Recycling Industrial Air Intake Filters

I have access to some used air inlet filter cartridges soon to be disposed from a gas turbine power plant that I work at. When in use, they prevent dust and debris from atmospheric air from passing through to the turbine....I am thinking of cleaning them using instrument air, and recycling them as furniture parts of for bookshelves and other upholstery furniture’s...does anyone know if they are safe to use for the inner frame of a couch for example?

Posted by 9jabuilt 7 years ago


How do I make a carbon fibre pipe for an air intake?

Hello folks! I'm trying to figure out how I can make a carbon fibre pipe for my cars air intake. I have a semi-flexi alloy pipe which I have managed to bend into shape and it will keep its shape without changing even if I take it out of the engine bay. I was wondering how I would go about making a mould of the pipe to make a replica of it out of carbon fibre for ultra cool points. Plus Carbon fibre helps repel heat better than aluminium. I was originally just going to get a Carbon Fibre vinyl wrap around the pipe but, why fake it?

Posted by apmaman 6 years ago


Toyota corolla DIY Cold Air Intake

So i have this idea, my car came stock with cold air intake, but i want to take it a little farther and do a Ram air intake (the air gets shoved in the car as you drive) what kind of tubing should i use? i have this plastic kind of dryer tubing and some pipe rings (adjustable) would that work? or should i use metal dryer tubing?

Posted by Yerboogieman 9 years ago


Removed intake resonator, now I have a small whine

I removed the intake resonator on my car, now I have a small whine to my engine. I know the resonator takes away noises and stuff, but others have done this and got a low hum, not a whine. I don't like my car sounding like a Ford power steering pump. Why is this?

Posted by Yerboogieman 8 years ago


Liquid Cooling - Body

Its so hot and... well.... I made a device to cool myself down! I might make an instructable, but basically, I took two 20oz bottles with caps, poked 2 holes in the top of one, 1 hole in the other. I then ran tubing between the two, and in the bottle with 2 holes, I added a bit of tubing to put the air intake below water level. I filled the 2'holer up with icewater, and blew a bit on the air intake to get it started. It works very well, to say the least! :P

Posted by zachninme 10 years ago


mice brains...science research HELP!!!

I am really interested in science research and I want to come up with a research project, but I'm having a hard time putting something together. I want to include aspects like... - PCR (polymerase chain reaction) - RFLP (restriction fragment length polymorphism) - ICC (immunocytochemistry) - e-gel/ gel electrophoresis I know I will be working with mice brains whose vagus nerves have been surgically cut or whose leptin intake has been significantly increased. (By the way, the leptin and vagus nerve are totally different experiments) In this case the vagus nerve serves as a connection from the brain to the stomach. Therefore if it has been cut, mice would show a reduction in food anticipation. The leptin, I believe is a hormone that deals with energy regulation (food intake). Mice with leptin intake grow obese because lack of leptin usually tells the body to stop eating so when the mice with too much leptin are introduced to food, they cannot stop eating. In either case, mice brains would be sacrificed for experimentation. (All experiments are done in a research facility) I'm not sure how to incorporate these procedural methods to the mice brains. My objective is to somehow determine the mechanisms within the nervous system, which can hopefully aid in developing methods to ameliorate neurological problems. I am open to any other methods or protocols.

Posted by c4thy 10 years ago


Sandblaster

When I saw the sandblaster here, I wanted to make one because well, it's cool. The only problem is that I can't find the gun. From what I can tell, It has 2 intakes and one exit nozzle. I did read the instructable, but it didn't say (as far as I could tell). Can someone help?

Posted by John Smith 10 years ago


Yanosuke Hirai

Here's another one of my occasional notes on Engineers  and engineering ethics. Yanosuke Hirai http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/pulse/news/20120319p2a00m0na020000c.html Hirai was responsible for insisting on the design of a sea wall which prevented another Japanese reactor being destroyed by the 2011 tsunami, and also for ensuring that, as the sea recedes sharply AFTER a tsunami, that the water intakes were placed so that cooling water could still be maintained.

Posted by steveastrouk 6 years ago


Hydrogen Generators

Does anyone know how to test for output quantity of HHO gas from a Hydrogen Generator when connected to a vacuum such as your intake manifold? The output is easy to test when just checking with a submerged bottle with the generator running on its own without being hooked to a vacuum source. The generator will put out substantially more volume under vacuum than when not. How do you check for output volume when under vacuum? Pylgram

Posted by Pylgram 10 years ago


Insulating Ducts

I was thinking about opening one side or the top of the "metal box" that "insulates" the out/intake ducts of HVAC unit, and filling that space with styrofoam popcorn used for shipping fragile stuff. We recently had a couple of trees cut down in the backyard and now our HVAC unit is completely exposed to the sun for most of the day! We bought a shade to set up but I was thinking the styrofoam would just be a little bit more of a help! What do you think? All ideas and advice would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by thickneckarts 8 years ago


Valve question

Hi all ... my first post is actually a question. I have been searching for the name of a specific type of valve. More specifically the name of the valve in a refillable butane lighter (the intake valve). The little brass valve that is usually at the bottom. I need something similar for a proeject I am working on but after looking for a while I have yet even to come up with a specific name for it. Also, if somebody could tell me where I could find some (doesn't have to be brass - as long as it is metal) ... I need about 20 minimum to begin with. Thank you very much, Iza Bl..

Posted by izablue 11 years ago


searching for a pump that can handle pudding

I dug through a few forums, trying to decide which this was best suited for. I settled on tech since its a physical computing project. I'm looking for a resource for a water pump that can handle something like pudding. the initial thought was use an air pump and a bag or maybe have the bag be squeezed closed but i need it to cycle through.  Like a water fountain of pudding! The pudding spurts out, then there is also an intake which is recycling the goop. Does anyone have a resource on pumps which could handle something so thick?  (and since its a small scale project, cheaply and small!)

Posted by gjclimer 5 years ago


DIY water jet engine?

Hello. Me and couple of my local DIY buddies are also big fans of fishing. Because we are all students and can't drop 1K+ on normal outboard motor for our tiny aluminum boat, we are thinking on making our own. What we have here is a 200cc lawnmower engine. Because we don't wanna get into business of making our own gears we are looking for ways to implement water jet system. The problem is we just can't figure out what is gonna do a good job of being our turbine. Any suggestions? Does anyone know if the intake half of automotive turbocharger is gonna for pumping water?

Posted by Kizzmansky 7 years ago


Food & Gestational Diabetes

I found out 2 days ago that I might be at risk for gestational diabetes (getting diabetes while pregnant.  Usually goes away after baby is born).  My doc suggested that I try a diabetic diet and I've looked up many great recipes and ideas but I was wondering if the Instructables community has any input.  Do any of you have diabetes?  How do you figure out what to eat? So I'm turning to Instructables for healthy alternatives for everyday eats. I know the basics, everything in moderation, leafy greens, eat colors of the rainbow, exercise, low carb intake, water, water, water - all that jazz.  Do you guys have any favorite healthy recipes or instructables you've tried and enjoyed?  I need to be eating 2200 healthy calories to keep baby strong and give myself a ton of energy.  I get tested again in 4 months to see if I have to be put on medication or even worse, have to do insulin.  I'm going to do my best to prevent this.   Any suggestions, tips will be appreciated. Zurichko

Posted by zurichko 6 years ago


looking for well controlled heating element.

I have a few small projects in mind that have come to a standstill because I lack one piece.  What I would like to get my hands on are small heating elements capable of temps between 80-400 degrees F that are as accurate as possible, preferably within two degrees. I have tried researching this online, but after browsing for an hour I was unable to come up with anything that would suit my needs.  I have considered buying a digital heat gun, but I can't find reliable info on how accurate they are and what range they have. I don't want anyone to think I am trying to build bombs or anything like that so here are two of the applications I had in mind. The first is my truck.  From what I understand those 'super chips' people buy to override the computer and add power typically change the air/fuel ratio.  That can be done by manipulating the perceived temperature of the air entering the intake.  My idea is to create a small housing around the airbox thermostat and digitally manipulate the termp in order to manipulate the A/F ratio.  My second idea is...well...best not discussed openly, but I assure you it has nothing to do with the creation of weapons of any kind. Any thoughts?

Posted by TsarNicholas 8 years ago


Setting up a new apartment, what would you do?

