Saturday, August 8, 2015

Creating a milk and egg refrigerator from a discarded freezer

As winter faded into spring and spring slipped into summer we found that we have a problem. An egg problem... we have about 45 layers and that tends to be 30-36 eggs a day. those eggs need stored in a refrigerator. three dozen times 7 days is 21 dozen eggs or way to many for the dormitory size refrigerator we were using to hold those eggs for sale or eating. We needed a solution, A big solution! Not only are we blessed with eggs but the cow is due to calve in late summer and we will need to store the 3-4 gallons of milk she gives us twice a day, and the butter and then there is a garden full of produce and maybe a cold refreshing beverage or two.

What we do not need is another refrigerator/freezer. what we do need is an upright fridge! They do make upright refrigerators, but they are WAY out of our financial grasp. This is when a friend called and offered us an upright freezer! FREE! Great! Sort of... we need it to be a refrigerator. First we tried turning it up to refrigerate but not freeze. That sort of worked. It was not consistent enough for what we needed. Sometimes everything was just right and other times the contents would be frozen solid or warm to the touch, No good! I did some research online and found a solution, we would need to change our analog freezer into a digital refrigerator! so I ordered the part on Amazon and in a few days I had the part I needed!

The installation was really straight forward and I made a video of it that you can watch HERE.  The analog thermostat is really just a temperature sensitive on/off switch that was unfortunately not sensitive enough.

I unhooked the old thermostat, two wires  and then took a good look at what I was in for. There were two wires from the compressor. two wires from the thermostat and then the three wires coming from the wall. It all breaks down about like this... three wires from the wall, hot, neutral and ground. Ground goes to the metal case of the freezer. Neutral was already connected to one of the compressor wires, the other compressor wire is connected to the Hot wire from the wall thru the thermostat switch.
So this is what I bought a digital thermostat from Amazon

As you can see it has a temperature probe that comes with it and if you look on the back, that is the six wires that need hooked up. two are for that thermostat, two are for AC power in and the last two hook up to the original thermostat wires. I had to splice AC power in, to power the new controller and then just hook the two old thermostat wires to the new digital thermostat and the two wires for the new temperature sensor.
The video really shows it all much better so go ahead and watch it by clicking HERE. don't forget while you are over on youtube to give it a thumbs up and subscribe!
a few more pictures...

As you can see we are using it so it must work! it only has one real drawback...Condensation! I imagine it will be better when we get out of the heat of the summer but right now if you put anything cardboard in this refrigerator it comes out sopping wet. I have ten gallons of water in it to represent the milk that should be there, and some kale salad, and coffee creamer....
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post and remember if you are not comfortable and knowledgeable of working with AC power THEN DON,T!  Call an electrician or a friend that has the knowledge and the tools. A mistake could cost you!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our adventures in videography!

The Video's

I found a free book about how to make money on you tube, So I downloaded it to my kindle.
It was a really quick read, even for me... but I will save you the time. The book said to post videos. Lots of videos, about whatever it is that you do. You can have multiple channels, pretty much any content that would suit a general audience. There is how to videos, book review videos, people doing funny or stupid things. Whatever you find on television, you can probably find it on you tube.
So... make videos... ok... but its hard to figure out what I want to make a video of... I told the kids, whatever I am doing remind me to make a video! Let other people figure out if its cool or not. The very first video I made was of me reviewing the contents of my mothers clothespin basket. To see that first video click here. Not real exciting, but it got the ball rolling, so next I did a series of seven videos about building a "CANJO". A Canjo is a simple one or two string instrument that uses a can as a sound resonator You can see video 1 in the series here. That set of videos was sooooo much better than the first one, I changed camera persons, We worked with my lighting a little and got a bit better at using the video editing software that came with our computer. 
 All these next pictures are "oopsies" from the Canjo series. it seems the camera person forgot to change the camera to video or there was stuff in the way or whatever.  This is a really low budget operation there is no fancy equipment. We tried to use my old Olympus camera, but that was really grainy. then our old Kodak digital, the zoom was broke and it made a terrible noise. All these video's were shot using my iPhone 4. if you are into iphones you know they are at iPhone 6 now, so my 2+ year old iPhone 4 that I paid $.99 (yes ninety-nine cents) for when iPhone 5 came out is the best video camera we have in the house!

