Friday, May 22, 2015


Got this running again, so far only on propane, I need to rebuild the carb befroe I can get petrol running well as the accelerator pump is sticking. Found compatible era/size gmc fwd for off road conversion.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Onward progression on another medium. Working welder, hydrogen production.

Friday, April 04, 2014

      Trying out new platform: Comments on this one is borked and new templates here seem to think I want a page full of widgets that cannot be removed and little tiny boxes of content.  Latest rant.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

I am in love! Hearse for sale!

Monday, March 31, 2014

                I have a real problem focusing on any one project when left to my own devices. I spent the weekend stripping light fixtures from the old RV and fabricating a 12v drop light,
 playing with very crude fabrications for aluminium-air batteries and trying to find uses for the minuscule, but,  very long term, power that I seem to be able to get out of current designs.

 Coyote skull is stewing away in a light potassium  hydroxide solution and the flesh is slowly turning into "Lutecoyote", A culinary treat that I'm sure even "Pickmans model" would find "Ripe"

 But the bones are cleaning up nicely and I'm confident that I'll be able to turn it into a high voltage spot welder and eventual ATOMIC HYDROGEN TORCH. as the simplest method of achieving the required voltages appears to be "read up on how to make a spot welder out of a microwave, and do exactly what they tell you NOT to do with the transformer" IE use it without any modification whatsoever, 2 kv right out of the box! (Don't do this at home kids!) The management at Aftermath Technologies is a certified nutjob with the survival potential of a small balloon animal lovingly nuzzling a claymore mine. 

 Other than that, some editing of a discussion of potential salvage opportunities in local landfills/transfer stations, particularly in regards to electric vehicles for inclusion in a future post,  Some clean up for a future (semi) pro gig involving solar equipment in the third world, and I still need to come up with vanes for the wind turbine   

Friday, March 28, 2014

 UPDATE: IT WORKS: see below.

   Weather fluctuations have caused some old orthopaedic issues to flare up and after I took meds to deal with them I wasn't much of a documentarian,  or for that matter all that literate. So yesterday requires a bit of reconstruction.

  It appears that I was inspired by Kent Barnes' commenting on how he used to joke about recharging the batteries in his drill by spinning the drill head and a repurposed 12 volt drill by Jake of Spaz (haven't heard from him recently, hope all is well)

The drill worked fine but the battery pack had died, so Jake took the battery pack and removed the cells and wired the casing so that it would plug into my twelve volt, off grid, system.

 It worked and quite well, but I kept breaking it so now it's a permanent fixture of the drill and any failures inherent in the current design are mine.

 So I attempted to take this:

and turn it into a generator head, I'd discovered that in my previous flailings that the drill motors speed was really high and that to get useful power out of them I'd need either gearing, or some sort of dc-dc conversion.

  The object here is to use the existing gearing and if possible without harming the drill (total pigs breakfast, see below)

 This is a VERY old makita single speed reversible. No PWM, the trigger is just a switch. I figured that I could rewire a battery pack, plug it in, pull the trigger, spin the nob and power! right? Wrong! that is an assumption for people with manual dexterity!  Not semi- conscious fiddlers.

 So far so good, right? after this the battery came apart in a big pile of corroded cadmium toxicity and the inside of the casing was filled with sludge, So the task became one of containment, rather than conversion

So instead, with trepidation,  I opened the casing of the drill. Note this has not  worked out well in the past. In fact the term "SPROING! and a rain of small, essential and apparently, evaporative parts have followed every previous attempt. This time I didn't suck.
  so at this point I wanted to solder wires to the leads from the motor and run them out a vent hole in the side.