Greetings all, I am soon to move to South Korea and will be sharing a bachelor with my wife on her ESL teaching contract.  I would like to see how many instructables we can take advantage of while there and want to get input from this totally awesome community and what they have used/would suggest to use. Our Goals: - Reduce energy use - Increase healthy environment/food/liquid intake - make best use of small area - nothing permanently altering structure of apartment. Example: The first problem we have to overcome is the problem of a single bed.  While it is easy to say 'just go out and buy a double or an air mattress'.  The problem is that we have to keep the original bed and have zero storage space.  The idea that I found which could potentially help through the use of a Loft Bed instructable which would help us 'lift' the single bed out of our way and allow use to effectively use it for any guest that may stay over as well as get a bigger bed into the apartment. I also saw a really neat instructable using Tesla CD-Turbine and thought maybe there may be some useful electricity to be gained since there is no water bill. Also any number of various LED projects for lights and such. I used this instructable for water filtering at home and will do so while in Korea. Any other ideas would be welcomed!

Posted by DragonDon 7 years ago


How do I measure pressure inside computer case

. I've setup a home file server and would like to be able to maintain positive pressure in the case to keep dirt out (two dogs in the house). I've cut some filters to fit the fans blowing into the case (front, rear, and side) and installed a "PCI slot" exhaust fan (it and the PSU are the only exhausts). All these are connected to a four-channel controller.. Using the handy-dandy strip-of-paper-in-front-of-a-case-opening method, case pressure is real close to being equal to ambient with all intake fans on high and the exhaust fan on low (700W PSU has two fans that seem to work very well). Even under full-load, BIOS/SpeedFan says the 1.8 GHz Celeron temp stays below 140 degF under full load and idles in the mid-to-high 90s. HDD temps (2x400GB RAID 1 + spare and 40GB boot) stay below 105, except when formatting when they might rise to 110. . I have some clear tubing, so I could rig up a manometer, but don't feel comfortable hooking up a water hose to my computer. Any ideas on a cheap-and-easy way to measure DeltaP (I'm guessing 0-5 inWC would work) without liquids? Could a automotive Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor (I think they have a range close to 0-30 inWC) be adapted?. Someone point me in the right direction and I'll post an Instructable when I figure it out.

Posted by NachoMahma 11 years ago


Road Rash

Alright, folks. It's story time. What sorts of crashes have you (or anyone else you know) been involved in while riding a bike? Has anything ever spectacularly malfunctioned with a motorcycle, scooter, or other two or three-wheeled monstrosity? Seen a big crash? Ever bought a bike that had been wrecked? I've got a couple of stories. Which one to tell first..... Oh, I know! One time our '39 Chief set the garage on fire. This was back in the '60s after my grandpa had bought it for my dad, for a hundred bucks cash. 20 year old collector's motorcycle for that kind of money? What was wrong with it, you ask? A lot of things. It needed restoring, and Gramps ran a hotel at the time, and, in his spare time, an Indian museum. Both of the Native American sort and of the American iron sort. Parts were found, damage was fixed, and the bike given a fresh coat of Indian Red before it was fired up. Ran like a dream. Happy, they shut it off and went to bed. Now at this time, that garage was heated by a gas heater. The cork float in the bike's carb swelled up and got stuck, continuing to let gas fill the float bowl, run out the intake, across the floor, and... you guessed it, over to the pilot light. It was a flash fire, but it destroyed the curtains on the door and put a solid layer of char on that brand new purdy paint. Not much else in the garage was flammable, so the fire died nice and quick. The next morning, grandpa and my dad got up bright and early to get to work on the finishing touches, like air in the tires and a test ride. The found quite a suprise, to say the least.

Posted by Rishnai 10 years ago


If you have an overactive bladder, here's some advice.

First of all, I would just want to say that I have procured this advice from my own personal experience.  This is what I do. Tip 1- STOP DRINKING COFFEE!  It's amazing how the people who buy bladder control medicine are the same people who drink coffee, which contains a substance known as caffeine.  Caffeine does give you that 5 second energy perk, but then this is followed by you taking a piss in the toilet ever 20 minutes because it's a diuretic substance.  And at this point I am not just talking about coffee either.  Most sodas contain quite a bit of caffeine as well. Tip 2- Drink less water.  I know how people need water to survive, but I am not saying to stop drinking water, I am just saying to reduce your watery intake.  I was sick with Swine flu a few weeks back, so my mom forced me to drink gallons of water each day.  I ended up having to get out of bed every 30 minutes to use the bathroom, and this ruined the whole resting pattern. I'm just sick of seeing so many advertisements about bladder control medicine.  I don't care, just get back to that awesome show I was watching!   Help boycott bladder control medicine and get those advertisers to shut the heck up. (Unless of course you have a real medical condition and for some reason more bathroom use is a side effect, then none of this applies to you)

Posted by DJ Radio 8 years ago


Carburettor Heater - need help

Hi All, Hope this is in the right section. I am working on a project to heat the body of a carburettor (Bing 84) in order to prevent carb icing.  No commercial solution exists for my carburettor.  My engine (for paramotoring) is air cooled so can't use water from cooling system. My idea was to strip out the nichrome heating element from a car cigarette lighter and use that.  The heat needs to be applied to the metal casing of the carburettor, preferably being hottest near the air intake side of the carb.  I decided the best place was where the air filter is attached - a 12mm long metal throat with a 35mm diameter The trouble is, I don't know I can transfer the hundreds of degrees of temperature from the nichrome to the metal body of the carb without just shorting out the battery.  If I am to have a layer of insulation between the nichrome and the carburettor, what can I use that will conduct heat but not electrical current, and withstand around 300 degrees of heat?  I also thought about reducing the current and spreading the heating over a larger portion of the metal casing, which would allow the temperature to be lower. I have also been experimenting with motorbike hand grip heaters that run of 12v but they don't generate enough heat - I need to be pumping in around 8-10A as the internal cooling effect of the fuel vaporising rapidly causes sub zero conditions inside the carb even when the outside air temperature is well above freezing.  I have a 7Ah li-ion which I would only switch on when required (maybe have a latching push button on throttle control). It may not be doable but its an interesting project nonetheless and something I am going to play around with.  Any ideas? Thanks, Dug

Posted by dugaldcurtis 6 years ago


H and O burning car

The other day a friend and i were disscusing the possibility of riging an old vw beetle engine to run on hydrogen and oxyen separated by electrolosis immediatly befor combustion. heres what weve come up with so far. 1: run a second alternator off of the engine and directly to the gas tank which would be full of water (this would also contain some sugar or some form of electorlite to aid in the conductivity) as you would be burning the H and using the O as you oxidizer it would not be nessesary to worry about which gas is which u would only need one line this line would run to a valve of some sort limiting the flow of the two gasses the carb would then be removed as u are putting O into ur engine so there is no longer any need for it. the line would then be run to the fuel intake where said amount of gas is released (determined by the valve) no here is where we run into what we think might be a problem would the pressure of compression return the gasses to their original state; water? if not then the engine should then run at this point with increased horse power as of the explosive properties of these gasses. (note this is in a nutshell nothing is ever this easy if it was everybody would be doing this) of course as any responsible scientist would do i will tes this on my dads lawnmower first. not really but i do have a test engine my next project is to see if i can get an old snow blower engine to run on black powder if anybody has any ideas on that as well let me know as it is tricky because an engine requires oil but black powder igites dry that is why im going with a 2 cycle so i can try ro run it dry for like 3 seconds and if it works try to figure out how to adapt it to one with oil an maybe eventually my car how cool would that be. it would be like driving a machine gun. not to mention the increased horse power and torque.

Posted by buildingteen 11 years ago


Ghost riders in the sky

I know that this probably isn't the perfect site to be asking for this, but I figure I'll give it a shot. I'd like to come up with a design for a picture I intend to create, which shows the Four Horsemen, except instead of horses, they're riding motorcycles. If anyone is familiar with The Outlaws' version of the song song "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky", I'd like it to fit in with that theme: hard-charging, kind of dark... you can tell from the atmosphere that they're Hell-riders. I'm trying to come up with a layout for it: how are the Horsemen arranged, what precisely do their bikes look like, where are they, and are they chasing the Devil's Herd of cattle? And should they even be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, or just regular cowboys who were eternally damned, like the song goes? Both have different visual possibilities. So what I'm looking for is even the crudest drawings depicting one aspect of the picture that you think would be cool. Maybe you have the idea for the perfect shape and level of tattering to one Horseman's cowboy hat, and would like to suggest that. Maybe you think that if one of the guys was riding a Vincent, it'd be the most badass thing since open pipes. Chasing the cattle through a canyon, or idling at the top of a cliff looking down on the Devil's Herd? Any cool color palette you've seen? good reference photos? Stick figures are great. Here's what I have so far, although it can be changed no problem. Like I said, I'd like details of the coolest intake you can think of, the perfect instrument panels, the perfect trenchcoat for a rider. Any little detail, rendered in any level of quality. I'm considering showing them all riding along side each other, holding rifles, instead of the badly-perspectived parked scene shown here. Have the perfect design for the mountains? Toss it in! I plan on making these very huge, so don't worry about details being too small. You'll notice that I'd like to have one Indian, left-hand throttle bike, potentially a big twin, and potentially a Four, with fringed leater seat and saddlebags. I'd also like to have a stretch chopper with a king & queen seat, but I can't decide between a wide or a narrow tire. Notice how the Indian rider is holding his rifle in the second picture. I'd like to have him holding a gun, and at least one of the other guys having a pistol belt with two Colt Peacemakers. If anyone has a cool way of depicting that, please share. I am open to suggestion as to what the right rifle would be. You can also notice that in the second sketch, there is a Harley springer front end lurking in the background on the left, and I didn't draw the Indian rider's whole body, so that's actually Chopper Dude's rear wheel, not Indian Dude's head.

