Thursday, May 5, 2016

DIY Charcoal Air Filter Concept

My CO2 laser has been drawing some complaints lately about the smell.  

So I have to install a charcoal air filter.  There are plenty of online tutorials about them so it's not hard to make.

However one thing about charcoal air filters is that they work based on surface area.  You need a lot of small pellet size pieces that are washed to remove dust and then put in a medium where the air passes thru.

The interior of the charcoal gets little air contact so it is basically the surface of the pellets that do the work.

This got me to thinking about a different type of charcoal filter.

What if the charcoal was sponge like?  Like open cell foam used in auto air cleaners or the inside of my shop vac filter?

Well turns out, it is easy to make this type of charcoal. In fact it's so simple and stupid. I don't know why it is not done now.

The secret ingredient is bread.

If you put bread into a glass cooking vessel like a casserole dish, and with a lid on it, then proceed to leave it in a very hot oven until it is black, you just made spongy charcoal.  

Very gently take the spongy charcoal, cut it with a saw and make a custom fit pieces for your aquarium filter or even to breathe thru.

See?  

Stupidly simple...

The Death of the Sign Making Industry, Long live the Sign Industry.

I have many interests in business.  

Not everything  I do revolves around 3D printing. I do have a interest in the signage business as well.

I have been around this industry off and of since 2009, in between my middle East time.

One thing, I failed to do, and should have done is back in 2011 when I was casting about for a way to feed myself was invest in a CO2 laser when I had the cash instead of a CNC plasma table.

Several years ago, I was making signs and a lot of lettering.  It was easy to get work and plentiful.  I could bill $25-50 bucks per letter in a sign, even in a third world country, I was easily able to get those rates.

However awhile back I saw something for sale at the local hardware store that made me stop in my tracks.

It was a very large LCD tv for about $500.  Now that seems maybe a lot of cash for a TV and entertainment item.  But for a sign... It's damn cheap.

I remember not long ago seeing these signs made from led bulbs that kind of looked like a TV from a distance. They were expensive too.

Now I can basically put a cheap LCD in a acrylic box, hang it from the wall outside and use photoshop or a cheap video editing program to make a video that goes on a thumb drive and runs on endless repeat.

Vegas style signs for $500.  

I can't send out to have a edge lit sign made for that price.

It's on my soon to so list for the office.  

Now you ask yourself, what if I don't have the ability or funds for a box?  Or I live in a area where extreme cold or heat might damage one of these TV?

No problem really, just stick it in your front window.




How we pissed away money in Iraq.

For awhile in Iraq I was running a fuel route.  Filling up generators with jp8. 

Nothing glamorous, but we did have a couple guys in the shop killed due to stupidity in management, but that's not what this post is about.

Specifically it is about the garbage dump at Speicher.

And specifically about the guard shack there.

Ya see, the Army decided to station a couple troops to guard the dump.  Inside the wire...

Yea, I know right?

Send 2 soldiers half way around the world to guard a garbage dump.  

However that was a bargain compared to the guard shack that housed them.

Ya see that guard shack had air conditioning and a generator.

A good size around 20kva get set with a Perkins diesel.

That thing ran day and night.

And it consumed in excess of 100 gallons of fuel every day. No matter the weather.  Mind you it was only powering a small 1 or two horse air conditioner, and a couple lights.

So now do the math.

Assuming that the fuel was $8 per gallon (gross under estimate) that one guard shack consumed $800 per day in fuel and in one year consumed $292,000 in fuel to guard the trash dump.  Add in the costs of distribution on base, the fuel farm, the truck, my salary, my helpers salary, the transport from Turkey, administrative costs, soldiers salaries, and their training and transport costs...  

That one guard shack could have easily cost $500,000 per year to man.