Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Building industrial grade fire art

I was able to make the shuttle prototype functional, at least marginally, by simply slapping a fan on one end to push more air into the chamber.  Here are the results:

There's some wind, and I'm not running the gas at very high volumes, but you can see it clearly translate from one end to the other as I pull the shuttle through.  If you look at the second video closely, you'll also notice that the tygon tube has burned off the end by the time I get it back through: stress + heat = failure.  I'm very happy with this design overall, though, and am now trying to scale it up to fix the problems.  First, I came up with a new, much larger design spec, using a 3" x 6" x 5 foot sheath.  The 6" height should give me enough space to use a low-pressure braided LPG hose, which is much less flexible, and keep it well out of the way of the shuttle.  I've also redesigned the shuttle, which will run along rails

It came out a little too wide, I'm going to have to grind off the tubes which run along the rails (actually 3/8" black pipe) and move them closer to the center.  But the concept is there.

The rail will run along the top half of the 6" height, leaving the bottom half for things like hose clearance (mostly), but also having a fan on either end to push air in, some room for gearing and a motor to move the shuttle back and forth, etc.  I also started machining the ends of the sheath, which will hold the rails in place (and the fans):
These are 16 ga steel sheet which I cut and bent, then tapped holes in the sheath to hold them in place.  Fun stuff.  I screwed up the bending the first couple of times, took some practice to get it right.  But this one fits nicely.

So, this is not a "proof-of-concept" prototype.  This is intended to be an actual model for what I might eventually build to bring to the Playa, and is industrial-grade.  No joke.

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