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Tips for finishing cut bottles

I bought my boyfriend a Kinkajou Bottle Cutter and Bottle Cutting Inc. sandpaper kit because he was interested in recycling bottles into drinking glasses, candles, etc. He was really excited about the handmade gifts he planned to make, but the sanding/ finishing of the bottle rim has turned out to be such a laborious process he's only finished one glass in 6 months. The sanding papers range from 80grit to 220, I believe. It just takes so long to get a nice smooth edge that your arm is killing you and it's difficult not to give up before achieving a truly professional result. Anyone out there have tips or tricks to make the finishing process faster or less tiresome? Any secret tools of the trade we should know about?  We don't have a garage or big power tools to work with, though I've considered seeing if maybe there's something we could rent for a day(?) I've also looked into BC inch's new "diamond' sanding pads but we're hesitant to drop more money into the project unless we hear those are totally amazing. I welcome your thoughts!

Topic by ashleyjlong    |  last reply



How to build a vertical round sander?

Hello everyone. I recently started recycling empty bottle by cutting them and would like to build some sort of round sander that stands vertically on the ground or a table. I was thinking of maybe buying and old motor of some sort and attaching a piece of plywood maybe and just glue a sandpaper on it to sand of the edges off bottles to make drinking glasses or vases.Any advices would be appreciated or different ideas. Thank you.

Question by Tibor91    |  last reply


Sand and Gravel water filter- HELP

Okay so I have been charged with finding out how to build a simple sand/ gravel water filter for use at scouts on Thursday and I have come up with ZERO... Does anyone know enough about it to explain to me in laymans terms on how to construct one... or rather what grades of sand/gravel i need? I'm planning on using a pop bottle, and layering the sand and gravel inside it.... using the screw top end as the tap.... I have a BASIC idea of what i need... I just want to be sure it works! Thanks guys and girls Jay

Topic by Biggsy    |  last reply



How to make a horizontal sander?

Any ideas on how to make a horizontal sander like the one in this picture? I would like to use it for sanding bottles that i have managed to cut and want to make a nice and smooth edge on them. Thank you

Question by Tibor91    |  last reply


How do I make tiles using glass from wine bottles? Some will use outside.

I want to use the tiles for various projects, one of which will be a gazebo floor set into sand.

Question by DottieM    |  last reply


Built of recycled materials, but is it "green"?

Construction is nearing completion in Taipei of a plastic bottle building. Technically a temporary structure, "the world's lightest, movable, breathable environmental miracle" (say the designers) is also strong enough to withstand typhoons and earthquakes.  The building will eventually become an exhibition space. Much is being made of the structure's "green" credentials - LED lighting, and particularly the construction material; 1,500,000 recycled PET bottles. That sounds great, and in most of the news coverage of the structure (such as the BBC and Treehugger) it sounds like the building is built directly of bottles that have been re-shaped somehow (maybe squashed in a heated mould).  The bottles even have lids, and they talk about filling them with air, water or sand to change the thermal properties of the building.. It turns out, though, that the building material is not "PET bottles", but "PET bottles chopped up, melted and re-formed into much thicker-walled bottles intended solely for building", branded as Polli-Bricks. OK, still recycled, still greener than most building materials, but it smacks of spin to just say the building is built of bottles. The Polli-Bricks are impressive - individually nice to look at, and fitting together snugly "like Lego" - but there is no indication of how much energy is spent creating them.  They are made by Hymini, but the Hymini website flashes up all sorts of alarms with my firewall and anti-virus as an "attack site".  There is more information at Miniwiz as well, but some of the links there also trigger alarms. Maybe I'm being a wet blanket. It is a nice building, after all. What do you think? GreenMuze article

Topic by Kiteman    |  last reply


Other than Obvious Uses for an Old Oster Hand Massager

It seems to me that there should be some other than obvious uses for an old Oster Hand Massager like they used to use in barber shops and gyms. Could one be attached to a glove to allow for some detailed hand sanding, or perhaps for shaking moder paint bottles, or to hold a chisel for wood carving? Seems like there is some potential somewhere...

Topic by Panamaboob    |  last reply


Just found out: Clean inside of a thermos - Simple!

I just had to clean my thermos prior the tournament tomorrow. A quick peek inside revealed some stubborn residue. Propably furring (chalky deposits) from the boiling water i use to make tea in them... (we have quite "hard" water with lots of calcium). The throat of the bottle (Full-metal thermos) was too narrow for normal cleaning-brushes... I fortunately had a bag of rice standing around and thought  "Hm... Hard and small things"! So i quickly added half a handfull of dry rice in the thermos and a bit of cold water (2-3 spoons). Then i shook it a bit and poured the rice out. The inside was quite clean and almost "pristine" again. This method should also work for thermoscans with glass-interiors. Another (better) way of doing that is propably (but ONLY if you have a METAL-Interior!) to add a hand of sand or fine gravel with some wather (Maybe even a bit of dishsoap) and give it a shake. Again: Only do the sand/gravel if your thermos does not have a glass-interior!! Have fun and enjoy a good drink while outside! :)

Topic by Orngrimm    |  last reply


Please help me identify this item!!!

