Playing with Fire

One of the projects that was being worked on at the Transistor was a forge to melt and cast aluminum. I saw some interesting videos online that made it seem rather easy to melt aluminum in a regular fire. Well, we have fire at ProVolt regularly because of the wood stove, and I decided to finally try it.

The first challenge was a crucible. It seems like people had used regular steel cans because the melting temperature of steel is much higher than aluminum. I grabbed a spaghetios can from my car, and threw it in the fire!

Spaghettios can in the fire.

Next, I had the challenge of putting the cans into this makeshift crucible at the back of the stove. I fashioned a curved tool out of wire, and was able to drop the cans by their pull tab into place. It has a droop in the center, that allows met to lift the top of the aluminum can higher than the door of the stove, and lower them on top of the previous one.

It was fun to see can after can disappear into a small space!

The steel didn’t hold up to the heat, and liquid aluminum came out the bottom.

Here’s a picture of the blob sitting on the stove after it’s cooled.


Robot Dreams

My daughter told me she had a dream about cars that drive themselves, and I told her I dream about the same thing. I found her this old video about the autonomous vehicle that I helped build at the University of Utah for the DARPA Urban Challenge, and thought it might be fun to show it here.

Back when The Transistor was going, I wanted to make a 4th of July float for the big parade here in Provo, and I’m thinking that ProVolt should look into trying to build a little autonomous float for the parade this year.

Should we do it?