I recently picked up a Seek Thermal camera which plugs into my cell phone and allows…

I recently picked up a Seek Thermal camera which plugs into my cell phone and allows me to see temperatures of stuff. It's a cheap unit, so it doesn't have the built in calibration tables that the expensive 'real' test equipment has. But it's good enough for most people's needs in a non-technical use.

I am reading all up on emissivity, and the science of how it works. Because this influences my usage of my laser cutter, and blacksmithing and even cooking and anything that relies on heat.

So I decided I am going to make a Mobile Science set. Mobile is dual usage, one, it's portable, two it's centered around my mobile phone.

My phone has a lot of sensors and capabilities already.

The Seek Thermal camera gives the phone another super power.

I also want to add a Consumer Physics SCiO https://www.consumerphysics.com/myscio/ which is a molecular identifier. I've wanted this thing since they ran it on kickstarter several years ago. I have actually seen it work in person and absolutely love what it can do. I think it will turn out to be a disruptive technology. This item will be the primary tool in my Mobile Science lab once I get one.

To compliment these two IR different sensors, I want an assortment of basic hand tools that will facilitate in preparing materials for the phone accessories.

I will be working with botany and geology. Also a bit of chemistry.

Optics is a pretty natural option too, given the camera on the phone. I will be making some bead lens microscope adapters for the cell phone camera. A spectrograph as well.

I also found a phone accessory weather sensor that I will be picking up.

I made up a cardboard tray on my laser cutter to organize the few bits I have gathered already. These are fitting in a waterproof cell phone case. I am looking for a waterproof tablet case.

My goal is to have a solid Science Lab the size of a Science textbook. I will likely carry this set about anywhere I go.

I am crazy excited about this idea.

In album 2/22/17

A couple of years ago, I assembled a steampunk styled belt http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/11/i-have-had-a-belt-for-over-10-years.html…

A couple of years ago, I assembled a steampunk styled belt http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/11/i-have-had-a-belt-for-over-10-years.html and I have been using a blank belt buckle with it. Today, I made a custom steampunk/blacksmith styled belt buckle. A bit of leather work, a bit of computer work, and my 3d printer. So much fun!

In album Raised Leather Belt Buckle

It only took a minute to print, but a long time to design and layout. It’s my Initials MJC arranged so the shapes look like “Me”.

I scaled the file, but forgot it was radius and not diameter, so the first print came out too big. A bit of scaling in Slic3r fixed that quickly enough.

Glued up the belt with contact cement.

A few minutes ‘clamped’ curved the printed emblem.

I think the emblem under the leather works.

I cut a bunch of darts into the leather so I can fold the leather over.

I love binder clips. They are great for clamping stuff.

The finished buckle, waiting for the contact cement to finish drying or whatever it does.

I like the raised effect on the leather.

The finished belt buckle. It’s a ‘kids’ buckle and not a full size one. I am not big on huge buckles. So it pinches the belt a bit. Steampunk styled belt, with a custom belt buckle to suite.

My personalized belt buckle.

Today I learned how to start a fire by rubbing sticks together

I had a small hatchet, a small knife, and a bit of string. I spent 6 hours or so preparing for about 6 minutes to get a fire started I let burn for about 3 minutes.

Fire by friction is hard. Building a bow drill set is fussy, exacting work with a hatchet. My aim is much better than it used to be thanks to my blacksmithing practice. The knife I had with me is much to small for this type of work.

I got a fire lit! There should be a video posted soon by the guy who was teaching me today.

In album Bow Drill Fire

Fire is so pretty.

You really learn to appreciate fire when you make it by rubbing sticks together.

You really appreciate a lighter after spending 6 hours to make a fire.

This is the fire set. It’s designed to have the tinder bundle placed down inside at the bottom, and the whole thing goes WHOOSH when you get the fire going. This is a bit spindly, but it worked great!

