Sunday, 7 August 2022

Rite Of Passage

Making Stuff

ptec3d 8th

So as you know I don't often get a chance to actually buy things. Pension sucks, scrimping sucks. I do surveys for the $20 threshold every couple of dozen weeks, and that's my mad money. Well, about two months ago I "invested" my twenty in Lotto because I felt lucky. And it paid back just under a hundred bucks, so I was able to splurge (by my standards anyway) and sent away. 

So I Crossed Some Sort Of Maker Rubicon

It seems to me that every maker that works with 3D and CNC and FFF and that, has some aluminium extrusions. Check.
Extrused.

I also note that they often use 6mm T2.2 timing belt. Check.

Belt, check

And powered and idler pulleys for the belt. 

 

Oh yeah - and that's a check too.

Now For The "Why"

It's like I knew (Oh hang on - yeah - I did know) that these things were arriving. I've been wanting to build a bit of a CNC machine on the (VERY) cheap. I have an old Makita plunge router that's still got good bearings so the spindle was taken care of. Motion components are a bit different. But I also had the ill luck to buy a Canon MG3660 inkjet. That died in under a year after consuming less than one new set of cartridges. The warranty replacement also died in less than one cardridge change, and the third one has now lasted two years and two changes of cartridges. (Fingers crossed!)

They didn't want the old printers back. I think they probably have a huge stack of returns out the back or something. No, I'm not saying what the company was. But it did mean I had a supply of reasonably smooth linear motion components, and a pair of everything, at that. If you're not thinking "Oooh! X-Y motion components!" by this stage stop reading... hehehe just kidding, read on we'll make a Maker of you yet.

 

And so I printed an adaptor to replace the 12V DC brushed motor and replace it with a NEMA17, and (hopefully) a pair of pulleys and some ingenuity would let me make a stable axis in one direction or the other. Or both, preferably both. But it became obvious that the plastic slider alone wouldn't be stable enough by itself. Lucky I'd ordered those parts including some 2020 extrusion, and have a heap of rollers, and a 3D printer.  

And that's where the project currently sits, because I have to do other boring things in between, like blog posts and setting up a Confluence space for a side project and you know, cooking and laundry and boring stuff.

This Is The End

... of this article. But it's nowhere near the end for me. It sometimes takes several days to find a topic to write about, properly research it, and then write and schedule it, unlike this article where it took me months to get everything together. Hehehehe. I don't have any assistance and I don't have the kind of income that allows me to use a scheduling service like established writers can. I also spend some of my limited pension on keeping servers and domain names going, more on parts for the R&D I buy for      making machines for recycling waste. You can help me by sharing this article or the link to the newsletter I put out, or more directly by making a Paypal donation here. Failing that you can also go to my Ko-Fi page and set up a monthly donation. (It's like Patreon without all the bullsh*t.) Everything you can do, will help me keep going. 

Monday, 25 July 2022

New Tools For New Creations

Tradition is all very well

. . . but if we stuck to tradition we'd still be using knapped flint knives to scrape skins for clothing. What made me think of that? This video at around the ten minute mark where it becomes apparent that Johnny is copping some flak about using his CNC router so much, the implication being that he's atrophying his traditional woodworking skills.

Of course (spoiler alert) the use of manual tools is still crafstmanlike and extremely satisfying to watch. Perhaps the person that mentioned it was missing the ASMR of watching hand-crafting. Me, I got my enjoyment from seeing a new tool being used to create innovative new designs. 

And just imagine an ancient Persian atisan doing that inlay with an iron chisel that needed sharpening every hour, a fine saw to cut (what would undoubtedly have been) ivory for the inlay, and so forth, it would have taken a week just to get that done let alone the rest. 

This is me totally using my pic editing
skillz to chop this bit out of the video. In
the old days I'd have had to paint it . . .

Okay - the caption of the image isn't precise. I'd have had to scratch it into a hand flattish rock with another rock, but I wanted illustrate (see what I did there, geddit?) the difference in technology just in publishing, in the last 30 - 50 years. You get the idea. 

Hyperbole Aside

Exaggeration aside, there's no such things a "losing traditional skills." Tradition - it . . . evolves. Not too many people remember a lariat rope knot (or horseback cutting, roping, and tying) but not so long ago it was a valued tradition for cowboys and stockmen. Now they're flying helicopters and driving muster buggies. You get the idea.

