The Contraption 2009

The Contraption 2009

Postby LeChatNoir » Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:21 pm

It seemed like it was time to go ahead and start anew so that it might be easier to get some direction in what little things I might add/rework on the old rusty critter. That, and maybe spur on some conversation about things Steampunk and the myriad ideas and sub-genres that it encompasses.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Karine and I were discussing the seeming fact that Steampunk, by and large, appears to focus on a primarily English Victorian era setting as a starting point. I had sort of known this, but never gave it much conscious thought until in the desert when we were discussing such things, including The Contraption and the implications of the theme "The American Dream".

Pertaining to contraptioneering, obviously, the steam engine didn’t work out so that puts the literal categorization in question. But I personally feel the aesthetic difference would have been at best negligible, if not even lessened, had the steam engine in fact worked out. But more than that, there seems a difference in the root approach of The Contraption when compared to most things that are currently thought of as fitting of the label.

The majority of things I would consider describable as “Steampunkâ€
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Postby **burn** » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:06 pm

This is bitter-sweet.
I loved the 2008 thread - my all time fave.
Yet I look forward to the journey of reading all the ideas forthcoming and their fruition.
Happy travels!

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Postby Toolmaker » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:39 am

The day you start calling yerself an agripunk is the day that you have officially spent too much time on brassgoggles. ;)

j/k

I STILL didn't get to see it.. which was on my top 5 of to do this year. I kind of went last minute n stuff so I didn't have any addresses or anything.

I think you should keep the whole agri-cycle thing you have goin on. Its original, don't compromise to fit in somewhere. You gotta be true to yourself and your art. If you want coveralls than maybe its not steampunk per the victorian guidelines but fuckit.. you can still use steam and be cool as a mofo. Do what moves you as an individual to the Contraption. Its your art and I see nothing wrong with having a mixture of all the things talked about last year. Steam engine, steam whistle, brass out the ass etc.. it's all good. The fact that you are salvaging most stuff makes the whip even more unique and sexy. Its definitely a one-off to be proud of. Whatever you decide to do we are all behind ya. Now get to work on getting that steamplant going.. and I want it running on moonshine by spring.
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Postby pinemom » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:51 am

evolution...but at your own speed!slow and precise.

Watching thsi wonderful contraption has fed all of us memories we busy people seem to forget.
The past and the present, and how the past has such a tangible effect on OUR present.

The Contraption is truely the key to unlock our fondest memories of childhoods make beleive, of running around grt. gramma's back yard.
Of playing hide n seek, plowing the fields, the new car, all these things I played with that rusty bucket of a tractor'tiller in gramma's back 40...
Your bringing it to life...
Priceless.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:55 am

Toolmaker wrote:The day you start calling yerself an agripunk is the day that you have officially spent too much time on brassgoggles. ;)

j/k


Heh Heh... You may be on to something there, Toolmaker. Joking or not, you raise a point.

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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:00 am

pinemom wrote:... that rusty bucket of a tractor'tiller in gramma's back 40...
Your bringing it to life...
Priceless.


Awe... If this project can recall those memories for you, then I guess have done my job ok. Thanks pinemom.
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Postby couglite » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:15 pm

Forgive my virginity, but is the contraption the thing that was setting off smoke signals?
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Postby Zulegoona » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:32 pm

I don’t know if “Agri-punkâ€
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:50 pm

couglite wrote:Forgive my virginity, but is the contraption the thing that was setting off smoke signals?

This
Image
is the Contraption, my friend.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:21 pm

Nope, the smoke signals were from a great big vortex ring generator that I have yet to see up close. Only seen the large, tell-tale rings it makes. Either way, I love it.
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Postby unjonharley » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:49 am

It occurres to me that contraptionation is a American way of life..

During WW ll everything went to the war effort.. Nothing was spared.. Farm machines were melted for tanks and guns..

This left the farmer to his own devise.. It was all over by 1950.. All the home made stuff was being replaced with new and modern..

Still there were hold outs..Could be these contraptions worked so well there was no need to replace them..

Our neighbor to the north had a home built tractor.. It was a model A frame with a Chevy engine.. The frame was cut and stubbed.. Car wheels on the front, Ford truck (two speed) rear end and wheels.. To get enough power to the wheels to plow was a trick.. After the transmission he had another transmission.. Only this one was turned around.. Running this one in reverse gave an unbelievable compound.. That little banger could pull a two bottom plow at an idle.. Everything else was horse drawen..
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:41 am

I think Steam Punk has about run its course at least for me. I brought my fabulous steampunk cruiser to the playa this year only to have it, on the first day, covered in thick white playa dust which obscured its brass and UV LED glories. Same was true for my Steampunk Bar. I think I'm headed off on a Buck Rogers- George Jetson tack.
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Postby unjonharley » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:08 am

Teo del Fuego wrote:I think Steam Punk has about run its course at least for me. I brought my fabulous steampunk cruiser to the playa this year only to have it, on the first day, covered in thick white playa dust which obscured its brass and UV LED glories. Same was true for my Steampunk Bar. I think I'm headed off on a Buck Rogers- George Jetson tack.


