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Machining - End Globalism, Restore Sovereignty
June 30th, 2012
01:22 pm


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The grim future we're sliding into obliviously as we can possibly be will require tons of maintenance to keep the basic utilities going. Globalism and cheap energy means that few companies are doing this work and just shipping stuff great distances. I once visited a company that worked in serious level valves (18-30 inch) and turbines (12 foot wide) for dams and power plants. They would take them from their position and fix them up, then re-machine them to size so they'd work again. Normal wear and tear does that. Now expand that to other products. Like the gears of your bicycle, or the parts of a bicycle chain. To bearings of various kinds. To pistons and piston rings. And to building the machines to make these in a specialized way. Picture these in every city and even larger towns. Which means there's a huge field of job opportunities to do the relevant machining. Wish I knew how. Friend of mine is just finishing his degrees in machining. If you're thinking about college or a career change, machining is a very solid field. People will need you. And they'll pay for it.

So I did a search on Cheap CNC, which is a surprisingly fertile field in technology today. Maker Faires are the modern version of the Dot Com boom, really. Check out Boingboing.net if you don't believe me. Gizmodo too. Tons of news on new technologies that make the iPhone look really passez. Most of them are being built in kitchens and garages by the underemployed. And commented on by people like me. And they're being built with hand tools (some powered). Combine all those interesting machinists with electrical designers. There's all sorts of things they can fix or improve and make.

On a related note, eventually we're going to be dealing with synthetic algal-based biofuels to run our cars because we don't have a large enough source of lithium for car batteries for everyone, just the 1%. Maybe not even them. Anyway, synthetic fuels will have different costs. Synthetic biodiesel is around $30/gal. at current prices, assumed to be scaled up to every town and city. Synthetic gasoline made from that diesel needs refining (cracking) to convert, plus lots of additives. And then the labor costs, etc, gets you up to probably $40/gal for gasoline to run in a modern car. Turn that into E85 by thinning with ethanol, which isn't free either, and you'll probably see that one around $25/gal. Pure ethanol E100 is probably $15/gal but will wreck your engine so requires lots of maintenance, particularly pistons, rings, and probably sleeves and valves and valve guides too. These are NOT CHEAP parts. And you'll probably need to do this twice a year. Really, the diesel is going to run the longest and cheapest. Most modern engines are gasoline, but its possible to build a multifuel capable engine based on a diesel design with fuel injection and sensors to adjust the process so you can run various mixes, key for modern idiots to run. Take your Civic or Camry and swap the engine for a small diesel. Swap the transmission to take advantage of that and driving 50 mph in overdrive gear on our putative real world speed limit in a seriously fuel-poor future. Rich people will probably drive faster. Poor people will do it too, but get pulled over and beaten to death for resisting arrest or unpaid tickets or whatever. You choose. The Highway Patrol will likely change their stance on speeding and what constitutes reckless driving so they can get better funding through the rich people they stop and coerce into bribing them lawfully cite for vehicle violations. Ahem. You know, like in the real world. Some of these diesel engines won't exactly fit the model they're bought for, so the machinists and welders and electrical guys will get involved in the retrofit, which is lots more jobs. In every town. And then fixing those retrofits when they inevitably break down, that will require really good auto technicians who can do more than read a computer terminal and swap a part. They'll have to be proper diagnosticians, not the modern pansy crapholes most mechanics are today, hiding behind the law and the ignorance of their customers. Been there, done that, got the outrage. Anybody who can't afford these things? Enjoy bicycling. Or walking. Or starve in the darkness.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:July 1st, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)
not to be arguementative but a slight correction

E100 will run perfectly fine in a modern engine with just a reprogram of the computer. the only physical modification may be on the soft fuel line on an older fuel injected car (alcohol may eat it).

alcohol would actually like to see compression in the 14 - 17 to 1 range ideally but it runs perfectly fine in engines with compression down to 6/1

pistons, rings, cams, injectors, o2 sensors, valves and all the works will be fine with alcohol.

modern engines have compression in the 9/1 up to about 11/1 range which means alcohol will actually run cooler than gasoline in those engines. the biggest problem they will have will be warming up when its cold outside.

as an example of this, i use to build holley carbs for a company called AED or "advanced engine design" i built there HO and HOM series of carbs.
all carbs had to be test run before they went out the door so we had a test engine that we bolted all the carbs to. as i'm sure you can imagine starting super rich race carbs on an engine tends to make it heat up pretty quickly. to counter that problem we would run an alcohol carb for a few minutes every 5 or 7 carbs to bring the engine temp back down and keep it from overheating.

i know the military use to have there multifuel engine back in the day and it would run on pretty much anything you threw in the tank however efficiency on that thing was somewhat less than a person in an energy poor future might desire.

gas and diesel engines run on fundamentally different principals and its much better not to try and mix the two.

so the short of it is. running alcohol in a gas engine, two thumbs up, simple reprogram and you're down the road. trying to run gas in a diesel engine two thumbs down, you're asking to dump huge amounts of fuel into broken parts.
[User Picture]
Date:July 1st, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
Thus I give you this: http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2012/05/21/building-your-basic-gasoline-diesel-engine/

Isn't that cool? Needs to be refined a bit, but the concept is sound, right?
[User Picture]
Date:July 1st, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
yes/no/not really.

the reason you dont do compression ignition with gas is exactly what they say. it burns to fast which is why you use oil for compression ignition (diesel) it burns slow.

they are essentially talking about 3 seperate combustion cycles per power strokes which will require a "high pressure" pump to say they least with super precise timing.

now this is a situation where you actually do have to worry about pistons/rings/valves. the reason diesel engines are so loud is because compression ignigion is essentially also knocking or preignition. it's fine with diesel because it burns slow. with gas if you get pinging/detonation/preignition/knocking it destroys your pistons. the effect is pretty much like holding a torch on the top of your piston while hitting it with a hammer.

if you ever ran crappy gas in an old engine youve probably heard pinging before (it sounds like somebody shaking a can of rocks where your engine is located)

maybe they are using an advanced alloy piston or they found someway to control that effect but thats the physics of it.

then we come to the issue of what is more cost effective and efficient.

to run that engine will require a complete retrofit of an entirely diffferent engine design. all the parts will have to be new and the mechanic will have to be skilled. and the gains to be had from it sound somewhat meager.

if you are a manufacturer and you are looking to develope a new engine for a new car it may have something to it, but if you are joe blow that wants his car to get better mileage the cost of the conversion will far outweigh the gains to be had.

for example, you're not going to spend 8k$ to retrofit this engine into your mazda 626, you're going to sell the car an get a mazda 323 or you'll keep the 626 and get a motorcycle.

so the short of my oppinion is i'm not sure the concept is sound. but if it can work it will only be good for new car manufacturers at best because i question it's durablity over the long term

as a retrofit option i wouldnt count on it unless it has some crazy performance potential. for example, how people are putting turbo diesels from trucks into mustangs and corvettes now because we can now get over 1200hp out of the truck engines and because of the smaller more aerodynamic car it can also get 35 - 40 mpg
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