Machining and Engineering Content on TV
Watched about 2 hours of "Bombing Hitler's Dams" on PBS: Nova this evening.
Recreation of sorts of the Barnes Wallis development of the "bouncing bomb" used for "dam busting".
Did not know of his history with the R100 airship and the Wellington bomber and his use of geodetic design. Also did not realize that though successful in execution, the effects were not all that long lasting with a lot of rebuilding of lost capacity done about 4 months later.
Machining content to build the scaled down versions of the cylindrical bombs and also including the different thickness of paint coats (two different colors, one on each half so as to help track the rate of spin) putting the whole thing out of balance...if I heard correctly, about 800lbs and they were trying to get balance within 20 grams (it could have been 200 grams).
It was a little disconcerting watching some of the early model spin tests as they used what looked to be 3/4" or 1" plywood to create a box and on those edges mounted the bearings carrying the shaft running through the "bomb" center (at this point the bombs were not up to even scale weight...it was more to see they could even get them spinning fast enough so as to spin long enough to be at the correct rpms when dropped so as to actually bounce/skip).
Tests done in northern BC and it actually worked pretty well on the first scale test...successful enough to test no further.
Dam busters have a lot of appeal, and there seems to be a new program
on them every 5-10yrs. This one had some footage of US testing of
the concept I had not seen before with one plane at 15-20' above the
water being hit in the tail by the bomb on the first bounce knocking the
tail off the plane. The archival footage of the rapid dam repair post
raid was also something new. I remember seeing the 1954 movie in
theatrical release and the depiction of the altimeter being developed
after one of the principals went to a musical and saw the spotlights
directed at the performers. I kept wondering who paid for this program:
I kept thinking $1000/hour for the backhoes digging the dam, for the
plane flights with the DC4 etc, budget must have been upwards of a
I don't watch TV but I did once convert an old Vacuum tube 26" TV into a sand blast cabinet. Worked pretty well.
Back in around 1980 or so I wrote one of the very first computer action games for the Commodore PET home computer. It was called Dambusters. It was very popular and Commodore published it in their School Game Pack.
I had to reverse the action to simplify the game. With a 1 mhz processor and 7168 bytes of free ram there wasn't room for a lot of frills.
30 years later it can still be found on the Net if you dig in old PET compilations.
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The testing was done in Mackenzie BC, on Wilston Lake. The modifications for this project were done by the skilled crew at Quadra Machine Works.
That was an interesting show.
It actually was the 3rd repackage of the same footage as was shown earlier this year on History Channel and on an episode of Ice Pilots. I must hand it to NOVA the did a good job and added some content over the first two.
On tonight's Ice Pilots Arnie the pilot who flew the DC4 for the show and retired last season was shown visiting his co-workers. He is fighting Lung Cancer but was talking about flying soon. Quite a change in a year or too. :-(
Evan. Too bad. With a few more bytes... Just thing you coulda had King Kong on the dam. Maybe with a butterfly net.
Damn! I shoulda been a gamer