Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friday 1/29

We will be meeting in the woodshop, bring materials for your project. No excuses!
i dont have zach's email, but matt can't make it to class friday, january 29th.

here is a link to a controversial alternative energy company.

everyone seems to hate them in the discussion forums, but i have met one of the scientist/investors and he seemed well informed.

smug alert!

a pretty critical and HILARIOUS take on the green movement...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


My formula the other day was WAY off.. that's what too much coffee does I guess.. I am learning a lot though and will post what I find about water pressure as I go...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


YAY! I'm finally on the blog! And more I think that after drinking way to much coffee today and doing way to much math that I can do this project! Basically given a pipe 4" wide and 13' or so long attached to a 1,000 sq. ft roof it could be possible be able to generate 40-50 Watts of energy per hour during average rainfall. I have copious notes if anyone is interested in seeing the math but the basic numbers would be

360 cubic feet of water on the roof given .03 inches of rain in an hour (not unreasonable I found a website with hourly updates that seemed to be a good average).

37.7 cubic feet in the pipe.

360/37.7 gives the flow. This is cubic feet per minute; for this equation it is 9.5 cubic feet a minute in this instance.

The formula for calculating Horsepower with Hydroelectric Dams is given as:

Hp = 64.2 x F x H

Hp= Horsepower (176 Watts)
F= Flow (9.5 in this case)
H = Height (in this case 6')
33,000 is some number related to Horsepower that I couldn't explain here, suffice to say it is a constant.

64.2 x 9.5 x 6

would end up equaling .1 Hp or a little less than 20 Watts. Except that I plan on using to turbines (hence the 13' long pipe 6' drop and a little extra for the turbines) so it would be hopefully 40 Watts. With two turbines and a hopefully steady flow of rain a six hour average rain storm could hopefully yield 200 Watts!

If anyone wants to see more math (I hope this wasn't too much for this post) or has any ideas about storage let me know!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

project usb

Project update for solar powered USB charger project… I received my solar panel Wednesday and it is half the size as I thought it was going to be but luckily I usually go for overkill and hear in the land of northwest moss and rain even a half a foot should be enough now I want to get some of the electric guts that I will need to make sure my phone will like the power that my project kicks out I just fried one of my cell phones messing around without waiting for necessary parts first… oh well I knew I was going to be destroying stuff right and left so I didn’t cry for too long. Also I will be putting in the order tonight for the “guts” that I will need (instead of buying a lot of single electrical parts I like to buy something that might have the parts what for less $$$$) then strip those parts out. That rebuild center was great and it was a lot like Free Geek (where I volunteer from time to time, so it was cool when Zach said we could earn extra credit for volunteering there) at the Rebuild Center!!! Matthew

Beer brewing this weekend + class related stuff

This weekend the Brew Crew will be brewing at 1:00pm @ THE BREW HOUSE (Sandy's house - 2238 SE Oak) on Saturday. Come hang out with us and bring a beer you have never tasted before!

For monday be ready to talk about the project you are starting to work on, if you haven't already talked about it. After the quick presentations you will need to start collecting materials for the projects. By next friday we should be ready to start construction!

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Friday 1/21

Hey Everyone,
We are all going to be meeting at the Rebuilding Center friday morning at 10:15 SHARP!

The Rebuilding Center's address is:
3625 North Mississippi Avenue
Portland, OR 97227-1156

See you all there!

