Workshop In An Alternate Homepower Environment

Page 2 of 13  

wrote:

I absolutely agree with what you are saying. This is why the on-grid folks are using Tesla's design and not Edison's DC idea. For a house I also think it's probably not worth the trouble to run massive wires everywhere in order to use DC effeciently. Of course the higher the voltage the smaller the wire required, which brings you right back to 115VAC. Probably better to have a few extra batteries and a couple of extra solar panels (or whatever) to cover the loss of effeciency. When I first started reading about wind generators about 20 or so years ago they were talking about 120 volt generators charging batteries in series equaling 120 VDC. According to the author most appliances wouldn't care if it was AC or DC. This idea is definately simpler than having to buy and connect an expensive sine wave inverter but I suspect that today's electronics might be a bit more particular about their input current than a 20 year old dishwasher or vacuum cleaner. If someone wanted to try it I suppose the best thing to do would be to buy a new whatever and make sure you can return it. If it explodes you go get your money back. And of course there's always the problem of short circuits burning the house down.
However, for a stand-alone workshop that is to be powered seperately I would consider using DC as opposed to running a gasoline/diesel generator on one or two tools that I use regularly. For those that I only use occasionally for me it's no big deal to start up a little generator (most of my saws etc run fine from a Honda eu2000). As someone else pointed out running a compressor during peak sunlight or wind times (or when a generator happens to be running) and filling the tank can, at least in my case, supply enough air to do quite a bit of work later without having to use any additional power. Leaks, in this case, cannot be allowed to exist!

Lol. As long as you don't plug a battery charger into it to charge the batteries it's running off of ;-)

I keep toying with the idea (12 volt motors) but I still use a gasoline generator for the sizeable, short use loads. When it comes right down to it I'm probably only using about 2 to 3 gallons of gasoline per month to run my tools to produce around $15,000 worth of revenue. From a business standpoint this is an insignificant expenditure. I simply manage the use of my power tools and do work in batches. I don't work after the sun goes down (usually, unless it's a RUSH order).

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for your posting.
Your discussion is one of the major reasons for me starting this thread. As I soon discovered when I started research into the design of an AHP workshop...that the continuing progression of technology (especially that of inverter design) changes the approach that one should take in implementing a AHP system today.
While the lure to go "no power" is strong, I am no Luddite. Power tools, both portable and stationary, have their place in a AHP workshop. The opportunity to leverage consumer offerings allows one to use conventional tools with minimal hassles. I also have a large collection of older metal and wood working tools that would be awkward to convert to something other than AC. In the past, I have always had a policy of trying to do as little a modification as possible to a tool since it is never a simple as it first seems. Machine tools were designed with certain speed and torque requirements in mind and when one departs from these, the tool's performance suffers.
Thanks for your input and please always feel welcome to contribute to any of my discussions.
TMT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Just curious, but how do you go to the bathroom? Composting toilet? Outhouse?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 16 Jun 2005 09:30:54 -0700, "Ulysses"

Yes and no. :-) We have a simple sawdust bucket toilet that sits beside a commercial composting toilet, now retired. I'm going to tear out the latter and build a nicer bucket toilet when the time is available.
Long story, but the commercial toilet is, IMHO, a waste of money. (Fortunately, wasn't my decision; came with the house.) A bucket toilet is superior to it in every way.
Most so-called composting toilets, including this one, are actually evaporating toilets and don't compost per se.

There are two of those here, also retired.
We have shallow groundwater, and an outhouse is an potentially nasty polluter. Actually septic systems can be just as bad - so many people manage to pollute their wells with those too. Above-ground aerobic composting is the way to go IMHO.
-=s
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I don't see how ANY of them could actually compost anything when you are always adding new material. My composting takes place in the compost heap. That actually works.

gallon) of the bucket toilet. I overcame the weight problem by putting a drain at the bottom that goes into a hole (covered, of course) and I used weeds chopped with a lawnmower or peat moss when there are no weeds instead of sawdust. My well is about 300 feet away and down 126 feet. I've given some thought to having it go into a solar still and then only clean water would reach the ground. Haven't figured out yet how to clean the solar still though. Might be ugly and stinky.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ulysses wrote:

As I understand it, composting toilets always have a second compartment where the final composting takes place before the stuff is removed.