Posted by Rishnai 10 years ago


Free Rice

A lot of you probably already know about this, but I thought I would post it anyway.The site FreeRice.com is a fantastic charity site that helps fight world hunger through a game.I had heard of this a long time ago, but I never actually tried it until today. I researched a bit, and was very impressed by it, which is why I'm posting this.How it StartedFreeRice began on October 7, 2007. It was created by John Breen, a computer programmer from Bloomington, Indiana, who also created thehungersite.com, therainforestsite.com and Poverty.com. Breen invented the site, and typed in all 10,000 definitions, after observing his son study for the SAT.How it WorksVisitors to the website are presented with a word and four definitions. If a user selects the correct definition, FreeRice.com donates 20 grains of rice through the United Nations. Another word is then presented. Special graphics symbolizing 100 and 1,000 grains of rice are displayed on a graphical tally if the player's total reaches these numbers. Various landmarks are represented with different messages of encouragement such as: "You have donated 10,000 grains of rice. Wow! Now THAT is impressive!" after the 10,000th grain is donated, and after 20,000 grains, "You have donated 20,000 grains of rice. Wow! We're speechless!" After every ten thousand grains thereafter, the message "Wow! We're STILL speechless!" will appear. The last message of encouragement appears when you reach 100,000: "You have donated 100,000 grains of rice. May you have a lifetime of happiness..." and then the donation comes back at 0 grains.The difficulty of each displayed word is measured from 1 (easy) to 60 (very hard). The game begins with four introductory definitions to set an initial vocabulary level. From the fifth question onward, three consecutive correct responses raise the difficulty level by one. Every incorrect answer lowers the level by one. Users can play for as long as they wish. The game determines difficulty level dynamically by analyzing the results from all users' game play.A speaker icon has been added to each definition to provide an audio pronunciation of the word.How its possiblen exchange for advertisements on the website, various sponsors donate the money necessary to pay for the rice and other costs to run FreeRice. The donations are distributed by the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), starting with Bangladesh in early 2008. By this time, the site's creator had given over $213,000 to the WFP which encourages people to visit FreeRice.com.For example, On 20 November the WFP launched a campaign to 'feed a child for Thanksgiving'.Has it Worked?One month after the inception of the viral marketing program, users had earned enough points for one billion grains of rice. The United Nation's World Food Programme stated that this amount could feed 50,000 people for one day. Thus, approximately 20,000 grains of rice provide enough caloric intake to sustain an adult for one day. Using this calculation, enough rice is donated to feed about 7,000 people daily. In its first six months of operation, FreeRice donated over 25 billion grains of rice.I think its a great cause, and truly a noble deed. So, when you're bored, instead of playing solitaire because you need something to do, why not help feed those who truly need something?By helping this cause, you are also helping yourself. Since the game consists of word definitions, you might be suprised

Posted by Keith-Kid 10 years ago


Looking for a cheap compressor with a high pressure rating or for airbrush use?

