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View Full Version : Do It Yourselfers / Backyard Inventors in China - interesting photos



mickeyf
05-12-2013, 10:44 PM
I have mixed feelings about some of these, but it's certainly interesting to see what people are up to.

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/05/chinese-diy-inventions/100511/

J Tiers
05-12-2013, 11:18 PM
The "air filtration bicycle" was made not so much to actually work effectively, but as a combination of protest and 'consciousness raising", according to the builder, who was interviewed by a radio network some time ago. he did say that people regularly ask him for plans to build one

As for the rest, "some may not be as effective as they could be", and let's leave it at that... perhaps mercifully.

it does show that the incidence of odd ducks and wierdos is fairly universal.

Tony Ennis
05-12-2013, 11:22 PM
Some of those things are frighteningly awful.

Fasttrack
05-13-2013, 12:08 AM
Hah! I thought it was great. Most of the things look like contraptions I built when I was a kid. Of course, they were normally halted soon after beginning due to "friendly" letters from the Home Owner's Association ;)

A.K. Boomer
05-13-2013, 10:14 AM
Wow, was actually kinda relieved to see how elementary most of the stuff was,
and like JT stated it looks like the language of "wingnuts" is universal...

I loved the idea of the "slide stairs" but somebody's going to eat it bad around a turn cuz the "inventor" did not bank the sides way higher - ooops - watch out for that outside window...

kendall
05-13-2013, 10:39 AM
Some of those are pretty interesting, though a few I wouldn't want to be anywhere around when they tried them out!

Bought a house 20 years ago that had been owned by a series of people who all thought they were carpenters/electricians/plumbers. Some of those projects remind me of that house....

Weston Bye
05-13-2013, 10:54 AM
One photo of the guy preparing to test his wooden-rotored helicoptor, surrounded by onlookers gave me the shivers. Mass decapitations?

paulsv
05-13-2013, 11:08 AM
What is it with all the submarines? Are the Chinese infatuasted with submarines?

Toolguy
05-13-2013, 11:15 AM
It's easier to go down than up.:rolleyes:

vincemulhollon
05-13-2013, 11:16 AM
Growing up on a lake I always wanted to build a submarine, but my development plan had numerous stages, starting with a scuba raft/platform, then a diving bell, then an electrified diving bell, then an electrified diving bell with two or so airlocks, then a electrified diving bell with a trolling motor free floating, then finally a submarine that looks like a little nuclear sub. I never got much past making a submersible work raft. The lack of affordable scuba grade air compressors (CO free, oil free, etc) is probably a blessing in retrospect. These 10 guys are all skipping right to the end for their apparent first project. That usually doesn't work well. "I've never used a lathe, so I guess a good first project would be a working V-12 half scale model IC engine, I mean, what could go wrong?"

Also China apparently needs a branch of the experimental aircraft ass'n as they have their hearts in the right place but just need a little bit more aviation guidance.

Breze
05-13-2013, 12:13 PM
What impressed me most about most of these projects is how little formal education these people had. They obviously had to do a lot of self education to gain the knowledge to build most of these projects.

Ron

A.K. Boomer
05-13-2013, 12:44 PM
uhhm yeah but take a look at that one guys plane that he's got sitting up on his roof that cost the equivalent of 6 grand, betcha the Wifey wishes he would have stayed in school...

Willy
05-13-2013, 01:08 PM
Some, how shall I put it, interesting projects!

But like all backyard inventors and their inventions, there's going to be a few turkeys mixed in among some very resourceful talent.

This is also another example of the new affluence that the mainstream Chinese populace is starting to enjoy. They are no longer tied to the rice paddies so to speak, trying to put food on the table.
Also they now enjoy what we have taken for granted for decades. An education, a bit of extra cash, and the free time to be creative.

I'm sure we've all hand a hand in the ability of these people to be a bit more creative.

wagnerite
05-13-2013, 01:50 PM
This is good news. No matter how red neck some of these projects are, it's definitely moving toward the right direction.