 So I lit up the aftermath soldering system. (Ah yeah, "system")

 A old 100 watt radio shack soldering iron plugged into a salvaged 300 watt inverter connected to an old 84w/h battery wired into a 15 watt solar panel

 Don't expect to solder too long or too often and it works for a given measure of "work" If you accept burned thumbs and poor solder joints as proof, I can provide proof.

what it looks like as of 11:30 3.28.14 if I hook a meter to the end of the repurposed extension cord and spin the head I get about 1 volt at finger speeds. If I apply current the drill spins. I seem to be stuck in the "low" setting and the clutch is locked. Plus I have a small pile of parts, but to quote Dave Lister "there's always a few bits and bobs left over when you try a bit of  do it yourself"

     Vast improvement over just motor, was getting millivolts at finger speeds. I expect to get much better than finger speeds with turbine (I expect 4-6 volts). I think I can claim a usable (if unusual) generated voltage.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

       Going to snow tonight. Want to heat the lab and work on windmill, not curl up next to fireplace and watch tv. Quite possibly mad. Problem: have something called "Reynauds syndrome" and my fingers get all blue and wrinkly, So, heat is required.

 Built this:

 An oil burning stove that'll burn wax,fat,veggie oil among nastier things.

 Actually just a bunch of parts that I reconfigure as I need.

Uses charcoal as wick in a metal screen bowl, cookie tin lid as fuel holder,shallow plate as overflow and splatter catch, clay pot is sitting on 3 aluminium ingots from earlier casting experiments. Burns for about 7-10 (edit: actually measured it and  4-6 hours on soybean oil is realistic)hours on cup of oil, I think it is the functional equivalent of a 300-500 watt heater.

other configs:



 I know it seems very crude, but the ability to generate consistent amounts of heat (if not variable) for a period of time opens up all sorts of things.                                                                                                                                                   

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

     Fell back and regrouped on the vertical wind turbine and decided that I need to come up with  a simple way to ad vane assemblies to whatever I end up using as a generator head. So I dug through the junk and pulled the remains of a lamp that looks like this :

 It unscrews into pieces (not shown, I got excited) And I added the drillbit holders (is there a better term?) did some work with a cheap Faux-Dremel and came up with this:

 Shown here: two high quality mounted bearings, (I dissected another drill) two versatile connectors capable of connecting to a wide variety of potential generator/gear assemblies, A shaft that can be varied in length from roughly 1.5 to 4.5 feet.

 Now I'm working on vane assemblies. Great wind today. Need to find a chuck key. Studying dc-dc converters. 

   Most of the ick on the coyote skull has turned to goo. (not sure if pics a good idea) going to go from wood ash solution to well water simmer. Then rinse, brush off bits, dry, repair, wire as spot welder, etc. getting more and more creatively stupid until I achieve an atomic hydrogen torch, or something explodes. (win win!)


 Radio aftermath: a broken, very cheap, fm transmitter of the type that you would normally plug into a cigarette lighter. Tuned to the bottom of the band (approx 107) It saves me from having to listen to rural AM radio and can act as a one way radio public address system through the use of the microphone jack. Pairs very nicely with a solar powered radio, leaving me with an effective range of 100+ yards while working out and about. Has been playing Gwar for the last 24 hours or will be done around 10 am pst in memory of Dave Brockie (1963-2014). Former front man and latex clad manifestation of Oderus Urungus, who died march 23rd.

 Normally it plays my ripped cd's and audiobooks and can be deployed at both the Wendel and remote facility. Total garbage, Was cheap and disposable when new.  I expect to be using it for at least 5 years after it was "broken"

Monday, March 24, 2014

   today's victim, an older Makita 9.6 volt reversible, variable speed drill.
                          Description from left to right up to down.                                  (note lots of screws in tub above and springs that flew all over the room)
   Dead battery pack, determined by plugging into known working charger overnight. no charge whatsoever.

Plastic shell: dont know what I'll use this for yet.
plastic ring: ditto.
motor:  # rs-750SH attached to what I believe is a  8-12 volt PWM  controller with trigger throttle and battery connector.
Gears: I dunno, Count teeth?
Bit holder: also drive shaft and bearing.

 The motors ID# actually lead to a class of motors as seen here  I believe that this is the second one on the chart the " " 8028 model.