 In this candid shot you can see our "monopod" that steadies the camera for filming. Yes it is a can of aerosol glass cleaner - use what you got! We have no microphone so I just spoke as loud and clear as I could.
  We took this video in our "dining" room. which at this point still had craft fair stuff and Christmas gifts in the background. (you can see Gramma's wind chimes to the right of my head, Which I hit more than once in the videos, and there is a walking stick, even the horseshoe coat rack was made by my son as a gift!) We filmed from either side of the table and tried to edit out as many goofs as was possible.
I think after it is all done that we could have edited more out, but I really wanted the viewer to see the whole process. I hate it when you are trying to learn something and there is a big piece of important information that was left out....

I am unable to really play any music whatsoever, so I do not really play, I more kind of plunk along to a melody. Two strings are my max, and I don't play them both at the same time!
The canjo is a very interesting instrument, it is a play by number thing. you count down from the tuner to which fret you need to press and then pluck that string. For example, twinkle, twinkle is played  0 0 4 4 5 5 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 0 The "0" is open you don't hold any fret down.  If this sort of homemade music interests you, I suggest watching video 7 first. You can find it by clicking here.
              So now we are in the movies, the small screen, really really small screen. What will we do next? I think some hydroponics stuff, Kratky system I think. Maybe some woodworking? maybe I should do a series on making homemade clothespins. Suggestions are always welcome.
Until next time,
May God bless you all!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Designing an outdoor run for the ladies

The Chicken Run!


The truncated elongated icosahedron poultry exercise facility! 


The Chicken Run!

I sometimes like to build scale models of my upcoming projects. This is especially true if it is a complex first time project like we are going to build here.
I have always been intrigued by geodesic domes.  They have a simple complexity that I am captivated by. I would like to build a dome like structure and why not use it to put the chickens in? I got the process started with a paper dome model that I found online. I printed out 4 of them and cut them to pieces to make an elongated dome.
 This is the dome after cutting it out and taping it together. But it needed to be longish not roundish. So I went looking and found a website that sold plans for an elongated dome...I'm not a fan of buying plans,... and they had a picture,... so I read the picture and googled "hexagon graph paper" and "soccer ball pattern".  The hexagon graph paper showed me that the center section is just whole and half hexagons. The soccer ball pattern showed me that I only need pentagons to make the ends close in!

This paper model helped me visualize what I had thought to be the solution to my problem of an elongated dome. Now it was time to get serious about this scale model!
That's right, break out the drinking straws and the fishing line! Small scale production is about to Begin!

I started with my hexagon center section idea to validate the concept.
 Then, armed with my paper model, I went right to building a 1/12th scale model of the structure! I chose 1/12th scale because the math is easy...1 inch = 1 foot. The struts are going to be 18 inches long which is 1.5 feet or in scale... 1.5 inches! I cut a LOT of 1.5 inch lengths of straws...158 to be exact!
 I am only going to use the perimeter of the hexagons and pentagons which makes this dome more of an elongated truncated icosahedron...ish thing.  
 This is the beginning of my second try at this model, 4 hexagons
 Now there is more to see, notice the pentagon in the center of the straws? I used a single run of fishing line that runs thru the whole structure! I kept adding lengths with surgeons knots so I could keep tension on the whole thing with one string.
 The End is starting to look like something! There are 3 pentagons on each end of the structure. The pentagons essentially pull the hexagons tighter together on one side making the structure round out a bit. Note to self, pentagons do Not touch each other! (if they do you have to tear it apart AGAIN!)
 One end nearly complete!
 Now I am working down one side, the half hexagons on the bottom edge are 3 - 1.5 inch pieces and 1 - 3 inch piece, yes exactly double, there are ten of the double length pieces in the entire structure.
 I was amazed that the model supported itself at the half built stage!
 how's that for a rookie modeler? Another great thing about using 1/12th scale is that I can take measurements off of the model to check things like overall height, length and width! I only had to build it twice to get it right!

If it is self supporting with straws and fishing line, how much better will it be full size with steel struts and bolted at every joint! We are very excited to get this project started and I will be bringing you updates thru the whole process!
Speaking of the whole process, have you been to our web store lately? is where we fund our projects from, so please head on over there and take a look around...The chickens and I Thank You!