Putting the fizz into recycling.
I was a young geek once, I promise. A very young geek of five or six reading the "The Golden Book of Astronomy" who had his first inkling of how BIG the rest of the Universe was and it made him throw up. A very young geek of five that always wanted to be Gyro Gearloose and INVENT ALL THE THINGS. I had no idea exactly what or how, and to this day I still don't know just what "my" technology is supposed to be.
Also, pretty much everything humanity's achieved was the peak of our technology in its time. Napping rocks into useful blades; Fire; Cooking and preserving; Rollers; Wheels; Carpentry; Smelting and smithing; and onwards. Each thing had a discovery phase, a 'specialist geek' stage, then became 'mainstream technology in use' and then anyone that could be bothered could DIY.
But some people become virtuosos of their field and make huge advances in their fields, some become proficient in several related fields, and some become synthesists. And then there's Gyro Gearloose, the Mickey Mouse Universe's multiskilled virtuoso. Did I mention that I've always regarded him as my hero?
So I went for 'electronics' as THE place where stuff was happening. Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley had invented the first transistor(s) not quite ten years before I was born and Sir Clive Sinclair was still just plain old Clive Sinclair, but had invented a tiny amplifier kit the year I had my existential crisis with my place in the Universe, and a tiny pocket radio the following year - less than twenty years after the first transistor sprouted out of those laboratory experiments.
And then last year I got this - Lenovo IdeaPad, a convertible tablet/notebook running Win10.
Computers came into reach of non-scientist types in the early 1970s when I was in High School. The school was going to get a multi-user computer just in time for my last year - but just failed to get it installed for that year. Notwithstanding, we had the manuals for programming COBOL and Fortran IV computer languages in the library, and a teacher that *knew stuff* about these behemoths.
So a few of us got to write programs in COBOL and this teacher would look at them and point out where our programs would (invariably, actually) fail and get us to try again. COBOL and Fortran were both only a few years older than I was...
While in High School I worked for a radio repair shop in my spare time, rebuilt an old school valve radio (with the glowing tubes and all that vintage glitz) and which shocked anyone else that tried to touch it. I remember back then listening to an AM radio station from halfway across Australia, 3XY Melbourne. Albert Hammond’s “Free Electric Band” was among the first then-current pop tunes that I learned by heart.
By some strange coincidence, I’m now not far outside Melbourne and living happily and well with my DW, and it feels like a circle in my life has been closed finally. I got to a place I could only dream of when I was that teenager.
Then in succession I got to work with electricians as a Trade Assistant, a large electronics place as a Bench Tech, then a mining company Comms Tech, a TV OB Tech, country radio tech, IT system and network admin, freelance IT troubleshooter, - and then suddenly I find myself here, writing blogs and looking back on all that.
But it’s been a life I’ve mostly enjoyed, and along the way I also learned to manage small animals and vegetable and grain cropping on homestead farms and back gardens, wine and beer making, cooking, preserving, carpentry joinery tinsmithing boilermaking/welding, silversmithing/jewellery making, and most recently 3D design and printing, and video making/production.
Most of those things I know other people are far more qualified than I am to teach and pass on, but one thing in particular lately I’ve been into has, as I’ve mentioned in the past, working on plastic, paper, fibre, and thin metal recycling.
I’ve been working on ideas for recycling, starting with the basic stuff. A sandwich press to melt HDPE and LDPE plastic into flat sheets, so far. And a load of scribbled plans on paper. Mind you, quite a few of the machines I didn’t even have to design as Precious Plastic / One Army have already made those plans available for free, and I could buy these machines from one of their member shops. Mind that you mind you, though, that at $2500 - $lordknowshowhigh per machine depending on what it is, I’m $2500 - $lordknowshowhigh minus about twenty bucks short of being able to afford them.
So part of my design brief has been to use the cheapest ways possible to get plastics shredded, melted, extruded, pressed, or injection molded in order to make something useful from waste plastic.
The next steps are to use plastics and fibre (cloth etc) and or plastics and paper/cardboard together to make different structural products, then to also process thin sheet metals into useful products and structural components, and finally to be able to recover metals by smelting etc, and finally be able to make machines to recover these things (and electronics salvage) automatically, basically the idea is that organic waste is these days mostly already processed into compost for farming but almost all other waste that isn’t commercially recovered already should be processed locally at each community.
There are a lot more memories I can and will add here, and if you’re interested in the plastics recycling then I direct you to the News Stand page and look up PrawnTech3D and RCX there. And as always if you donate or take a membership here, ALL money goes towards the development and research I’m doing, and to the organising of a local recycling operation. If you would like to start recycling, go to the News Stand page and grab my Twitter contact details there and let’s start working out how you can get started.
Now get off the damn lawn!