E85 to G15 and E100

Is there some way to remove the gasoline content from E85 to leave denatured ethanol? Is this even legal? I'd like to have some denatured ethanol on hand for my alcohol burner (isopropyl leaves soot), but a gallon can at the hardware store is $13.99. Since E85 is still well under $3.50/gallon, it seems like it would make more sense to remove the stinky, explosive gasoline from E85.

Posted by CameronSS 10 years ago

Study: Ethanol Worse for Climate Than Gasoline

Ethanol is under fire again: At first blush, biofuels such as corn ethanol and soybean diesel seem like they would be great from the standpoint of global warming. The crops soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, and that balances out the carbon dioxide they produce when they're burned. But until now, nobody has fully analyzed all the ripple effects of this industry. And Tim Searchinger, a visiting scholar at Princeton University, says those effects turn out to be huge. "The simplest explanation is that when we divert our corn or soybeans to fuel, if people around the world are going to continue to eat the same amount that they're already eating, you have to replace that food somewhere else," Searchinger says.Searchinger and his colleagues looked globally to figure out where the new cropland is coming from, as American farmers produce fuel crops where they used to grow food. The answer is that biofuel production here is driving agriculture to expand in other parts of the world."That's done in a significant part by burning down forests, plowing up grasslands. That releases a great deal of carbon dioxide," Searchinger says.In fact, Searchinger's group's study, published online by Science magazine, shows those actions end up releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide. The study finds that over a 30-year span, biofuels end up contributing twice as much carbon dioxide to the air as that amount of gasoline would, when you add in the global effects. The rest of the article (and radio broadcast) is here

Posted by Goodhart 10 years ago

What's the gas expansion ratio for ethanol?

At normal atmospheric pressure. Don't need too precise a figure, nearest 50 will do. Surprisingly difficult information to find...

Posted by SolarFlower_org 8 years ago

Solution to turning on/off gas: new pump design.

I've been working a couple weeks now on solving the problem I posted here on how to improve my pump design by alternating the feed of ethanol vapour. I got good feedback but ultimately all the solutions involved mechanisms which were going to be somewhat tricky to build and source, which is against the brief of the project I'm working on; being an open source solar tracker concentrator makeable from scrap. In the end I solved the problem by largely redesigning the whole pump. Since it's driven by boiling ethanol, rather than add an extra mechanism for turning the feed of vapour off and on, I reduced the amount of ethanol being boiled, so that it boils itself out after an appropriate period. The vapour is then able to collapse fully, which sucks in more liquid ethanol and refills the system. 1. At the bottom right is the boiler, which holds about 2-3 ml ethanol. 2. This boils and the vapour enters the 'chamber' (the half blue, half white (liquid and gas)), forcing out the liquid, which pours into the wheel, ending up in the main reservoir. 3. This continues until the eths in the boiler has boiled away to the extent that it can no longer overcome the rate of re-condensation in the chamber, which starts to suck, so to speak. 4. This draws liquid from the reservoir, which passes through the boiler, shutting off the boil, the pressure drops quickly and the chamber and boiler refill with liquid. 5. Two valves (the only moving parts, besides the wheel) keep all this going in the right direction. 6. Repeat. The wheel provides the motion for the solar tracker. It's not in by any means powerful or efficient, but the whole thing can be made from a bit of metal tube, some thin pipe, a glass jar and two valves from bike inner tubes (plus a paint tin, bike wheel bearing and some drinks cans for the wheel). I haven't had a chance to try it in the field yet, but powered by a candle it seems to work fairly well. Blog entry here, will post photos and videos when available.