A few of these items were found by 3 different volunteers during a beach cleanup in New Jersey, after Hurricane Sandy rolled through, destroying huge sand dunes and leaving debris everywhere.  They are clear yellowish glass tubes or ampules (ampoules) filled with a white powder.  I searched all over the internet for a match to these with no luck, but I did find an article on a large storm that hit NJ in 1962, in which a woman reported,    “We had sea grass everywhere, and there were glass ampules everywhere that contained a white powder. Our father told my sister and me not to touch them.”  Also found on the cleanup were old glass bottles all over the place from the 1920's-1950's so I'd imagine these could possibly be just as old.  Maybe they came from the sea, maybe unearthed from being under the sand for sometime? Any ideas on what this could be? Thanks for looking!

Question by SurfJockey    |  last reply


Making cement patio for a miniature garden using only Portland Cement, could I just saturate it or do I need to mix it? Answered

I want to make a little cement and stone patio for a miniature garden with Portland Cement. Do I NEED to actively mix the cement with water to activate it or could I just use a spray bottle to spray it to the point of saturation? I would have 1/4"-1/2" of sand underneath and the cement would be at maximum 1" thick, though1/2" is more likely. I had watched some YouTube videos of diy cement planters that only used the Portland cement and water and I thought it would be good for miniature garden patios, pathways, etc.  Thanks for any help!

Question by tseemann    |  last reply


Sculpture contest- Win a patch!

Sculpture contest. A simple contest where you have to make a sculpture, out of anything; Bottles, paper, card, metal, plumbing parts, sand, knex, lego, or pretty much ANYTHING you can find! Like I said above, you can make you're sculpture out of anything you can find really, and it can be big or small. Come on, have a go! It'll be fun! You could even win a patch! :-) Some rules: Must be a sculpture (Duhh!) Can be made out of anything Can be however big or small as you want You're sculpture must be entered by 7 Febuary 2010 (Thats 2 weeks to complete it) Must have been made AFTER the start of this contest There are some examples of sculptures below, some made out of household junk, others made out of highly priced steel other highly priced stuff :-P So, are you going to enter? Of course you are! Woo! Then get crackin' on your sculptures!

Topic by Hiyadudez    |  last reply


Can I fix pigment to plastic? Answered

This may be a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I bought about $150 worth of candle-making supplies for $5  at an estate sale years ago, but I haven't used any of it for years, due mostly to the fact that I ruined most of the molds before I knew you needed a double-boiler. Oh well. Anyway, amongst all the wax and molds and wick, I got two or three bottles of powdered pigment. I'm now into circuit bending, and now I'm interested in decorating bent instruments. I've worked with paint pens and spray paint, but I thought it might be cool to use the pigment. I don't know how to use it, and I can't find anything about fixing pigment to plastic online.   So, my questions are: -Do I need to mix it in with glue or some fixative, or does it somehow stick to the plastic? and -If I sand the plastic, will the pigment stick in the wells created? If nobody can answer, I can probably find a piece of scrap plastic to test it on, but I thought I might try asking here first. Thanks, Noahh

Question by noahh    |  last reply


Fixing a mosquito bite quickly!

You suffer for days after one of these tiny vampires got you?The itching drives you mad?And unlike some people your bites always get worse from day two onwards?If so, then you might have the same problem as I have...No matter how much hate and disgust you show, these mozzies just love you.And as this wouldn't be bad enough your body totally overreacts every time.A bite for me meant numbing cremes or sprays, anti-histamines and if doubt putting a heavy duty bandaid over it so if I forget the scratching won't do too much harm.Despite all this 5 to 6 days until the itch, swelling and irritation stop...A few weeks ago while fishing I had a nice chat with a man way into his 80's already.He laughed when I started to spray all uncovered parts of my body with tropical strenght insect repellent.Told him my reasons and then he said I should try something he used during his army times for bites of unknown critters.In the jungle they often relied on local guides and they provided a solution that seems to be totally forgotten these day - even I did not know it LOLTheory behind it...If you know these "insect bite clicker" then you already know how it is put into comercial use - without ringing much relief.Whenever something bad enters the body there is a reaction to fight it off or dispose of it.Problem with insect bites, be it mozzies or sand flies, is that all this bad stuff is concentrated in a very tiny area.And being mostly skin tissue makes it hard to deal with it.By applying pressure and massage like motion to the bite the contaminent are spread through the tissue.If you leave a small dint with little to no color left after 2 or so minutes you doing it good.Try to use something hard here, like a spoon, bottle cap, end of a screwdriver - whatever is slightly rounded and solid.You will notice that the itch gets quite bad once the bloodflow starts again and within minutes the bite area will swell up and form a more or less evenly formed hump.The hump will be pale in color while around it the skin is slightly red from the added bloodflow.Don't scratch! Just wait until a nice hump has formed where you can clearly make out the rim.Now use the same pressure method as before and spread out the hump while constaly pushing it in and "wobbling" around to massage the area a bit.Do this as before for about 2 minutes and if you still see a destinct difference between bite aea and surrounding tissue continue for a bit longer.Should not take more than 5 minutes to have the area nice and even again.Wait again and check for new singns of swelling up - there should not be any.If there is simply repeat one last time.The remaining itch will go away within about an hour instead of days and there won't be any severe after effects from day 2 onwards either anymore.It can help to use heat as well.For example by heating up the spoon in some hot water before using it.But keep the heat at a level you can tolerate!!! Do not heat the spoon to the point where you feel pain from the heat.Try it out and report back! :)

