Sunday, July 17, 2011

Solar Oven Saturday

Technically it started on Friday evening, but most of the serious and meticulous building occurred on Saturday. We went to a thrift store and browsed around for stuff we could re-purpose as the box-base, reflectors, swing-stand, etc. This is what we came up with:

Base: filing cabinet drawer (filing cabinet also came in handy as a work bench - a really loud and tinny-sounding work bench, but functional none-the-less)

Reflectors: mirrors from medicine cabinet thingies (medicine cabinet particle board also doubled as odds and ends to use as support frame, handles, hinge bases...)

Swing stand: random heavy duty springs plus corner hinge bits from medicine cabinets plus some sort of stand (possibly for a printer) that we ripped apart

Cook pot: got a great ceramic pot that was the inside of a crock pot, the crock pot was a house fire waiting to happen, so it was easy to rip the ceramic inside out and remove the wires

Glass cover: gaudy picture frame - no matter how gaudy the picture and the frame was, it was a pretty-near perfect size of glass!

Then we had to buy some new components such as mylar tape (aka foil tape), flame duck tape (ok, we didn't need it, but I really wanted to use it), hinges of the non-corner variety (of all the pieces on the 2 medicine cabinets we destroyed you'd think there would be useable hinges, but NO), epoxy, and a glass cutter.

Lots of dismantling going on...

East LA drills into the file cabinet drawer for our support frame.

The way the swing-stand swings when the solar oven gets tilted for catching the best sun angle - after all, we can't be having our food spill everywhere!

The medicine cabinet mirrors needed to be cut to size, plus we needed corner pieces to make a more funnel-shaped rather than box-shaped sun energy amplifier. All the sharp stabby mirror pieces we then covered with mylar tape for safety while also maintaining high reflectivity. The glass cutter ended up being a great option, but this was only after we called everywhere around to see if a pro could cut the mirror for us. My favourite conversation went like this:

me: hi! I was wondering if I could bring some mirror in and have you cut it down to size
person at glass shop: sorry, we only cut glass
me: it is glass
person at glass shop: I thought you said you had a mirror
me: mirrors are just glass with silver paint on the back
person at glass shop: we can only cut glass, not mirror
me: nevermind

Basically complete at this point, needs a) flame tape decoration, b) a trial run, c) fine tuning. Here you can see the contraption for changing the angle of the oven - a simple giant eye screw and 2 bolts, one above and one below the file cabinet lock loop thingy (which we moved to a more appropriate location)

Complete with flame tape, we gave it a trial run with some pre-made cookie dough. It was a little late in the day to be starting, but we had to do it anyway, and in the corner you can see the meat thermometer that I taped to the glass lid.

Max temp reached was 175 - I'm pretty sure with a couple of minor alterations (seal around the glass lid, starting cooking before evening, possibly expanding the reflector size with more mylar tape) we'll get this baby over 200.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

M is for...

M is for marriage... as in the marriage of Dawn and Ramon

photo courtesy of Kilometres, who had a much better vantage point than I


M is for "Mrs Kermit" or whatever the heck that is hanging off the back of the truck flashing us as we drive home from the wedding

M is for mountains... as in the Sierra Nevada mountains at their northernmost extent, almost at the boundary with the Klamath mountains, where I escape every July to breathe the clean air and take photos of flowers that I can never remember the name of.

This is Skye running through the shot of paintbrushes and some kind of flower that might be trillium, but I can't remember.

This is Loki looking mostly confused and a little bit terrified.

This is Kiki looking condescendingly at Loki, and also basking in the sun.

These are obviously dragonflies, possibly mating, and also, my favourite part of this photo, is the translucent thing clinging onto the reed below the dragonflies. Qu'est-ce que c'est?