Posted by SolarFlower_org 8 years ago

Ethanol-fueled Hummer - E85 H2

Do you think the people who designed this had some sort of irony-deflecting helmets?Hummer will offer E85-compatible flexfuel engines on both the H2 and H2 SUT starting for model year 2009, and by 2010, all Hummer models will be flexfuel-compatible. We'd have to put a few hundred miles on a test rig to say for certain, but based on our experiences with (a) Hummers and (b) ethanol rigs, we'd wager that the 2009 Hummer H2 E85 may well deliver the absolute worst fuel economy of any vehicle based off a light-duty truck chassis sold in the US in the last 20 years. Our guess: 11 mpg highway, 8 city. Going downhill. With a tailwind.As a special added bonus, E85 Hummer owners will be doing their part to jack up their monthly grocery bills---and everyone else's too--as increased demand for E85 has caused a serious disruption in a major component of America's food supply, which in turn has adversely affected the price of meat and dairy products, sodas and sweets, breads and breakfast cereals, baby formula, jellies and jams, salad dressings, and yes, even our beloved corn dogs. Now you've really ticked us off! But hey, it's clean and it's green. When you put it that way, $7.99 for a bag of tortilla chips doesn't sound so bad after all, now does it?via Fourwheeler

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago

Trying to seal a system containing ethanol.

I'm putting the pipe system together for my solar thing, which needs to contain hot ethanol, not under significant pressure. What kind of sealant / adhesive can I use that won't dissolve in the ethanol? I'm gluing together mostly plastics like PVC, but also steel and aluminium.

Posted by SolarFlower_org 9 years ago

How to seal a system containing ethanol, but low friction?

Still working on my solar device (in Copenhagen now), and it's coming along fairly nicely. Should hopefully have a full instructable in a couple of weeks. However, I'm having problems at the moment trying to keep the thing water tight, where the axle leaves the system, taking out the rotational motion. I'm using the bearing housing from an old bike wheel (photos to come) and I've got it sealed well where it's attached to wall of the container, but the ethanol is flowing pretty freely through the bearings themselves. I need it not to. I could use something like an O ring to seal the axle, but friction is a big issue. I wanted to pack the whole axle and bearing housing with grease, but grease dissolves in ethanol. Solutions? Is there anything grease like which isn't soluble in alcohol? Salt, maybe? Cheers all. (Nearly there...)

Posted by SolarFlower_org 8 years ago

Will hot ethanol eat through flame hardened PVA glue?

I'm still working on this solar thing and it's coming along pretty well, am starting in on the final piecing of things together. One old problem that has resurfaced tho is the sealing of the boiler. I was using a metal epoxy similar to Quicksteel, which handled the ethanol ok but is going soft and cracking off, I think due to the regular heating > 80C. So I'm once again looking around for other options. What I'm trying now is wood glue, which I assume is just PVA, run over a flame so that it becomes hard. It seals the ends of the flattened copper pipe well, and doesn't immediately fail on contact with ethanol. Is it likely to hold up, do you think? I'm kind of assuming it won't, but it'd be great if it did. cheers Daniel.

Posted by SolarFlower_org 8 years ago

My Appleseed Processor (for making biodiesel)

I just built my first appleseed prototype. What d'you guys think?So, for the sake of discussion... What's the general attitude in the instructables community towards biofuels in general? Who here's boycotting ethanol? If so, are you boycotting all ethanol, or just ethanol made from food-crops? Who else on i'Bles makes biodiesel? -DMC

Posted by drinkmorecoffee 10 years ago


Hello I am looking for the most accessible, cheapest, hottest burning, most efficient fuel and maybe even environmentally friendly. And what would be already in my house(and NO I AM NOT MODIFYING MY NATURAL GAS PIPES).So post what you think. I usually burn fuels in those little pop can stoves, and in my pyrotechnics. Thats Not My Stove. But Its VERY similar.

Posted by littlechef37 10 years ago


Finally, it has come. Time for us to make our own investigatory projects. And it has been bothering me even in my dreams..T_T. Guys, I really nid some help wid this 2pic. I really nid a feasible project and of course, an instructable to do it. I wud lyk to hear ol ur opinions, be it about electronics, robotics, biodiesel, ethanol production, anything. i juz nid a project. and our science congress is less dan 2 months from now. so that is my time frame for now. any project that can be accomplished within or shorter than 2 months will really be of great help. Thank you, guys! I am already sweating now. Our adviser is asking us to pass a methodology! waaah!!

Posted by brainwash 10 years ago

Honda Rebels....