Topic by Downunder35m    |  last reply


"Sonic" drilling or cutting

If we look up sonic drills today we usually get some fancy machines driving pipes in the ground, preferably softer ground.But the term includes all types of machines that use sonic vibrations to advance through a media.With the ancient and claimed to have never existed technologies in mind I did some digging...In the food industry vibrating knifes are quite common, same for "air knifes" on softer food.Even in the meat industry they find more and more uses now.Ultrasonic cutting or welding is the same thing and included in "sonic".Same for some experimental sub sonic drilling methods currently being tested.The general idea might be as old as using vibrating equippment to compact stuff, like concrete, bricks and so on.What you can compact by vibration you can also make "fluid" by vibration.Industrial feeder systems utilise this to the extreme by even making light and fine particles like flour move like water without causing any dusting.What all the techniques have in common that a suitable tool or tool head is used and that it is attempted to use the most suitable vibration frequency for the job.Anyone operating an ultrasonic welder knows the pain of finetuning for a new electrode or just new part to be welded.What does that tell us now that makes the understanding easier?Take a bottle of ketchup, preferably one that is still quite full.Turn it upside down and noothing comes out.Shake it a bit and you are either lucky or drowned in red.But hold it at an angle and start tapping it and the red sauce flows out easily.What it true for most newtonian fluids is in some way also true for non-newtonian fluids.Ever mixed corn starch and water to make these funny experiments with it?Hit it hard and it reacts really hard and is not sticky at all.Leave your hand resting on it and in sinks in and sticks to it.Stirring it very slowly is easy, go faster and you get stuck.You can do similar things with by using an external source for vibrations.For example a vibration speaker mounted to a smal cup of the goo.If you place sand on a sloped piece of plastic or sheet metal then at a low angle it will pile up easy and stay.Start vibrating the plate and the sand will start to flow off.Works fine with a vibration source mounted to a piece of steel bar or rod and a bucket of sand too.Trying to press it into the sand requires a lot of force, especially once you are a bit deeper.Let it vibrate properly and it slides rights down.If we can do the simple stuff as well as really complicated stuff in the industry then what about other materials?So far we use vibrations to make things move out of the way, compact things, transport them or to heat them up for welding plus some cutting applications.Considering the variety one might wonder why no one tries it for "difficult" materials.Machined surface can be found throughout ancient history.Finding "machined things" were vibrations was clearly used is a bit harder.The great walls are not a perfect example here as the views differ quite a bit on how they could have been created.But if we leave things melting them or a secret concret like recipe for creating for example granite then vibrations start to make some sense.You find some interesting videos on youtube where people use speakers, wires and rocks to confirm you can actually "machine" them by vibrations.Especially granite has some quite musical properties, big boulders as well as smaller ones produce destinct sounds when you hit them hard.Tests and measurements were made on granite and other hard rocks to check how fast sound travels in them , how it is refeclted and where the sound comes out or affects the surface the most.Lets just say every sample gave different results.Shape, density and dimensions affect not just the resonant frequency but also where and how the sound travels in the rock.What if??We can use a simple speaker, a plate and some rice to see how patterns form under various frequencies.Works with sand or other granules as well.The interesting patterns are the so called harmoncis.Here we see clear and destinct patters, sometimes with extremely fine lines and areas of softly vibrating granules.Some people say these harmonic frequencies have all special meanings and uses.We mainly used them to avoid problems.Imagine your new TV would not have a housing tested to be stable with all frequencies the speakers can produce.All of a sudden your back of the TV might start to rattle ;)Same for car engines.Harmonic vibrations are eliminated wherever possible.Otherwise they could multiply and affect other things in the engine or around it.Simply put it means we have various options to detect and measure vibrations on a surface or in a system.Back in the day every half decent backup generator had a mechanical indicator for the frequency of the supplied electricity.A set of tiny forks with the desired on painted red and several on either side of it.These forks were designed to get into harmonic and therfor quite intense vibrations at their set frequency.If the one for 50Hz looked blurry then all was good ;)The same principle god be applied on a big boulder of granite.Place the "vibration meter" at the desired spot and start moving around the vibration source on the surface until you find a spot that causes maximum response on the meter.Best thing here is that if you then place that surface area onto another peice of fixed in place granite both pieces will start to loose substance if vibrations are applied.The fine sediment forming is then usable as an indicator where to move the vibration source to continue once the effect literally wears off.Is it feasable?Well, if we trust mainstream science then the answer is no.A huge amount of vibration energy would be required for such a hard material, despite ancient proof that says otherwise.Semi industrial test also seemed to confirm the theory as only with very high amplitudes (loudness) and while automatically adjusting for the resonant frequency changes a measurable amount of material was removed.I struggle a bit with that as for the testing tool heads made from hardened steel or carbide were used.And that with little or no regards on how the head and tool itself affects the output.I mean in terms of having the max possible movement happening right t the tool contact surface!There is a huge difference between applying a vibration to a tool and using a system, tool and tool head DESIGNED to work at the desired frequency!Otherwise we wouldn't need a computer to design and test a horn for welding purposes or shade a knife spefically so that the vibration go along the right axis and in the right direction.You not break a hard thing with a very soft thing unless it travels fast enough to become harder as the target!This complicated explanation basically just confirms that if you hit water at a too high speed then it will just break you into pieces instead of offering a soft splashPlease do not jump of bridges or such to confirm this yourself!!If that is really true and science says it is, then how about the other way around?Works fine too, or we wouldn't have pressure washers or water cutters.Now for the part where I hope some really smart people leave helpful comments:If we can cut steel with just a stream of water, then I ask:Isn't for example copper much harder than water?Steel is much harder than copper but water cuts through it.The answer here it simple or complicated, depending on how you want to expain how it works.Comes down to speed and pressure plus the right nozzle shape to prevent a beam expansion.But then water is indeed "harder than steel".Questions:Lets say we would use a copper pipe that in lenght, thickness, hardness and diameter is optimised to transmit a frequency so the pipe end sees the max vibration like a feed horn for ultrasonic welding.Not to hard to calculate these days :)Now imagine said "main frequency" would be optimised for the pipe but also be a harmonic frequency of the rock to be worked on.The pipe end would deform quickly, abrasion does the rest and it fails before even making a decent sratch that is not copper metal on granite.No matter how hard we press nothing good enough will ever happen.BUT: If we would add more hormainc frequencies to feed our pipe we can multiply the amplitude quite easy!Just try with a sound generator from your app store, needs 2 or more channels to be usable.Pick for example 400hZ on one and 800Hz on another, then finetune around these number to hear how the tone changes ;)My theory goes like this:If all "working frequencies" would just harmonics of the resonant frequency of the granite, then they can be tuned so the effect on the pipe end is minimised.The overlaying frequencies however should result in the same effect a water cutter has: The pipe becomes ultra hard.The better the match and the more you have to get it right the harder the pipe will be.Adding now a "drilling frequency" or multiple could be used to drive these harmonics slightly out of phase.Like with the sound generator on your phone we end up with a pulsating sound, or vibration.While the pipe still vibrates at the same "hardening" mix the drilling frequency creates a peak like a jackhammer.Try it by using the heaphone output on a small speaker and placing some light and tiny things into the cone.The will violently jump around during these pulsing tones.For a drilling system the output can be mechanically maximised by utilising a pitchfork design.A head holds the vibration speakers and the tynes are tuned good enough to the frequency of the speakers.Always two would have to operate in sync though as otherwise the pitchfork movement that transfers the sound down the center bar won't work.This head could then be desgined to act as a holder for a quick change of work out pipes that are no longer long enough for tuning.I guesstimate that a well tuned design would result in a copper pipe being able to drill at least 10 to 15cm into solid granite before it wears off too much.And we are talking here about just a few mm to get the thing out of tune!But would dare to desing such a thing just to confirm a theory that no one ever really dared to test? ;)And if friction welding works as good as ultrasonic welding, then what would happen if we try this with the right frequencies and vibrations instead of wasting tons of energy?