Monday, January 18, 2010

links, info, etc

here is a link to the earth tub I mentioned in class on Friday... more for commerical or neighborhood/community wide use.

also a link to the Eugene Schools best practices manual- which talks about how they switched to composting at 7 elementary schools with earth tubs http://

Friday, January 15, 2010


I would love to make a usb solarpowered power source… I have the feeling that in my chosen career path; many times I will be camping in the woods away from any conventional power source. No, not a terrorist but a field biologist in case you think I am a dangerous nut or something. Here is the link to the instuctables project that gave me inspiration of course I will be modifying this project big time, as I build it and I will be blogging about all of my adventures (or misadventures) in making this project; but already I will be replacing the solar panel from radio shack part #277-1205 1.28” inches square to a panel that is roughly one square foot (about ten times larger). So on Tuesday or Wednesday when I get the solar panel in the mail, I will start to look at the power output because I will want to match it up with regular USB power output, then with any leftover power, I might want to store in a battery or something so I can listen to my music late at night too. Matthew

Yves Rossy Jet Man

Flying Dude

Perendev magnetic motor

Magnetic Motor


a couple interesting projects:

- a small scale vertical axis wind turbine - - could you mount a couple of these to the front of your tank like bicycle and get some good charging time in on yr morning commute/ ride wherever?

-i too would like to be able to recharge batteries while riding a bike, then use them to charge a usb device, there are a lot of designs out there, and probably a bit of trial and error and learning curving, etc,etc, etc .. this guy appears to have designed a couple bike charging methods, then combined with something like mintyboost to usb.

- not strictly alt energy related...BUT if i could spend some time learning about small scale aquaculture, figure out what the hell hydroponics is, and figure out some nice well-designed, inobtrusive way to get more growing plants indoors (hanging from flourescent lights that are on all the time...etc,, biological graffiti, in blandish urban places, i'd be happy.

instructables ideas (due Fri, 1/15/2010)

I) So here's a cool, but fairly complicated one:
a water-proof solar charger that you can use for, e.g., charging your cell phone.

What makes it cool?

1. It's water-proof.

2. It connects to two AAA batteries, which means -- you can let the batteries charge all day, and then hook up your cell phone to charge at night. Just like a regular charger!
... This is as opposed to an "emergency" solar charger that you might carry on a hiking trip, and you'd have to leave your cell phone hooked directly up to it for a full day or more. Vs with this one, you can just charge the batteries.

3. Oh, in fact, it could even just function as a battery charger. Apparently it's fairly simple to substitute other battery types (like AA) instead. Have a digital camera that runs off them?

4. It will save you (a little) money!

II) These look like cheap metal racks that might be used in an oven, maybe? or something -- but cheap metal racks that get thrown away or sold for a buck.

Very easy, affordable way to make hanging (non-mounted) and adjustable shelves, if you need something cheap and can't mount something but you do have something to hang them by.

... The title pretty much says it all.
Not much in the way of explicit instructions, unfortunately; but what he does write, plus the pictures, are enough that I think I could put one together. It *would* be useful (though I don't know if it would fit in my current space).

IV) Another not-real-explicit project, but again, the pictures + some text seem that they'd be enough:

V) YES. This is just the sort of thing I've been brainstorming myself, thinking about ways to get my clothes organized (with minimum sustained effort, of course). It's larger than it should be for my needs, so I'd probably just adapt it to be smaller.
this is an interesting idea

light up picnic place mat
I have access to cardboard and need furniture the sundial is funny the other to just seem cool
pedal powered bike light

Thursday, January 14, 2010

what i might like to build


So I am thinking about building one or two solar panels for my house and seeing just how many different household appliances I can actually power. It would be pretty cool to be able to power lights for a garden inside my house during the winter months or something of the sort. I could either get some full solar cells with chipped corners (but mostly intact) or some random broken bits of cells that would take a little more assembly (The second link below gives an example of this). There are also some pretty cool guides for solar panels on 'instructables' that track the suns movement throughout the day to collect more power.


Terrariums! using lightbulbs, ornaments

Terrariums using recycled materials from around your house or the detritus leftover from the holidays!


Seed Balls!

Easy planting in hard to reach areas or gardening on the fly (or the sly)...


Grow a garden in your toilet tank

I thought this idea was lovely - utilizing a constant water source that we all have in our homes as a means of growing plants indoors! Check out the video - it is pretty hilarious!


outdoor pizza oven

I have wanted to build one of these for a long time now. I think it would be alot of fun and very rewarding!