My own father was a good home wood and metal worker but his knowledge of plastics and resins pretty much ended at epoxy two part mix and PVA wood glue. He taught me with a handsaw, chisels, and grinders and arc and oxy-acetylene welding. When I got a circular saw and plunge router he was dubious only until he used them himself, and so his Christmas presents for that year were easy . . . 

If I'd had kids, I'd be passing along CNC and 3D printing skills along with use of dremel tools and 3D CAD design, in addition to my secondhand manual and powered woodworking and metalworking skills, but in a form that used the tools I have at my disposal, and those theoretical kids would consider those to be "tradtional."

So Whither Future?

I'd also be teaching them the skills I'm still struggling with like programming Unos and Pis and Jetsons and making them part of a build. And my father would not like those much nor understand them because they'd address none of the build targets he'd have had. 

But when someone comes up with 'wood fusing ceramic coating' or nanotech machining, I won't grumble too much about the "problem of losing the old ways" but just make sure future generations, and my readers, will know how to use either, as appropriate. 

Each advance in tech will come with naysayers and what I call 'epoch puritans' as one kind of process gives way to a new process, equipment, or even an entirely new craft. I see those as distinct epochs, and FFF (3D additive printing) was one such that I've been lucky enough to be involved in from early mass adoption. I've so far not had the opportunity to get hands-on with resin printing, sintered and melted metal, laser cutting, or CNC processing but that's only because I can't afford to, and as soon as I can, I will. 

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Take a look at my News Stand where you'll see live updated links to everything I publish; or take a subscription to my weekly newsletter where you'll receive the same information in your inbox for free; Or contact me via the webform or directly email me if you'd like to help; or donate either directly or at my Ko-Fi page for the price of a coffee, or even make a regular monthly donation there.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Renting? Still Want to 3D Print?

I Rent, But I Want To Do Stuff!

First, hi Michael (Teaching Tech) here's a thing I started for my little workbench/workshop and I hope it'll give you (and of course all of you, my readers) a few ideas for setting up non-destructively / non-invasively if you're renting but still want to have a decent 3D printing experience. 

This is going to be a quick article, as I'm posting it as a response to Michael's new makerspace video from a few days ago. In it he mentioned not having a cat door yet to let ventilation / extraction air out. If  my setup were near the sliding door, I'd use this commercially available cat door insert, replace the upper glass panel with MDF, and print some vent outlets for myself:

Cat Door Section
Commercially Available
Cat Door Section

As I'm in one half of a small bedroom (with my wife sharing the space for her craft and textiles work) however, I get one of the smallish windows and chose to go the following way: 


I printed a few things to help, and used some MDF to completely block the window opening.

As you can see there's an MDF panel that fills the entire window space (we have two windows so it's no loss of airflow and also - see next) and roughly spray painted it, and installed another cat port so our pampered cats can tear through and disturb us entirely at their leisure. The front yard is fully enclosed cat-proof so this is their exercise area. You'll see a desk port for cables, I run an extension cord outside there, a CAT5 for a security camera, and an audio cable to a set of decent computer speakers outside so we can play music when we're out there. 

And yes, there's also a plastic recycling workbench out there on the veranda in the enclosed section, where I hope one day I'll have the wherewithal to buy a plastic shredder and maybe an extruder/injector to make recycled plastics filaments and all sorts of useful items. If you want to help me reach my dream, go to the footer and see what you can do to get involved.

I printed a mount for a 120mm computer fan to draw air into the room (with a panel that can be rotated to cover the opening to keep drafts out in the winter) and a second adaptor on the half-height grille to attach some of that flexible pool hose that you get with every cheap pool with those toy filter pumps. This pool hose goes to a fitting for a 40mm 24V fan (not pictured, will take pic another day) that draws air out of the printer cabinet to put fumes outside.

You can see the grilles I bought at Bunnings (Aussie hardware store chain) at the top of the exterior shot. Future plans include running the fume extractor hose through a separate housing/diverter that includes an activated charcoal filter element and then one side will extract air from the printer, the other will take air from my workbench in the form of a printed vent that will draw away solder fumes and run them over the charcoal too. 

