Pedal-Power Table

For some time I have though about a desk where one could pedal, while at the desk, to create the electricity needed. According to The Atlantic, someone has designed just such a thing. I believe the article said Pedal Power's design is open-source. When asked if they feared competition as a result, they answered that not everyone can weld. Good point! I can, at a low skill level, but I don't have a welder of any type or the space to do it.

Very nice work, that desk!

Spring 2013 Complete

Today is officially the last day of Ivy Tech's spring 2013 term. So far the only grade to arrive is for my Gas Tungsten Arc Welding course: A. Grades must be submitted by Tuesday, so I will check then.

At present, I am working through a textbook for MATLAB. In the past, I dabbled with the program by following its video tutorials. Yet a textbook really seems to work better for me.

Summer starts June 10th at Ivy Tech and June 24th at IUPUI.

Starting Right

Awoke early, made a cup of cardamom coffee, and checked Blackboard, the student course management software Ivy Tech uses: I got an A in Gas Tungsten Arc Welding!

Now it's studying for multivariate calculus' exam in 4 hours.

Stainless Steel

This evening we started welding stainless steel, which has a faint and oddly clean smell. It's a bit awkward to work with, as you have to move the torch quickly; otherwise, the back of the weld carbonizes, which will result in weld failure. Of course, if you move too quickly, you won't get a weld with quality penetration.

We started with lap joints without filler. Then we did lap joints with filler, which was almost easier, despite the greater hand-eye coordination issues.

Were I not so sick, I surely would have had the patience to make a better weld, but I just could not stay. My nose kept running everywhere.

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Bend Test

Yesterday night was my GTAW class. We did butt joints the week before: a 1/16" gap between 16-gauge and a 3/32" gap between 11-gauge plates. There was a shortage of booths last week, so I had to wait until people finished, which cheated me out of time. I did a decent 16-gauge butt joint, but I ran out of time for the 11-gauge. It did nice cover passes but I couldn't get the weld to penetrate properly.

This week there was another booth shortage. I started on an old TIG machine but quickly jumped to a new one when possible. It took a few tries, but I ultimately got the key input from my teacher: when the keyhole forms, you'll get solid penetration.

And I sure did!

All our butt joints tonight were subjected to bend tests: placed a U-shaped jig then mashed down into that with a hydraulic press. My two pieces--weld face and weld back--passed, as you can see: weld intact!

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GTAW is neat

In addition to two weighty pre-engineering courses, I'm taking a GTAW (perhaps better known as TIG) welding class. Each type of welding I've taken has been interesting, but this is perhaps the neatest: no smoke, no showers of sparks, little noise, much control. Since it requires both hands (one feeding filler, the other controlling to arc) and a foot (controlling amperage) to be working simultaneously, it is considered the most difficult.

We have had two proper welding sessions to date. Tonight we did outside corner joints on 16- and 11-gauge metal. The former is beastly, as the filler rod is quite thin (so it bounces about it your hand trembles or jerks) and the metal can melt out of control if you're not careful; the latter is easier, as there's more leeway for using too much heat, and its larger required arc better illuminates where you're welding.

I'm looking forward to working on stainless steel and aluminum.

It would be very nice to have a GTAW setup!

Spring 2013

The new term has begun at Ivy Tech. My fellow engineering students are all taking fewer credits this term out of expectations of particularly difficult physics and math courses. In my case, that means the second 5-credit physics course PHYS 221, which involves electricity, heat, and optics. My math course is MATH 261, multivariate calculus.

Tuesday nights I will also have a TIG welding course.

Time outside those classes will go to independent study of chemistry.

This will likely be a tough semester, but it will be worth it. This summer I'll likely transfer to IUPUI and start my junior year in the fall term.