Today a friend of mine asked me if I know a way to reduce the noise level of his compressor in the work shed. With the current heat he prefers to work in the evening and nights, which does not make his neighbours too happy. His main use for several airbrush guns and sometimes for mormal airtools or the big spray gun for an undercoat or similar. So his main concern is oil in the airline and the actual flow rate is of second concern as he has an old 25kg propane cyclinder as an additional air tank. For relative low air volumes I would suggest an old fridge compressor. With a thicker pipe at the outlet that is filled with stainless steel wool most of the oil stays in the compressor. That is if this pipe is a) long enough b) upright c) of sufficient diameter so there is enough for the oil to avoid it being pushed up A second, standard oil seperator will be enough for the oil level required for airbrush stuff - and most other things too. If there is no pressure regulator on the airbrush system it is best to add a small air tank and shut off valve for it. In our case however a fridge compressor would be just enough to keep the bigger airbrush gun running but not to fill the tank at the same time. Not to mention the problem of fluctuating pressure levels. Since we already had a tank and pressure shut off connected to the loud compressor it was only a matter of finding something that keeps the neighbours happy. The first thing we did was to check how often the compressor comes on and how long it runs till the tank is back to pressure. With that and the stated air volume on the compressor we guesstimated that something a bit bigger than the compressor of a window airconditioner should be sufficient. The search begins.... If you don't know what to look for I give you a few hints: Older airconditioners often run on R22 or R12 - both use quite high system pressures which is a bonus, but more on that later. As a rule of thumb for these compressors you cans say: the bigger the higher the flow rate. At the local wreckers and scrap yards we found a few units but noticed the bigger ones often used three phases and not just one :( So we opted for the R22 compressor of a 4.5kW unit. Keep in mind the 4.5kW is for the entire system, so the quite massive fans can be removed from the sum. Usually the compressor alone is the 2.5 - 3kW range. Ok, we found the big thing but how does this help us? First things first ;) The oil was removed as the housing stating the original oil amount. This allowed us to use an oil rated for air use that has little to no water absorption qualities - you don't want water in your compressor. With the usual heat the water should be no problem anyway. Next was a pressure test to make sure the thing actually still works, so we added some plumping in the form of standard connectors to the inlet and outlet. We got well above 200PSI and abondoned the test at this stage as it was more than enough already. The air volume seemd to be well more than expected too so let'S move to the next stage. A fridge or aircon compressor always needs to have a certain amount of oil in it as it will otherwise seize and overheat quickly. But they are also designed so that the oil mixes with the refrigerant to cool all moving parts. So the biggest hurdle is to make sure the oil stays where it should stay and won't enter or get lost in the tank. Only real option for this to use something to catch the oil that is capable of releasing it into the compressor once it shuts off. Now there are several options for this so I start with the most basic: A "catch can" will get most of the oil, especially if filled with stainless steel wool or similar. Downside is that you have to find a way to get it back into the compressor. A step better is a thicker pipe filled with stainless steel wool to catch the oil. If placed upright and the outgoing pipe can be bend a bit upwards you have a good chance that most of the oil will sweep through the valves and get back down into the compressor housing. But only too often the cheap or even free compressor is better than expected and the oil won't get back into the housing as the vlaves are just too good. The last and IMHO best option is a pressurised return system. Most compressors for bigger aircons have a seperate filling port or sealed off piece of pipe. In this case you can do a simple check to see if they are usable for our purposes. Open the port of pipe and use a simple bike bump or similar to get some pressure in it. With a dedicated oil filling port you are best off but they are hard to find. The air you pump in should come out of the high pressure side - you might need a little pressure to overcome the valves. If you hear any bubbling in the housing (use a pipe on your ear or a sensitive microphone) it means you are going through the oil inside the compressor - perfect! You might not hear any bubbling but the port or pipe is still usable. Get ready with your fingers and start the compressor. The fill pipe should be sucking air in, same for the service port if there is one. A dedicated oil port should not suck but instead force some oil up if you cover the high pressure outlet. I assume all is good and no oil is splashing out of the open pipe or port. Add a small amount of oil with a syringe or similar into the port/pipe. If you see an oil mist coming out of the high side it is bad news. Clean outlet air is good. To get the oil back from the catch pipe or can we have to add a hose or pipe with a needle valve. It needs to be adjusted so that there is only a very little airflow (or oil mist) coming out. This regulated outlet is now being connect to the port/pipe with a bit of suction that we found earlier. Now every time the compressor runs the collected oil is forced back into the compressor :) Please double check the port/pipe used is not directly connected to the intake port! The last thing you want is a puddle of oil going into the cylinder and damaging it! They are designed to move gas but not liquid! If in doubt use a hardened sttel nail or similar to create a small puncture in the top of the compressor housing if there is nothing else to use. Check first if the material sound very thick, if so it might help to drill with a 5 or 6mm drill first - only about 1mm to make sure you won't enter the housing and conimate it with metal shavings! Once you have a small puncture hole of about 2mm in diameter get some 2 component metal repair glue mix and add a suitable connection for the collecting pipe/can. If you feel up to it you can of course use a blow torch and solder the connection on. Now we have the compressor working with a oil return system that also gives up very little to no oil at all in our system. You might now think you are good to go but you should at least add a decent and fine filter to the air inlet ;) The compressor noise of a bigger system can still be an issue if thicker pipes are used that allow the noise to travel out. Keep in mind they usually run in a fully closed system.... As we only need to match the noise level of the compressor itself a solid steel can like an old fire extinguisher in the 1kg rage is a good way out. Fill it with filter wool and a fine filter pad after adding some hose connectors either end. You can misuse the trigger nozzle and keep it to seal the top if you braze a connector on it. If the intake here is about 5 times larger than the pipe connection to the compressor itself the air flow going into the thing is low enough for a cheap paper air filter can or box if you have a quite dusty enviroment to work with. The real trick is to have a hose or pipe on the inside of the fire extinguisher connected to the compressor pipe connection. A garden hose is great here as is reduces the noise quite good and is dirt cheap. Make a lot of about 2mm sized holes in this pipe and close the other end of it off. Now the compressor will suck it through the small holes and the soft garden hose reduces the noise, the surrounding padding brings it down to basically nothing. The special case of clean air for airbrush.... If you read this for the sole purpose of airbrush use then this chapter is just for you, all other might want to skip it. The two things you don't want to enter your gun is oil or water. Both are a common thing in normal compressors due to lubrication and pressure difference resulting in condensation of the humidity in the intake air. Oil free compressors of good quality can cost quite a few bucks and often require ongoing replacement of membranes or piston seals. A refrigeration compressor with the above modifications already provides clean enough air for most airbrush users if a proper tank is used to store enough of the compressed air. So you might just want to add a basic oil filter or very fine paper filter close to the regulator. For very detailed work with very sensitive paints you might want to build a filter box containing of several layers of oil absorbent paper. This stuff is often used in the industry to clean up minor oil spills and bind oil very well. A PVC pipe (pressure rated please) with 5-8 layers of filter screens should last about a lifetime before the filters need changing if the diameter is in the 10-15cm range. That leaves us with the dreaded problem of condensation and water contamination. Depending on the type of paint and gun used a small amount of water vapour is usually no problem. Solvent based paints usally show their disliking by unwanted drops or run offs caused by water droplets. Of course you just go and buy a professional dehumidifier and accept the ongoing replacement costs for the cartridges... But if you are in a climated that has above 30% humidity for most of the year than you will have to remove the water one way or the other. A big enough storage tank for the air that is upright usually helps to release any condensated water prior to usage. But if you use a homemade tank you might want to avoid this problem completely and forget about water in the system altogehter. Silaca gel is the answer here, specifically the indicating variety that changes color once "full". A spaghetti glas or similar should be big enough unless you are in a very humid climate - is so just use multiple in a row. The air intake side for the compressor has to go through the silica gel to be effictive. This mean we need two holes in the lid. One with a pipe or hose going all the way to the botom - that is the air intake side. The other right on the lid - this is the air outlet side which continues to the compressor intake. With the color change in the silica gel we can estimate how much usage we have left until we have to heat it up to remove the water. If this color change happens quite fast from the bottom to the top, let's say within three days or less than you really need to use more jars with silica gel in a row or a longer one - like using a long and clear acrylic pipe instead. Of course you can always just cut holes and "viewing glasses" along the length to a PVC pipe.... No matter how wet your climate is you want to get at least 100 hours of compressor run time before you need to recharge the silica gel. This brings us to the recharging.... Once the color changes and you only have about one quarter left to the top you want to get the water out of the gel and re-use it. To do this you simply heat it up in your oven to around 120-150°C - the supplier should state the max temp for this. If you use a gas oven or one with limited accuracy here it is best to stay within the 120° range. You need to stir and mix the gel or use something big enough like an oven tray. But be aware that these little balls are like glass! The roll and bounce like no tomorrow! IMHO it best to use an old cooking pot that has no plastic handles for this and not to overfill it. This allows for easy mixing without making a mess that might cause a bad trpping hazard on your kitchen floor tiles! Once the gel is back to original colr it is time to let it cool of to a safe temperature and to fill it back into our canister or pipe. Tanks and shut off systems.... We have a refrigeration compressor working for us, and since it was for R22 we can use much higher pressures as a simple compressor from the hardware store. The low pressure side is used to 70PSI or around 5Bar of pressure in normal working conditions. The high side often works at pressure in the range of 200-300PSI or 14-20Bar! The tank we used is a big propane tank that was restamped at some stage in his life for the use of LPG - so it was tested to quite high pressures. The lower pressure limit is what keeps the stored gas liquid at the given temperature. For Propane at an imaginary 30°C this would around 155PSI or 10Bar. The stamped test pressure, although outdated, showed 600PSI or around 40Bar of pressure with no problems - and the thing was thick in the walls... The old shut off switch from an old air compressor was adjustable after removing the safety cap with a bit of force and the help of few cold beer. With a little tank attached we adjusted it to turn the compressor off at 250PSI or around 17Bar of pressure. If your tank is old or has no test pressure stamped on do your own test in a safe location. Make sure the area is secured so there is no chance of debris