I can't stress this enough, as a person with COPD - there's no real safe exposure to plastic fumes and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and I also work with recycling plastics, and the only way for smaller operations to safely clean those fumes out of the air is activated charcoal filtering. Luckily there are panels of all sizes used as sub-micron, gas, and even HEPA filters for vacuum cleaners so find a replacement filter that's easy to get and design housings etc around it, then you can change it easily in future. 

All my fan controls are manual for the moment but if I get my head around Pi Picos I may build a small environment controller for the room.

And that's it - enjoy, hope it gives you ideas to use as starting points.

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In addition to writing these articles I'm also experimenting with ways of recycling waste that can be done at the cottage industry or community hub levels, not so much because it'll magically convert 100% of local waste into recycled useful articles, but because people who are doing these sorts of activities are likely to talk about them to people in their community, and so raise even more awareness of the issues and dangers.

So please - take a look at my News Stand where you'll see live updated links to everything I publish; And take some time and share the links to the News Stand and this article with your friends and readers. 

Take a subscription to my weekly newsletter where you'll receive the same information; 

Or maybe contact me via the webform; Or email me;

You can also donate either directly or at my  Ko-Fi page  for the price of a coffee, or even make a regular monthly donation there.

All donations are put towards keeping these websites online, and for developing devices, machines, and techniques to easily and safely recycle materials on a tiny scale.











 

Friday, 8 July 2022

Keep Your Plastic Dry

The Drying Solutions

Nylon (PA 6) is a difficult filament for FFF printing. It's a useful engineering plastic due to its toughness, but its love of absorbing moisture out of the air is legendary. One of the major struggles faced by 3D printer owners is keeping filaments dry once the bag is opened. (Oh and because these are vacuum sealed, the slightest p[inhole lets in air - and the humidity it contains. In fact, because of possible air ingress at the time pf packing, your PA6 nylon filament may arrive already having absorbed moisture.)

The problem with hygroscopic - aka 'water-absorbing' - engineering plastics for printing is that the water starts to boil out of the plastics as it leaves the print nozzle and the expanding water / steam blows little holes in the model, or excess stringing occurs, or even a collapse of the model. 

Other Plastic Operations

Filament printing is just one operation we can perform on plastics that depends on dry - really dry - plastic material. In an injection molding die, steam and water in the plastic can leave voids, blow out through steam pressure, and generally ends in failure.

If you're pressing plastic into plate form, the water will leave all manner of deformities and imperfections in the plate. (And that's even true of the sandwich press plaste BTW. Hard experience talking here.) In fact, moisture absorption by plastics during manufacture is a Bad Thing.

(The exception (which is actually not an exception as it occurs AFTER the manufacturing processes) is that strimmer and weed trimmer lines made of nylon should be allowed to absorb moisture to make it more resistant to fracturing in use.)

Are There Solutions? 

Thankfully, there are solutions for FFF processes in particular, and some general advice for other processes. Here's a short article detailing some solutions.

Your TL;DR is that there are different processes depending on your needs. There are solutions for drying out filament that's become waterlogged, and involve taking a spool of filament to a temperature below the melting point of the filament (AND the melting point of the spools the filament is on! Also true story) but as high as possible to evaporate off the water.

There's a solution for keeping dry filament dry in cabinets, and in smaller dry keepers that feed directly into your printer. No one solution seems able to do all of it. (The article is advertising for a claimed all-in-one solution but you also need to keep sane costs in mind - especially like myself, on a pension.)

Some Home Grown Solutions

 

 
TL:The credenza, with door closed. TR:The filament section open.         
LL: The back of the dehumidifier    LR: Overview of the printer cabinet

The good news is that for the lower temperature rated plastics there are a few inexpensive solutions.

Many people convert an inexpensive circular food dehydrator with thermostat into a filament dryer. These barely manage to reach 60C and generally run even cooler than that, but they CAN dry filaments slowly IF you also keep some fresh silica gel in it where it can absorb the moisture as it's released, and change it frequently.

Silica gel is also good in any air sealed tub you want to keep your filament in once it's dried, but it has a definite use life and once it's absorbed water you either throw it out, or waste even more energy drying it out for (one or two cycles of) re-use. 

I wanted to store 10 - 25 spools of filament (mainly PLA and some PETG) so I made a solution with an old desk credenza thing (one shallow drawer and one file drawer) that I actually also mounted the printer cabinet atop, and it's adequate for most things.