 This is not good from a windmill standpoint as I think that I'm going to need to  reach speeds of over 15000-18000 rpm to generate 12 volts. At least according to my ignorant understanding of the matter and the specs on that chart. But at least my wattage will be pretty good! I guess I'll have to do something serious in gearing or dc-dc conversion to get anything useful out of this motor as a windmill. On the other hand, the PWM/trigger combo leads to vehicle ideas.

 Any ideas?

                          Oderus Urungus is silent! Long live his memory!

   In commemoration of the infinite humanitarian (with recipes!) and public benefit inherent in purging meat monkeys from the universe, radio aftermath will be broadcasting Gwar to the stars all day march 24th-25th 2014

 A fallen hero, we will send his voice back to the stars. All hail Dave Brockie!
The only human slime with the balls to ever channel the majesty that is Oderus. We will not see his glory again.Rest in peace.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

           Facilities and projects :

       Aftermath technologies downtown facility:
 State of the art equipment: 
 ample power : 

 Remote secondary facilities:

Mobile response unit:
 And ample research material:


 The shed, Somewhere in Wendel

  built in the late 1800's no power no water. Both nearby.  (See "Power" below.)

  The lab,

   The table surface is the roll out table from my hearse. With a history of over 300 cadaver carries, I believe it is well suited to the task of acting as the "slab" for this project. It reposes on six firewood rounds.

 Lab equipment/past projects: (all equipment found/derived from salvage unless specified otherwise)

   wood lye production equipment,hydrogen gas production,aluminium/air batteries, oil burner/heater/boiler, 300 watt inverter (see power)  FM transmitter, radio, 5 watt light, small battery charger, swamp cooler,composting toilet. Probably more but I should go on. 


      Currently fifty nominal watts regulated, on a 144 watt/hr battery but panel position is far from optimal and battery is well past it's functional lifespan. Can bring this to 400+ watts and 1200watt/hr storage with available resources 

 Have 300 watt inverter online, can bring this up to 1500 watts. 

 Remote Facilities:


Mobile response unit:

   A 76 Tioga. Runs. Mostly works, mostly. Does not float. This is important.

 Research material. 

  Some of my own but mostly stuff I've found in various piles/holes around Wendel and on the side of the road. I think the other denizens of Wendel  assume that I eat it. Not running out. 

 So here we have a (very) basic off grid re use lab with not so basic lunatic operator.

  Next post: tear down of a makita 9.6 volt drill and part identification with an eye to making a VAWT (vertical axis wind turbine) from the innards.

ok prelim announcement. Aftermath technologies has undergone darwinian stresses, survived, and will be returning to active intertubal presence in the very near future. I/We will be pulling material out of the waste stream, documenting the material on the web, doing teardowns of the material and then repairing, improving, or remaking products with (hopefully) crowd sourced ideas and expertise. Our first focus will be on dead power tools. With any luck I'll have the first vict... uhm test subject on the slab (my work bench is the corpse table from my hearse) today and will have pics and be open for comments on the old blog at Please, come on down to the lab and see what's on the slab. Our first "subjects" will be a bunch of old makita 9.6 volt drills. I'm thinking Vertical axis wind turbines, bicycle power assist, drill presses, etc and am hoping that I hear at least a couple of more ideas.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Big changes coming soon! digital/vestigial limbs removed New directions and projects! New materials! and what might laughingly be called facilities!

 Major Update soon!

 Question to occupy the probably fictional readers: what would you do with a selection of broken battery powered tools and broken appliances? And what do you think would be the most probable failure modes?  Think outside the box as limits will present themselves

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

 Tiny house shortcuts.

 Old, funky rv's are cheap and readily available (check craigs list). They provide most of the components required in a diy composting toilet, multiple 12v lighting fixtures,wallplugs, sinks, refrigerators that can use multiple energy sources (12v dc, 120 volt ac and propane, I even think I could make it work with waste vegetable oil and a wick and it's cheap enough to allow experimentation) windows, doors, bedding, tankage, wiring, propane (methane) stove and oven, inverter,insulation, wall paneling and if you are lucky a generator, all in a self delivering package you can sleep in! 