from a brusting tank can go anywhere - this includes to chain down the tank itself ;) Use the aircon compressor to fill it up to 300PSI or 20Bar of pressure - this should be tolerated with ease by any propane or LPG tank. Shut the valves and let it rest for a day or so. It is best to do this in the early morning so the heat from the day will slightly increase the pressure. At the end you still want to have a working tank and no major pressure losses. All of our mods on this tank were done without actually harming the tank. This was possible as the original valve had a release port for filling purposes - as it standard on most refillable ones. Here we removed the valve and added a pressure guage instead - better to know what is happening than to assume things. As this "port" had a seperate connection to the bottom of the brass valve we added as T-connection to allow for the connection to the compressor. Just be be really sure a thin piece of copper tubing was brazed to the exit hole of this port so all incoming air will be going down and away from the outlet connection with the big shut off valve on top - which we use to actually isolate and close the tank when not it use. Last thing required was something to connect the pressure shut off switch and regulator to. That was the only major expense on this project as we had no old BBQ hose or similar to get a suitable connector to the tank. We bought a simple adapter for the use of smaller hoses and cut the unwanted bits off we there was only the bottle conntector with the nut left. After removing the rubber ring we brazed piece of copper pipe onto it. Here we drilled holes and fitted severy connectors. First for the pressure switch, then for the connection to the pressure regulator and two standard ones with a ball valve for air hose connections. One air hose connection female, the other male so a standard compressor can be connected as well or "backfilled" for additional and mobile storage use. As we wanted to avoid any reduction in the safety and burst pressure no release valve was added at the bottom on the tank. The added silica gel filter stage was used instead so no water will get into the system to begin with. Additionally, and painfully for me and me friend, the inside of the tank was coated with a layer of acrylic paint to prevent and rust as it was free from it when we checked it at the beginning. This involved filling a suitable amount of paint into it, closing the top while keeping the thread clean and then to move the tank around to cover the inside evenly. If you do this be prepared for some weird movements with your friends LOL Once we were sure all ust be covered by paint at least three times we released the exxess paint and allowed the inside to dry with the assistance of some air forced to go in with a length of pipe. This was repeated 3 times... Then another two just for the bottom third of it where there might be some moisture after all... Now you don't want to remove the brass valve with everything connected to it just to turn the tank over to releae the collected water. Instead we made sure the added pipe on the former relese port would go all the way to the bottom of the tank. If any water collection is suspected only the connection to the compressor needs an additional valve for the disconnection so the water will be force back out here. To make this easy and fast we used standard quick connectors and a piece of flexible airhose rated to 20bar of pressure for the connection to the compressor. We checked the performance of the moisture removal and oil removal only for a few hours of running time while priming some surface for later use. The compressor oil used was very smelly to say it nice but nothing coul be smelled in the first paper filter after the pressure regulator. To check for remaining moisture levels (65% humidity in the house) we used a 10m length of clear PVC tubing going through an ice bath. After 30 minutes of moderate air release there was no condensation on the inside of the tubing visible. Of course if you only need it for air supply and don't care about a bit of moisture and oil you can keep it simple ;) Benefits of doing such a stupid thing: For starters noise and the peace of mind that you can do a lot of airbrushing until the compressor needs to kick in again. Then of course the benefit of an almost silent system compared to a standard compressor - something you can actually tolerate while doing art. But the real deal is knowing YOU did it and you did it for cheap. Warnings and some advise... I know, it should be at the very beginning but I just hope you read till the end ;) If the compressor fails from overheating you are up for a new one. This means the tan size should be within the limits of what the compressor can handle - same for what you actually use on air. You want an empty tank to be filled before the compressor feels hot to touch - quite warm is fine but if you can't leave your hand on it then it is too hot. Same story for the usage. There is no point in using a tiny 10 liter storage tank if you need that capacity every few minutes. The compressor would only have little pauses and overheat quickly. You want a good balance of usage time before the tank goes below supply pressure and running time of the compressor to get it to full pressure again. This brings us to the safety of high pressures. Where possible only copper tubing or sufficiently rate hoses should be used, the later as short as possible to avoid them acting like a whip if something goes wrong. When it comes to the safety of the tank you want to make sure to stay withing it's rated limits. All benefits of a compressor capable of producing over 500PSI otr close to 35Bar is wasted if your tank and pressure regulator can't handle it. This must not mean that you try to use a gas cylinder of unknow age and pressure rating and assume it will work! If in doubt use a lower shut off pressure and stay within the limits of normal air compressors - which is around 120PSI or 8Bar. Never, ever use a tank that is compromised by inside rust or bad corrosion on the outside! If you don't know how to braze copper tubing, pipes and connectors then check out some of the great Instructables about it! Whenever you know you won't use any compressed air for more than a few hours close all valves especially the ones going back to the compressor on the high pressure side! Some compressors really don't like a huge pressure difference constantly pushing on the reed valves. If your tank is big enough to allow for more than one hour of operation before the compressor has to top it up you might want to consider a one way valve right on the compressor outlet. This will prevent any massive pressures going onto the valves - especially helpful for modern compressors that only rely on the sealing capabilities of the clyinders or rotary system used. One thing you should always consider is a pressure relief valve rated for about 50PSI more than your tank pressure - it can be added to the pipe ;) If the shut off valve ever fails the relief valve gives you the ease of mind that it will blow before your tank does. Maintenance... If modded correctly the compressor should stay in the compressor and the compressor itself should not overheat from use. Having said that your compressor might force out a little more than your best catch system can handle. If that becomes a problem it might help to use an oil with a lower viscosity. If all fails it just means you need to top up oil once the last last paper filter is filthy or use slightly more to begin with so the intervals are longer. The silica gel, if used should be recharged before all of it is wasted - no point in adding it if you use it once full of water. If no gel is used there will be water in the storage tank. Even with the added paint and a good air filter it is possible that nasty things grow in there. Making sure the tank is emptied of any water after long uses and again before the next use is good practise. If no pressure gauge is used on the tank you must make sure the shut off valve is always working fine and within set parameters. I strongly recommend using a gauge and if not to perform a pressure check of the system every now and then to confirm all is within parameters of normal operation. A compressor constantly running means you either use far too much air or you have a leak - same story if the compressos kicks in after some of forgetting to shut it off and close the valves. If you keep the above in mind the salvaged compressor should work just fine for many years to come. Troubleshooting and alternatives.... You put everything together the right way, double checked and something is till not right? Maybe my crystal ball helps me to find something... 1. Always oil coming through the catch system. It usually means you use too much of it. A salvaged compressor, if the refrigent was removed legally from the system should still have a "correct" level of oil inside. Too much oil would mean is being pumped through the system at an excessive rate. Very thin compressor oils tend to do that in the compressor is misude like we do. Changing to standard mineral oil can help here. As a last resort you can use a pressure gauge or good judgement to allow more flow through the needle valve from the catch system back to the compressor. Too much backflow here would mean we loose system pressure to the set level of this needle valve! 2. The R22 rated compressor seems to be unable to produce enough pressure. First do a leak test using soapy water to rule out any leaks. Do a back pressure test on the ports. If you can push air through them in the reverse way with ease it means the valves are damaged making the compressor useless. You need to replace it. A regular cause with our type of usage is a constand back pressure from the storage tank to the compressor. To prevent this it might help to mount an electric solenoid between the compressor and storage tank. Such valve should be off when the pressure switch is engaged and on when the pressure switch is disengaged. This prevents the coil from overheating but requires a "normally off" type of valve. A good source at the wreckers are cars with LPG systems installed, they usually have suitable 12V valves somewhere on or near the tank and filler cap. 3. I am using several kg of silica gel but still get a lot of water in my storage tank. Going overboard in a humid climate can be a good thing here but if moisture makes it into the tank even with great amounts of silica gel there are only two causes: a) the tube or cylinder used is not long enough or not wide enough to allow the absorption of all the moisture going through. b) the flow rate is too high and the temperatures are too. For the first the solution is obvious enough. The second is related to the first for the diameter and lenght but temperatures constantly above the 30°C while operating somehow limits what the gel can do. Using a cooling coil on the intake side or simply putting the gel containers in icy water will help to a great deal here. If that is not an option than I suggest to layer the gel and to seperate it with fine paper filter screens. This will slow and even out the airflow allowing for more contact time with the gel. 4. The compressor gets very noisy after some time. If "some time" means more than 30-45 minutes you simply have it running too much and it overheats. If the noise increases too much when reaching the shut off pressure it can mean the pressure is too high for it. 5. Can I use multiple compressors from smaller units or refrigerators to get enough air volume? Of course you can but it might mean you have to lower your pressure expectations. Consider that each individual compressor would get the back pressure from all other compressors running while it's outlet valve is closed. To avoid premature failure you want to make sure the compressors are shut off at a lowver pressure. 6. I don't want to use a big tank but require a good airflow for airbrush. Two or three fridge compressors working one after the other with a small tank to keep the output pressure even can allow for about 30 minutes runtime per compressor. With three it gives one hour for the the first to cool off and should be enough for ongoing work. Downside is you need to make some sort of automatic switch to "rotate" to compressor working. Last words.... Is you find any spelling mistakes you can keep them. However, if you use them in any way to make a profit with them I kindly ask for 10% of your earning from it ;) Why did I not make an Instructable out of all this? Well the day was very hot, the beer very cold and my mobile phone at home, so I did not take any pics. To top it up the whole thing is now in a seperate box for additional noise reduction so it can be used in the same room where the guy is working. Of course he just used a nailgun for the job without any regard of access or at least easy view of the two pressure gauges. Typical if you have a great idea and the cold beer tells you to forget all about screws or hinges ROFL Only comment was: You created it and it works fine, why would need more than the pipe connections for the gel and regulator? Maybe he will reconsider when the service is due....