Topic by Downunder35m  


The risks of DIY carpet cleaning and how save a buck or two....

I am writing this partly because of bed experiences with rental angents/landlords and as a general help.Here in Australia as well as other parts of the world it is common pratise that a real estate agent goes through your rented home multiple times a year to check if you keep it clean and undamaged.In most cases these visits go without any hickup until you move out.At this point agents often try to make your life a misery.Some expect you get the house back to the state it was 10 years ago when you moved - an impossible task.Carpet cleaning is usually done with a rented machine.This mean you pay a deposit for the machine and "rent" is made by the highly overpriced cleaning fluid you have to use with the machine.But more and more people see that a $100 machine from the discounter is a "money saver".So lets start with the main differences between a rented, commercial grade machine and those you find at the discounter to buy.The later comes quite small and in plastic, the commercial one is usually all metal and has huge water and waste tank.And lets be honest here, if a good vacuum cleaner sets you back more than twice what your new floor cleaning machine costs.....For me the real difference is in the sucktion.If you start with 10 liters in a commercail machine then you should expect to get over 8 liters back in the waste tank.The added waste often makes it seem much more though ;)The cheap discounter vesion however often struggles to get half of the water back out of your carpet that it drained into it!This is not only due to the weaker vacuum created but also due to the general design and lack of sealing the area that is sucked up.But during a hot summer week this makes no vital difference as it dries off anyway, or does it?Dryness and contamination....If you wash your clothes than you let them fully dry before you wear them.With a freshly cleaned carpet we often don't have that luxury and if the weather won't play nice you might end with a moist carpet for weeks.A proper wash of the carpet would require that water is actually flowing through the fabric.This is achieved by designing water outlets and sucktion areas to be in close proximity.However, most carpets these days are thin and flimsy, the underlay brings the comfort and often the required insulation from the cold floor.Fun fact: Most quality carpets in the EU come with a rubber or foam like backing which prevents that little spills go through and also leave the carpet basically dry after a cleaning.If the amount of water your machine collects does not get very close to what you filled into the tank then you end with a quite wet carpet and underlay.Cold from underneath and with basically no airflow through it.And if you ever removed an old carpet that was cleaned every few years you do know why you wear a protective suit, gloves and a filter mask on your face....It is simply impossible with a handheld machine to prevent water and contaminants from getting into the foam underlay of US and AU style carpet assemblies.Once fully dry there is little chance for anything to grow, but every time you clean the carpet you add the water required...I had it in two rentals that when I cleaned the carpets with a really good machine that stains from within the underlay came back up into the carpet.A job planned for a day then turned into three days of using heater fans and living in a sauna while washing carpets :(The same is true if you end up with fresh dirt or such on the carpet while it is still moist underneat - it gets worked ino the carpet and becomes even harder to clean.Is a commercial cleaning the better option?Sadly I have to say this highly depends on your agent/landlord and how much time and money you have.In some areas agents simply ignore the law and demand from you that the carpet looks at least as good as when you moved in.And if old stains you did not know about come from the filthy underlay a rented machine can come close to the cost of getting a commercail team in to do the job once you vacated.Either way you get an invoice for the service and a statement about the condition of the carpets before and after the cleaning.These guys come with a big van and before it fires up with water only the vacuum is used.Imagine a monster sized vacuum cleaner head on steroids that connects to an industrial sized evacuation fan in the van.It literally lifts your carpet from the underlay and leaves nothing loose behind.The actual cleaning and sanitation works the same way only with the big difference that the water is sprayed with pressure through the carpet and into the underlay.Final round is done dry and with vacuum only, means the carpets are dry enough to walk on them without getting wet feet.A complete dry state is usually reached within 2 days during the summer unlike rented machines that keep the humidity in your house up and high for about 2 weeks until back to normal.Main benefit of a commercail cleaning is that you won't get any issues with your agent/landlord unless you damaged the carpets or made them impossible to clean - ever dropped an ink jet printer refill kit? ;)If I do it myself with a reasonably good machine or a rented one : Do I have options for the cleaning solution used?Trust me, I had to figure that one out quickly when I moved into my first rental down here.4 bedrooms, entire house with carpet except for the kitchen and wet areas.They appeared reasonably clean at a first look but when I used a UV flashlight at night the story was shocking....In what must have a room for a baby the carpet looked like a psychedlic art impression under the UV light.The living room was not much better.As a result the rented machine ran out of cleaning