Today (Saturday) I spent several hours working on building the DDR mats with some other DDR club members. (You can view my previous posts about building DDR matshere and here.) We finished coating nearly all the non-arrow panels with sheet metal so it’s smoother and doesn’t have splinters, and got one arrow panel (the bottom one) mostly finished. It currently doesn’t have any wiring or sensors since we need to do lots of soldering for that, but the plastic arrow panel itself fits perfectly under the four corner brackets. The gray foam is 1/2” weatherstripping foam that the plastic arrow rests on. Eventually we might paint or put a printout of an arrow on the bottom of the plastic, but for now it’s useful to have it transparent so we can easily see if anything under the arrow panel is misaligned or broken.
Close up of arrow panel
The main time-consuming tasks were hammering the sheet metal around the wood panels and cutting lots and lots of small wood triangles. Fortunately, with five people total, most things went fairly quickly. The small wood triangles we had to cut fit under each corner bracket, and they have to be perfectly cut to the right size. If they're too big, they'll get in the way of the plastic arrow, and if they're too small, we won't be able to put screws through them. Unfortunately, it is really really hard to cut triangles to the right size within 1 mm with a wobbly bandsaw, so most of the triangles ended up being slightly too small. Quite a few triangles had to be discarded because they were just too small or were crooked. For triangles that were just a millimeter or two too small, we had someone put several layers of duct tape on the edges of the triangles until they fit correctly in the corner brackets. We finished 16 of these triangles; only 16 more to go! (We're making two DDR mats, and each arrow panel has four corner brackets.)
All the imperfect wood triangles waiting to be taped or discarded
Next weekend, we hope to finish the other arrow panels and get the sensors working enough to test an arrow!
Unlike many students, I never had the opportunity to visit Caltech before enrolling. I had visited California once in elementary school, and the first time I returned was to move in for college. The only time I had ever left home before was for a week or two of sleepaway camp. Now, I would be moving across the country to a place I had never seen before with a bunch of strangers. Naturally, I was a bit terrified.
…Or, How a Disciple of Bethany Ehlmann, a Former Desert Militiaman, Moore Lab Subbasement Dwellers, Roblox’s Newest Intern, a Florida Man, and a Luminous Plasma Scientist Went to War with the Caltech Mail Center, Got Double-Crossed by AirGas Corp., Survived Three COVID Outbreaks, and Nearly Stranded Themselves in the Mojave in order to Send a Bag of Peanuts to Space (A True Story).
Every midterm week and final week, Page House Peer Advocates (PAs) put on a de-stressing event. This term for midterms, the PAs hosted a painting night in conjunction with a Page dessert night. (Every Thursday, the House gives $60 to a pageboy (a member of Page) to buy a bunch of dessert and snacks for the house for dessert night.). They provided canvases, paint brushes, and a variety of paint colors for the night. It was a really fun and relaxing time to stop working on sets or studying for midterms for a bit and hangout with friends.
On the weekend of April 16th, my friends and I participated in the first ever Southern California College Poker Tournament! The tournament was for college students in the SoCal area with a $0 buy-in that doubled as a recruiting event for quant and finance firms. A senior friend of mine (Vanessa, a fellow blogger) put together a team of five girls who had no interest in being recruited and just wanted to have fun playing poker.