Posted by Downunder35m 1 year ago


Guess My Mileage Contest!

In about two weeks, I will be embarking on a nearly 2000 mile road trip from the "right" coast to the "left" coast of the United States. I will send the person that guesses my fuel economy over the entire trip a $10 (USD) bill and 1 instructables patch.Rules1. Thou Shall Not Exceed My Mileage2. Thou Shall Guess a Number Ending in the Thousandths (xx.xxx)3. Thou Shall not guess a previously guessed number4. Thou Shall guess MPG (please no l/100km et. al. - just to keep the rules more simple)a. If no one guesses exactly, the guess closest, but not exceeding the real number wins.b. If two people guess the same number - see rule 3. The first person's guess is validc. You can change your guess by replying to your original guess - once your guess is changed, it can be taken by someone else.d. Guesses that do not accurate to the thousandth will be ignoredHere's some clues to assist your guessing.Car2000 Volkswagen Jetta2.0L Naturally Aspirated Gasoline Engine ~110hp ratedCurrently 102,xxx Miles on the Odometer5 Speed Manual GearboxOil change ~1500 miles ago (it will not be changed for another 9-10K miles)Tires inflated to 50/55 HOT - these are all seasonsGrille Blocked OffPassenger Mirror Folded in (possibly will be removed)Scanguage2 to monitor coolant temperature, trip mpg, TPS etc.CargoPossibly 1 mini fridge >100lbsMe: ~130lbsPassenger ~150lbsTwo suitcases (one will not exceed 50lbs)Possibly a third suitcase (not exceeding 50lbs)Lets tack on an additional 200lbs for things I'm not seeing nowEPA Estimates24mpg City31mpg Highway27mpg CombinedMeI use hypermile driving techniques... That is:1. Accelerate based on Brake Mean Fuel Consumption Charts (~2500-3000 RPM - 50% throttle = most efficiency)2. Coast and Burn with 3+++:1 coast-burn ratio (engine either off or idle)3. Engine Off at stoplights and approach4. Windows UP - AC OFF (this may change, but that's currently how I'm riding | AC will trump windows)5. I will not exceed the speed limit - I may travel below for optimal fuel economy6. Bump Start where applicable (following the same method the Prius uses to start its ICE)RouteCurrently being discussed and looked over. I20 is looking promising, but it's up in the air.GaslogPlease take this with a grain of salt. I only just recently started hypermiling (beginning of April lets say). So only the last tank (which was 100% city) reflects that.My GaslogCalculationCalculation will be based off the sum of the miles (accurate to the tenth) divided by the sum of the fuel pumped (accurate to the thousandth). Everything will be based on receipt, not scangauge2 data.ChangesThis is the section that I post changes to my car, cargo etc.. A change can be as basic as a bit more anticipated weight or as drastic as major aerodynamic modification or mechanical. A possible change may be a hot air intake.Finally, a note about my oil changes.... I send an oil sample to Blackstone Labs for oil analysis. My last oil change interval was a tad over 10K miles -- and the lab report indicated my oil was still good - everything was good except a slightly high Cu level. Not in the danger zone, but something to watch. My point is... Don't give me any crap about 3K miles - I like my oil films established and don't need constant oil changes screwing that up -- that's why I pay for oil analysis (besides, it comes out cheaper in the end anyway).

