Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Foundry: Melting a Honda Engine Head (Video)

One day I was riding by and found some junk on the side of the road including various parts of a Honda 4 cylinder engine.  I decided to take them since I had my new upgraded bike basket which easily fit it all, and why would I pass up the single largest piece of scrap aluminum I'd ever found on the side of the road? (alright, maybe I'm not counting the time I found a car wheel next to the dumpster)
Instead of trying to disassemble all the valves and springs on the engine head and trying to cut it up into crucible sized chunks, I decided I'd just melt it directly in the furnace and let the molten aluminum drip out the bottom into some metal trays lined with sand.  What better way to kick off the foundry season then with some scrap downsizing? Here's the video of the melt in real time:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Rye Stout #4 Bottling

I bottled the latest Rye Stout in 2 different lots, one of them on Nov 29, and the other on Dec 2. The final gravity and ABV respectively were 1.013 and 5.7%. Altogether I was able to bottle a little over 50 12 oz bottles from this batch.

Monday, January 1, 2018

L.A. Eco Village Tour

As it comes time to think about where I want to live after college, one option that was introduced to me was the concept of an intentional community.  This sounded very appealing since it would involve living among people who share similar ideals to myself.  Additionally, it would solve the problem of finding a place to house my metalworking equipment, and also give the opportunity to share my skills.
I was invited to tour the Eco Village in Los Angeles as part of the Food Justice Club at my school.  This particular community occupies a block in west L.A. with several buildings and plans to expand.
I arrived with expectations of seeing something like the hippie communes in the '60s.  This was nothing like that, but rather a well established organization with a powerful presence in the city.  While my descriptions fail to catch all the details, it's basically a collection of apartments bought out and organized into a community living arrangement with emphasis on environmental sustainability and cooperation.  Tenants pay rent and can be involved in various committees to manage the different areas in the organization.  They have community dinners and events, and host tours to the public monthly for a small donation.  I figured I'd get my money's worth and make a blog post out of it!
Let's check out the place: Here's the front of the main building. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Top 5 Stocking Stuffers for Machinists

If you have a friend that's a machinist, and don't want to ask them what they want for the holidays because they'd say something that's several thousand dollars, there are several lower cost alternatives that would still show that you care.  Many consumables used regularly in the shop are always handy and would certainly be a welcome gift:

#5 - Lava Soap
They say machinists wash their hands before and after using the bathroom, or in my case, before only... (they're gonna get dirty again anyways).  Make sure to get the one with the red packaging since it is more abrasive and cleans better than the green packaged one (both soap bars are green and look nearly identical).  Funny that "lava" means "wash" in Spanish, yet the name comes from the volcanic pumice powder in the soap.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Rye Stout Batch #4

Prior to taking a vacation, I decided it was a good idea to get a batch into my fermenters. That way, I could bottle it the day I return. Convenient timing!

What better recipe to follow up on pumpkin cider with than Rye Stout? Using the same recipe as before, I set out to buy some grain.