Posts Tagged ‘metalworking’

Liquid Nitrogen – Part 1

LN2 withdrawal systemLiquid nitrogen (LN2) rocks. Yes, officially speaking, I need to get liquid nitrogen at PS:One so that we can do serious sciencey stuff, like, say, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy on the scanning electron microscope. But, unofficially? Driving nails into wood with a frozen banana, or making ice cream, is just plain awesome. And the clouds of chilled water vapor billowing out of flasks like something from a mad scientist’s lab… what can I say, I’m easily amused.

First, we need a source to buy LN2. Fortunately, a very generous individual, who happens to own a really cool company that has helped us in the past with CO2 tanks and refills, and provided free LN2 to test the EDX detector on the scanning electron microscope, offered us a great deal for purchasing it. But transporting -321F liquid to PS:One and storing it presents unique challenges.

LN2 boring the plugSo we need to start with a large storage dewar. These can be ridiculously expensive. I scoured eBay, found one, posted a crowdfunding request to the PS:One mailing list, and, thanks to the generosity of a bunch of donors, I made the purchase.

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26

06 2014

Shell Casing Pen

It is impossible to buy presents for my dad. I’ve exhausted my repertoire of gifts. I pride myself on giving fantastic gifts, but the man seems hell-bent on flabbergasting me. So, when I finally figured out this year’s Father’s Day gift, I felt damn proud.

A little context – my dad’s father died almost two years ago, and I’d been hanging onto a shell casing from the 5-gun veteran’s salute since then.

original shell casing

I decided to make a pen out of the casing. See a breakdown of process below. Much credit to Jordan, because you all know I can’t operate any of the shop machinery. Yet.

1. Cut off the casing end from hollow shell body and drill a wider opening. The brass is very soft so use a rubber clamp and a jewelry cutting saw.
2. Cut, hollow out, and finish hard wood shaft for pen body extension. Stain if you so choose. I used a light cherry stain as the wood was almost white.

before assembly

3. Epoxy and insert wood shaft into wide end of shell casing, and epoxy casing end to opposite end of wood shaft as pen cap.

shell casing end pen cap

4. Mold hot glue into removable stopper for pen tip using WD-40 to keep glue from sticking to ink insert and shape into cone using heated blade (neat side effect is that the glue becomes glassy and transparent). Pop in pen tip with glue stopper!

hot glue stopper for pen tip

…and fin!

finished product

I hope he likes it. I’m going to give it to him on Friday. :)

20

06 2011