The way it keeps things from moisture is that it has a small electric dehumidifier inside, the kind that distills the humidity out of the air and fills a water drawer. Because it runs with about 45W it also keeps the inside of the cabinet at 25C - 35C and below 32% RH, and there's ALSO a tub of silica gel in there that gets changed when it looks like it's absorbed enough.

I just took all the drawers out and turned the fronts into a hinged door, sealed it, and made a shelf for the dehumidifier.

The front of the dehumidifier, and the Ender3 Pro known as "Brucely."
 
(Messy) top of cabinet with filament entry, and the sophisticated
"climate monitoring" inside the filament cabinet aka "Fillie Stash".

The dehumidifier is for a small room, and in our 75% - 85% average RH here it fills the tank every six weeks or so. The distilled water doesn't get chucked out - we use it to top off lead acid batteries, fill irons, put on soldering iron sponges, wash things, and give some away to the local ironing people, cleaners, and anyone else that needs demineralised distilled water.

There's still a shelf to go in the Fillie Stash but so far it's kept a decent temperature and humidity for over a year now and only added about 6-8 dollars to the electric bill for the year. It probably won't be useful for nylon (PA 6) and other engineering plastics but it's kept the PLA and PETG fairly stable. There's usually a small tub of dessicant in there as well, I've changed that twice in over a year, so they last 6-8mths if you don't leave the door open all the time. 

Not shown in the pictures is an IKEA Förnuftig air purifier with the additional charcoal filter to absorb plastic fumes, it's generally run at lowest speed to clear the air of passing particles such as, you know, COVID if we have unvetted visitors, and dust from the road outside. When I'm working it gets cranked up to 3 and pulls fumes out of the air. (Activated charcoal filtering works wonders against the volatile organic compound fumes from plastic and you really should consider one of two purifiers especially in view of the still very much a pandemic level of COVID.)

And that's it for this article. Hope it inspires you to make a DIY solution for your filament storage.

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Please - take a look at my News Stand where you'll see live updated links to everything I publish; or take a subscription to my weekly newsletter where you'll receive the same information in your inbox for free; Or contact me via the webform or directly email me if you'd like to help; or donate either directly or at my Ko-Fi page for the price of a coffee, or even make a regular monthly donation there.. It all helps me to build projects like this one, keep the servers and domain names paid for, and lets me take subscriptions for research. 

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Successful Cleantech Stories Roundup

Sustainable Happy Endings

Often, we read about failures of recycling or cleantech or any tech to remain clean. Not today. Today I'm rounding up a few neat success stories, which makes a nice change. I'm proud to say that several feature Australian successes, which means we've been doing something right. 

After right after reading a few of the disasters (hey - I have to give some balance to my coverage, but hang in, it's not a lot of negativity, and it'll make the next few stories seem even happier and nicer...) that come up we can dive into the happy fluffy bunny news...

The first is the inevitable story about how plastic recycling will never work, and I call BS right in the first paragraph, "Americans support recycling" because the author quite patently doesn't - and is really only making a case for manufacturers to be allowed to continue making virgin plastic because as she says it is never recycled. 

Aside from the whole litany of reasons that used to be given for not recycling plastics (which may have held true two decades ago but have now been shown to be BS) she then segues right into conflating 'wasteful' with 'oooh dangerous! Flammable!' which is just as much BS, you can see the agenda of this article like a big "BULLSHOTT!!!" stamp over pretty much every word. 

And the heart of the matter is here, in this snippet: "...(r)ecycled plastic costs more than new plastic..." - and there it is. Poor billion dollar corporations shouldn't be required to fix their stuff-ups by recycling the plastics, they should just keep pumping out more and more nice new CHEAP plastic. You can read the rest but you can see can't you that it's just going to go under the hill and not just downhill, from there. 

The second story (paywalled, sorry) is a bit more grim but it shows what happens when we let attitudes and stories like the previous one become the narrative. Can't be bothered to stop pumping up fossil fuels because they created an empire on it, can't be bothered recycling the filthy remnants of their industry because it might slightly lower their obscene bottom line profits, and we end up with the mess coming back to haunt:
"Someone. Some place called .. wait, was it the Cannery islands or something? Yeah, that's the ones. As long as it's not around the beach of my mansion IDGAF, next item on the agenda please."