My hand-crafted bow drill set. I did most of the work with a small hatchet.

On our way out, after dark, I saw something glowing on the ground. When the camera flash went off for this photo, we saw it was some rotten wood. Luminescent Fungus! Stuff you read about in books, it actually exists!

This is my setup to build a fire with a bow drill. The parts are on the left side, the fire set is in the middle, and taking a shoe off helps tremendously!

This is the tinder bundle. It holds the coal and produces the flame. It’s dried bark bits, grass, and some cattail fluff.

This isn’t me. He is showing me how to seat the parts. There is a lot of doing this.

Rocket Mass Forge

I think I came up with a novel idea, the rocket mass forge. It is a combination of a side blast, side draft forge and a rocket mass heater. I can do my smithing and heat the garage at the same time!

I built a side blast forge – one who puts air in from the side instead of from underneath in the hopes that it will direct the smoke towards the hood. This is the older style, it’s simpler, and works better for charcoal.

It’s a side draft forge, meaning that the chimney sits beside the forge fire and not over it. It draws the smoke in sideways.

It’s going to be a rocket mass heater, with the insulated inner burn chamber, the outer barrel chamber, and the horizontal ‘chimney’ that dumps heat into the room.

Rocket Mass Forge Concept Drawing
Rocket Mass Forge Concept Drawing

So far, I have… ~ $20 invested in the forge, discounting gasoline used to pick free stuff up. The block is retaining wall block and the fire brick is recycled red clay brick. Most of the ductwork was free, but I bought a few pieces of it. My dad gave me the blower, it was brand new – about 25 years ago. The barrels will be free. Oh, I did buy the perlite.

2 weekends ago I visited a local blacksmith for a few hours, and that really got a fire under my butt. When I got home, I built the base of the forge. I used probably 2/3rds of roughly 160 retaining wall blocks that will be used for a pond next year.

One of two trailer loads of free retraining wall blocks found on freecycle
One of two trailer loads of free retraining wall blocks found on freecycle

They are stacked in a circle with room for a 6 inch stove pipe to do down the back and out the bottom. It is infilled with a mix of block and brick to support the brick top. The brick top is layered in 2 different patterns and 90 degrees offset so I don’t have any seams that overlap. Less likely for hot coals to fall through down to the floor this way.

Start of base of forge
Start of base of forge
Finished forge bed
Finished forge bed
I will be staring at this for hours, just as well make it look nice, right?
I will be staring at this for hours, just as well make it look nice, right?
Initial brick burn chamber on top of the forge bed
Initial brick burn chamber on top of the forge bed

The brick burn chamber did not work at all. Too ‘open’, the smoke poured right out of it. It felt good to get a fire lit there though. The next thing I did was hook up my old pocket rocket to vent out the new rocket mass heater chimney system. This worked a little better. I was able to get it to burn in the right direction.

So I grabbed an old 5 gallon metal bucket of killz paint that had dried up – or so I thought, under about 2 inches of crust was white goo,  not quite paint – that was in the weeds in the back yard when I bought the house. I cleaned that out, burned out the goo, it burned OK once lit with a torch.

The First Iteration of the Rocket Mass Forge
The First Iteration of the Rocket Mass Forge


I made a hat hook on the first fireing of the Rocket Mass Forge
I made a hat hook on the first fireing of the Rocket Mass Forge

The forge didn’t really get hot enough for me, and the rocket mass heater didn’t want to draft for crap.

I need a 55 gallon drum so I have room inside to make a proper insulated heat riser. This should help it draft better. I need a different hose for the forge blower, as what I am using now whistles something obnoxious. I need to make a cold air intake for the forge blower and a mixing box so I can pull some smokey air as well if needed. I need to make a heat exchanger to pull more heat from the system before it leaves the building. I need to make the thermal mass yet too.

Lots of things to do for the next iteration. The important thing is that I got it working, if poorly..

Twitter Updates for 2011-09-11