Once the folks in China has enough time and money to tinker for fun instead for necessity, they'll begin to demand foreign (US/European) tools. This will spur a market for tool retailers, which in turn will create a demand for tool manufactures whose customer base is the domestic market. Raising the consumer conscience in China will make tool companies' attention, since China is such a big market.

Why do I make this prediction? Because it has already happened 60 miles away from China 30 years ago: Taiwan.

Expect a rise in quality of tools coming out of China.

Timewarp
05-13-2013, 03:31 PM
I would like to have a rocket launcher for most of the developers around here!

Paul Alciatore
05-13-2013, 03:52 PM
I just love the "rickshaw pulled by a his self-made walking robot".

You have to preserve the traditional when moving through the modern and to the future. I like that guy.

rohart
05-13-2013, 04:21 PM
I thought the best of the bunch was the microlight that ended up crashing. A couple of nice little engines, and the right basic shape. Unfortunately, not enough attention paid to stability. Make the wings upswept, instead of straight across, and he'd have something.

The guy with his airliner on the roof was actually building a space shuttle, but he didn't dare tell anyone !

Rustybolt
05-13-2013, 04:25 PM
The guy with his airliner on the roof was actually building a space shuttle, but he didn't dare tell anyone !
Richard


Dude!That thing is,like, totally gonna fly!

The Artful Bodger
05-13-2013, 04:29 PM
I'm sure we've all hand a hand in the ability of these people to be a bit more creative.

I don't understand?:confused:

Willy
05-13-2013, 04:44 PM
I don't understand?:confused:

What I meant was that most of us have at some point in the last few years contributed to the rise in the Chinese standard of living by purchasing products from them.

Bob Fisher
05-13-2013, 05:04 PM
How deep do you think you can go in in a sub made from barrels? You can crush a barrel with atmospheric pressure. Might be good for 20 ft or so. Bob.

The Artful Bodger
05-13-2013, 05:18 PM
How deep do you think you can go in in a sub made from barrels? You can crush a barrel with atmospheric pressure. Might be good for 20 ft or so. Bob.

You could go as deep as you fancy provided you allow the inside pressure to equal the outside pressure.

MichaelP
05-13-2013, 07:00 PM
You could go as deep as you fancy provided you allow the inside pressure to equal the outside pressure. Yep. Just make a hole in the barrel. The most simple way to achieve the same result for whoever rides the vessel. :)

The Artful Bodger
05-13-2013, 07:28 PM
Yep. Just make a hole in the barrel. The most simple way to achieve the same result for whoever rides the vessel. :)

Think, principle of the diving bell or 'wet' submarine.

vincemulhollon
05-14-2013, 08:59 AM
How deep do you think you can go in in a sub made from barrels? You can crush a barrel with atmospheric pressure. Might be good for 20 ft or so. Bob.

I looked into this a lot as a kid and a couple issues rapidly develop:

1) Crush strength where the outside is a higher pressure than the inside is complicated to model and you seemingly can't buy anything off the shelf to adapt. On the other hand bursting strength where the inside is pressurized higher than the outside is simpler and you can buy tons of stuff off the shelf and plenty of them have a rated burst pressure.

2) The scuba people can turn you on to the whole decompression schedule thing. Basically an average healthy dude can handle 1 atm for a lot longer than he's willing to sit in a tin can. 1 atm is 33 feet of water so the tin can is under zero stress 30 feet down. The height of the sub actually becomes important to the calculations for a shallow diving sub.

3) The inland freshwater lake I wanted to adventure in was pretty big (like a mile across) but only about 40 feet deep at absolute deepest pit. So even in theory I had no need to design for a 1000 foot crush depth. "Most likely failure mode" was probably only 20 feet deep as you say.

4) You might, or might not, be able to pressurize a used barrel to 1 atm. On the other hand pressurizing a cheap off the shelf bulk propane tank to a couple atmospheres is no big deal. Pressure in a tank gets pretty high on a hot summer day or in a fire. You'd be surprised at the internal pressure of a tank when the overpressure valve fires off. My plan was to use new giant propane tank and derate by another factor of 10 to 100 or so and never run it much above an atm.