Solar outdoor lights

I am interested in lighting the outline of our back yard with multiple small solar lights- on I found many creative outdoor solar lanterns


Am I a artiest yet?



For Friday 1/14

From now on we will be meeting in Art Building Room #330.

Friday we will be going over everyone's 4 projects they have posted from The toolboxes are also due.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Worm Compost Bag

Check out this vermiculture composting system that reduces smell and makes bins easier to clean, created by artist Amy Young.

This instructable has made a low fi adaptation to Young's design. The table top can be turned into a cutting board so you can just scoop your scraps directly into the compost. Huzzah!

Rotating Compost Bins

I've been wanting to experiment with making stacked rotating compost bins. This design peaked my interest though i've made a few sketches of some alternative configuration of the barrels and also the possibility of having more than just 2 barrels. It would be ideal for a neighborhood or street where a community has decided they want to have on-site easy and accessible composting...


Monday, January 11, 2010

bicycle powered blender

A friend of mine teaches raw food "uncooking" classes and I thought that some bicycle powered appliances might be a good addition to his repetoir.

+) bicycle powered blender - mobile
+) bicycle powered food processor - stationary
+)a passive solar dehydrator might be good for preserving fruit from his cherry and pear trees and other fruit gleaned via

I run a gallery and grassroots hub in Old Town Chinatown, called SEA Change. SEA = Social Environmental Art. As a physical symbol of this mission, I'd like to add some homemade solar panels or windturbines to the roof:
+) solar panel from broken solar cells
+) solar panel diy
+) wind turbine from old scanner - I bet Free Geek has free broken scanners

I'd also like to build some planters for the inside. Since the gallery is downtown, the air is pretty polluted. Some native ferns and other air cleaning plants could do wonders for my health and make the gallery more inviting:
+) Zach also suggested building wood planter boxes and water catchment trays lines with trash bags.
+) Living walls could be another cool option:

Change the system, not the climate!


Due friday

By friday everyone should have finished their toolboxes. Everyone should also have links to 4 projects from posted to the blog--read through the projects you chose and be ready to talk about them.

Three interesting home made batteries/generators

I want to find something that I could use to create and harvest energy to be used for a larger purpose such as making an amp/computer/cell phone/synthesizer/whatever I WANT, work. so perhaps into a battery I could install an outlet where these things could get plugged in. Anywho, here's what I have found so far.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

projects for me

My previous blog on the instrucables projects was not accepted for some strange reason; most likely because it was my first attempt blogging. But the two projects I would like to work on would be solar powered iphone and ipod. But I am not an apple guy so I will destroy an mp3 and a disposable phone instead; no crying for me when I screw up my machines.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Here is a drawing of what we are going to start working on Friday.

The Carbon Foot Print Of Alexander Kern

Electronic Items Used Today(Yesterday):

~Cell Phone
~Lap Top Computer
~Desk Top Computer
~Street Fighter IV Arcade Machine
~X-Box 360 and Television

My estimated greenhouse gas emissions was 16 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per year, which is below the U.S. national average.

I guess I am not as helpful to The Earth Goddess Gaia as I originally believed.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lets build this

Websites mentioned in class

So I mentioned a couple of websites during class that you all might not be familiar with. One of them was from a group called Take Back the Land and their website is I recommend reading as much as you can about them.

The other website is and this is where your first assignment comes from. We will also be making something from this site on friday, if you have an recommendations post them on blog.

See you all friday.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Alternative Energy Design/Build Syllabus

Text Box: Zach


This course is for people who are interested in the process of invention and want to have a hand-on relationship with that process. DIY culture will be used as a model for work ethic, and personal satisfaction. For inspiration we will look at examples such as the first Gutenberg printing press, communities living off the energy grid, and other forms of alternative energy production.