Posted by trebuchet03 11 years ago


Weight Watchers Points Tracker

I'm not really sure how useful this is going to be to people, but as it's helped out several friends, I figured I'd share it here. <<>> A good portion of my immediate family and their significant others have been doing Weight Watchers.  My mom and girlfriend kept asking me when I was going to do it to.  Hoping I might get out of it, I told my girlfriend I'd do it to so long as she kept track of all my points.  She agreed, and so I was stuck. (To be fair, I agreed to Weight Watchers as opposed to any other diet as it seems more of a “how to eat properly/lifestyle” kind of thing as opposed to a “diet” kind of thing, so it also peeked my curiosity.  Like, “How much SHOULD I be eating compared to what I have been?” (Answer: A lot less)  To express this point, you don't have to lose weight while on the program, you can adjust how much you eat to gain, lose or maintain whatever weight you want.  It's kind of interesting to realize the amount of food intake it requires to affect your body.) After a month of letting my girlfriend track my points, I decided to do it myself.  I wasn't going to learn anything about what I was eating if I didn't take part.  Soon after I started tracking, I realized I needed some kind of automated system that I didn't have to constantly add, subtract and keep count of for days at a time.  All of the information was already stored in a fairly easy to follow spreadsheet my girlfriend made, so I decided to add a few formulas to keep track of things a little easier. To put simply, this spreadsheet keeps tabs on what you're eating, how many points it costs, and determines how many points you've used/have left for the day and week.  Like I said, I'm not sure how useful this is to anyone else, but I figured there'd be one or two people out there that might enjoy. <<>> Please let me know if you have any questions...I edited the files a little bit in hopes that it makes more sense.  Feedback is always appreciated. Who this is for: If you want to try weight watchers, or currently use weight watcher, but don't want to pay them, this might help you. If you want to count your calories in a point system, this might be for you. (This is essentially a glorified calorie counter.) If you want to keep track of what you eat, this might also be for you, though it may not be in depth enough. What this isn't: This doesn't tell you how many points things are worth, that's your job. A quick guide to points: Every 50 Calories = +1 Point Every 10 Grams of Fat = +1 Point Every 5 Grams of Fiber = -1 Point (you can't go below 0) (and don't forget to keep an eye on serving sizes!) This doesn't tell you how many points you should shoot for.  Again, your job to find out If you want to lose weight, there's guides online to figure out what it should be. If you want to gain weight or stay the same, figure what you need to do to lose weight, add five or ten points to that and see what happens. This doesn't track Workout points. I don't believe in them, I don't use them, I didn't add them. What this is: You enter in what you eat. You enter in how many points it costs. It will tally everything for you. Tracks Weekly Points which are bonus points that tally though the week These are a buffer in addition to your daily points They count down throughout the week (you don't want them to go to zero) ...use it for a couple of days and it should start making sense. What you need to do to make the most use of this: Download the appropriate file and put it in a place that's easy to access. I use different computers depending on where I am, so I also downloaded Dropbox and put this in a folder that's shared with all of my computers. Figure out how many points you should eat and enter that in the ??????? field on the spreadsheet (see the attached picture). Enter in what you eat, as you eat it, and see how things go. If you use this, and your weight changes, ten pounds more or less, make sure you re-figure out how many points you're allowed to eat. Voila! Now you don't have to pay $17.00 a month to a website to track your points for you! Attached you'll find the Open Office and Excel versions of the same file.  Choose what suits you.

Posted by StumpChunkman 8 years ago


How to Go to Maker Heaven

Dear Pier 9, You are a place like no other, and I’m so glad you came into my life.  I was a full time Artist in Residence at the Pier for 4 months, and I doubt I have ever been so simultaneously intellectually stimulated, inspired and intimidated at any other point.  When I came to the Pier I had been living in New York for 8 years, and I had just decided to make a permanent migration back to my homeland on the West Coast.  I’d heard rumors about the rampant culture of innovation in the Bay Area, but I was still totally unprepared for the explosion of creative energy and excitement that is the nerdy artist heaven called Pier 9. Maybe I’m just getting older and less jaded… but in the last few years, I have felt a change in the world, a shift in attitude from angst to optimism, from critique to creation, and I think places like the Pier exemplify this new positive force.  The fact that a multinational corporation like Autodesk has allocated a significant amount of resources to giving the imaginations of a bunch of madcap inventors, artists, engineers and other creatives free reign in a beautiful lab with a bunch of cutting edge machines… well, to me that says good things about the direction of the world.  But what really makes the Pier special, I think, is the fact that all the creativity taking place there is fundamentally motivated by the philosophy of Instructables; by the idea that knowledge should be shared.  I have never encountered a group of people so willing to share their ideas and skills, and so excited to help make other people’s dreams a reality.  And the feeling was really infectious!  Everyone was so ridiculously helpful, that on the rare occasion I had the opportunity to teach someone else a skill, it felt like a treat. That’s not to say that my experience at the Pier was all sunshine and roses.  It was exhausting and draining, and very ego challenging.  When I first arrived I was incredibly overwhelmed by all the new information I was intaking.  I had projects in mind, but those ideas were quickly swept away in the tide of new ideas that arose with every fascinating technology, and possibility I encountered.  Having nearly unlimited options can be paralyzing, and I fell pray to this paralysis many times at the Pier.  One of the pitfalls of having so many amazing minds in one place is that someone always has a new idea that will either revolutionize the project you are working on, or cause you to completely change direction and start working on something new.  That can be great, but if you aren’t careful it can cause acute artistic ADD. I think most creative journeys have a similar arc.  When you are learning new skills, it can take a while for the quality of the work you are producing to catch up with your creative vision.  I definitely felt that way at the Pier.  During my time there, my work ended up going on a journey from two dimensions to three dimensions.  I started out by experimenting with laser cutting.  I am a costume designer, and was interested in creating a wearable mechanical flower that would illuminate and open and close in response to its environment.  My first attempts to create this form felt very flat and lifeless to me, so I stepped away from the flower project and focused on figuring out how to create something much more three dimensional with the two dimensional process of laser cutting.  The result was a costume constructed from laser cut leather and el wire.  After that I decided I was ready to tackle 3D modeling and 3D printing, so I went back to my flower idea, and spent the rest of my time at the Pier testing and developing this form.  It was a really new and interesting process, 3D modeling and prototyping with the amazing Objet printers.  It also gave me the chance to work closely with two other awesome Artists in Residence, Paolo Salvagione and JoeJoe Martin.  It really underlined for me that the most important resource at the Pier is the people.  No matter how many incredible machines you have under one roof, they are only as good as the minds running them.  Noah Weinstein and the other amazing innovators who run the Pier have done such an incredible job of gathering together a diverse, brilliant, exciting, and truly kind-hearted group of people… the place practically buzzes with welcoming creative energy as soon as you walk through the door.  Also, putting relatively self-actualized creators in an environment where there are so many options and resources results in some incredibly interesting glimpses into individual human passion and curiosity.  I might not have fully understood why some of my fellow AiRs were so fascinated by stacking tetrahedrons, drawing graphically detailed pictures of intestinal parasites, or creating physical bodies for virtual bots, but witnessing each artist’s commitment to their singular pursuit was in itself a fascinating and beautiful experience. So much of our lives are spent trying to make practical things happen, it’s an rare opportunity to get to spend a dedicated amount of time just exploring the potential of creative ideas.  I really think that is what Pier 9 is about, providing a place that nurtures our human desire to create, explore and learn… with a kick ass set of resources to facilitate that exploration.  Honestly, during my time there I wish I had been able to let go and enjoy that process more.  It’s not always easy to escape the concepts of deadlines and expectations, but sometimes freeing yourself from those constraints is the only way to create anything truly new.  I very much believe that what is growing at Pier 9 is a new and exciting kind of creative ecosystem, and I hope it will inspire the creation of many more similar environments.  I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten a chance to be an explorer on the frontiers of Maker Land.  Thank you so much Noah and Vanessa.