THAT is the level of rapacious greed and bastardry we're up against. ALWAYS call these bastards out, ALWAYS write to your government and the company's upper echelons and point out that we don't want to cop this shit any more. ALWAYS. 

So good news stories are very much needed, just remember that the bad news ones like those above don't just go away, they have to be driven away.

Microorganisms and Compounds

While some of the little thing are giving us colds and flus and COVID, there's a few others that are being quite helpful. Whether they're our bread and beer buddies "eatin' lead" for our common good, grasses quietly chowing down on military RDX residues, or  worms eating polystyrene (PS) as their main menu item, small organisms are becoming powerful allies in the effort to clean up our waste products. 

The fact that this is research that should have been 'done and dusted' BEFORE ever releasing the products they're now cleaning up for us should be a fact not lost on you. This is one of the biggest reasons why we're here in this situation now. The other reason is, you know, harvesting those resources out of the planet without paying the real cost of them. Which we're now having to pay because past corporations didn't GAF for future us. 

We've learned to live on the planet, at first in two dimensions, and then in three. But so far we've done a really crap job of navigating the fourth dimension. You know when a sci fi story has the protagonist go back in time and do something that changes the present? Well, turns out we should really have been paying attention to the story where the protagonist does something now and it has profound effects in the future. . . Yeah . . .

But back to one more good story of a tiny critter making big differences in the world is these bacteria that may soon be simultaneously able to digest plastics and produce antibiotics. This is the kind of research we need right now, and not hamstrung by the false old idea of economic value. I'd go so far as to say that if we poured every cent of ALL the wealth on the planet into such research right now, that's pretty much the only way we're going to survive the legacy that 'past us' has left us. . .

The Place Of Tech

And what tech has dirtied, tech can clean up. From a futuristic-sounding plasma technology that can destroy the 'forever' chemical PFAS to Shenzen technology blogger, developer, and maker Naomi Wu developing inexpensive and easy to make far-UV light fixtures that destroy airborne virus particles, technological advances in fields other than just the biological are making a difference. The latter story in particular illustrates how the growing field of technology 'makers' now have the resources and thanks to people like Ms Wu, the knowledge, to put their skills to work and come up with solutions.

In my view, corporations should actually  be required to sponsor such citizen scientists / engineers / biologists because some of the best, simple, and inexpensive solutions are coming from this sector. I needn't point out how makers produced face shields, masks, test equipment, prosthetics, and a whole slew of other public health and safety equipment. 

The Wins

Just a few simple words to show that if you make your message about single-use plastics absolutely clear, it does have a measurable and visible effect. Most of the plastic bag and straw pollution on Australian beaches is not from Australia but drifting over from Asia. Which goes to show that significant reductions CAN be achieved.

And it's not just plastic bags and straws, nor is it a new thing. Some of the research has been carried out over years of study.

Hydrogen

I'm totally stealing this from TEdADYNE Systems' usual EV and sustainable energy pile of stories: Some odd 'solar pixels' tale about using sun and some designed materials to create clean H2 for use as a fuel. 

Okay - the reporter in that story didn't quite seem to get that it's a process with some similarities to photosynthesis in that these materials when exposed to light split hydrogen and oxygen out of water directly without the step of generating electricity and then using electrolysis.

It's a much more direct process and so should produce a greater yield with better efficiency. The downside appears to be that the materials degrade over time with use. I guess it remains to be seen whether the constant replacement of the reactive material will cost more in energy than the cells harvest, or if it'll be a useful and valuable way to generate hydrogen.

It wasn't plain from the article either, but since some of the material is carbon-based, then there's every chance that it could be arranged that the major outputs of these cells could be H2 and CO2. And while it may seem that generating CO2 is a Bad Thing, in fact with an ancillary plant included in the plans, you could generate even more useful output from the operation, which would maybe push it over the edge to a viable technology:

It *seems* from the article that CO2 could be a side product, to which I say that you should just pipe that gas over an algae reactor and harvest either food (spirulina or other food algae,) animal feed (same but a wider range of algae,) or a carbohydrate oil that can then be further cracked for more H2.

So that's it for now. The images are sections out of AI generated imagery from https://craiyon.com which is a project from some of the same people that made Dall-E Mini.

