20080131

Greasy Monitor Installed


Greasy Monitor Installed
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is what the grease monitor looks like installed in our 1984 Mercedes 300TD. I probably could have found a better location, but this was the easier to pull the wires through.

Completed Grease Board #1


Completed Grease Board #1
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is what the finished grease temperature monitor system I made for my car looks like. The time to make them is still pretty high at four hours each. I am about to make a batch of ten and sell them on-line to other greasers.

20080129

Greasy Mon PCB #1


Greasy Mon PCB #1
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is the first round of greasy_mon circuit boards I've put together. This board was designed to measure the temperature of a grease car in three different locations. This would help the driver know when to switch from diesel to veg oil based on the number of LEDs illuminated for each sensor. Unfortunately I'm dealing with programming problems right now. The code uploads, but fails to completely execute. I suspect I messed up the fuses.

Slick Shoes


Slick Shoes
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
At the end of the day we managed to slick down all the paercrete we could reach. Thursday will be the real challenge to see how much of the top of the dome we can smooth out.

Some Texture


Some Texture
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is what the papercrete filled dome looks like before I spray it. The textured exterior is just the papercrete insulation poking through the lath.

Done Spraying


Done Spraying
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We made it around the external part of the dome today thanks to the tirolessa sprayer. We are getting much faster and enjoying our low water mix more and more.

Killer Pizza


Killer Pizza
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I made a vegan pizza the other day that was amazing. It was so good we almost made it again today. It takes a good two hours since we use a bread machine for the crust.

20080127

In Defense of Food


In Defense of Food
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
If you have not read Michael Pollan's new book "In Defense of Food" I highly recommend it. I read it last week and actually learned a lot of good tips on how to shop for real foods, not bagged crap.

LImeade


LImeade
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After we made 45 gallons of paint in about two hours I got to work adding lime to each bucket of prickly pear. I found that a minimum of six cups of lime per bucket was required. Less than that and you run the risk of the prickly rotting. It was about 25lbs worth of lime or a whole $5 in materials to make about $900 of paint that acts as a roofing sealer. Thie prickly pear is probably the most profitable building material we have discovered while working on the Green Acre
project.

Slimer


Slimer
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The slime actually smells pretty good for about a day after that watch out. We are just finishing of filter this mix here. Today we were fast about getting the strained prickly fiber and needles into the garbage so it does not stink up our property in the coming days.

Prickly Strain


Prickly Strain
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
These ghetto strainers I made out of lath have served us well. We use them frequently for sand and pricly pear paint making. I recommend having a extra 5 gallon bucket with lid so you do not need to bend of like Wendy here.

Prickly Mixer


Prickly Mixer
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our papercrete mixer with a small batch (150 paddles?) of prickly pear. We use the papercrete mixer to break down this cactus into gooey goodness.

20080126

Badass Greaser


Badass Greaser
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Here is the princess scoring us another 17 gallons of grease. A $60 value if we had to buy it as diesel fuel. We are getting pretty fast at obtainment. We scored todays fuel in 10 minutes including setup and tear down.

Composter


Composter
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Check out our little composter I bartered for with Brett. He had no use for it and I wanted one that turned and was raised off the ground. In return I news to help him get his windmill going.

Prickly Harvest


Prickly Harvest
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I are ready for another round of prickly pear paint. We make 60 gallons at a time and use a few scoops of lime to preserve the mix. Wendy is seen chatting with Brett in this photo taking a break from hacking prickly cactus with a axe. Brett has a great deal of this cactus on his property and wants it removed because rattle snacks and rats tend to hide in it.

Grease Wood Trim


Grease Wood Trim
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I screwed in the wood we had scored from a home renovation last week. This is the same wood we had planed and sealed with grease.

Unsightly


Unsightly
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We have some nasty areas of our fence that were never cleaned up. Today Wendy and I tried to cover them up.

Brown Umber


Brown Umber
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I bought a 50 lb bag of brown umber yesterday from nmclay in Albuquerque. This is a oxide that we will use to add a color coat to our structures. It is much cheaper than concrete stains at only $3 a lb.

Irobot warranty


Irobot warranty
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
My robots were doing a pretty lousy job of vaccuming. I called irobot and they replaced all three under warranty and gave me new batteries for them.

Blower Repair


Blower Repair
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Although it took me hours to swap the old motor for the new one it is now done. Wendy and I are enjoying quiet heat like we have not known for years.

20080125

Magic Mobile


Magic Mobile
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I drove the grease car up to Albuquerque today to pickup some supplies. My first stop was the "Magic Mobile Home" store. Good name, right? I bought a new blower motor for our gss heater which had been making some terrible noises.

20080124

Greasy Mon Parts


Greasy Mon Parts
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
These components make up the greasy mon device. I'm going to solder up the first unit this evening and hopefully it will power on.

Grease Trip


Grease Trip
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After doing a brief interview with a local paper about grease I decided to filter another 21 gallons and get ready for a trip to Albuquerque. I am going to heat the grease for one hour before passing it through a 10 micron racor filter. I'd really like to have some 5 or even 1 micron filters to clean the fuel further.

20080123

PCB's arrive


PCB's arrive
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
My first two temperature control boards arrived today. I should have some time to solder one up tomorrow.

Dome Demands


Dome Demands
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our dome is about 2/3rd's plastered after 2 good days of spraying. It needs more and we will be delayed due to a storm coming through.

20080122

Fiber Spraying


Fiber Spraying
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After two days of struggling to get a strong mortar mix on the battery room I gave up. Today Wendy and I switched over to a high fiber content mortar with no water and a healthy serving of Portland and sand. We have used this mix before on our curvy gates. We did take time to float our work giving us a very earthen finish.