5) It turns out the financial limiter is primarily a source of seemingly infinite cu feet of scuba grade medically pure compressed air. Regular air compressor air is not good enough.

6) The hard part is not making something that'll work 20 feet down, but making something that won't kill you if "the" hatch jams or "the" regulator goes crazy or a valve won't close (or open) or explosive decompression.

7) The simplest air system I could design was a flowrate regulator "blow X cu ft/min of air in my face from external air tanks" and multiple open tubes on the bottom. But this makes uncontrolled flooding/descent seemingly inevitable and also explosive decompression like a cork if you pop to the surface. This means scuba trained divers who are smart enough and don't panic will be fine, but citizen off the street will probably panic and have a heart attack or panic and hold breath leading to air embolism and death. So the apparent simplest design actually doesn't work. What seems to work better is a constant flow into the sub and an absolute regulator (not relative regulator) keeping the pressure in the sub at 5 psi over ambient.

8) There are other issues with hatch design, like in navy subs the hatch is a little bigger than the hole on top, so it squeezes tight in, but with a pressure tank design you want the wedge to be on the inside, inward opening hatches. This also impacts viewport design and there seems to be nothing off the shelf. So its starting to get cheaper/safer to waterproof a camera and feed a video cable in from a hole in the bottom of the sub. In fact why not multiple cameras. And multiple monitors. And this all requires a lot of electricity. This is starting to get kinda complicated...

9) There are certain human comfort issues relating to humidity/dew point and deep water temperature that make this non-trivial for a longer than 5 minute dive. So I'd like to wear a coat but I'd prefer not to drown if I need to escape and swim for it so... And there are other issues like I can fit a "shore" dehumidifier in there and maybe even power it off an immense battery bank that I'll need anyway, but the noise would literally deafen me inside the tank. Insulation sounds good until you try to find a way to insulate a metal object that doesn't risk long term corrosion. I never really got a good answer to this. In the long run maybe those newfangled fiberglass tanks are the way to go WRT corrosion danger.

10) Dynamic stability of a propane tank in water isn't very good. Then again the immense bank of batteries to run this dude in the keel area will help. Then again the immense bank of batteries is enough to perma-sink the boat. I never settled on a final design but some early 70s/80s computer spreadsheet work showed there were plenty of completely non-viable designs that would work pretty well on another planet but not so good on a freshwater earth lake. It turns out, for example, that making a navy sized sub with a range of 1000 miles is no big deal, but making a homemade sized sub with a range of a couple miles and a couple hours is quite challenging.

11) Ballast tanks are elegant but dropping concrete blocks and rocks, although technically littering, is much simpler. I planned on both for safety.

All of this is made out of metal so its kinda on topic for the BBS. I've wanted to do this for a couple of decades but its never quite worked out.

lazlo
05-14-2013, 10:52 AM
The cannister gas mask for the bicycle was sad. They've industrialized their country -- at what cost?

Dan Dubeau
05-14-2013, 11:34 AM
...
Bought a house 20 years ago that had been owned by a series of people who all thought they were carpenters/electricians/plumbers. Some of those projects remind me of that house....

Ha ha, that made me smile (and cringe). I too am living that "dream". When we bought the place the home inspector said "there are a lot of creative interpretations of the building code in here".

The Artful Bodger
05-14-2013, 03:52 PM
Don't bother with trying to make a pressure hull, a 'wet' submarine has no pressure difference inside to out and the skin just keeps the air all in one place.

vincemulhollon
05-14-2013, 05:28 PM
Don't bother with trying to make a pressure hull, a 'wet' submarine has no pressure difference inside to out and the skin just keeps the air all in one place.