fluid quickly.Bought 2 bottles that were supposed to be suffient for the house size but if you need several rounds per room.I "finnished" the former baby room and was one bottle down already.Called it a day and in the dark the UV light showed a slithly fades art impression but nowhere clean :(The shop had a heavy duty cleaning solution but I did not consider it with a price twice as high.Instead I wondered what would make my carpet different from my clothes in my washing machine....So I got a canister of Oxy-cleaner - sometimes called nappy soaking powder, or similar.Just make sure you get one that does not foam up too much.I used a bucket to dissolve a good amount of the powder before filling it into the machine - at about 40°C.What ended in the waste tank when using this cheap alternative looked digusting to say the least!With that encouragement I decided to make a new bucket with some added washing powder, just a tablespoon worth or just over.Washing powder for front loader does not foam up much, unlike the stuff for top loader, so choose wisely.That was, all counted, the forth cleaning round for the former baby room but after this the UV light showed a clean carpet that also had nice spring fresh smell thanks to the washing powder.Using the same appraoch of lots of oxy cleaner and a bit of washing machine powder in semi hot water made cleaning the rest of the house a breeze!When going slow with the machine it was like mowing the lawn, it left a clean path behind.Not all carpets might tolerate oxy cleaners though, especially if they are quite colorful, so do a spot check first if you never used the stuff to clean up a little spill of red wine before.And please keep some of the commercial cleaning fluid at hand to give the machine a quick wash through with it, otherwise the shop might ask you if you used non approved cleaning stuff with it ;)Tips for adjustable cleaning machines....Some of the rented machines come with several possible adjustments you can make.In the most basic form you can adjust the amount water used and how strong the machine sucks.Keep the sucktion as high as possible unless you actually want to pre soak the carpet.The amount of water should be adjusted to the type of carpet not to how dirty it is!You want just enough water to soak the carpet without going into the underlay too much.A clear sign of using too much water is if you waste tank is only half full when the water tank is empty.A few of the really good machines let you adjust the distance between the water outlet and sucktion area.In most cases there pre-set to what, from experience is the most commonly type of carpet in the area.Your might be different though...A greater distance means more time for the cleaning solution to do its job.This works especially well for thicker carpets with amount of water turned down to below 50%.For thin carpets a short distance is better as the water does not have to go deep into the fabric.Here you can even increase the water flow for very dirty areas without risking to soak the underlay too much.In either case you should check the machine before taking it home and if adjustable have the options explained to you in the store.Anything for really bad areas?The entrance area is often subject to whatever our shoes collected outside, especially if you have kids or playful dogs.A bit of oil from the road, some sticky residue of something, dust, small gravel and sand....Vacuum out what comes out first, then use a suitable, not too stiff brush if your vacuum cleaner does not have a rotating brush in the head.Use a spray bottle and prepare a solution of warm water with a bit of washing machine powder and a shot glass worth of methylated spirit.Slightly wet the soiled area with the spray bottle without saturating it.Use the brush to agitate the carpet fibres - preferably directional and with even strokes.If they are not wet in the deeper areas spray a bit more.Again: you don't want to soak it you want to wet it.Give it about 20 minutes on a warm day a bit longer if the insede temps are below 25°C.Check with your hand if the area is still wet, the alcohol should speed up the evaporation here.Before it dries up repeat the process and check with a paper towel if it picks up the stains already.If so then run over the area with cleaning machine.Best results are achieved if you manage to get the fibres wet all the way down with the brush and won't let the area fully dry off again after the spraying.How can I speed up the drying time?The only way to speed things up is heat and airflow.If outside humidty is quite high then you will struggle.Even in the summer times the humidity levels over night can get well into or even over the 80% region.Opening doors and windows then to get the carpet dry won't really help you.Best time to clean your carpets is actually at night because by the time you are done the sun is out and the humity levels much lower.On a good day below 30%.This is true even for the winter times.Put a few fans up and make sure the temperatures are well above the 20°C mark.If in doubt you have to turn the heater on.Once the humidity inside is sky high you open up all windows and doors to have an exchange of air.A few minutes suffice here unless there is wind at all.If it is a hot summer day you can of course just let it all open until the sun goes down again.During colder times pay special attention to cold areas, like your toilet, bathroom or in general areas that won't warm up properly.Even if the room was not cleaned the moisture can accumulate here and cause mold and mildew.If in doubt make sure the ENTIRE house is warm enough until your carpets are fully dry again.A humidity sensor or gauge certainly helps, two are better so you can check inside and outside at the same time.