 Those who want to take it even farther will find alternators, diodes, axles, wheels (windmills!) 

 The sale value for an old one is far less than the cost of it's components (I got this one for free, but examples can be found for under $2000)

  Admittedly new equipment would be more efficient, but the price for just one component would cost more than equipping an entire house using this source for furnishings. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

making charcoal

 I've been smelting aluminium, making ingots for future experiments in sand-casting. I found that the cost of barbecue charcoal problematic and my yard is full of twigs so I decided to make my own smelting fuel.

In researching the various methods I found that there are two primary methods for making charcoal, direct and indirect.

The direct method involves making a fire and smothering it to the point where it burns off the volatiles and contaminates. This method was very popular but I had problems with quality and if you screw up it can explode. As I like my hair,eyebrows, fingers and dangly bits I looked into the indirect method also known as the "retort" method.

  This method involves placing the material to be made into charcoal into a airflow restricted container and applying heat bringing the material above combustion temperature without allowing any combustion.

 I did this with various food cans. Notably soup. I made the retorts by placing a progresso soup can over a cambels can as an insert. Fill the cambels can with twigs cover with the progresso can and you have a retort with restricted airflow that also allows for pressure release of the pyrolytic gas around the bottom which then burns and adds energy to the process.

I also made a larger retort out of a coffee can and a paint can.

  For a furnace I used a bunch of old bricks, a small 12 volt muffin fan, a grill from a dead toaster oven and a random piece of metal cut from the back of an old computer case as a spark catcher. (the part with all the holes in it.)

The assembled furnace.

Showing the grill and rudimentary ducting.

 The muffin fan as an air mover.

Place the four smaller retorts on the grill.

Surround with wood. In this case some dried sagebrush, rose branches,and pieces of a dead apple tree.

Place the larger retort on top.

More wood.

Fill to the top. Add a firestarter based on this instructable

 Light it up!

Place the sparkcatcher on top, more bricks to hold it in place. Hook a 12 volt battery to the fan.

Lots of fire and whooshy noises. Now is the time to roast weenies and marshmallows, dance naked in obeisance to the fire gods, whatever.

Next morning. I save the ash for making wood lye.

Remove the retorts.
Look inside, discover the flaws inherent in trying to see a black substance inside a black container.

 I'd call it a successful proof of concept. I'll do this a couple of more times and then try smelting some soda cans into more ingots.

 cost of materials: 0
labour hours       : about 1
time for process  : approx 3 hours.
Yield                    : Variable based on density of feed stock. harder/denser  woods= better yield.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Good evening reddit.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I've been playing around with the idea of casting aluminum With a smelter made our of old bricks and steel cans and making my own charcoal.

so far I've had some proof of concept success in making coffee grounds into charcoal burning scrap twigs from the yard and was going to try my first melt, but I decided that I needed to up my safety routines instead, as melting metal in a 100+ year old wood building that has been drying in the desert for its entire lifespan seemed a might iffy.

In moving the smelter I found I had a lot of very fine wood ash and decided that I would try to make "lyewater" like the stuff they made old school soap out of.

This is done by filtering water through the ash to extract potassium hydroxide. (note both potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide are known as "lye")

I poked a small hole in the bottom of a large plastic salsa jug, filled it with ash and put a jar under it and poured water into it. Got a jar filled with uh.... TEA! colored liquid.

So I have a jar of noxious liquid, no ph testing gear but I know that aluminum in a water-sodium hydroxide solution will produce hydrogen and aluminum oxide.

So I dropped a small piece of aluminum in the goo and got bubbles, I think I have hydrogen.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

problems with e-waste policies

This is a work in progress and subject to change as I collect more data expect the addition of links to various examples to be added and probably some remedial editing.

Basic points.

First we must understand that the United States is no longer an industrial nation and as such we do not have the ability to produce or dispose of the devices we use.

