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Melbourne to Perth

Even longer than last time! The return trip took 20 days to go around TAS, up the east coast, across the top end and down the west coast to complete one full lap.

Keeping the car (and myself) running in the October heat of the top end, after already 10 days on the road, was a lot more grueling than I expected. But I made it!

The schedule I developed was robust enough to allow for a few detours & side-trips, and the cost estimate was accurate enough that overall spending was only 8% over-budget, with fuel being 3% under!

There are some incredibly beautiful parts of this country, which I’m already planning to go back to. And there are some parts where it’s a miracle anything lives there at all.

Pictured: Mt Wellington, Hobart; Hunter Valley, NSW; NT/WA Border

Perth to Melbourne

That was a long drive! 9 days along the south coast.

It was smooth sailing except for a few hiccups – thankfully I brought some tools and the MX5 workshop manual or it would have been a lot longer than 9 days…


Stereo Shelf

I bought a stereo and the speakers were bigger than the ones I’d planned to get – so I built a cabinet/shelf for them.

The cabinet was specifically designed to:

  • be cheap & easy
  • be stable & well-balanced
  • have a small footprint, and be invisible
  • provide access to cables for the TV
  • allow airflow over the TV to prevent overheating

It was cut from a single sheet of 900 x 600 x 9 plywood. All joints are glued butt joints with the butt surfaces oriented vertically, so that the glue takes almost no load.

There were a few thicknesses of plywood available so I made up a quick model in solidworks (with the thickness as a variable) and ran an FEA based on the speaker weight plus a bit extra – solidworks FEA isn’t the most accurate but it was good enough to check my numbers. The first set of results weren’t great so I added gussets below the top shelf:

The gussets brought the max deflection down to ~100 micron which is probably overkill!

In total, the project took an hour of planning, $15 of timber and paint, and a few afternoons of work. Overall a success!

Leucopogon propiniquus

4a. L.propiniquus 24kv

X-ray microscope image of L. propiniquus seeds

Brake Rotor Model

Just for fun, based off Google images



Laser microscope

I stumbled upon a neat idea and whipped up a version of my own – this is a laser microscope, which uses a spherical drop of water as both a lens and a sample. My laser is pretty bright, but once projected onto a wall the image is quite dim – though if you look closely you can see some bacteria moving around in this sample of pond water.