Hey, my Instructables friends I have been really looking into getting an 09 Honda rebel and I was wondering what I could do to improve efficiency, comfort, etc. There were no Instructables on this matter. Any and all ideas are appreciated, including solar power, led lights, whatever.

Posted by Junk_Wizard 9 years ago

How to turn on and off a stream of gas?

The exact setup I have is a little difficult to explain, but basically I'm designing an extremely simple heat engine, based on boiling ethanol, and need to be able to mechanically alternate the flow of vapour. I have a little boiler, sealed except for a pipe out of which the vapour escapes. This lifts the column of ethanol in the pipe, pouring it into a water wheel which turns. The ethanol then runs back through a second pipe into the system to be pumped up again. It works, and fairly well since I'm not looking to get a lot of power or efficiency, but only if I pinch the tube on and off. This allows the bubbles to collapse, which sucks in more ethanol to replace them. When I release the tube the bubbles rush out, lifting the eths, and repeat. I have two valves to keep the system one directional. So now I'm looking for a way to automate the opening and closing of the gas feed. I've been trying a few things but nothing seems to work well enough yet. The other consideration is that; due to the nature of the larger project, whatever I use has to be extremely simple to construct, preferably from reclaimable materials. 1 second on, 1 second off seems to work best. Any ideas? cheers, Daniel.

Posted by SolarFlower_org 8 years ago

Best way to lift a liquid using heat? (SImple pump designs)

I'm overhauling the design of my solar concentrator and now need a good way of lifting a fluid, so as to pour it into a waterwheel and provide rotation. I have a little solar concentrator and boiler to generate heat or steam. What's the best configuration to give as high a rate of flow as possible? I'm hoping for something in the range of 500 ml per minute, rising about 30 cm. I've briefly played around with the attached setup, which is a very basic bubble or airlift pump,  The black is my wheel, the blue a reservoir for the fluid (ethanol), the white is the boiler putting out steam (ethanol vapour) and the light blue is a mix of the liquid and bubbles of vapour which rise up the pipe and re-enter the wheel. It actually works ok, but even optimally only gives a third the rate I'm after. If necessary I can grab some valves from old bike innertubes, or other basic materials if they'll help. My previous design was to have the bubbles of steam going directly into the wheel, which was filled with ethanol. This works but requires heating 3 litres of ethanol to just under boiling. Not impossible but a bit of a hassle. I'm hoping lifting a liquid instead will be a bit easier.

Posted by SolarFlower_org 8 years ago

Best dark metal for solar absorbance.

What's the best metal for absorbing sunlight? ie, darkest. It needs to be immersed in ethanol, which will dissolve pretty much any paint etc. I've tried steel with some kind of enamel or anodised layer, but the eths started eating that too. Also whatever it was seemed to reduce the heat getting into the ethanol. And are there ways of making metal darker, chemically or through heating? I've been recommended getting something rusty and using a rust converter, which turns the oxidised layer into a phosphate, which is dark and might work well. Also.. are there other characteristics I should be paying attention to in order to maximise the amount of heat transferred to the fluid, like conductivity, emissivity, etc? Cheers.

Posted by SolarFlower_org 9 years ago

Laser burn to the eyes

On Saturday morning my eyelids will be pulled back by retractors and held open, ethanol will be poured into my eyes, a flap of epithelial (outer layer of the eye) will be peeled back to reveal the cornea, then an Eximer laser will burn the surface of the cornea. Apparently, the burning smell can be quite unpleasant :-/ Has anyone else had laser eye surgery? Cheers, Pat. Pending

Posted by Patrick Pending 10 years ago

Pyrotechnics Ignitor

My current hobby is EVERYTHING TO DO WITH FIRE. Usually I burn ethanol (I am not a super green person i just cant buy gasoline) . Can i just use an old camera and take the power from the flash and use this as a detonator. I would like something a little nicer WITH A BIG RED BUTTON though lol.

