Although the “news” has mainly devolved into butt-covering liberals trying to cover-up the return of Covid 19 on their watch, and glossing over the data on vaccinated people getting Delta, there’s little else to keep the creative mind engaged.
Short of mental “office pools” on when the market’s next “recognition moment nosebleed” will begin. Until you go to the shop, that is…
Maybe we will talk about that next weekend. For now, though, let’s work on “shop-timizing.” Starting with?
Huge portions of my brain are devoted to “template libraries.” Because they take all the work out of creativity.
The leading source of evolutionary design inspiration is the Genrich Altshuller book on TRIZ. The Russian Science of Invention. Started with a massive patent review program from 1946 (*and on) where the principles of design were ‘encapsulated’ into different things you can do with physical objects.
For those who didn’t attend Altshuller’s “Azerbaijan Public Institute for Inventive Creation” (like me!) we can take solace in the list of 39 different physical properties that can be modified in order to develop a new product.
Some representative steps? Make something bigger. Smaller. Rounder. Squarer. Hotter. Colder. Raise it. Lower it. Change materials. Roll it. Drop it….and so it goes. Glue instead of solder, solder instead of weld, fold instead of weld. cast instead of forge…there’s so many structured ways to modify things.
If you work with your hands and don’t have the book “And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared: TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving,” you’re missing a huge potential for changing how you engineer your personal life.
Toss in a good reference book on construction (or almost anything) like Thomas Glover’s Desk Ref. Almost $20 bucks more than the $25 paperback, you will thank me for the larger print, some day.
Why, toss in three other core knowledge books: (Joy of Cooking, Inorganic Chemistry [Hildebrand], Electronic Communications [Schrader], and two transportation books (Chapman’s Piloting and Seamanship) and the F.A.A. Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge), and you can catch up with class.
Even if you’re not a serious knowledge surfer, the weather chapter of the Aeronautical book (free from Aviation Handbooks & Manuals (faa.gov) halfway down the page) is essential prepping knowledge. Weather happens…
So do avionics, but I digress…
2 by 4’s Meet TRIZ
Properly infected with a thus communicable case of “inventive thinking” it’s fun sometimes to begin with a basically simple idea in the shop sometimes. And let problems come along for solving as they will.
Such was the case when I got three 2-by-4’s 15-years ago and hung them over the main workbench in the middle of the shop. I needed better light and seemed rational that 16 feet of scabbarded 2-by would hold up a light.
Then it occurred to me: Why not also run power along this 2-by so that I could also plug in power cords overhead?
A few years came and went. Then it was time to take a hunk of plywood, punch holes in it, and populate it with screw drivers, hammer, markers, squares and the odd measuring tape.
Pretty quick, the 2-by’s were really earning their keep. And it didn’t stop.
Uses Kept Appearing…
When I needed bench air, this was a convenient overhead. Elaine’s like an OSHA inspector when comes to cords and hoses where they can trip you – a hold-over from her construction days. Yes, ex bunny, ex construction worker, lol. She was right on this one. (Between us, we have done it ALL.)
Then I wanted more light, a place to put the bar clamps and as of this morning those three basic 2-by’s now look like this:
That funny box-looking thing, left of center, is my light enclosure.
Having eye issues made me realize that light coming in from the sides or top produces glare. You want light (from the LEDS in the box and the second panel in about mid picture) hitting the work first and then going to the eyes.
Of course that gave me a place to hang more outlets and a surface (off bench) to charge the shop phone and the fancy new gyroscopic screwdriver I told you was coming. Alexa has space reserved (she’s on the scroll saw now).
This week’s money-pissing solved the problem of where to put all the battery-powered tools.
I’m sure you’ve looked at these “charger stations” on Amazon which gives the Sears and Monkey-Wards tool catalogs from the old days a good run. Problem with most of them is they are priced “right on the line.”
In other words, by the time you buy wood, mess with the design, fasten and finish and hang the charging station somewhere, you’ve spent almost as much money as buying the solution.
In a TRIZ-like moment? All I really wanted was the slots. Didn’t need some solid wood craftsmanship. So I opted for the (sorry for the long name) $30 StoreYourBoard Electric Drill Storage Rack, Holds 4 Drills, Hanging Wall Mounted Organizer for Garage, Home, Workshop, Shed.
Fact of the matter is it holds two impacts (Hitachi and Skil) two drills (ditto), the battery Skil zip saw looking thing (remember, we made the paint-shaker for that one?) and the battery circ saw. I swear, I can get 2-3 more tools on it, and maybe balance the cat up there, but that leads to other problems. (Including stitches for the claw marks?)
Still, you get the idea. When I want to get to the Hitachi’s, I have to move either the circ or zip saws, so plan on using as designed or you can quickly lose the speed rationale behind the stand.