20080121

Mix #2


Mix #2
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
While I was spreading mortar on the outside of the battery room dome today I came up with another mix. This one comes out nice and gooey and is easy to trowel smooth. I sped things up quite a bit today by just doing a mix, towing up the bucket with a rope, and dumping the whole mix in a small area and spreading it out by hand. I then floated the mortar with a pool trowel to get a slick finish.

20080120

Scared of Heights


Scared of Heights
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
At first we were both reluctant to climb on the dome. After a few minutes of discussion we realized there was no other way we were going to mortar and slick down the peak of the structure. We both took turns climbing around and handing each other buckets of mud. I am looking forward to spraying our mud instead of applying it by hand.

Mix Master, Spin Faster


Mix Master, Spin Faster
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy is using our baby mortar mixer to try our first real mortar recipe. Since we are using Portland cement and blast sand we always wear masks. The particules are quite fine for both materials. The mixer worked great. Easy to clean, light, and strong enough to make our mud.

Today's Special


Today's Special
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I finally started applying mortar to the top of the dome. We used this recipe and had a nice creamy good for the first mix. I tried removing the acryl-60 and lowering the Eucon SPJ on the next two mixes and ended up with a rather sandy mortar that felt a bit crumbly.

20080119

Electric Kitty


Electric Kitty
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I recent purchased a electric blanket off ebay only to find that was not fully functional. I decided to give the blanket to my kitties. It has completely changed their world. They now make no effort to conserve heat. You can see baby IO spread out entirely.

Greasy Seal


Greasy Seal
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Once the wood was sanded it was time to seal it up. Since we have a great deal of waste vegetable oil on hand for our car we made use of it. A thin brushed on coat of WVO really brought the wood back to life.

Sanding


Sanding
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After smoothing out the wood with the planar it was time to sand it down. We used 100 grit sand paper and a small random orbital sander for the finish work.

Planar


Planar
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After cutting our wood to size with a chop and table saws we moved onto the planar. We planned three out of four sides of each board to get a smoother external look.

De-Nail


De-Nail
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I spent some time removing nails from some wood trusses we picked up down the street.

20080118

Greasy Mon (gerber)


Greasy Mon (gerber)
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is my favorite view of the greasy_mon circuit board. It is the gerber files all over laying each other. The circuit board house I use will drill holes and cut traces based on these files.

Greasy Mon (PCB)


Greasy Mon (PCB)
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is the printed circuit board for my grease car monitoring system. I designed the board in a program called "PCB" which is a open source program. I am giving the hardware and firmware away for others that may want to make their own. I will also being selling these printed boards with all the surface mount parts in place. I have not determined the price yet.

Greasy Mon (schematic)


Greasy Mon is born
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Today I finished the first version of my grease monitor system. This device consists of a microcontroller that monitors three temperature sensors. The microcontroller then illuminates different LEDs to show how warm the grease is. This can give grease users a better idea of when to flip to veg oil while driving. It can also be used while heating grease for filtering and de-watering. See schematic.

20080117

Waste Hummus


Waste Hummus
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I decided to make a batch of hummus tonight using two different
ingredients.

1. Left over dolma oil instead of olive oil

2. Left over soy bean mung from our soy milk maker

The hummus still had the usual lemon, tahini, garbonzo bean and garlic
with the addition of our waste materials mentioned above.

Free Wood


Free Wood
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
On our way to lunch we passed a construction site that had a lot of
banging and a huge pile of wood. A small crew of men were doing demo
inside the house and let us have the old trusses. The wood is a low
quality pine that has plenty of nails in it. It can be used for jigs
and bracing, but not much else.

20080116

Stained Pallets


Stained Pallets
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is what our converted pallets looked like after being sanded
then stained with vegetable oil.

Grease Seal


Grease Seal
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After making crude stands out of pallets we decided to seal up the
pallets with the same vegetable oil that we normally run our car on.
This has been heated and filtered at 10 micron.

Pallet Remix


Pallet Remix
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I shredded and reassembled a few pallets to make a curved
stand for our battery room. The batteries will sit on top of the
pallets.

20080115

Refill


Refill
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
On Tuesdays I go out grease shopping. Today I found a grease trap with relatively clean fuel and a temperature of 70F (very good for January). I pumped 14 gallons of grease into two containers and brought it home to settle in a 55 gallon drum. Although our grease car is driving well and getting good mileage I am still clogging filters every few hundred miles. Filters fortunately are very inexpensive, but I still need to get my grease cleaner before driving on it. My current theory is that I need to de-water my grease better. This means heating it up and letting the water settle and not pumping off the bottom of the drum. We shall see how the next 500 miles go.

Pallet Hacking


Pallet Hacking
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Rather than taking the time to pull the nails from a pallet I simply
cut of the usable wood with a tiny battery powered framing saw. Used
pallets are abundant in our small town. The wood can easily be
reclaimed into many projects.

Battery Stand


Battery Stand
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I were hacking up used lumber and found pallets to place
our batteries on.

Shade


Shade
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I put up two 20' runs of welded wire mesh between our
shipping containers yesterday.

20080113

Bunny


Bunny
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We have a bunny named "comfortable" that we see outside our house every other day or so. He likes to eat our winter rye.

Something is Wrong


Something is Wrong
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
On a return trip from Albuquerque in the grease car I lost power to the grease control unit. It turned out to be a loose vampire tap connector that my mechanic had used to pull power from the key on ignition. I yanked the tap and used screw caps for a better connection.

Surplus City


Surplus City
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
A not to be missed junk shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Acres of scrap materials. Pictured here are a lot of electric motors.