Posted by littlechef37 10 years ago

The Neverending Powersource

Energy has to come from somewhere. A motor, when turned, creates electricity from the terminals. When electricity is applied to the terminals, the motor shaft moves. Backwards compatibility, anyone? The sun constantly gives off energy. The suns energy is used to grow food. Continuing on with the theory. So, in this example, energy came come from the sun, which goes into plants. Now, we can make the plants into ethanol, however, the amount of energy burned from ethanol is almost equal to that producing it. BUT, if we do not use the plants to make ethanol, humans can eat it. That, in turn, lets us function and work. Now, do you know what the near neverending powersource is? Do you? Animals. Humans in particular. So, to create electricity, we need some form of generator that creates electricity when work is applied to the generator. Hmm... I know! A bike generator! A human pedaling a bike generator that is connected to a motor creates electricity. Basically, we are more efficiently harnessing the suns rays. Yes, I have accounted for the amount of energy it took to produce the bike, motor, and other unneccessary accessories humans MUST have on that bike. But eventually, We may overcome the amount it was needed to produce those things. So, I will soon be creating an instructable on a bike generator, created from your previous/preexisting bike, that will be very simplistic to create and easy enough a 12 year old could do it. Remember, humans can harness the suns power even more effectively than other sources of green power. (I know this will cause a disruption in the comments, but so far, Nuclear is the cleanest, however the waste is not very good...)

Posted by PKTraceur 9 years ago

Do you think we are going to destroy are planet with GLOBAL WARMING

OK well most of the question is in the title. But I have herd things like there wont be anymore snow in fifty years, the polar ice caps are being destroyed, the ozone is covered in holes and that ethanol is actually worse for the enviorment than gasoline because it produces more carbon emissions. And to go along with that question are we getting to smart ? A little to technologically advanced.

Posted by littlechef37 10 years ago

Is it possible to get gas out of a liquid other than by boiling?

Still putting my solar device together and I'm still having some trouble getting the working fluid (ethanol) to boil. Almost there. I was wondering tho if there's not an easier way. Is it possible to by adding heat, make a gas dissolved in a fluid bubble out. Like if you heat up something like pepsi, get all the CO2 to gasify. And, how would you get the gas back in?

Posted by SolarFlower_org 9 years ago

Homemade Sterno type stuff

I was wondering if it would be possible to make a homemade version of sterno similar to the actual stuff. Heres a bit of info on it "Invented around 1900, Sterno is made from ethanol, methanol, water and an amphoteric oxide gelling agent, plus a dye that gives it a characteristic pink color. Designed to be odorless, a 7 oz (198 g) can will burn for up to two hours. The methanol is added to denature the product, which essentially is intended to make it too toxic to be drinkable " There at least are the components but of course no measurements. And where the heck would I get methanol anyway /shrug Not sure wed really need it anyhow. I thought maybe a vaseline and alcohol mixture might be a good place to start but Im not really sure. Any thoughts?

Posted by kithso 9 years ago

Green Crude?

"Sapphire Energy has built a revolutionary platform that uses photosynthetic microorganisms to produce a renewable, high-value replacement for fossil fuel petroleum. This domestic crude oil requires only sunlight, CO2 and non-potable water - and can be produced at massive scale on non-arable land."They call it Green Crude, an algae produced product that could one day replace gasoline. It's not biofuel, or ethanol, and it doesn't require any plants or farmland. The only things consumed are waste water and CO2. They say it could also be made into jet fuel. It seems too good to be true! I can't find anything about the cost, efficiency or speculated time line, but they do have some big investors and are planning on increasing production soon.The CompanyWhat do you guys think?

Posted by Weissensteinburg 10 years ago

Idea for eccentric rotational sealed couple.

 I had this idea trying to seal this gaddamned ethanol system. (The vaseline grease gasket works perfectly as long as the shaft doesn't move, after ten minutes of rotation, it starts leaking)For the sake of expedience I'm currently going with a different option, but Ithink this one's actually better and will come back to it when I getthe chance.I don't know how self explanatory the animation is, but basically itconverts rotation into eccentric rotation/motion and then back again.Since the circular housing between the two shafts isn't spinning assuch, it can be sealed with a rubber sleeve. The system is thereforcompletely sealed. I've tried it and it does work, with lowresistance, but tends to wobble a little and the two shafts can getout of phase. I think both these problems can be solved by having two'outrigger' rollers, rather than one as in the animation.Link to animation that hasn't been messed up by instructables resizing it:http://sugarandfat.info/eccentric_couple1.gif

Posted by SolarFlower_org 8 years ago

Which low boiling fluid to use (that won't corrode metals and plastics)?