Topic by Downunder35m  


Heated print beds - are they overrated gimmicks?

For years now I use my old, trusty Mega Prusa with the bare basics in terms of hardware. But basically every new printer out there comes with heated print beds and most users "upgrade" to one to get better quality prints. So I started to to check the reprap forums and other websites to find out why a heated would be a "must have". Quite a simple task you might think, but not so for someone who prints every material on a cold bed with success... What are the official pro statements for a heated bed? 1. Better bed adhesion of course. 2. Less warping of parts. 3. Far less problems with layer seperation. 4. Better print results. And of course there are a few more but not worth listing them. Why do I think most of the four statements are actually unrelated to using a heated bed? Bed adhesion is a matter of print material and surface of the bed / bed preperation, like tape, glue and such. If you filament peels off a cold bed with no adhesion at all it simply means the surface is either unclean or unsuited for the print material. Warping of parts happens because the material shrinks when it cools down, a heated bed is only able to keep a certain height of the print warm. Higher prints won't have any benefit in terms of better layer adhesion with a heated bed. Same goes for seperating layers. Unlike the common believe a heated bed does not fix this problem - it only masks it! Layers seperate because there is not enough bonging between them. This can be due to insuffient extrusion width, too high print layers, wrong print temperature and of course wrong z-axis stepping and wrong extrusion multiplicator. And how good a print comes out of your printer depends on a good calibration and proper print settings - again a heated bed only masks problems ;) Ok, so heated beds are nonsense, right? Well, wrong again ;) They take a lot of worry out of the daily print life to start with. Especially prints with big foot print will benefit, although PLA should never be a problem on a cold bed. If you print long parts in ABS or even Nylon you can have a hard time forcing the plastic to stay on the bed all around the print. A heated bed, with the right settings of course, can make sure your print keeps the shape until it is high enough so the bottom part won't be affected by shrinking anymore. My opinion on how to get the best results... Manage to print on a cold bed first! Smaller parts don't need a heated bed anyway, so use them to improve on your skills of finding the perfect bed material / coating! You will find that once you have really optimised your printer and settings most parts won't need a heated bed anymore. Once you are really happy with the result of smaller prints on a cold bed try something bigger and pay close attention to any problems on the way. For example a big print might start out perfectly but after about 5-10mm of print height you see the part starts to warp and slowly peels of the print bed - especially long parts or thin areas are affected. The infill also affects how a parts reacts during the cooling, so try the same problem print with solid infill as well as only 15% infill to compare - you can stop the print once the problem is identified, don't waste filament. Now comes the magic of the heated bed... You want the temp as low as possible but still high enough to prevent the warping! Why go low if high would help more?? Simply said: If the bed is too hot the part stays soft for a long time, which can badly affect layer bonding and shape. Imagine you squish the plastic on an already "hard" layer - the plastic is pressed flat to be within the set specs. Now if the the layer is still too hot and soft the plastic will push the lower layer in - which of course will expand outwards. So the layer can actually end up to be lower than it should be - layer will still peel ;) Start with around 50° C for ABS and turn the heat down gradually every 10 layers or 25 if you print really thin layers. If the part still prefers to warp go 10 degrees higher. But again: If the stuff would not stick properly on a cold bed work on that first! How do I print on a cold bed and claim it works fine? To be honest, with a lot of time spent on trying, calibrating and finding the right "magic" to put on the glass to make things stick. Nylon, if the part is big, can still be a frustrating task unless cardboard or Bakelite is used but I still prefer the glass bed. I no longer bother with tapes as it can be costly and I hate changing the entire setup just because I use a different material ;) As said, the main key is a proper calibration of hard- and software! If your prints look messy and you spend as much time cleaning your parts as printing them you know what I mean ;) At the moment my "bed magic" is a clear craft glue with methanol as a solvent, mine is from Aldi but similar products can be found in every craft store. The bed is sanded with 600 grid diamond blocks to be as flat as possible and to provide a bigger surface area for the glue. When mostly printing Nylon is first clean the bed with alcohol and put a layer of plastic primer on it before re-applying the glue. With the right temp settings this glue surface can be reused several times with increasing bond to the part. Once the glue start peeling off the bed it cut the area clean and apply another coat just in the spot. A single bottle of craft glue, diluted down by 20%, lasted now about 3 rolls of filament - not too bad for a 2$ investment LOL Seriously though, squeeky clean your glass bed using alcohol and / or acetone and play with different types of craft glue. You want the stuff that is clear and uses either methanol or ethanol as the solvent, don't bother with water based glues! If the glue sticks well to your part but peels off the bed easily try a layer of plastic primer on the bed first - do this outside! However, if your printer is only capable of using PLA anyway you might not want to bother at all and stick to tape ;)

