Go-kart engine part 1

This week I spent a lot of time disassembling the go-kart engine. I got the engine off the go-kart and started by removing the cylinder head cover in order to inspect the valves and camshaft. They looked fine so I removed them in order to see inside the cylinder and inspect the piston. The piston does not look damaged from the top, but I suspect there is something wrong underneath it. Next I removed the clutch cover, I didn’t think the problem was the clutch but I wanted to inspect it since I already had the engine apart. Unfortunately the bolt that holds the clutch on was ve ry tight and I haven’t got it off ye. The next step is to disassemble the crankcase because that is most likely where the problem is. IMG_4313






Photos where NOT by me


Vacuum Chamber part 2

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The vacuum pump offering went well. After I explained how a vacuum chamber works, we started by putting a marshmallow in. The marshmallow worked well, so next we tried water. The water boiled as I had hoped, so I let them experiment. First they played around with marshmallows. Jake wrapped one in tin foil to see what would happen. Then they tried grapes, the grapes where not noticeably affected by the vacuum. My theory is that they where cold from sitting in the garage for so long which caused the liquid not to boil. The next item they put in was an orange. At first it seemed like nothing had happened but when we released the vacuum and inspected the orange there was a hole blown in the skin. The next day we found some bubble rap and put that in. The bubbles expended but not many popped. We think one of the bubbles might have but it’s hard to tell because there is no sound in a vacuum. Over all I think my offering was a success, and I think it will be used for more experiments int in the future.

Vacuum chamber experiment, part 1

A few days ago I had an idea to get a vacuum pump to experiment with, so I did some research and found one that would work. Now I have a pump but I still don’t have a a chamber. My plan is to make one by putting a sheet of rubber gasket over a piece of ply wood and running the tube through the bottom. Then I’m going to put a glass bowl on top. Now I need to come up with some experiments to do. I have a couple of ideas. First where going to put a marshmallow in the vacuum. It should expand because there is a lot of air trapped in a marshmallow and when you lower the air pressure around it the trapped air it tries to escape making the marsh mellow expand (this can also be demonstrated with a balloon). My next idea is to spin something like a top or a coin in the vacuum. The reason coins and tops stop spinning is partly because of friction and partly because of air resistance. If you remove the air it should spin much longer. You can eliminate friction by putting a magnetic levitating top in the vacuum. It should spin for a very long time. My next idea is to put water in the vacuum. When water is in a vacuum it boils at lower temperatures because the pressure of the air is what holds the water molecules together so as the pressure lowers the water molecules push farther apart which causes the water to vaporize into a gas. The side effect of this is the water boils (all liquid boils in a vacuum including blood).

Teaching Cannon Project

This week I taught my classmates how to make a cannon from copper pipe. First we cut two lengths of pipe in half with a pipe cutter, then we soldered copper end caps on the one end. After the they had cooled we hammered a flat spot and drilled a hole in the end of the pipe to finish the cannon. Now that the cannons were done we could fire them. We used black powder as a propellent and an electric igniter that I designed to fire them from a distance. We used a vice to hold them in place while we fired them, after a few attempts it worked. DSCN1525DSCN1501 DSCN1515Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.42.59 PM

Radio telescope project

This is a video of me explaining my homemade radio telescope that I made a couple of months ago. I made it because I had most of the radio parts already, so all I needed to get was a satellite dish and some software. I also made a low noise amplifier from scratch that I used to amplify week signals.

STM Project intro

520px-Scanning_tunneling_microscope_-_ideal_tipI have been curious about STMs (scanning tunneling microscopes) for a while but recently I found a blog by Daniel Berard that went into a lot of detail on how to make an STM and it inspired me to make one. A scanning tunneling microscope is an instrument that is used to make pictures of atoms and atomic structures. Since atoms are smaller than a wave of light you can’t see them with a traditional microscope. A STM works by passing a voltage through a tip that has a point that tapers down to one atom, the tip is held very

close to the sample and moved across it in a scanning motion.  When the tip passes over an atom electrons start jumping across the gap. The jumping electrons are measured by the electronics and turned into an image.