That's what is called evolving.. Unlike the throw back knuckle draging Captian Goddammit..

I'm going for a Back "From" the Future thing..



What part of "meow" don't you understand. "Rus=t=fur cat"
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Postby Toolmaker » Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:26 pm

Here is a list of calculators and such for builders.. just in case you dont have this one bookmarked yet.

http://www.csgnetwork.com/converters.html

Just in case anyone needs use of em.. there are an awful lot there.
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Postby karine » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:15 pm

You guys are awesome.

;)
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Postby The CO » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:02 am

I like Agri-punk. Perfectly descriptive.

I think Le Chat has a two-year head start on the 2009 theme. The Contraption has shown plenty of eveolution in the last couple years. (or maybe it's "intelligent design", I never can tell...)
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Postby thisisthatwhichis » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:31 pm

Yea, the Contraption has brought new life to things deteriorating in the field..... an art form never conceived..... many memories invoked for those who have lurked.... and a community together to participate..... All in ways that I don't think have ever happened here and on Playa........

I could care less what label anyone want's to put on it...... What's happened over the last 2 yrs, has been fabulous..... :D

My hat is off to you, BlackCat!!!...... very well done!!!
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Postby Dusza Beben » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:32 am

I personally think that the Contraption personifies steampunk.
Trying to judge it as it related to steampunk is the wrong approach!
Steampunk should be judged in how it relates to the Contraption.
Sure there's a lot of anglophilia in steampunk in general, but for that I
blame Disney and Hollywood. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Marry Poppins and all of their other Victorian adventures are burned into our brains to such a subconscious level that when someone says "Victorian" we automatically think "England". The Wild Wild West TV series was fantastically steampunk and narry an english accent was heard. I think that Artemis Gordon would have marveled at the contraption and Jim West would have crashed it through a burning barn to rescue a hottie. :D
I blame Le Chat for the fact that I have started scouring the countryside for rusty farm implements of "a certain age". :P
As far as the Contraptions continuing evolution is concerned my thoughts are this;
1. Cast Iron is more victorian than brass.
2. The current power plant is awesomely punk and georgous to boot.
3. It needs a whistle or bell or both(I'm collecting bits for a bell now that you may find interesting)
4. I'm sure the Contraption will evolve, but I'm not sure that it could be improved. How much awesome can one creation handle? :D

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Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:22 am

Come on, "Victorian" is legitemately understood to be English. Was she ruling Germany? Nevada? India? Chi--wait, scrap the last two. Nineteenth Century is a possible work around.
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Postby Dusza Beben » Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:37 am

theCryptofishist wrote:Come on, "Victorian" is legitemately understood to be English. Was she ruling Germany? Nevada? India? Chi--wait, scrap the last two. Nineteenth Century is a possible work around.


True, but in the case of steampunk I find that the term Victorian is often used as shorthand for the time period not as a empire and scope defining
ultimatum for the genre. In fact it is very difficult to get two steampunks to agree on the timespan of steampunk, some stop at 1901 and others consider the end of WW1 to be the terminus. All of this is just platitude though as I find steampunk to be extremely open to individual interpretation. One persons steampunk is another persons "what in the hell is that?".

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Postby Zorch » Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:11 pm

One persons steampunk is another persons "what in the hell is that?".


*giggles uncontrollably*

Seriously tho, "Steampunk" is a really amorphous sort of phenomenon with very multinational influences. Saying that is strictly Victorian would be doing it a disservice. I mean, there were other countries around in the late 18 and early 1900's... right? ;)
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:08 pm

Call me kooky... but...
The only thing that bothers me about the old hit'n'miss engine on the Contraption is that it isn't powerful enough.

But how COOL would it be if the old hunnert-years-ago Contraption had a turbine?!! And you couldn't beat that for sound or general impact and awesomeness even with steam.
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Postby ilmarinen » Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:54 am

See, I always think of Steampunk as a time that never was but should have been. So I don't think it's reasonable to limit it to set historic periods.

After adding my personal opinion, I'll add some sort-on-topic eye candy to the thread. Check out this dude's awesome air guns. They are totally steampunk, but I've also described them as something an Anime pirate would carry.
http://www.glbarnes.com/

Maybe there is some inspiration there?

-B.

Dusza Beben wrote:
True, but in the case of steampunk I find that the term Victorian is often used as shorthand for the time period not as a empire and scope defining
ultimatum for the genre. In fact it is very difficult to get two steampunks to agree on the timespan of steampunk, some stop at 1901 and others consider the end of WW1 to be the terminus. All of this is just platitude though as I find steampunk to be extremely open to individual interpretation. One persons steampunk is another persons "what in the hell is that?".

