Friday, April 26, 2013

Bottling Day: Stout

(Continued from earlier)

I decided it was time to bottle the stout after 5 days of secondary. The beer was pretty clear prior to secondary anyway, and the gravity didn't change in the 5 days, so no big deal.
Siphoning for bottling
Black as midnight
Step 1 of bottling is to delabel and sanitize all the beer bottles. Today we learned that washing out the bottles before adding them to the collection goes a long way to cleanliness. We had to throw out about 12 bottles because of gunk stuck on the bottom. Regardless, we still had enough bottles at the end to fill everything.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Temperature Rising -- Spring Garden Weekly Update 3

I don't even think I should call it spring anymore, the weather has been above 80 degrees F the entire week.


Left side balcony garden
Right side balcony garden

The cloud fortress

The fortress is a project I started when I had a bunch of metal and wood sitting around from destroying a bed frame and box spring.  The need to find a place for these things was satisfied by a need for a workstation to do drafting, homework, computing, waffle making, etc.  Thus the fortress was created.  Essentially, It's an 8 square foot room within my room.

The frame is constructed of angle iron (steel), wood, and aluminum from crutches. 
All of these are bolted together and clad with cardboard of which I have an unlimited supply at my disposal.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How to make an Upside down tomato planter using a 2 Liter bottle

I was given some free tomato plants at a local event. Since I have no space left on the balcony, I decided to make upside down planters for them. They are similar to the strawberry planters, if not easier to create. I have made some changes to the strawberry planter design in order to make the planter "better".

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Baby's first welding rig

Okay, so now I'm ready to start making $80/hr welding oil pipelines right?
Bike mounted welding rig
Well not quite, for a few reasons:
  • 100 Amps is insufficient to weld large pipes any descent
  • 20% duty cycle probably won't cut it
  • There aren't 115v outlets placed conveniently along pipelines (as far as I know)
  • I'm not certified
I'm sure I could be at least half qualified if I had a generator on the front rack. This sure beats the heck out of my plan to carry around oxygen and acetylene cylinders even though the department of transportation regulations don't mention anything about bicycles.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Garlic Time -- Spring Garden Weekly Update 2

I suppose I'll be doing weekly updates every Thursday. Here is what it looks like outside.


Right side balcony garden
Left side balcony garden

Sunday, April 7, 2013

First batch of beer: Ahab's Stout + Recipe

Here begins our adventures making beer. My roommate and I agreed to start making beer at the start of spring. So we traveled to the homebrew store to acquire some ingredients to make a stout. We decided to make a stout because that is what we agreed on (we were also told that if we messed up clarifying the beer, it would be harder to detect). The recipe I got from the store seemed better than the one I had gotten from a book, but only because their recipe had everything that we needed in the store.
Tamle Steamer Brew Kettle
We named her "Big Bertha"

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My New Hydroponic setup (Kratky method)

One of my spring break projects was the construction a hydroponic system to utilize more growing space available in my apartment. The lower balcony is getting significantly more sun than in winter so I figure it is time to start using it again.
Completed Kratky Hydroponics setup
Completed system with new plants
For starters, I originally planned to make a float system out of a nice desk table I found on the side of the road. I gave up on that idea because 1) It seemed more difficult than it needed to be. 2) Gathering the wood and other materials required multiple trips 3) It was a nice desk, and the apartment needed more work space (I'm using the desk right now as my table).

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Building a blower

Pictured above is the old blower I was experimenting with for the foundry. It was clearly too strong for the application so I sold it and bought a motor of less power, 1/3 horsepower as opposed to 1HP.
Here is the shell of the new blower being welded.  There is a large diameter pipe section 4" long sandwiched in between the sides to maintain uniform depth.  The pipe clamp is being used to hold the outside piece for tack welding.  The top side pictured was welded all the way around, and the bottom was only tacked because it was later ground off.  The circular parts were cut with a Beverly shear.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Scarlet Nantes Carrot

Carrots can be fun and rewarding to grow. In my opinion though, if you have little space in your garden, grow a different plant. It's cheaper to buy carrots in the store, as your own homegrown ones might not always be up to the quality of store bought ones.

Harvested Scarlet Nantes

Plus, if you harvest your carrot prematurely, that's it. There is no replanting a pulled carrot. Additionally, you only get 1 carrot for each seed (who would have known). I recommend planting a leaf vegetable or herbs in place of carrots. But don't listen to my advice if you have a special heirloom variety of carrot like a purple or red one.