Posted by MikaelaHolmes 4 years ago


Damaged disc(s) in the lower back - what to do and what not ;)

I got diagnosed with a damaged L5 and L6 disc in my lower back about 8 years ago and I thought writing about my experience might helps others facing the same problems. Keeping your back straight when lifting or moving heavy things was a thing I already learned and followed during my school times and as you might have guessed it helped to keep my back healthy - at the expense of my knees... But the knees are a different story, today I want to help you understand lower back problems caused by damaged or bulging discs and how this will affect your life. For me it began with a little shock. One day I got out of bed, wanted to grab something I dropped and got stuck half way up. Knowing that there are some nerves that can cause the same issue and that a simple injection will fix me I called a cab to be dragged laying down on the back seat to my GP. As you might have guessed his diagnosis was a bit worse than what I wanted to hear... Many painful hours and some scans later it was confirmed that my L5 and L6 disk have collapsed on one side and started to push on the nerves next to it. Funny side not that I never really checked was that my doc said not everyone has a L6 disk... Anyways, as with most first "accidents" involving your lower back the so called recovery was long and painful. Sure the painkillers help to numb the worst, the anti inflammatory stuff covers some pain too but actually I did not want the full pain free package deal. Pain is the bodies way to let you know something is wrong, so I kept the pain medication at a level where I got that information when making a wrong move... The first 6 months I was literally confined to my bed, the shower and the toilet. I tried to keep a position with the least amount of pain for as long as possible and for obvious reasons was not too happy that my body not only required food intake but also the disposal of the waste products - getting out of bed and onto the toilet meant experiencing huge amounts of pain every time. But after those 6 months I started to adjust, to the pain as well as what my limited body was now capable of in terms of movement. Needless to say that all this time of not doing anything really meant my scale started to scream tripple digets at me one day... Luckily around the same time my pain levels went to a level that allowed my to walk around 500-600 at slightly slower speeds than normal before the pain got too much. My doctor also got quite concerned about my blood work and body weight recommending to loose a lot if I every intent to get back to a more normal life. So I started to walk several times a day, no matter how bad the weather was, just a bit up and down the street. The distance got longer, the fitness a bit better and the pain levels a bit lower too. Using my old weight lifting belt to keep the back supported helped me a lot during these times, especially when driving or doing housework. During those times I was still on 6-8 panedine forte tablets (paracetamol and codein) plus 2-4 tablets of 20mg oxicontin and not happy about the last anyway. Despite the added levels of pain I started to reduce the level of oxicontin and started to exercise more. My focus was getting the core muscles stronger and to get better support for my back. Also started riding my bike again, although I had to replace it for a bigger model to allow me a more upright position with less stress on the lower back. The kilos started to tumble very slowly but I was already quite proud when I got bak to 90kg. :( Good thing was that I got motivation to continue as every kg I lost and every little bit more on distance I got out of my walks and rides without getting too painful also meant that my average pain level went down too. Two years after it all happened I got rid of the oxicontin completely and reached the 80kg mark. My doc was happy too, my blood work looking good but of course he still suggested to loose a few more kg. Being able to move around again also meant being able to work again and with that came more food, less exercise and a lot more stress. I did manage to hold my 80kg but after about 6 months or working I noticed my back problems started to limit me again. My back belt covered for me and I was able to keep going a while longer but in the end I got hit by another attack on my back. The diagnosis was not good at all as now on top of the pain goind through the back and leg I also hab numbness and a feeling like ants crawl over the leg and chew on it every few mm. As with most lower back "revenges" this one only needed strong pain killers for a few weeks until I was back to something more normal in terms of pain and movability. Sadly the ongoing side effects did not go away the way they did the first time. This meant especiall finding the right position to sleep with the least amount of pain was becoming a nightmare on it's own. Either you got pins and needles keeping you awake, you lost your feeling in the leg to the point where it becomes useless or the pain in the back is just stabbing you all the time. Starting some projects here on Instructables kept my mind busy and gave me some welcome distraction from the daily routine. Eventually I manged to find a job again that allowed me to have enough different movements with only a bit of lifting so things started get back to normal. My doc put me on some amitriptyline to help with the pain at night and although it took some time to get used to the stuff it really started to help after about two weeks. The job was only for a fixed term but it gave me back some confidence that not all is bad or lost. Life went on and I actually manged to get down to just 75kg and only used some painkillers once or twice a week if it was really bad. Then, a few weeks back I started to notice that the top of my foot and the outside of my leg felt different to touch, especially in the shower with some brush or rough sponge. Not being happy already I agreed to some new scans to check if the discs started to cause problems or if the nerves are just inflamed. You might have guessed already, the scan confirmed that my two discs desintegrated further putting more pressure on the already suffering nerves. With the "help" of some quite strong anti inflammatory stuff, cortisone and other meds my doc managed to get me back to "normal" but he also informed me that this won't last forever. The current outcome (without surgery but more on that later on) I have two choices to keep going: a ) I continue with pain killers and other meds to keep the problems at bay. b ) I limit myself to basically not doing anything involving the movemnt of my lower back, keep to a strict calory intake and hope for the best. The first option won't do me any good in the long run except liver, kidney and digestive problems. The second option will allow me some sort of a normal life at the expense of never finding a job to support me again. So once again we soldier on knowing that it will only make things worse as giving up and relying on social services is no option for me. Hoping that you might just had your first encounter with lower back injuries and pain I will give some advise on the things that helped my most so that you might not have to suffer as much I did and still do. So read on please... Diagnosed with a damaged or bulged disc in the lower back - what does it acutally mean? If you check all the available images of the human skelleton you will quickly notice one thing: Our lower back is not really straight and not designed to carry a lot weight when it is put on the wrong way or direction. Noone with a sane mind would use a support beam shaped like that but the human body adapted to this problem caused by changing from using all four limbs to walking on just two legs. The muscles and tendons in our back work in such a way that they support the fragile construction of discs and bones that keep us upright. Sadly modern life, personal decisions and only too often a busy work shedule prevent us from using our body the wa we should. Be it too much lifting, being far too short for your weight or simply laziness the factors causing our muscle to degrade are too many to count. But once you are in the worst pain you ever felt and your doc tells you that there are damaged discs you suddenly wish you had it all done differently years ago - trust me, I have been there and I have done it ;) Or it might be like in my case that a healthy and fit person just cracks one or more discs for no obvious reason. Either way it means you have to change your life to be able to keep going. Pain killers help to ignore the problem and pretend all is good but they should be used with great care as most are highly addictive and the long term side effects are no fun either. The one thing you must never forget is although being a life sentence it must not mean you will be crippled forever! What can I do once it happened to help the pain and my sanity? Nerve pain is one of the worst pains there is and there are only two more or less working medications to deal with it. The first meds are opiates to literally numb the pain but due to source of the pain very high levels are required until the body adapted to deal with the wrong pain information. The second group of meds that offer help and that are often used together with pain killers are old sty anti depressants like the try-cyclic (was that right?) amitriptyline. Back in the days they were not really good for the advertised job but one of the common side effects was how they worked on the pain centers of the brain. In much lower dosages as used to treat depressions these meds help the brain to deal with the pain caused by the damaged or pinched nerves. As a long term solution they should be prefered over opiates so that the strong pain killers are only taken when really needed. If you are anything like me than not getting enough sleep over weeks on end will take a toll on your mood. So being able to sleep at least a few hours in one go is a real thing to aim for unless you prefer to harm your body with pain killers. What is there to help with the pain so you can sleep? I know that you now already think you tried it all and that nothing good comes out of here but keep reading as you might be surprised... The first thing that jumps into mind when it comes to sleeping is a bed - be it you by yourself or with a partner. And here also is the first point to improve! In many countries a bed for two persons has one bad feature: A single mattress! Any movement from the person next to you is transfered more or less onto your body - you don't want that! So if you own a big bid that you share with someone think about investing into a bed with seperated matresses and support frames. That brings us to the mattress itself. A lot of people think being soft and flexible is a prefered thing, not so much if you have back problems. You want enough support to keep the back straight without everything feeling like you sleep on wooden floorboards. Keep in mind though that when changing from soft matress to something much firmer you will need to adjust. Really the best option is to seek professional advise in a bedding studio or similar. And no, you don't have to go to the most expensive place to buy a mattress, you just try them out, get expert advise and use that new knowledge to find a suitable mattress to fit the budget. With no offence meant: If you are over the normal weight you really want to loose the excess and that means selecting a new matrress on your weight goal and not on your current weight! It is also good to have adjustable supports under the mattress itself, this way you choose a thinner and bit softer mattress but still get the firmness your back requires - again seeking proffessional advise on the right combinations is highly recommended here! Ok, your bed is sorted but still there is that nagging pain in certain positions or the tingling in your leg preventing you to go to sleep. Believe it or not but what you do before you go to bed affects how you feel when you hit the sack. So sitting like a bag full of water in front of your TV until just manage to crawl into bed won't do you any good. Same for having your dinner and hour or two before bedtime... What does help is to move your body and to burn a few kalories! If it helps you use a weight lifting belt but just a walk around the block with a little bit of bending and flexing will get the tension out of muscles. A nice partner giving you a proper massage might help too but I doubt you will get one every night ;) And before you start to complain: Yes, I know there are times where simply can't do any exersise as you will be happy to make it to the toilet or to make some dinner. For those times and especially during times of experiencing higher than normal pain level ther is something you can do to ease the pain. Some doctors will tell you but a lot of them wont: Cold actually helps to numb the pain and the symptoms like tingling, pins and needles or the constant stabbing when you made a slightly wrong move. But you need to apply the cold in the right way to get the benefit! The key here is timing. Using real ice in a suitable wrapper, so no vegetables or meat, you apply the cold where the damage is - not where the pain is! You want to cool down the area around the damaged discs for about 5 to max 10 minutes. Put the icepack back and repeat every hour! Nothing will happen after the first two or three round but then you will notice improvement - how much depends on the individual and extend of the damage of course. When I have bad days I usually start around mid-day and keep going every hour until either the pain is gone or it is time to drag myself to bed. The worst you can do is o apply heat! A warm (not hot!) bath can help to ease some muscular tension but hot packs or heat lamps will make your pain get worse quickly. Just imagine and inflammation somehwere else, the area is already hot and painful so you really don't want to add more heat, do you? ;) What can be done to keep mobile and improve? As said earlier the key is support for the damaged areas and of course a limitation in movements that put additional stress on the damaged dics - this includes weight, be it from your own body in terms of excess fat or simply be lifting things! You will have times of no pain and where you think you are 20 years younger again but never use that as an excuse to think your discs have improved! Once damaged they stay damaged and everything putting more stress on you dsic(s) will make things worse. A friend of mine loves to play golf - if you have back problems you want to find a different hobby! Coming from three digits I can tell you without being offensive in any way that being fat means having problems that you don't want to add to your list caused by a bad back! So like it or not you really need to loose all the excess you can find wobbling around your body! For me every single kg I lost was a step forward to being more fit and being able to more things for longer before my pain got too much. And no, there is no excuse for keeping those kilos if are able to leave the bed for more than a few hours. Turst me, you will feel better, need far less medication and like yourself much better once the benfits of less weight kick in! Exercise is the key to getting your life back to a more or less normal level! If you are a "first offender" than you have a good chance that a change of habbit and maybe job will make sure it stays a single incident and that you can have a pain free life after the initial recovery! Getting a higher core strenght and overall fitness level helps your body to heal but most importantly gives you the option to gain muscles where needed to support your back. You might think there is nothing you can do if you are in pain and can't really move anyway but if you do then you are wrong. I am not a personal trainer but I found a lot of ways to use my muscles without using my back for it... There is enough info on the web for exercise methods without any training gear and if you think "really hard" you might notice you can use a lot of positions to exercise your arms and legs without stressing you back ;) And even for the back you can do good without damage: If you lay flat on your belly you just slightly lift your arms and legs off the ground - this will need the support of the muscles in lower back! No need to actuall lift anything high, just enough to only slightly bend your back up - you might not even notice any bending at all. What you don't want is exercise like running, jogging or even contact sports, really nothing that might force your back to move more than what is possible without stressing your discs... Better fitness and more strenght means you will get better flexibility and movablity but never let that fool you into thinking the damage is gone! I can not stress enough than even if you don't need medication and feel fine a single wrong move can make all null and void! What are the options if despite loosing weight and excercise my pain is not going away or syptoms get worse? Well, we can ignore it, we can hope it all goes away but the sad reality for most is that sooner or later you reach the point where the damage is too much too handle. The first one to tell you that your lower back is now due for a pit stop is your foot. The pain might be more than what you ever experienced the pins and needles might drive you mad but as long as it just that you are fine, really :( For me it was during some light gradening when I got my "first hit" so to say. I brushed it off thinking I tripped over something that got kicked away while I struggled to keep my balance. A few days later I noticed that I had to put some extra efford to prevent my toes from scraping the floor while walking. It was there when I also realised that most of the feeling on top of my foot was gone. Same story for the outside of my calf by the way... For me, thanks to a non working medical system and no private health cover the story ends here... Since you might have more luck: Modern medicine has gone a long way when it comes to minimal invasive operations and they are the key to performing operations that otherwise would be impossible or require months of recovery. For the "treatment" of damaged discs in the lowest part of the spinal area the old conventional treatment was to fuse the bones together using some steel or titanium rods. To give the patient relief the dmaged disc was more or less mutilated to free the damaged nerve(s). Several weeks of bed rest and great loss in movement was the price to pay for less pain. Today we are much further and can use micro instruments to perform operations deemed impossible only a few years ago. One of the operations with the greatest and fastest recovery rates is actually quite smart if you think about it: A small portion of bone is removed to give more room for the nerve and to aid in the healing - without fusing the bones! The next step is remove the part of the disc that is bulging out - without removing the strong support layers around it, only the mashed up bits are taken away. The patient is literally pain free ( from the back pain) right after the operation. Healing takes about 2-3 weeks but by then even the pain from the cut bones will be gone. Some health insurers see these operations as a means to get a person back to work and into a normal life, so they support it. Others use simple math and decide pain killers are cheaper... In any case you should seek professional advice from your doc and health care provider before it is too late! Diagnosed and operated early can mean you get the option to have an almost normal life again, or at least a few years of being able to enjoy life much more than before the operation. There are of course risks involved and an opration might not be an option for every case but knowing your options and what form of treatment might be available for you can be reall life changing... Ok, but what's the worst that can happen to me if a simple operation is no longer an option? One of the first things you will notice after loosing control and feeling for your foot is a more or less contant need to go the toilet. Despite having an empty bladder or just using the toilet minutes ago you can develop the feeling that you really must go the toilet again. Sadly this is only the beginning... If things get worse you can loose control over your bladder and bowel. Simply put it means you no longer control the muscular tension required to keep you vital openings closed when required. Usually at this point your doctor will recommend to operate one way or the other. For you, if affected, this means you have to decide between the risk of an operation that might only last for a few months or years or wearing adult nappies... If you already had one or more operation or the damage to the disc(s) is too severe it can mean that there is no other option but to fuse the bones into place to prevent further damage and allow for some healing. But trust me, for your doc to even consider an operation you need to loose all the weight you can! What are my limitations after having my back bones fused together? Well, as it reads you will be fused together, meaning you level of movement will be severly limited. It also means you beep all the time at the airport security or when entering a court or other place with metal detectors - but that is the least of the worries I guess... The main problem after such operations is getting back to a life as normal as possible. You get a lot of help in rehab and will learn what you can and can't do, plus of course how to keep you fit despite these limits. Some people cope really good with the new limitations but others struggle a lot. This especially true if before the person was really active and doing a lot in terms of sport and outdoor activities. Learning to adapt to the changes allows you have many more years without too much pain or limitations. Sure, Golf is out of the question, playing soccer or riding a normal bike too but life goes on and being a part of it is always better than just looking at it through your bedroom window ;) In any case giving up should not be an option for you! No matter how bad it looks when the pain is too much, there are always more good days than bad days ahead of you! Go ahead, share your experience with back pain, what you do keep going and handle the pain. Share you information about what treatments helped you the most and share how you recovered to where you are now. Be an inspiration for those facing what we already went through! Real back pain based on nerve damage will only be understood by someone who experienced it - what did you do to make the people around you understand it? Whatever helped you might help someone wha just started to learn how to deal with damaged discs and back pain, so sharing is caring! ;)

Posted by Downunder35m 2 years ago