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Backyard Rocket Ship Treehouse Walkthrough

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Uploaded on Feb 16, 2011

A walkthrough of the RULAV, the Ravenna Ultra-Low-Altitude Vehicle -- a rocketship treehouse nestled in the backyard of a Seattle neighborhood. Created by Jon Howell and Jeremy Elson.

We built it over the course of about 18 months. The structure was welded from steel bar and riveted aluminum sheets. The electronics are all custom-fabricated printed circuit boards based around the Atmega328 microcontroller and a small operating system we wrote from scratch. There are nearly 800 LEDs in the rocket, mostly 7-segment numeric displays, each individually controllable by the processor. The "thrusters" are engine cleaning wands powered by compressed air and aerated with water from a reservoir mounted underneath the floor. Each is controlled by an electrically actuated solenoid air valve under control of the main processor, when commanded by the pilot's joystick. Electricity, water, and compressed air come in from the house via an underground trench. Even Grandma Jan got in on the act: she made the astronaut's spacesuit. The fantastic mission logo and patch were designed by Noa Dvoskin.

Information, schematics, and a build log are at our web site: http://rocket.jonh.net

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