So a friend of mine came in from Florida to pick up and drive a large-scale computer system back to his home and we had to pick it up in Chicago - specifically Lower Wacker Drive. That was actually fun except for having to wait on the dock because we aren’t union people.
My back is a little sore today as a result but no biggie. It was fun seeing my friend again and the system we picked up was just plain cool. (A Sun E10k system - 1800lbs fully loaded.)
I’d like to do a long travel trip some day. Take a month or two and see my friends all around the country and the world. It would be fun but cost an awful lot of money and would take our daughter out of school for quite some time because I’m not so cruel as to leave her with my in-laws for that long. She’d be confused and upset and I try and minimize that when I can. Maybe when she’s able to communicate a little better.
Got rid of some more stuff from the garage since my friend was here - he picked up some of the stuff he left here as well as took a couple of small things off my hands. That gives me even more space to work with out there. It’s crappy out today and tomorrow so I think I’ll maybe box some of the stuff in the third bedroom so I can get it ready to move out there. (Yes, I know. I should have just left it boxed) I really want another camera out there before I put my nice shiny G5 iMac out there but that may not be a choice right now.
Oh damn. It’s raining today which means all the leaves in my lawn are going to be soggy and nasty. Blech. Well I can live with them getting snowed over and composting a little over the winter. The lawn is pretty fertile so it should withstand suck torture well enough. I need to talk to my wife because I’d really like to work on replacing the lawn with other plants that don’t require so much water and less care but that’s a big plan. (And no I“m not going to astroturf my lawn no matter what Ed Begly does.)
Speaking of green things I really like the fact that people are now getting flyers in the mail from a company selling solar grid-tie systems. The prices aren’t bad for the output ($29k for a 6kw system - 36 panels) but I still can’t afford to do that yet.
We’re doing okay financially but not spectacular. Between gas and other things we spent about $100 or so this weekend. Not good but not bad either.
I picked up some parts to build a replica of the small arc reactor from the Iron Man movie. Radio Shack had some flat-profile white LEDs that look like they’re bright enough and I picked up a bag of glue sticks to melt and hopefully cast around the windings and LEDs. Figured out a very sturdy and easy way to wire the thing too.
First take two pieces of 12ga copper wire and bend them into two rings - one smaller than the other - about the size you want the arc reactor to be.
Slide several small single rubber grommets onto each wire piece and place them where you want the ”coils“ to be. You should end up with four per ”coil“ area. The rubber grommets will keep the two large rings separated which will be important.
Put heat-shrink tubing around the grommets and shrink it using a heat source. (I often use a lighter but move quickly.)
Solder the two large rings closed at the end so that they are stable and solid but separate.
Next wind 22ga or so copper wire around the heat shrink tubing being careful not to touch the main rings.
Next take the flat-profile LEDs (or whatever LEDs you want to use) and solder one leg of them to the outer ring and the other to the inner ring. Make sure and be consistent so you don’t swap legs on any of them.
Now solder one wire to each ring and solder those wire to appropriate connectors on a battery holder.
Likely with the drop in voltage due to the number of LEDs you won’t need a resistor if the supply is 3V or less but you might want to test with a 1k ohm resistor in-line with the (+) side of the batteries.
The next part is a little tricky.
Get two cheap pots from the thrift store or wherever. Note - you don’t want to ever use these for food once we use them here. Anyway one needs to be medium and the other small.
Fill the medium one with water and put it on the stove to start heating. Put the second pot in the first and fill it with a bag of glue sticks. (Low-temp ones if possible.)
After a time these will melt completely. Keep the water in the pot topped off to keep them melted. Don’t let them burn or boil.
While they’re melting get a round tupperware container (has to be microwave safe at least) that is just a hair larger than the outside of the arc reactor. You’ll also need a can of mold release from the craft store. Spray the inside of the container with mold release and put the ring in there face down.
Now pour the melted glue sticks into the tupperware container so that they just barely covers the arc reactor. Turn off the stove, go do something else for about an hour or so, and when you come back you’ll have a completed Mark I arc reactor.