Tuesday, 29 September 2009


Got the boiler stuck down with impressively adhesive double sided flooring tape, is now just about mirror perfect and doesn't seem to bubble.
The new boiler is literally twice as good as the prototype (which I was fairly happy with anyway) and gets the ethanol boiling from warm in under three minutes.

The wheel is still leaking, despite my unloading half a reel of teflon tape on the damn thing. I think the vaseline grease gasket approach just isn't going to work, so I'm back to the drawing board on that one.
Membrane, I think.

Update on the update: have developed a new form of sealed eccentric rotational couple. I'll see if it actually works when this wind dies down and I can make it to Christiania without being blown into the Teglværkshavnen.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

This is the turbine / wheel thing which comprises the majority of the tracking system, and is getting close to being finished. It's made from a paint tin, aluminium cans, the bearing out of an old bike wheel and, I shit you not, a kitchen sponge.

Ten minutes after I filmed this however the back started leaking, either the thread on the shaft or the slight water pressure or both seems enough to agitate the petroleum jelly fluid gasket I've packed the shaft housing with. I'm going to take to it with a roll of Teflon tape (and if necessary something heavy and blunt) until it stops.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Finished the new version of the boiler unit for the tracker.
The mylar's a bit bumpier than I'd like, it's currently stuck with double sided tape but I'll try to source some spray on adhesive. You get the idea tho.
It actually holds together really well, the form is surprisingly solid for just four bits of card.

The boiler:
Just a bit of copper pipe squashed flat, painted black and sheathed in clear plastic. I've used metal epoxy to seal the ends as it's about the only stuff that will resist heat and ethanol.

Now I'm just waiting for some sun to test it. It should give about twice the concentration of the prototype, and that got eths boiling in under 20 minutes from cold.

More updates as things are finished.

Friday, 25 September 2009

The Illutron barge. My cabin's the one next to the rusty sconce which swings back and forth in the wind throwing disorienting shadows on the wall.

World's largest amateur built submarine, 15 meters long. The guys who made it are now trying to get into space.

Here's the damn thing breaching:
Awesome, no?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Sometimes I watch films in settings which are very appropriate and inappropriate at the same time.

I saw Hedwig and the Angy Inch projected on the inner wall of large dome in a Canadian river valley with a bunch of elegantly wasted and sexually ambiguous Vancouver burners who later at Burning Man forever ruined the colour orange for me.

I saw Being John Malcovitch, but halfway through the projector broke, or something, and we had to leave the cinema through a narrow plywood portal hidden in the back wall.

Two days after seeing the Blair Witch Project I went camping. Alone. In the middle of nowhere. Without a torch. (Tho randomly, did have a video camera, so had to use the night vision mode to find my way in the dark...)

And last night I watched Das Boot in the hold of a Danish barge with the world's largest amateur built submarine moored off the port side. Sometimes the only way I could tell which side of the screen I was on is that ours had a fully stocked bar.
And less drownings.

So far the only thing I've had to get used to about living on a ship is not knowing whether the ground is actually intermittently swaying, or if I'm having some kind of episode. Look out the window. Is everything else moving? Good, not just me then.

It's mad, after the social mania of Edinburgh, the relative quiet here. People are really nice and there's chats, but a lot of the time (now, for instance) I'm just on my own, chilling in my cell. As in the monastic, not the penitentiary.

And monastic is definitely the word for things as they are in this period. I sleep, I meditate on ways I can enable this bastard contraption to turn around when the sun shines on it; and I work, tending my little sunflower patch of one.
Well, half, currently, but I'm working on that.
Helping it to grow.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Click and drag ^^

View from the top of the barge at night. You can just see the submarine off the port side.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Click and drag ^^

The workshop in the hold of the barge.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

My father's right; tear gas is nasty.
I'm not sure where he discovered that, Rhodesia perhaps, but I got my first taste of the stuff today at Christiania when the riot police invaded.

Apparently it happens all the time. At first I thought it was a football match, what with the cheering and shouting, then I thought it was a fight and stuck my head out the workshop door, straight into a line of armored police making an ill-conceived dash for Pusher Street.
Well, not 'straight into' as such, they were about twenty meters away receiving a barrage of rocks and bottles, but it was close enough to scare the bejeezus out of me.

They fell back, letting off a round of the gas as a literal parting shot, and I went out to see what the hell was going on. I've only been at Christiania a week now, came here figuring there might've been some workshop space available, and this was all a bit unexpected. I mean, go to a climate camp and you expect this kind of thing, but this is a village. People live here.

That's when I got a face full of gas. It's not like rubbing your eyes after cutting chillies, somehow it's worse. It makes your body want to run away.
The canister was still pissing white stuff about thirty meters upwind and generally being a bit of a public health hazard. I darted back to the workshop, grabbed a respirator and some eye protection (great things, workshops) and wetted a towel with the plan of smothering the bastard. But by the time I got back someone had already taken care of the situation. Things were already swiftly returning to normal.

I asked a dodgy looking guy next to me with either a tiny pipe bomb or a very large firecracker tucked ignominiously up one sleeve what it was all about. He said it happens all the time, and was of the strong opinion that it shouldn't. By coincidence he turned out to be the same guy who had earlier told me I wasn't allowed to sit where I'd been on the main road, Pusher Street, eating a falafel and, coincidentally again, just at that moment thinking how nice it was to be able to sit and eat a falafel without somebody moving you on.
I'd asked him why, he said 'Because'. I went. You don't mess with the drug dealers in Christiania. It's easy to avoid them, but they're dangerous people.

Within ten minutes it was like nothing had happened, and I went back to work.