I'm having a bit of a headache trying to chose and procure a working fluid to use in my solar device. It needs to be low boiling, but as my device so far is involving copper, aluminium and maybe some plastics and rubbers, it would also need to be as non corrosive as poss. Cheap and plentiful are also important, not so much for the prototype, but when these things are ultimately used, they need to be easy to assemble. The four options I'm aware of so far are: Methanol boils at 64.7 °C, I thought it would be easy to get but is turning out quite difficult and maybe expensive, also apparently eats through every material I plan to use. Ethanol Boiling Point: 78.4 °C, easier to get but still corrosive. Hexane Boiling Point: 69 °C, not corrosive (?) but not at all easy to get or cheap. Water Boiling Point: 100 °C, which may be a bit too high. The fluids will be boiling in a non-pressurised but sealed environment, so no atmospheric water will be able to get in or out. Help?

Posted by SolarFlower_org 9 years ago

Chemicals people would want to make?

Basically I want to know what lab chemicals you want to make, if you know how to make any useful chemicals. please post, I am not responsible for and injury's, fatality's, or "bad things" of any sort that come from this thread, all things posted here are to assumed for informational purposes only.

Posted by mr.space 9 years ago

Power the American nation with waste food!

A new study shows that the energy used to produce the food wasted by Americans is greater than the energy stored in the oil and gas reserves around US shores. The situation is probably worse than the study suggests, since the only data available on wasted food was from 1995, when 27% of all food was wasted.  Since then, food prices have fallen, and waste has probably increased. Michael Webber and Amanda Cuellar at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin calculate that this is the equivalent of about 2150 trillion kilojoules lost each year. That's more than could be gained from many popular strategies to improve energy efficiency. It is also more than projections for how much energy the US could produce by making ethanol biofuel from grains. Obviously, Americans (and every other similarly-wasteful society - we're just as guilty in the UK) should be doing their level best to reduce their wasted food, but it also strikes me; there is gold in them thar bins. Rather than persuade hundreds of millions of lazy "Westerners" to change their ways, why not exploit them?  Why not make money off them (or at least, save your own energy costs)? We already have a bus driving around for free, and a car running on garbage.  Can you come up with a house-hold scale scheme? Could you cut your energy bills to zero, just by collecting other people's garbage for them? Could you set yourself up as a supplier of motor fuels (gasoline or diesel replacements?  methane?) Come on, iblers, do your thing! New Scientist article Oil data The study itself. (I have attached a PDF of the study, if you're interested.

Posted by Kiteman 8 years ago

No patent on this one.

I have an idea. It could be a good one, and it could be a useful one. It could even be a money-spinning one, but I want to spread it instead of earn from it.What I'm thinking of was inspried by potato cannons:Imagine a combustion chamber of reasonable size, say a gallon volume. Cylindrical, it is domed at one end t withstand internal pressure, but the other end tapers to a narrow outlet.The idea is that an explosive mixture in the chamber (anything handy, but gasoline/air, ethanol/air and butane/air are the most likely) is ignited by a spark, just like a potato cannon. There is no ammunition, though.The tapered pipe (I hope) concentrates the blast to release a "bullet" of rapidly-moving gases.The whole cannon points down at the ground, the muzzle only a few inches from the ground. The detonation is triggered via a long cable (metres long). The "gas bullet" hits the ground with a large enough force to simulate the step of a human or animal, or the passing of a tyre. This triggers the landmine left months ago under the soil.My idea is, in effect, a low-tech device, capable of being built and repaired by semi-skilled locals, from scavanged materials, in war-torn areas. With a bit of training, a small team could use one to safely pound a mine-field hard enough to trigger the mines and make the area safe to live in. The cannon would be damaged by explosions, but not so badly that it would need repaired after every use, and it could be easily fixed with scrap from the nearest wrecked landrover.Would this work? Or would they need solid ammunition, say lumps of timber or rocks wrapped in rags to make a seal? That would need a staight (not tapered) barrel, but it's the same idea.I don't have the space or equipment to make one myself, and land-mine charities won't tell me how much force is required to trigger a mine, but most of you reading this are in the US, and it seems you have an easier time finding this kind of thing out.Run with the idea, chaps. Build one if you can, and ship it to somebody who needs it, or come up with better plans than my rough idea, and post them to those who need them.

