Calliope #5 update

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

            Well now I know why nobody’s building calliopes: the correct valves cost $120 apiece! With tax that works out to about $1,500 per octave!! Despite assurances from ‘country cousins’ that economic forecast is rosy in future I’d still like to build #5 using the OPM principle: “Other People’s Money”, don’t ya know.. So open up those wallets friends and neighbors! Maybe it’s time for a slightly more snazzy donation station in the shop.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010, 11:21 AM:

            –Continuing last night’s thoughts this morning I thot I might construct one of those ‘donation thermometers’ that I’ve seen outside of the local hospital and our local ASPCA, with goals plainly stated and status indicated as a climbing red bar on the white painted thermometer. Maybe it could be rendered in some webpage-friendly format, along with a link to paypal? Must ask Noelle and maybe Rich.

            Well maybe Grainger will have something cheaper? Will have to do a little rummaging. Not sure if there’s a difference in price between brass or SS these days but will investigate that angle as well. And then there’s the possibility of re-re-engineering the high pressure ones Tsutomu gave me; gotta see if I can make a larger ‘piston’ and enlarge the orifice still more.

            Another test I need to do: get some pipe plugs and drill ‘em out to different diameters to determine just how large the whistle air entry hole has to be for it to be blow-able with vacuum cleaner exhaust. A favorable outcome there might mean it’s barely possible to use existing valves or  cheaper renditions of same with larger orifices.

            The other thing I need to do is to figure out just how those green ones come apart: so far all attempts to dismantle one have been in vain. Will have to get a little more aggro in future; i.e. the place where one would expect to have a nut is, in fact, a rounded-over shaft end (I think) and I’ll have to try grinding off the nub to see if the solenoid can then be removed from the valve assy. Said valve assy is topped by a massive nut but it can’t be removed by anything other than an especially thin wrench that I don’t have. Don’t want to modify the one I’ve got to do the deed either, but that may be the final answer; forceful disassembly of first one will tell.

            Noodling while waiting for camper shell place to redo wiring in truck so that camper shell transferred from old Ranger still works with new Ranger; i.e. red ‘taillight’ and internal lighting which is sorely missed at present.

            Ah! Good old ebay comes to the rescue! Took Rich’s advice and searched over there. First hit: exactly what I need for a third of the store-bought price. Still and all I want to get some more input B4 I spend a grand on two octaves worth. These look good:

            3/8”, 12vDC, $30.95

They’re a bit bigger than I really need: 1/4″ NTP is plenty big enough but I guess I can bush ’em down if nothing smaller is available.

Thursday, June 3:

Had an idea this morning: if I replaced unions with quick-connects (the kind intended for plastic tubing) maybe I could connect the dots with short pieces of copper or even stainless tube (I’ve got lots left over from another project) then I’d have a rigid system with a very small footprint and it’d probably cost less than unions too. Will first test the quick connects on metal tube: it’s an easy thing to do, yes?

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