You might instead use a solar evaporator so that only vapor escapes. The fellows doing those earthships (tire houses) did a bit of work on these things. I found a page of theirs... http://www.earthship.org/systems/sewage.php
Apparently they prefer to use a solar heated septic tank that drains into a large outdoor lined planter. Plants do seem to do a good job at both removing pollutants and evaporating water.
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

Yes, and so did mine. The problem I had was I built one that should have had enough capacity for 5 people but I had to empty it somewhat every 2 or 3 days with 4 people using it. The stuff would sit in the drawer for only 2 days then have to be emptied into a compost heap. With my extra-large bucket toilet I need to empty it every 7-10 days. Less work for me and a lot less complicated. No moving parts.
I think in order for a composting toilet to work for a family of 4 it would have to have a capacity of at least 200 gallons, probably more. It would be huge and, if a drum type, would probably require an engine to turn it.

Thanks for the idea. I'll look into it.

Probably wouldn't work for me because so little liquid leaves the toilet. This methods seems to work well for flushing toilets though.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 17 Jun 2005 17:31:42 -0700, "Ulysses"

I don't see a problem with that. I add fresh material to the top of our working pile once a week until the bin is full and we let 'er rest. The most active thermophilic zone *is* right near the top where the new material is added. Our working bin is toasting along at 120 degrees F right at the moment.
We learned a lot from Joe Jenkin's "Humanure Handbook" e.g. that we don't need to do a lot of work turning the pile, and that doing so can actually kill the thermophilic action. That's exactly what we've found in practice. Haven't flipped a pile since.

Yep.
I'm fortunate enough to have two small smallmills run by neighbors within a few miles. We tried leaves and stuff but kept bringing in too many bugs with 'em.

Excellent.
One reason I like the bucket thing is 'cos the pee just goes into the pile where it contributes nitrogen and helps to keep it at the right moisture level.
One of our problems with the commercial unit was that no matter what we did we would eventually end up with flies, e.g. fungus gnats, living in there. The buckets don't sit around long enough for anything to breed in 'em.
I thought when we build the new house I might like to try a vault, but the fly thing really worries me. Plus, we're trying to keep to a single-story design with no stairs which kinda precludes that anyway. Best site we have is on a hill though, so there's still the possibility for ground-level access to a lower-level vault. Dunno.
I'll keep the commercial toilet around just to install it (temporarily) for getting approvals... something prior residents here haven't had to concern themselves with.
-=s
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Well yes, it seems like it SHOULD work. But you said you retired your commercial toilets. There must be a reason why.

Quite possibly one of the most useful books ever written. Most of what I know about composting, pathogens, coli bacteria etc. came from that book. I just make a hile in the top of my pile, add the new stuff, and cover it with stuff from the sides of the pile.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

While searching for a fan motor I came across some substantial DC motors on eBay a while back. I think they may have been blower motors for furnaces or air conditioners. What I had in mind was using a belt drive. I would think it might be more difficult to find one that has the right shaft for a saw, especially one with reverse threads. Come to think of it a DC powered saw might make it possible (or at least safer) to use fluorescent lights in a shop since it would not be running at 60 Hz.
Grainger has DC motors too.
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/searchresults.jsp?xi=xi

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
How many of these tools are going to operate at the same time? What do those amps add up to? With some extra margin, that is the demand you need to satisfy. It isn't the sum of all the tools, unless they will all be running at the same time.
Steve

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Have you ever been in an Amish woodshop? The last time I was in one it had very many modern woodworking machines all driven by a jackshaft. There was a Deutz diesel engine powering the jackshaft. The amish farmers in PA where I grew up used the same diesel engine driving a jackshaft arrangement to pump water, compress air, run the refridgeration units for their bulk tanks and pump water. As a side note to this, they used an interesting pump down the well that used compressed air as power to pump the water up to a holding tank.
Shawn
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

clip
I worked in a shop with no electric and no "alternative power" tools... We had a forge with bellows, anvil, hardies, tongs, etc., out back for metal shaping and welding and a large selection of files, screw plates, hacksaws, etc. For woodworking there were axes, adzes, spoke shaves, draw knives, frame saws, panel saws, rasps, spring pole lathe, etc. Light came through the windows... It's doable... At the time there was a 10 year waiting list for our output.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
FYI...I have had several emails expressing interest in this discussion.
Some of them are from viewers in Florida who commented that this topic is revelant to their situation after last year's storms. It would seem that many were without power for many weeks/months and were living subsistence energy wise for a long period of time while they were trying to rebuild their lives and property.
As one person said.." you never realize how much you rely on your power drill until you don't have the juice to run it".
TMT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 14 Jun 2005 12:07:53 -0700, "Too_Many_Tools"

