Sea Glass is a beautiful product of nature. The smooth, etched pieces of glass are created as the tide washes broken bottles back and forth over the sand and rocks on the ocean floor. Time and nature turn this discarded trash into unique little works of art.
You can buy man-made sea glass from big factories that use machines to simulate the process, but it's not the same. It can even be made at home with a rock tumbler or cement mixer. But do you really want to use gas or electricity to mimic something nature recycles on it's own?
I'd like to create a human powered sea glass tumbler. This Rube Goldberg device could be installed at street fairs and amusement parks so that kids can upcyle their bottles into something beautiful. All while using their hands, feet and imagination.
With big gears, hammers and a self-propelled wave machine, my first tumbler will be a wild hillbilly steampunk apparatus that I dream of having installed at the Silver Dollar City amusement park. There people could convert a 1,000 bottles a day into decorative sea glass mulch for the flower beds.
Winning this project will allow me to buy materials, modern drafting software and few specialized tools (note to self: figure out how to justify buying a 3D printer for the project). Having the winning entry to brandish about will also help me get my foot in the door at a couple of venues where the contraption would be a huge hit.
All my life my head has been filled with whirring motors, pulleys and gears so I became a Manufacturing Engineer. As manufacturing has disappeared here in the Ozark Mountains I turned my attention to computer programming. My customers have been hit hard the last few years and it's gotten pretty tough to keep the doors open. Creating the contraption and installing it at parks around the country would allow me the independence to make an honest living at the thing I love most: creating. It may be a small shop on a back country road to most, but with grease under my nails I'll be proud to watch the smiling faces as people turn empty bottles into Sea Glass.