New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Old Fools Journal: Whirling Blades of Death

This is a redo of the original post
December 28, 2008

A few months back when it was hot I had this little fan that I bought for $8 several years ago that just was not putting out any air. I could find nothing wrong with it except that maybe the safety shroud was a little too safe. The overzealous safety folk gotten a little carried away and not only could you not stick you finger in the fan but air could not get in or out either.
I had many important things to do (New roof, fix fence, replace leaky faucet, paint bicycle, rebuild front porch, fix car, etc.) but I put them all aside and tore down this little fan.


While the shroud was off I noticed that this fan was rather interesting looking whereas when fully dressed it was ugly with a capital U. I further stripped it down to bare essentials. When I turned it on it put out some serious air. So much in fact that I run it on low now and it looks good too.

Rummaging around in the laboratory here I found some brass colored paint, some antique copper paint, some copper wire, some boot laces, a half dozed dead bugs and a water spiget handle. I discarded the bugs but used the rest.

All the white plastic in the motor room is covered with the copper paint and and the rest is brass paint.

This is a poor picture but in the upper right corner there is a smudge of red, yellow and blue that is a toy biplane on a wire that circles around above the whirling blades of death when the fan is on. The oscillator no longer works but the gears turn which makes the back of the fan interesting.

The green ball to the right is a green tomato I grew that has long since ripened and gone on to its reward.

The copper coil turns dispersing cosmic rays and confusing alien mind control. I don't know how it works but I haven't seen any cosmic rays and my mind is totally uncontroled.

I have plans for the big gear whenever I get some more parts.

She Who Must Be Obeyed ask me why there is a faucett in my fan. I told her it was water cooled but she didn't fall for it.

The brass object in the lower right corner in front of the fan is a solid brass door knocker that I picked up at a thrift store for 50 cents. It is ready to install and has been for a month. It should be on the “things I should have done instead of working on this fan” list.

Whirling Blades of Death just waiting of the chance to chop off arms and legs when a dull person turns the fan on or off. I have noticed that not having a shroud has heighten my awareness of the fan. Dangerous but what fun.

The cord is cloth covered by pulling the core from a pair of boot laces and replacing it with the electric cord.
Thanks to Jake von Slatt at the Steampunk Workshop
for that idea. Go look at his work. It is good.

The picture is not good but it's what you get with a cheap camera.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Old Fools Journal: Electric Light

December 10, 2008
Let there be Light

It has been brought to my attention many times in my short life just how important light is. I was fascinated by man made light as a child and any sort of contraption that made light had my full attention. I thought at one time that there must be a little pyro in my make up because of my interest in lighting matches (the fire trucks only had to come once) but it turns out that what I liked was the warmth and light especially the light. It drove back the darkness. All manner of artificial light makers were grist for my mill. Candles, torches, kerosene lanterns, carbide lamps, flashlights, 110v light bulbs or anything else that would make light were “my thang”. My first project when I finished my first boy built hut was to construct a light source. It consisted of a tin can full of sand and soaked in kerosene (we always had a drum of kerosene). It's a wonder I survived.

No light that man makes, at least for common consumption, is equal to sunlight or even to diffused sunlight (clouds) but they are superior to darkness. Edison got it right and the light bulb freed man from darkness. Of all the things that electricity does for me the one I value most is light. If I could only have one thing I would rather have the light bulb than anything else. When the “unfortunate event” of hurricanes or for that matter any other “unfortunate event” happens and the electricity goes off (it happens a lot here and for good reason) the first thing that is done is turn on the portable lights. After all unfortunate events mostly only happen at night*.
*The unfortunate events of hurricane Gustave and Ike happened in the day time for us. A first in my lifetime. I was born in the middle of the night and most of my trials are in the middle of the night as well.

It might be candles, flashlights, gas lanterns or whatever but light comes first then other things can be looked after. By the time I get around to the generator and get it going the first light bulb that comes on is a rush of luxury. It's hard to explain the feeling that comes over me when the first 110 volt bulb comes on. Many times the portable battery operated lights are left on because they are just not noticed anymore. All other advantages to electricity take a back seat to the light bulb although when it's time for bed an electric fan comes in second if you need to stir the air in your hovel. Just bear in mind that a fan can be entirely mechanical with no electricity in sight but it just ain't so for the light bulb.

Which brings me to lamps and light fixtures. Here are a few of mine.

I just finished this 12volt wall lamp for my bus. The fixture is brass and brass plate and cost 35 cents at the thrift store. I removed the AC socket, added a switch, soldered up 12 white leds (from Hong Kong) and added a pimiento jar for a globe. Makes a rather nice 12 volt light don't you think. Steampunk for sure. It draws 400ma at 12.5 volts and puts out more light than the 1.4 amp bulb it replaced.
The pictures in the background are of some of my ancestors.

Much better than this which hid most of the light behind the cover. This is 1960's vintage and ugly.

This lamp I found at the goodwill store ($4.00) with no shade but I found a shade ($2.00) there as well that I thought fit it rather nicely. Both are of the best quality. The lamp is made of brass and the ball is an unknown stone or porcelain. It is fully adjustable by use of a lever and knurled thumb knob. The shade is well made and I think together it combines the look of the Victorian and industrial age. I love it. It's well suited to steampunk.

This one is pure, stark and functional. I think it was less than two bucks. It's like having a small moon in the room. I wanted it to be brass but now that I have it I am really glad that it's not because except for the light it's just not there unless you look for it. I had a devil of a time getting it to pose for this crappy picture. I even took it outside but it just refused to take a good photo. In the end I took what I could get. At the end of time when all electricity is gone it can still be used as a candle stick.

This light doesn't look like much but it grew this monster radish plant indoors in cold weather and with a 13 watt florescent bulb. At the rate this plant is growing it will be six foot tall by March. This utilitarian light has shop written all over it and that is where it has normally lived but I think it's moved up in the world. I have had this lamp for a long time. I plan to start my tomatoes with it in the spring. I'm growing the single radish here for winter fun. I am easily entertained.

I haven't found a good anchor for this lamp yet but it is so flexible, directional and functional. I call it the Snake Light and it is a perfect sewing light but it needs an anchor. I need to figure that out and I will but I don't seem to be as quick about things as I use to be. Meanwhile it's wrapped around the keyboard and set up for the sewing machine.

This lantern I got from a friend in Mexico. It was on his boat that he had hired us to clean up. We took it home and he told us to keep it. I believe it is at least a 100 years old. The trouble with these old kerosene lanterns is they weep kerosene. This one is not bad but bad enough to not keep it filled with fuel. I converted it to led by making a battery pack that could be fed down into the fuel tank with a three LED array on top of the wick carrier. The LED's are just stuck into a wad of plumbers putty on top of the wick carrier. The wick is dropped into the bottom of the tank and can easily be fished out and reinstalled. With a little kerosene we're back in business. Meanwhile batteries are available and cheap so why not?
It's such a good looking old light maker.

Respect and appreciate your electric lights when you turn them on.