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Archive for June, 2009

I helped design this brochure for Rockway Mennonite Collegiate to explain our ZEV project and help in our fund raising efforts.

The project is well on its way, and this year’s students were pleased with their progress. The September group will also be doing some fund raising in order to complete the project.

ZEV front

ZEV back

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Before school is out for the summer, the students who were working on the S10 truck conversion finished installing the complete drive train. We hooked up the motor to a battery charger, as per test instructions that came with the motor, and ran a test with the clutch depressed. Success: the motor rotated!

Then the transmission was placed in 1st and the clutch released. There was an increased draw of electricity, but nothing turned. A quick check revealed that the parking brakes were on. When they were  released, the back wheels turned. Here is a very condensed video of the process so far:

A quote from Josh, one of the four guys working on the electric conversion, says it all:

If we grade twelves can do it, anyone can.

There’s a challenge for you!

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In my teaching of technology education and industrial arts at the grade 7 and 8 level I found that kids gravitated to the scroll saw. I had a nice DeWalt scroll saw in my school shop.

At home, I have a small, inexpensive Ryobi scroll saw that I bought for my wife to use in her art studio. She has since moved on to other things and now it sits in my garage workshop. While I was looking for things to do with my grandchildren, aged 7 and 4, I thought I would bring it out and teach them how to use it.

My granddaughter took to it like fish takes to water.  She made a puzzle out of a square piece of 1/4″ plywood. When I asked her to tell me her favorite thing about the saw, she said she liked to make turns with it. She was so busy making turns that it was hard for her brother to have one.

When my grandson finally negotiated a chance at the saw, he loved it too. He kept cutting 1/4″ plywood into smaller and smaller pieces. He then used these pieces to build a bed for his sister’s doll.

I like the fact that the scroll saw is relatively safe for a child to use~with knowledgeable adult supervision. It is quiet, so it doesn’t frighten children and it has variable speeds so they can slow it right down. I impressed upon them the fact that their fingers had to be kept away from the blade, safety glasses had to be worn and that they could not turn the machine on for each other. This was a big challenge since they both wanted to help the other speed through a cut so they could have their next turn. They soon realized that the saw would be put away if they didn’t adhere to these rules.

I was amazed to see my granddaughter figure out that an extra piece of wood could be used as a push stick if the piece she was cutting was too small and her fingers were getting too close to the blade. She is a natural. You can see the determination on her face.

Sebastian turns on the scroll saw.

Sebastian turns on the scroll saw.

Sebastian has lots of determination.

Sebastian has lots of determination.

Madeleine loves they way she "can make turns in her cuts".

Madeleine loves they way she "can make turns in her cuts."

Madeleine definately takes over while the ever (almost) patient little brother waits his turn.

Madeleine definitely takes over while the ever (almost) patient little brother waits his turn.

The projects were taken home and gifted to others before I thought of taking a picture of them. Fortunately, there is always next time.

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Well I miss a day on the S10 conversion and all the fun happens. They were supposed to do body work. Well, only one person can weld and so the others connected the motor to the transmission. The tape is there to keep things from falling into the motor and the transmission. With so many other students using the shop, one can’t be too careful. Actually I would advise this for anyone. Hopefully we can get far enough with the body work next week that we can drop the motor into the truck. We are all pumped.

Motor attached to transmission

Motor attached to transmission

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I was looking for information on silicone molds for my rhubarb leaf concrete stepping stones when I came across an inventive individual who made a mixer to mix small amounts of concrete with part of a coil spring from a car.

I did not have a coil spring on hand but had some 7/16 inch hot rolled steel rod left over from helping a friend build a djembe drum stand. I just bent a 90 and then heated the rod and eyeballed a coil at the end. It works great in my 1/2″ drill, but I coiled it backwards so the drill has to be run in reverse. This just seems wrong to me.

cement mixing tool

cement mixing tool

concrete mixer ready to mix cement and pigment

cement mixer ready to mix cement and pigment

If enough people are interested in this tool I could give more detailed instructions or  manufacture some for sale. Leave me a comment.

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I was going to sell my 1981  Sears 10″ radial arm saw and checked online to see what I should charge for it. I noticed there was a recall on the saw guard. I called and was assured that my saw qualified. 

Last night I arrived home to find a large package leaning against my mailbox. It was the new guard and table.

the old guard

the old guard

new guard and table

new guard and table

A big improvement. Very nice guard and no more chewed up table. Thanks, Sears.

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In March I began to work with students and the tech teacher at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate to convert an S10 truck into an electric vehicle.

We also worked at getting this project funded. This is ongoing.

We are well on the way. After purchasing a 97  S10 we began to remove all the parts we will not need.  We have the truck stripped and are doing some body work. We are almost at the point where we will install the new motor and transmission. Friday the motor will be attached to the transmission and then next week we can install it.

Motor and clutch

Motor and clutch

In this picture you see the motor, motor mount, adapter plate, hub ( you can’t actually see it, but the flywheel is attached to it), flywheel and clutch assembly. It is all ready to attach to the transmission. I will post more about the installation of the electric components as we progress. The 4 students that are working on this project will not see the completion of the conversion. Students have already signed up to complete the project next semester. We hope to finish by Christmas, 2009.

Our conversion parts were purchased from Canadian Electric Vehicles Ltd.

Stay tuned for more on the conversion process.

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