Modern industrial and marketing practices are fundamentally counter environmental as they promote shorter and shorter product cycles. As there is no way to produce anything without a waste product More production inevitably leads to more waste.

Electronic “takeback” programs can exacerbate this problem by promoting a “Design to grind” model that does not actually reduce the amount of waste but moves it into other areas of the environmental spectrum.

For example. Current environmental law requires that a fee be charged to handle the disposal of electronic items in California. These funds are used to dispose of material by use of grinding of the items and refining of the raw material, This is laudable in intent but counterproductive in action.

To demonstrate; An electronic device is almost always constructed in an area where wages are low and environmental laws are non-existent or still under development. Examples of this would be China,India, Vietnam,Malaysia,Thailand,etc. Weak environmental practices combined with the fact that most of these are coal fired economies lead to predictable and demonstrable levels of environmental degradation and as pollution does not respect borders is an issue that affects us all, add to this the corporate motivation to sell a new item as often as possible and you find that this leads to the observation that the most environmentally friendly item is probably the one you buy least often.

The environmental issue are compounded when one adds transport to the problem. Maritime transport is among the most toxic aspects of our current production scenario as it is largely unregulated and consumes prodigious amounts of high sulfur fuel. The simple fact is that the more you ship the more waste is produced.

This is only the production end, the disposal end has additional problems and they are as bad if not worse than production and are also potentially made more problematic by current “takeback” methods.

As we are no longer an industrial nation the best that can be reasonably hoped for is some pre-proccessing before the material gets shipped back to coal fired, low wage industrial economies using highly polluting transport.

This is actually an optimistic view as can be demonstrated by the existence of massive toxic waste dumps in Asia, Africa and eastern Europe.

Reclamation/disposal when done correctly is expensive and has small profit margins. This is unfortunately not the case when done incorrectly by the unscrupulous. Massive profits can be made by cutting corners.

In addition our need to buy new materials is actually promoting violence,Child slave labor and the extinction of specie by funding those who would use these methods to generate income. An example would be the horrific sources for the coltan used in some of our most popular devices.

All of these problems could be reduced by reducing consumption through extending product lifespan.

I am not trying to say that we cannot have new devices, only pointing out that we could provide an incentive to the consumer and the manufacturer to make better choices through the existing electronic disposal system.

This could be done by modifying the system to promote lifespan.

First we start with simple things.

Modern video displays/televisions have three primary points of failure. The lighting system, the physical display/screen and the power supply.

Computers/tablets, First the observations listed above apply to notebooks/laptops with the addition of motherboards/memory and storage. Again nothing here is difficult and nothing should require the use of anything more than a simple screwdriver. Desktop computers could be even easier.

Phones, Seemingly obvious things like user replaceable batteries and standard fastenings would be a good place to start.

None of these should ever require more than a screwdriver and simple instructions to replace allowing for repair by the consumer. If we lower the mandated disposal fee for the item we can encourage both the manufacturer and consumer to choose a product that will last longer, costs less in the long run and limit the amount of transport. This reduces the cost to the consumer and the planet as a whole.

As a negative example a major manufacturer of smart phones recently went so far as to replace the screws on its phones with proprietary ones when brought in for repair or replacement of a battery. Thereby holding the consumer hostage to the manufacturer. This is an example of what we should be discouraging with the current system and reflects a predatory design flaw reflected throughout the entire product line. Practices like this should be charged more under the system to reflect the increased environmental costs.

In addition user replaceable components could allow for upgrades to existing hardware allowing for increased lifespan and improving capabilities.

Examples of this might be, replacing florescent lighting in your tv with a bar of Light emitting diodes,replacing the batteries in you cell phone when better technologies become available, etc.

We could also tie the system in with the Maker/Hacker movement through something as a simple as a “User serviceable parts inside!” Sticker on the back. I could be wrong but I think that is a ready to roll add campaign.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

ice tower.

leaking water tower in Wendel CA