BADONER article is here.