Half of every class and the last 3 weeks will be dedicated to making machines that will produce energy. Each student will be responsible for designing a machine they can use on a daily basis to power small electronics, such as cell phones or iPods. Each machine will be unique to the inventor.

Material Lab fee of $40 is required for each student.


Upon completion of this course students will understand the historical and contemporary motivation behind DIY culture, and how those ideas can function on a practical level. Students will be able to safely design and build their own energy production machines based on knowledge of historical experiments, current surrounding conditions and their personal interests.

While building their machines, students will gain knowledge on how to safely use both hand tools and power tools in an effective way. The skills taught in this course will give each student the opportunity to become an inventor, so when improvements need to be made on their machine they can pin point the problem, research the reason, and improve their design.

Community Connection

After the class has ended and the machines are being used in the inventor’s daily life there will be conversations outside of the classroom that happen because of the machine they are using. By having an intimate design/build/use relationship with that machine, they will be able to educate people on their creation and what purpose it serves in their life.

On the weekend of May 1 there will be a series of workshops at the Seachange Gallery where students from this course will teach how to build the machines they built in class. The projects will be documented and presented at Portland State for the last two weeks in May.


Your grade is based on your performance in this class, which includes not only the quality of what you produce, but also how you contribute to the class through participation.

Each project will receive a letter grade based on:
25% - craftsmanship & presentation
25% - ambition & work ethic
25% - experimentation
25% - documentation to class blog

Final course evaluation will be based on:
25% - class participation

25% - Blog posting
25% - Instructable Project
25% - Final Project

Grading scale

A (100-94%), A- (93-90%), B+ (89-87%), B (86-84%), B- (83-80%), C+ (79- 77%), C (76-74%)
C- (73-70%), D+ (69-67%), D (66-64%), D- (63-60%), F (59-0%)

Extra Credit

Almost every Monday night there is an artist lecture at 7:30 in Shattack Hall Annex. If you attend one of these and write a brief page response to the lecture you can receive 2 extra credit points towards final grade.

Write an artists statement and post it on the class blog for 2 extra credit points towards final grade.

Class Schedule

Week 1

Jan 4 Look over syllabus. Introduction to Woodshop with Eric Franklin

Jan 8 Talk about blog (, discuss carbon footprints

HW: Make a list of all the personal electronics you use in a day, use a carbon footprint calculator to find what yours is in a day, post what you found on blog

Week 2

Jan 11 Guttenberg’s printing press.

HW: Find a project on you could make and use in your daily life. Write a short blog post about the project and link to the instructable. Gather materials and tools needed to make the instructable and bring to class.

Jan 15 Work day

HW: Finish instructable, post results on blog. Bring project to class on 22nd.

Week 3

Jan 18 Martin Luther King Day, no class

Jan 22 Talk about projects, discuss the processes.

HW: Read Temporary Services: DIY, write notes and questions for discussion.

Week 4

Jan 25 DIY reading discussion. Plan field trip to The Rebuilding Center. Start brainstorming machines as a class.

HW: Post 3 ideas for machines you could build on blog.

Jan 29 Field trip to The Rebuilding Center, get lunch together.

Week 5

Feb 1 Look at blog posts, discuss ideas, narrow each set of 3 down to 1

HW: Start designing machine, bring drawings to class.

Feb 5 Class discussion of designs

HW: Make improvements on design. Post on blog about your proposed machine and the materials needed.

Week 6

Feb 8 Discuss materials needed and where they can be found.

HW: Gather materials

Feb 12 Work day in woodshop

Week 7

Feb 15 Work day in woodshop

Feb 19 No class

Week 8

Feb 22 Work day in woodshop

Feb 26 Work day in woodshop

Week 9

Mar 1 Work day in woodshop

Mar 5 Work day in woodshop

Week 10

Mar 8 Class presentations of machines

Mar 12 Class presentations of machines. Course evaluations

***This syllabus is not a contract and can change due to circumstances.