ted.southern's blog

This table has approximately $200,000 worth of gloves on it.  I'm just sayin.

 

Here's a shot of the man, Joe Kosmo, using my gloves in NASA's vacuum chamber glove box. Mr. Kosmo has worked on suits for NASA for almost 50 years; he is responsible for many design innovations and is the last word in U.S. suits.  What an honor!

Joe noted the low torque fingers, but was characteristically non-commital, being sure not to issue any endorsements...

 

This may be as close to "open sourcing" I will come.  Here are my patterns, these are the fingers (dorsal and palmar), 'body' of the hand, and blanking plate rings for a pair (left and right) of gloves.

Last week I finally got to do some work on the lasercutter; this cut (about 70 individual pieces) used to take me a day by hand.  The laser cutter did it in about 5 minutes.

I backed the fabric on wood; originally it smelled like a camp fire.  Now it smells more like cloves.  I guess the scent mellows with age...

Thanks to Steve Lambert and Jason Lim for help on the machines.

 

This is my new hydro-test glove inflator, pictured with the latest glove, version 3.4.  I use the inflator to find leaks in the glove, under water.  The bubbles that form when pressurized are much easier to see when not immersed in air!  I tried to keep bulk down here to allow easy manipulation in the tub...

I "printed" out the white plastic base to the glove, along with the blanking plate and axial restraints at the base, on Eyebeam's 3D printer.  They work great in very low pressure situations- I don't need more than 1 psi over ambient to test under water.  The 3D printer material, PVC, is not really pressure tight because of the way it is extruded, and does not take the high screw torque required for higher pressure testing.

NASA's current suits operate at 4.3 psi, and testing requires at least 8 psi without distortion.  Burst test requirements are over 17 psi, which would probably break this base!

 

This is a shot of a brand new arm pattern assembled in my laminated fabric.  The arm needs considerable reinforcing of the seams on the inside, which takes more time than just assembling the pieces, but adds a lot of strength.  I hope in the near future to test this arm in a 'burst test' at Eyebeam.  I will be constructing the necessary plugs and safety devices to make this possible.  Stay tuned!

 

Here is a quick shot of my "3.3" glove, which I finished last week.  I am very excited about the material I have been working with, a fabric that is factory coated with heat-sealable urethane.  The glove performs amazingly, and there are only a couple of patterning issues I will be dealing with in the next couple weeks (note the thumb distal metacarpal joint).

This shot shows the glove inflated to about 5 psi, just above NASA's spacesuit operating pressure.

 

So here's my first entry to the Spacesuit Gloves blog.  I won second place in NASA's Astronaut Glove Challenge in November 2009, and am starting a residency here at Eyebeam to digitize, refine and perfect the flat patterning of the gloves, and experiment with new materials using the laser cutter.  I also hope to develop wrist bearings (for easy pronation/supination) and disconnects using the 3D printer, and to move past gloves to develop the basics of a full body, safe, low weight hermetic suit.

I'm very excited to be moving my vacuum chamber glove box to Eyebeam tomorrow- I have been customizing and repairing the unit for the last month, and it finally holds a full vacuum!  I have several gloves to experiment with to start out, and am working on my next iteration right now.

 
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