Topic by Downunder35m  


Options to improve cooling and reduce consumption for portable coolers

I recently had to start learning how to service airconditioners on the fast and that learning got me thinking about my portable coolers.... Some of us like to go camping or on longer fishing trips, so there might be one of those 3-way fridges in use or a better cmpressor model. The one thing they all have in common is that they can only cool down to a difference in ambient temperatures. No matter which way we turn it the cooling produces heat and that needs to get away somehow. The other big thing is the cooling cycling - or the lack of it on a warm day. After some reading and thinking I came up with some ideas that might be applicable to your existing cooler if you are willing to mess around a bit. Let's start with the produced heat, shall we? Down here in Australia most people either have the fridge in their4WD or camper. In a car or small camper trailer there is often the problem of airflow, so the cooler might be doing overtime for no other reason than a lack of airflow. If you check online sites like Amozon and Ebay you quickly find fan systems meant to be installed inside the cooler to get lower temperatures and a quicker cooling of fresh goods. The thing is that the box is quite well insulated and the benefit of the airflow goes only as far as it can reach. And even if the box is quite empty and you would have a benefit of the cold air moving around it won't change the fact that "improved" cooling always comes with more heat in this case. But if we use one of these fan systems to actually improve the airflow on the hot side we not only get better cooling but also a reduce power consumption - something worth considering if you have no backup power generator.... This of course brings us to placement. As I have done the mistake myself you might be tempted to put a 3way cooler onto your seat. Opening it with the back free means the lid always gets stuck on the seat, do it the other way around and you block the airflow. If you do put it on the seat then make sure two things match: 1. The thing is secured properly. 2. The airflow from your aircon is able to reach the hot side of the cooler. Even permanent installations in a camper benefit from a good airflow. Often the fridge or freezer is built into some sort of bench and the airflow behind might be very limited. A simple solution here is to add a vent on top of the bench to allow the hot air to escape. A better one is to use a fan that is powered together with the heating element or compressor and drives the hot air to the outside. How to improve the cold side of the box or fridge? Well, to be honest there is not much that can be done unless you are prepared for some serious work. Depending on compartment size, contents and how full it is a little fan can help to keep the temperatures even but it won't help to get it cooler or reduce the cycling periods for the cooling. The only really working way that I found is to use a "battery" for the storage of the cold. The cooling works by checking the inside temp of the box and if above the set temp the cooling won't stop. This is all well and good while we have a constant supply of power but once we are on batteries it would be great to keep the active time to a minimum. A working solution is to build a container that fits around the cooling element. Smaller types often use an aluminium heatsink, bigger types might come with a compressor and an evaporator. In either case proper sealing is important! Most good models are fully waterproof, meaning even if you would fill them with water they would not leak in other areas than the door. But double check and if in doubt use a bit of silicone to make sure. Ok, but how do we "store" the cold coming from the device? Cold packs ;) These things contain a ready to use mix that holds cold temperatures quite well. Another really good alternative is alcohol or radiator coolant, although the last has limited capabilites in terms of holding capaity for the cold as it is desinged to exchange heat fast rather than to keep it. With a suitable sized and sealed box around the active cooling element we will need longer to actually see any cooling happen (with a warm "battery") but that can be compensated for by good planning or a frozen water bottle. If the cooling element is covered with a box of cooling gel then it has to cool this first before anything happens inside the box. But once it does the pack is already far below the normal temp it would have during normal operation. Remember the inside of the cold pack cools down first before the outside will get cold ;) So once the set temperature is reached the device will shut off. But since the cold pack is far below the set temp it will continue to cool our box until the core is warmer than the set temp. Quick thinkers will now say the benefit is lost as the time required to cool the "battery" down again is much longer than the normal cycle time - and they would be correct. But as we get much colder temps inside the gel box the overall running will still be less compared to normal operation. And since from the second cycle on the gel is only warming up to operating temp of the box it will be much faster than with a warm box. Another benefit might be the ease of cleaning and ice removal. Some peltier driven coolers have big cooling fins or a quite bad design for the heatsink allowing mould to grow