Posted by Kiteman 11 years ago

Nylon and substitutes on a cold bed

It's been some time and I made progress with Nylon. Aldi had some cheap craft glue with methanol as the solvent - this stuff works great for PLA, ABS AND Nylon. The common problem with nylon is that it has no real adhesion to anything, except cardboard and bakelite. Cardboard makes a clean up nightmare and bakelite is not always easy to find, especially not the right type. So I tried various glues, paints and primers but none was really suited for all printing needs. And the cleanup of the bed is imoprtant too as I did not want to spend hours scrubbing with acetone or similar nasty solvents. After the first great succes with the clear Aldi craft glue I checked the local 2$ shops and carft stores and found similar glueswith methanol as a solvent. Since not everyone is lucky enough to get these specials I will tell you what to look out for if you try clear craft glue: Don't buy anything that can be cleaned up with water - you want methanol or ethanol as the solvent in the glue! Do a test with the glue on something that usually does not bind well to cheap glue, like glass and blister packs. Let the glue dry and peel it off - it should be a clear film that is quite strong and barely streches when you pull it. It almost feels like hard paper. All good so far? Check if the nylon, pla or abs really sticks to it: Spread a very thin layer on a piece of cardboard and let dry. Add another, thicker layer and let dry again. Now hold it under your nozzle and extrude a bit of filament while moving the cardboard around. Let cool and check how good it sticks. In a perfect world the cool plastic should peel the papaer off with the glue. Time to prepare your print bed the same way and to start printing ;) Just use a very thin first layer and for the first layer much lower speeds than usual. I print nylon with 60mm/s and the first layer at just 25mm/s, any faster and the first layer does not look right. ABS and PLA are much more forgiving here.

Posted by Downunder35m 2 years ago

No patent on this one.

I have an idea. It could be a good one, and it could be a useful one. It could even be a money-spinning one, but I want to spread it instead of earn from it.What I'm thinking of was inspried by potato cannons:Imagine a combustion chamber of reasonable size, say a gallon volume. Cylindrical, it is domed at one end t withstand internal pressure, but the other end tapers to a narrow outlet.The idea is that an explosive mixture in the chamber (anything handy, but gasoline/air, ethanol/air and butane/air are the most likely) is ignited by a spark, just like a potato cannon. There is no ammunition, though.The tapered pipe (I hope) concentrates the blast to release a "bullet" of rapidly-moving gases.The whole cannon points down at the ground, the muzzle only a few inches from the ground. The detonation is triggered via a long cable (metres long). The "gas bullet" hits the ground with a large enough force to simulate the step of a human or animal, or the passing of a tyre. This triggers the landmine left months ago under the soil.My idea is, in effect, a low-tech device, capable of being built and repaired by semi-skilled locals, from scavanged materials, in war-torn areas. With a bit of training, a small team could use one to safely pound a mine-field hard enough to trigger the mines and make the area safe to live in. The cannon would be damaged by explosions, but not so badly that it would need repaired after every use, and it could be easily fixed with scrap from the nearest wrecked landrover.Would this work? Or would they need solid ammunition, say lumps of timber or rocks wrapped in rags to make a seal? That would need a staight (not tapered) barrel, but it's the same idea.I don't have the space or equipment to make one myself, and land-mine charities won't tell me how much force is required to trigger a mine, but most of you reading this are in the US, and it seems you have an easier time finding this kind of thing out.Run with the idea, chaps. Build one if you can, and ship it to somebody who needs it, or come up with better plans than my rough idea, and post them to those who need them.