In addition to writing these articles I'm also experimenting with ways of recycling waste that can be done at the cottage industry or community hub levels, not so much because it'll magically convert 100% of local waste into recycled useful articles, but because people who are doing these sorts of activities are likely to talk about them to people in their community, and so raise even more awareness of the issues and dangers.

So please - if you can at all spare some time, take a look at my News Stand where you'll see live updated links to everything I publish; And take some time and share the links to the News Stand and this article with your friends and readers. 

Take a subscription to my weekly newsletter where you'll receive the same information; 

Or maybe contact me via the webform; Or email me;

You can also donate either directly or at my  Ko-Fi page  for the price of a coffee, or even make a regular monthly donation there.

All donations are put towards keeping these websites online, and for developing devices, machines, and techniques to easily and safely recycle materials on a tiny scale.


Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Stuff You Don't Need

But It's Nice To Have 

Something I've said - start with a flat sandwich press like a panini press - is bull. I know I said it's the machine to start with but I started with an iron, an ordinary electric clothes iron, and a cotton teatowel that had seen better days, and some plastic bread bags, some stray bits of 3D printing filament, and baking paper. Start with anything.

I don't even have pictures it was so much an off the cuff experiment. I arranged the filament strands to frame a piece of bread bag with a neat design on it, covered them with two layers of baking paper, and ironed them into the fabric. It worked, and it didn't look half bad, but it would have been too stiff for clothing which is what I was trying to achieve, appliques for clothing to give them another crack at life.

It did give me a few more ideas though. not that I can follow through just yet because I can't really afford to spend money on an A3 laminator that I'm going to modify heavily or destroy in the process. But it would make tough plastic/textile laminate that could be used for waterproof cladding or making enclosures or boxes or storage crates.

I've used hairdryers and hot air guns to shape plastic around things I've built, as waterproofing and bump protection, and I've used a 3D pen to repair broken plastic items and join parts together.

And when I can afford to get one of those desktop mini ovens I'll also be able to make castings with waste plastics. Later, when I have time to make a decent press, I can make harder castings and when / if I can turn that to another use, plastic injection molds and objects. 

The Exhortation:

Look - you can start with the sandwich press and two pieces of BBQ heat shield cloth and some oven mitts. You can start with a clothes flatiron and some baking paper. But you CAN start pretty much now. 

Learn the types of plastics and then think: HDPE and PP can be re-used by chopping it up and then using the sandwich maker or the flatiron, LDPE can also be done the same way. (NOT together - you need to keep your plastics separated into types - here I'm going to suggest chipping your plastics quite small, cutting open 2litre and 3litre milk jugs and storing the plastics in different jugs according to type - and if you desire, colour as well - and then you can experiment to your heart's content.)

Plastic drink, milk jugs, and other tops are generally 5-PP or 2-HDPE, bottles are usually 1-PET and nut easy to deal with using kitchen appliances, and must bread bags / toilet roll bags, and similar are 4-LDPE. The numbers are the number you'll find in the recycling triangle symbols usually (hopefully!) stamped on most plastics these days. 

SAFETY

3-PVC, 6-PS, and a lot of 7-Other plastics are either too toxic to safely process with limited equipment, require more heat than we can apply, and release toxic fumes when heated. And in general I advise you to avoid them until you've got some experience under your belt and done more research.

Don't steal yer Mum's sandwich/jaffle maker to do these things - plastics can leach chemicals that you probably don't want to ingest along with your next ham'n'cheese toastie. 

Only work in a well-ventilated space and if possible with a powered charcoal filter fume extractor. (This one from IKEA doesn't come with the charcoal filter as standard but you can buy those here. And these air purifiers will as a side benefit also pull COVID virus out of the air in your work area.) We have two of them because of these reasons. I also use mine to pull soldering fumes away from me when I'm doing electronics. 

Plastic is a bit like napalm - it not only stores heat and burns, it sticks and that can cause nasty burns. Use oven mitts at the very least, and silicon mitts if you can get them. You have been warned.

The BBQ sheets I'm talking about are generally 20x35ish pieces of shiny black cloth sold as BBQ sheets and meant to be placed on the BBQ to either keep IT clean or keep your food clean, but I'd never use one because the aforementioned volatile compounds (fumes) will be released at around 300C and your BBQ can easily reach that without you knowing. But perfect for keeping plastic from sticking to your toastie maker or flatiron.

