Sawing wood in the forest

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This week we went wood chopping in the forest not far from the village. My family in-law use a boiler powered by a wood furnace to heat their house. That’s why it’s important to collect enough wood in advance, so that it can dry out enough to be used for firewood in years to come. They own part of some land covered in trees and with the foresters permission they collect some every year.

A small group of us drove out in the morning and cut down trees in teams of two: One person saws down the tree and cuts it up into metre-long logs, while the other person carries the logs out to the road and collects them into piles. The others have experience using chainsaws, so I’m on collecting duty.

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It took us until about lunch time to collect as much as we planned. Lunch in the woods means ham and sausage. After that it was time to stack the logs on the tractor trailer. It’s pretty clever how some tall, thin trees were selected as supports to extend the sides of the trailer and stop the huge pile of wood from toppling. The amount you can see on the trailer in the photo is probably almost half of what we collected that day.

Back at home the wood gets split and then stacked for drying and, in fact, a few years ago I wrote about the wood splitting part. The next day I had quite a muscle ache from stacking all that wood.

3D Printed Hungarian Cross

The Hungarian coat of arms features an iconic cross with two horizontal beams. In Hungarian it’s called “Kettős Kereszt” which translates to “Double Cross”, usually called the Patriarchal cross in English. This cross is present on other emblems around the area of Central and Eastern Europe too and has been featured on the Hungarian coat of arms at least since the reign of King Saint Stephen of Hungary.

3D model of the patriarchal cross as shown on the Hungarian coat of arms

3D model of the patriarchal cross as shown on the Hungarian coat of arms

Seeing as it’s a Hungarian national holiday today, in memory of the heroes and martyrs of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, everyone has their Hungarian flags out. I decided to do something Hungarian too, while trying out some tools for preparing models for 3D printing. So far I’ve been using Blender, because I have some experience with it, but it’s for creating 3D scenes and although you can use it to design 3D models for printing, it’s not CAD software. This time I tried Autodesk’s web-based program Tinkercad, which although lacking many of the features you’d get in a full-blown CAD program, is plenty enough for me to design simple things like this. Not being a mechanical engineer, I probably wouldn’t even know what features I’m missing!

photo collage of 3D printed "Kettős Kereszt" painted in the colours of the Hungarian flag

3D printed “Kettős Kereszt” painted in the colours of the Hungarian flag

The program is very intuitive to use. I put a few cubes on the workplane, stretched them out into intersecting rectangular boxes and exported an STL file for printing within minutes. You can see a screenshot of the result above. I also made a version with a hole cut out of the top so you could hang it on a key chain. That turned out to be as easy as putting a cylinder in one of the boxes, stretching it out of the top and bottom box faces and marking it as a “hole” in the model.

After scaling the model down to 30% so it fits on my print bed, the final print came out as shown in this photo. It took less than 10 minutes to print at 30% in-fill and seems pretty rigid. I’ve painted on the red, white and green of the Hungarian flag and will hang this up somewhere, who knows, maybe it’ll even be good for a Christmas decoration. If you’d like to print your own Hungarian cross you can download both of my STL files here:

In honour of the heroes! Tisztelet a hősöknek!

Várkért Bazár

Last month we went to see the recently renovated Várkert Bazár –literally “Castle Gardens Bazaar”— in Budapest’s castle district, here are some photos.

Cat vs Crow

Very strange. On Thursday, on my way to work I saw a cat in the park being harassed by a crow so I recorded it. Unfortunately the video isn’t very sharp because the animals were far away and I was recording them with my phone. I thought it was really funny, as if the crow had a big problem with the cat being there, meanwhile the cat completely ignores the bird.

Funniest of all, I walked the same route the next day and they were there again doing the exact same thing!