Posted by Kiteman 11 years ago

Make Your Own Fuel from Wine

Mark Armstrong's Alternative Fuel PhilosophyIf you don't like the vehicle or the fuel it drinks, make some of your ownIt's on every billboard, bumpersticker and street placard: Let's Green This City! Urban Streets Greening Project! Each election ushers in new green initiatives, task forces, and elementary school awareness fairs. Another press conference, another earthy guy in an organic-cotton denim shirt and red Crocs stands in front of City Hall pointing an accusatory finger at the uninspired plebes who won't join us, who won't dare follow San Francisco on the righteous path toward a greener tomorrow.Meanwhile, eco-conscious drivers can't get a drop of biodiesel in city limits, while Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and other surrounding cities offer it at public pumps. (In June 2007, city authorities closed the San Francisco Biodiesel Co-op, for - get this - having too many members.) Not one public pump in San Francisco sells ethanol. The few electric car-charging stations that remain are defunct, rundown or hidden in corners of musty garages, forgotten relics of a well-intentioned but poorly executed past. Our performance so far in fostering alternative fuels - the keystone of the green movement - is not just ironic; it's shameful."You know the easiest job in the world is to be a cynic," says Mark Armstrong, lifting his head from the hood of an electric-powered 1980 Plymouth Horizon. "In order to be successful you have to do absolutely nothing." Armstrong brushes his oily hands against his oily jeans and walks to the back of a cavernous concrete-floored warehouse, through a maze of Frankensteinian inventions: an electrolyzer that splits hydrogen and oxygen fuel, junky gas cars that run on golf-cart batteries, gutted petrol engines that gulp alcohol and a Mercedes motor that bakes bread and spits out edible olive oil."What I'm trying to do here is teach people to quit complaining about what they can't get," he adds, pushing his 6-foot-2-inch frame beneath a gutted 1976 Porsche 914 that he and his students are converting to a hydrolic hybrid. "I say if we really want alternative fuel vehicles, let's get off the couch and start making them."Step 1: Build a Carmore

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago

Steampunk Volkswagen anyone?

Dear Fellow Instructable Steampunk aficionados, I'm starting plans for my biggest steampunk project ever... a steampunk Volkswagon Beetle!;-) We haven't bought it yet, but my wife and I are heading to Brazil for the summer, and are planning on buying an old VW Beetle, (or a "Fusca" as they affectionately call them locally), to bum around in a sleepy beach town. These cars were once very popular in Brazil, but have been replaced by far more fuel efficient, and largely ethanol powered cars. So an old Beetle can be had for cheap... And my wife has given me the okay to go ahead and steampunk it out to my hearts delight! My initial plans are for purely cosmetic changes. (I'm not planning on installing a steam-powered engine any time soon, although that would certainly be cool;-) I've seen Jake Von Slatt's photos and videos of his steampunk car project, but I thought I'd check with the folks on Instructables to see if anyone has any suggestions. (And when I say anyone, I put heavy stress on my German steampunk colleagues;-) All suggestions (and photos) are welcome! Please post here... Will keep you posted on my progress. Best, Winged Fist Update: 6/27/12 (An eventful day) Today we became the proud owners of a 1975 Volkswagen Beetle! The body is a bit beaten with a few signs of rust, but I'm told that the engine is sound, the electrical work is good and the tires are pretty new. If all goes as planned, I'll get to drive it for the first time next week, when I arrive in Brazil. (Then let the steampunking begin;-) Today I also became a member of the VWoodies user group on Yahoo. Lots of great pictures and inspiration for modifying an old VW Beetle. And the moderator, Senhor California, has an amazing 70s model Beetle he has completely modified into a Woody, which he keeps in Brazil! (In my opinion it has quite a steampunk flare to it). And not coincidentally, today I received in the mail my Hula Girl bobble dashboard ornament, and my California Pacific VW Parts and Accessories catalog from jbugs.com It's looking like this car is going to take on a steampunk/woody/surfer theme... Update: 7/23/12 Well it's been exactly a month since I posted this query, and I'm proud to report that this project is almost complete! After almost two weeks of non-stop renovating and remodeling, scraping sanding and painting, our quasi-steampunk, faux-woody VW Beetle is nearly finished! There are still a few details to finish, (like getting the driver's door to stay closed when we're driving;-), but other than that I'm very pleased with the way this old bug has turned out! This past weekend, she took her maiden voyage, sporting her new look - to the beach of course. (Praia Linda, in the Lake Region of Rio de Janeiro, in case your interested). The one unsolicited comment we overheard was that she looked like an old armoire... and not in a good way;-) The transformation from a bricklayer's workhouse to a beach woody was a laborious one, but now our '75 Fusca can spend her golden years carting beach chairs, coolers and kayaks instead of hauling bricks and cement;-) I plan to post a full Instructable on this project, but for now, wanted to give those interested a taste of the nearly finished product. (I'm also amazed with how much the finished product resembles the photoshop rendition I created, before I ever laid eyes on the car).