DB
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Postby LeChatNoir » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:05 am

Check out this dude's awesome air guns.


(Grabs head and begins to flail himself into walls and door frames)

GAHHHH!!!!!!

Those things are teriffic!

Must… not… take… ON… NEW… HOBBIES!!!

… I don’ t need anymore hobbies.

(starts again to flail around in a mad fit)

(stops)

I’m ok… I’m ok.

(eye twitching)

I’m ok.


Captain Goddammit wrote:Call me kooky... but...
The only thing that bothers me about the old hit'n'miss engine on the Contraption is that it isn't powerful enough.


I'm going to go through the whole engine to regain as much as I can. Both the intake and exhaust valve guides are worn, allowing some loose of vacuum on the intake. I've already reground the needle valve on the carb and it seemed to make a noticeable difference. And it did seem to perform ok after the tune up, but I still agree that a bit more oompf wouldn't be a bad thing.

I know its working hard though, since it really boils the water when its warmed up. The manual says that as long as you keep water in it, it'll be fine, regardless of the boiling rate. Hmmm... still, the thought occurs of some sort of additional cooling device, like aluminum or copper heatsinks somehow incorporated into it. Perhaps fins (think similar to what would be found on an air cooled engine) that were in the water tank and protruded out into the air, helping to both baffle the water and dissipate heat?

I've got some other ideas brewing as well, but I gotta get back to the shop at the moment.
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Postby unjonharley » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:18 am

Just a thought.. I put a spoon in my morning coffee to cool it.. Baffels that come above the top of the tank.. They could be art punked

How much dirt got into the cooling tank over the BM week?
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Postby unjonharley » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:21 am

Yes Captian we all know your a "kook"
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Postby Dusza Beben » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:27 am

LeChatNoir wrote:
The manual says that as long as you keep water in it, it'll be fine, regardless of the boiling rate.



The manual is correct.
Baffles might help with water retention/ reducing splashover but thanks to physics the engine can't exceed 212 degrees F. For the same reason you can put a paper cup full of water into a fire and the cup won't burn until the water boils off. Any kind of fins would provide surface area to aid the heat transfer to the water and might adjust the boil rate at the begining and end of a run but otherwise the engine temp would be 212 F tops.

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Postby LeChatNoir » Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:17 pm

unjonharley wrote:Just a thought.. I put a spoon in my morning coffee to cool it.. Baffels that come above the top of the tank.. They could be art punked

How much dirt got into the cooling tank over the BM week?


That’s kinda what I was thinking, actually. Sort of a hand-tooled copper cap for the water tank that was really more like a grill than a lid, with a couple of copper baffles that went down into the tank. I’ve got some random pieces of 12 ga. sheet in my stash pile that might work nicely for this. And believe it or not, very little dust got in there at all. I was surprised.

but otherwise the engine temp would be 212 F tops.


You know, my knowledge of physics tells me this is true, and I pondered this on the playa. The actual combustion of the fuel happening inside there is much hotter than 212 degrees, and I'm pretty sure we were running her above her rated RPM. Watching that water roiling as heartily as it was, I had this image of the inside of the cylinder making heat faster than could be handled by the rate of boil and thus sending it to the only other place it could go... the piston. It's not in fixed contact with the cast iron cylinder wall, so I worry about that a little. I think that ultimately, even if the cylinder is putting out a lot of heat, it'll just boil off that much faster, but some cooling fins wouldn't hurt, I don't think. Assuming its not enough to keep the engine cooler than its optimum operating temperature. I'm sure it'll be fine if you just keep the water around it. In other words, don’t' let it run dry or there will be a very quick and steep ramp-up in the engines temp. And for anybody reading this, about these old egines... do not ever, EVER throw in a bunch of cold water. Use ambient temp or warmer only and add it slowly. And if it runs dry, let it cool down in the air. Its too late to add water at that point without risking damage to the casting.

Which brings me to one of my first ideas…

The onboard water tank.

It was a pain to dig around under the seat and find the water jug, uncap it and then try to pour some in while the thing was rattling along. I think something mounted on the pump tower with a valve at the bottom will work very well. Just actuate a valve and fill as needed. About one gallon would be perfect. Think upside down old-timey fire extinguisher or similar. I think I’ve got enough sheet scraps to make something like that as well.
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Postby unjonharley » Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:02 pm

How about using engine heat to pre heat your water tank. Nothing go's bang like something hot hitting cold water..

Maybe a copper feed tube that runs from engine up "into" the feed tank. Make that a loop to form a syphon. The loop/loops would carry heat up from the engine to the feed tank.. Run the feed tube into the engines cooling reservoir then value submerged.. So the heat radiates through the water.

Sounds like a long way around. huh? It hurts when I try to think
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Postby Box Burner » Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:48 pm

sounds like you are not that far away from putting a radiator on it. hehe.
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