where you can't remove it easy. If the box is made from stainless steel and flush with the back wall of the box we won't have that problem anymore. Ok, but how much is good or too much for the size and gel content? You got me there as it is bit tricky. You don't want to loose much usable space for starters and you don't want to wait hours for the gel to cool down if the box was not used. IMHO the size should fit the cooling element with about 20% to spare all around. If stainless steel is not an option than aluminium is the next best choice. Thin sheets can either be be cold formed with a hammer or "brazed" with a good torch and the right rods. Ok, before that route is there anything I should consider or do first? Depends ;) 3-way systems usually use a flame or heating elements to heat an ammoia solution. After years of neglect corrosion can form and reduce the amount of heat transfered into the system and reducing the efficiency this way. It might help to take the heating elements out once a year or so to clean them and the contact areas from any corrosion or dirt build up. With a fixed shedule for this you won't have the problem of never noticing a badly corroded heating element either - and this is the main failure on these systems.... Modifying your camper or making a few mods to your 4WD drawer system is not for the faint of heart and should be done with consideration. The last thing you want to do is rush things to find out it was not necessary. Before cutting holes check if you can't find the room for the fan in a different spot and use ducts to control the airflow - sometimes it is easier to blow air in than to get air out ;) When it comes to creating vents or connections for air to the outside always make sure it is waterproof and insect safe! If you can let the outlet go downwards so water won't run in, for 4WD trailers consider a flap to prevent water from going during a river crossing. Flyscreens will not only prevent insects from coming in but on the inside also prevent dust to go eerywhere - allow to the removal and cleaning! The salts used in these cold packs can be corrosive, so you have to make sure there are no leaks and that there is no steel to come into contact with gel - this includes screw ends hidden in through-holes. If in doubt use a coat of paint but keep it as thin as possible. Even on peltier systems it might be impossible to remove the heatsink without massive surgery on the internals. So before you take it all apart to gain access check if it is far easier to seal around the box opening and possible screw connections using silicone. The cooling battery can be screwed on and sealed with silicone as well as an easy escape route. Although for this to work you need to check if the material of the box allows for a proper bond with the silicone! Some materials just won't allow anything to stick at all, even after sanding them. So do a test first in an area where you would be able to cut the silicone away without causing damage. If you can rip or peel it off the surface you should not try to use a cooling battery screwed to the wall, only use a box that is fully sealed with the cooling element and has a seperate back - one complete unit around the cooling element. I have a 3-way system with a freezer compartment that does the cooling for the fridge too - what can I do? These units either provide good freezing with the fridge temps too low or good fridge cooling with no freezing capabilites - depending on the thermostat used. Our problem is that is next to impossible to add a cooling battery of the normal kind to these systems. The L-shaped freezer box can really only be added with a L-shaped cooling battery from underneath. Only if you don't need any freezing at all you could add a cooling battery to fit into the freezer box shape. In either case the benefit is somehow limited by the way the thermostat is used. If there is no temp control for freezing it should be fine. Warnings... Only peltier driven coolers are free from refrigerants. Every 3-way or compressor system uses refrigerant as evident by more or less piping and heating elements. Never attempt to screw anything into a cooling element containing refrigerant! Even if you think between the channels all will be fine it won't be! The material is just pressed to form the channels and any damage caould mean refrigerant leaking out! Use silicone instead and make sure all surfaces are properly cleaned before applying it, also wait until the silicone is really fully cured before putting any stress on it. As said, these cooling gels can be corrosive, especially if DC voltage is involved. Make sure that everything that is not aluminum or plastic is properly sealed before allowing ongoing contact with cooling gels. Do not attempt any of this if you have to ask yourself what tools you might need or how make a suitable container for the gel. If in doubt check Google on how to work with aluminium or stainless steel if there are not enough Instructables for it. The gel will expand a little bit if it freezes, this no problem in a metal container if you allow for a bit of flex or on the side added strength  - whatever suits you better. Another option is to get a few different cold packs (by the active ingredient) and to do a check in a little container. Freeze it and note whe level cold and warm. Little to no difference means nothing to worry in terms of expansion during freezing.

Topic by Downunder35m