Posted by Winged Fist 6 years ago

Very Small Scale Power Generation in Developing World

Hello Everyone, I volunteer for a non-profit which distributes solar lanterns primarily to students as well as people who are in need of the lights.  Things have been going well but a lot of people have inquired about us providing access to a higher powered version for various reasons and we've noticed that some households go back to their old ways when the lanterns don't receive enough sun during the day.  Temporarily we are solving the problem by having local entrepreneurs charge batteries for the families for a small fee but we feel that this should not be a permanent solution. It's not the price that's the issue it's that sometimes the people have to walk for a number of kilometers to get to the nearest charging station or have to cross dangerous terrain (I have personally experienced this). Over the last 3 years we have helped over 5000 families by giving them solar lights so we would like to modify all those units to have more stable energy generation. Our current version has an output of 5 watts. We are looking to buy or build a unit which produces a maximum 8wh an hour until the fuel source runs out or something that can generate in a more slower rate such as 40wh in 16 hours so we can let it run overnight and have the power stored in a battery. We are primarily a donation driven group so something with low cost and maintenance would be really great.  We highly subsidize the price to a large percentage of the households but we also provide them free for the lowest 10% of households who can't even afford the lowered price. I personally think that something which can generate electricity from hydrocarbons due to their high energy density and easy access would be ideal but I'm not an engineer so what do I know.  I'm not sure if this helps in any way but a number of years ago we transitioned a large number of houses from wood fired stoves to gas and as all the families that we help actually have access to gas I was wondering if any good technology exists where electricity can be generated by gas that can meet the low cost and maintenance criteria.  I've looked into thermoelectric generators but they are really inefficient and people will be wasting money to heat their house in a country where average temperatures are in the 30'sC I also see a future issue regarding battery degradation as we use small lead acid batteries and while thinking of a way to solve this I came up with the following idea and is one of the reasons that I'm posting on instructables. What if a pedal powered flywheel generator was built with a 200W generating capacity and 40Wh worth of 'storage'.  When you pedal you will spin up the flywheel and it will store the energy until you need the electricity again and we could also wire up the solar panel that we already use to spin up the flywheel.  So when the sun is out the panel is used and on rainy days and during the night you pedal for a couple of minutes for one hour of lights.  If the flywheel can store the energy for a number of hours then someone could pedal for a couple of minutes at a time throughout the day and not have to do it at night. This is just an idea that I came up with and if anyone has any ideas I'll be really interested in knowing about it (obviously the above solution is not ideal because they have to put some work into generation but it's the best that I can do).  I've quite recently been looking into different types of fuel cells powered by m/ethanol and others like solid oxide cells and they seem interesting (does anyone here have any experience in building these type of cells?).  This community has a lot of intelligent members who think outside the box so I'm confident that we can come up with something. This ended up being a bit longer than expected and if you've read this far, thank you. I wasn't sure about what section to post this in, square peg is the one I chose out of 5 so if this is wrong please feel free to move it to the correct section. Help and advice will be very much appreciated. Kindest Regards

Posted by ragun8 5 years ago

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 ;)

Posted by Downunder35m 2 years ago