Future

In future, time allowing, I'll be developing a few more uses for common equipment and devices, plus a few ways to make inexpensive machines for more complex processes. I'm always looking for collaborators and people wanting to take on some of this research or do some writing on this or one of the other blogs (all for raising public awareness and disseminating information) I have a contact form in the footer below. It's all voluntary but then again I've been doing this on a pension for several years now, and who knows, one day this kind of work may be valued for what it's worth...

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In addition to writing these articles I'm also experimenting with ways of recycling waste that can be done at the cottage industry or community hub levels, not so much because it'll magically convert 100% of local waste into recycled useful articles, but because people who are doing these sorts of activities are likely to talk about them to people in their community, and so raise even more awareness of the issues and dangers.

So please - if you can at all spare some time, take a look at my News Stand where you'll see live updated links to everything I publish; And take some time and share the links to the News Stand and this article with your friends and readers. 

Take a subscription to my weekly newsletter where you'll receive the same information; 

Or maybe contact me via the webform; Or email me;

You can also donate either directly or at my Ko-Fi page for the price of a coffee, or even make a regular monthly donation there.

All donations are put towards keeping these websites online, and for developing devices, machines, and techniques to easily and safely recycle materials on a tiny scale.

Monday, 6 June 2022

Care Parcels Arrive

 A lot of parts arrive

I feel all spoiled saying this, but I've had a load of parts arrive from AliExpress. And while I've yet to receive anything from the monetisation of the blogs, I did have a lot of surveys completed in the last few weeks. (Yeah, I know - how does he do it? How does he spend so much time researching articles and writing them, do surveys, keep a household running, and still find time to do surveys?)

Well, actually the surveys that powered this splurge were done almost three months ago and it's taken an average of six weeks for the delivery to get here. But I have the next survey income in my account for the next bits I'll need. It's only $20 or $40 at a time but it's all helping. Except . . .

The aforementioned conceiving, researching, and writing. They do take time, and I haven't printed anything or built anything or done anything in the interim because I've had no time. I have a vegetable garden to mind, compost to look after, meals to cook, washing to do, and a lovely wife to be with occasionally.

So these parts got photographed, put in drawers and storage bins. And now I'm sitting here watching Night Skies with my wife and writing this article, wishing I had more free time. 

 

Selection, L to R top to bottom:
A board that I'll have to fix; a logging board;
the whole ki n kaboodle in the car.

As you can see, there's a MOSFET board that I need to fix but I'm sitting here feeling too tired to get up and do it. Tomorrow morning I'll give it a go. 

A second care parcel arrived - thanks to a long survey (in multiple parts, each quite long, and worth a cool tenner apiece) - and so I have some soil moisture probes, motor drivers, and more; This time with no parts that needed repairing. So I put a RTC board on my test setup. And then had to have an eye checkup, a pre-admission consult with an anaesthetist, a doctor appointment to have both a COVID booster and a flu shot, and also get wired up for a sleep study. 

Since each of those took a little while and then even more time waiting around and driving myself there and back, I've barely had time to admire the realtime clock board let alone download a library for it, and the battery I grabbed in between times for the data logging board(s) turned out to be the wrong one so - another thing I have to find time for.

So one project is the garden controller which might get finished one day. It will have the data logger/RTC and one of the four MOSFET driver boards and several soil moisture probes. 

And this afternoon was spent watching a magnificent incoming high tide at a great holiday spot - but done because my wife too has had medical appointments this week and that was one such, took ages and since we were in Inverloch we decided to use the opportunity to have lunch in the car and then stroll out on the jetty. 😸

And I'm sorry this is a short update only, as you can gather from the tone of it, I'm feeling like I'm under the hammer and in need of a few collaborators to help with things. There's gear to design and build, articles other people could write and contribute, - and serious organising to do that I'm not cut out for and nor will I ever find the time to equip myself to do it. If this sounds like something you could give some time to, contact me. (Link in footer.)

And - also - PS - to whit - and to boot: I did resolder the MSOFET to its lead stumps, I could have replaced it completely but I'm a tight-arse.


Cheapskate repairs a specialty; but the board lives!
Soil moisture probe; and some of the wires I wore
for the sleep study.

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