The Hitachi’s will end up on the metal shop side (eventually) and now that I have paid for the commercial unit, I can clone it in 3-shakes of a plasma cutter, wire welder, and can of rubber spray-on bed liner. A tip picked up from Oilman2 on a visit. Shit works great and is light-years better than everything short of P.O.R. Gloss Black Rust Preventive Coating – 4 fl. oz., (Pack of 6) $42. But that’s 7-bucks a can, basically. (See why the whole premade unit keeps me from over-engineering things?)
Crazy Ham Radio TRIZ
Meantime, on the electronics shop bench, a passive MFJ pre-selector landed this week. It’s just basically the “tuned circuit” from the front-end (closest to antenna end) of a radio receiver. Just no powered components.
I’ve got a pretty good idea (yet to be tested) that there is a way to make a “zero noise” amplifier. You see, in ultra-low noise amplifiers, all kinds of effort goes into low noise component selection. Johnson-Nyquist noise issues.
Curiously, TRIZ offers an interesting no-noise amplifier design route: Remove the noise sources completely from the signal path. Oh….but how?
I sent one of our smartest electronics whizzes (who’s initials might be Hank) a link to the TRIZ books and the challenge: “How do we amplify a signal without it passing through a solid-state junction or tube device?”
Another of our readers (William of the Radio Ranch) will instantly know where Ure’s thinking has gone on this: He once remarked to me that “Resonance is where the magic happens…” Which is true. So can we design a circuit for a non-resonant antenna that will increase it’s Q (quality) such that it will increase gain (and maybe – fingers crossed – signal to noise ratio, as well?
We know that as cool as SDR radio design is (e.g. signal right into an analog to digital converter, then doing all the “magic” in software), there are other approaches. Superheterodyne receivers were a joy and dandy mix of high performance when I was young.
Even before that, however, was the TRF Receiver concept championed by companies like Atwater Kent. Which then evolved into regenerative receivers on the way to figuring out how the “superhets” would work. Might want to check out the Radio Gallery 1 over here sometime.
Radio was to this period what apps and social are today. With less politics, me-me-me, and more sense to them.
Don’t sell thought-leaders from the period like Arthur Atwater Kent short, either: He invented the modern automobile ignition coil.
Oh – one other off-books bit of background I didn’t mention to the fellow who’s name rhymes with Hank: You know Elaine and I have been to the Coral Castle down at Homestead, Florida several times, right?
Well, if Ed Leedskalnin actually did come up with a way to beat gravity, I always found it interesting that he had assortments of fence wire and radio parts around. Including a number of small car-sized “vibrator power supplies” which could provide high voltage to a circuit.
He had enough wire and components to test many of the notions I’ve hinted at here. Might there be something magical about resonance that hasn’t been noticed yet? I haven’t seen the use of a Q multiplier attached to a resonant circuit on a scale to see whether weight might change with Q.
But the challenge is out there: How do you amplify without the signal transiting the device?
I think I already know where the answer lies: In recovering the “saturated reactor” concepts used in “magnetic amplifiers.” Again, does anything weight-changing happen around the inductor saturation current? We know from Wikipedia…
“Visually a magnetic amplifier device may resemble a transformer, but the operating principle is quite different from a transformer – essentially the mag amp is a saturable reactor. It makes use of magnetic saturation of the core, a non-linear property of a certain class of transformer cores. For controlled saturation characteristics, the magnetic amplifier employs core materials that have been designed to have a specific B-H curve shape that is highly rectangular, in contrast to the slowly tapering B-H curve of softly saturating core materials that are often used in normal transformers.”
Marry the Russian evolution of TRIZ with a clever breakthrough based on the Nazi Bell secrets absconded with after WW II, and now – suddenly – the idea of a breakaway civilization is not quite as crazy as once sounded… I’ve got a book outline started for a novel with some of these elements. But I have three books to finish on Amazon (the PN solar book, the PN planned obsolescence kills book, and the one now appearing every few weeks “Packing to Die – suitcase between your ears…”). So that one won’t be along for a while.
Remember the tech Dick Tracy used to visit the Moon? Diet Smith’s magnetic amplifier-equipped SpaceCar.
(Whew! Hank’s noodling is thus at least dual purposed…)
George’s Rock Tumbling
One week into the project: Open the tumbler:
Drain the rocks:
Return to tumbler:
Toss in tablespoon of medium grit and a drop of dish soap:
Return to machine.
And wait for next week’s exciting adventure. (Edge of the chair, huh?)
Christmas in July!
Elaine’s new Roomba will arrive shortly. Our Discovery model (which went into use in 2007) is tired and even the new battery didn’t solve all that ails it. Time to update.
Even though she’s feeling great, the self-parking and self-charging machine running on voice commands is a small luxury…so why not? I might offer $249 objections but a iRobot Roomba 694 will land this week. For the office, I’ll try a Vosfeel Robot Vacuum, 2200Pa WiFi/App/Alexa for $110 and give you a report. Not sure how either will cope with bug traps, but we’re going to find out.
OK…Sunday is yard day: Check the possum trap, burn trash, mow, trim…wash the truck and car in the wash-bay and then maybe I can get some real work done around here.
Retirement at 72 wasn’t supposed to be like this…
Write when you get rich,