Any chance of hooking up to the grid for the special cases like the welder? It's not total independance, but you can really limit the amount of purchased electricity you use, and still get most of the benefits from generating your own power.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 14 Jun 2005 12:07:53 -0700, "Too_Many_Tools"

Don't use the amps. I can't see any scenario where powering these tools (bigger than trivial) from an existing setup where "every amp is precious" can be viable. For lighting it's a different matter - simply upping the battery capacity might be enough.
And what's the shortage here ? Amps or coulombs ? Is the limit on power (ability to deliver it) or energy (stored capacity) ?
For convenience, go for a generator. You can use standard tools, the cost of doing this is low, the convenience is high. For an occasional use setup, or particularly for construction work, then this is almost always the best way.
For improved efficiency, then go to lineshafts and a separate internal combustion prime mover. This is likely to mean pre-WW2 vintage tools though, and slow-speed metalworking rather than our modern high-speed cutting. One of my neighbours has a 1900 house with its original (commercial light engineering) workshop - power comes from a 12hp gas engine (town gas, not gasoline) and it powers several lathes, mill and drill by lineshaft. All still operational too! This seems more viable for wood than for metal though.
With centralised lineshaft power, you're also geared up to use a water turbine. I can't see this working for wind power, but water is certainly viable. I've seen old UK cereal watermills which have had modern lathes or potter's wheels attached to them, and smithing has regularly done this to drive power hammers. The well-known Taunton press "Workshops" book has photos and drawings in it of "Ben's Mill" in Vermont, a water-powered mill with a 1900s iron water turbine, now supplemented by a tractor.
A timber yard I use is on an old farm. It has a number of electric machines, but the main rip saw is powered by a tractor and flat belt. There's now a dedicated stripped-down tractor, on a permanent brick footing.
A more modern approach than lineshafting is hydraulics. There are a number of US religious groups (Amish, AFAIR) where there are prohibitions on electric machinery. However a centralised diesel hydraulic power pack and individual hydraulic motors are acceptable. Not cheap though!
One of the simplest options is to not use powered tools at all. Why do you need a workshop? What are you trying to make ? If you're a green woodworker than you can use a shave horse and drawknife for much shaping work, a pole, treadle or great-wheel lathe for turning (powered either by the operator, or an assistant). Many such workers may also use these in conjunction with a Wood-mizer or similar large bandsaw, with its own petrol engine.
--
Cats have nine lives, which is why they rarely post to Usenet.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<snip>

Given the current economic/social/political environment your concerns are well founded, however I think the primary or basic problem will not be limited or unavailable [electrical] power, but rather the more pervasive and dangerous problem of a lack of spare parts, raw materials and most critical HSS and carbide tools and blanks.
Whether by design or stupidity, the American manufacturing/industrial infrastructure is rapidly being destroyed, primarily by management "outsourcing" and plant transfer.
With the trade deficit [current account trade balance] approaching 2 billion dollars *PER DAY* it does not require a degree in rocket science or a tarot deck to see that the time is near when imports by the U.S. economy will be on a C.O.D. or even a "pre-pay" basis [in gold, not dollars].
Given the U.S. has a very limited (and rapidly diminishing) domestic production capacity for machine tools [lathes, mills, gear shapers, etc.], C.N.C. controllers, and perhaps most critical M2 HSS and carbide inserts, this means the entire house of cards will collapse as the existing machinery wears out, replacements are unobtainable, and repair cannot be attempted.
Re-industrialization will be very expensive, time consuming and dangerous, as even the most basic industries such as iron foundries will have to be reestablished. Indeed, a generation or more will be required, as the evolution, techniques and lessons of the period 1890-1930 will have to be retraced, with no assurance that the time required will be available before America must again meet a serious international challenge to its existence / hegemony.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 15 Jun 2005 07:36:34 -0700, F. George McDuffee

Well, hell. Might as well just cash in your chips now. Take a quick vacation, and then head for your local crematorium.
Sheesh, George. You really need to get out more:-)
Matt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Many of these are now self-service. You just put your money in the machine, and then lie down in your coffin. :-)
Mike Mandaville
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<Snipped>
Hi Matt, Where've you been? Crankin' out too many parts to get into any of the ongoing arguments? <g>
Hey, remember that little 3-48 x .054" set screw? We finally got it running pretty good on the Tsugami. We're making it out of 416HT stainless and are using a Habegger adjustable thread rolling die. Almost full thread profile right to the ends. So far, so good. (crossed fingers).
I better get out of here before I get flamed for not being on-topic enough.
John
-
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.