Yeah that's the situation I was describing where it superficially seems simple but its actually more complicated. For one thing the top of the sub has at least some overpressure relative to the water outside because its not as deep at the top as at the bottom, so you can't build it too cheaply (like an inflatable balloon or something), and there's all kinds of interesting issues relating to dynamic pressure if the sub pops up to the surface like a cork, can you blow enough Cu Ft of air thru a small hole quickly enough to not pop the pressurized hull (and people) like a balloon on the surface, which then results in an instantaneous pressure drop to normal pressure which is medically hard on the inhabitants. Another is if the bottom is open then you're seriously negatively unstable if you descend fast because water starts pouring in the hole due to the increased external pressure making the sub less buoyant making it sink even faster making even more water pour in, it just turns into a mess... Also everyone in the wet sub needs to be scuba qual'd not just medically but also training WRT sudden pressure changes and not holding your breath. And this is assuming you keep it shallow enough to not have depressurization schedules be relevant if you pop up like a cork. The pressure differential of 30 feet of water is huge(-ish) but it doesn't take a mechanical contraption long to travel 30 feet which has huge impact on the air system design.

Flow rate issues become interesting. Bet you'll be surprised to calc the flow rate required to pressurize a car sized propane tank 14 psi to descend 30 feet. Think about the size of air compressor you'd need to fill a giant propane tank like that and maybe the flow rate isn't so surprising.

The static solution is pretty simple, like a well anchored underwater house. Its when you get dynamic and free float the sub and add a propeller and ballast tanks it starts getting real complicated real quickly to do safely.

sansbury
05-14-2013, 10:02 PM
The cannister gas mask for the bicycle was sad. They've industrialized their country -- at what cost?

Read Dickens's descriptions of London in its early industrial heyday and it sounds a lot like modern China, or the industrial US of the late 19th/early 20th century. The road up from abject poverty is a hard one and having spent a semester in Beijing in 1996 I am always grateful for the good fortune of being born in a country that was already rich.

A while back there was a story about the plague of silver carp invading the Mississippi. When a Chinese news agency picked up the story, people started asking why the fish (which is considered excellent eating in China) were almost unknown in their rivers while they bred so fast as to be a problem in ours. Besides building questionable submersibles, increased prosperity is slowly allowing more and more ordinary Chinese people to ask the sort of questions that people started asking here decades ago.

wagnerite
05-15-2013, 06:22 AM
Sansbury's hit it right on the nose.

It wasn't so long that America was in the same shoes that China is in right now. Industrial revolution is what it is, no matter what country is going through it. Only difference is time.

In 1830, American companies such as the Slater Mill in Rhode Island hired children from 7 to 12 years old, paid them less than a dollar a week. The children worked in dangerous and unhealthy factories... starting to sound familiar? At this time, 55% of the mill workers were children.

By 1910, only 48% of children attended school, the rest were working. Finally by 1938, that's a full one hundred years after Slater Mill begin to use child labor, with the passage of Fair Labor Standard Act was child labor eliminated.

In America, Children worked with textile mill while currently, China's children work in garment factories... I don't see any difference.

I'm sure somewhere 150 years ago, a group of people gathered (perhaps in an European Cafe) and complained about the inferiority of the mass produced Made in USA products... somehow, America has forgotten that.

lazlo
05-15-2013, 11:36 AM
Read Dickens's descriptions of London in its early industrial heyday and it sounds a lot like modern China

Agreed, but when you hear the comments that pollution controls are what are making the US uncompetitive with China (which is laughable), consider that London during the height of the Industrial revolution was covered in a thick layer of soot, and on one particularly bad day, more than 700 people died from the smog.

Then consider the scale of the ~ 3 million or so denizens of London in 1870, versus the 1.5 billion Chinese participating in their Industrial Revolution.

http://thomaspmbarnett.com/storage/pollution%20-%20china%20digital%20times.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHE VERSION=1276093804692

Forestgnome
05-15-2013, 03:56 PM
I suspect those photos aren't necessarily a good cross-section of invention in China. It looks like it was put together as a way of showing how backwards they are. I'm sure you could put together the same type of collection from the U.S. We have no shortage of geniuses with welders.