Electrocution, Westec Projects, Titanium Anodization

Oh goodie. I electrocuted myself today. Nice 120 volts AC across my fingers on my right hand. Took me a minute to figure out why my hand was shaking. I was connecting the relays on the robot from the PLC, and began to shake. And I was assured that the PLC was off on those blocks. Something’s not quite right with the PLC in that regard. It should only be sending voltage down the line when we want to activate a switch, not have them continuously activated. We had Professor Smith down today to look at the set up. He agreed with how I had wired the robot to the PLC, and was equally stumped as I am about why it’s not working. We may just have to cut off the wires I ran, and just have a trained monkey, or student run activate the robot’s programing at the appropriate times.

Not the first time I’ve been electrocuted. I did it last year to myself, using twelve 9 volt batteries. DC electrocution was different than AC. I noticed the DC faster, and my hand kept shaking for a bit afterwards. With the AC today, my hand stopped immediately. I hadn’t felt anything to follow it up with today, but the rest of the day here, and slightly getting more noticeable as the evening wears on, my hand and arm aches just a bit.

What was I doing with twelve 9 volt batteries? I was trying, and succeeding in anodizing titanium metal. Titanium anodizing is applying a thin oxide layer to add color and protection. It’s applied using DC electricity in a liquid conductive to electricity. We found that distilled water with epson salts worked best. You can vary the color by the voltage used, we got a good range of blues, purples, yellows and bronzes, using a power supply of 0 to 80 volts DC. Using the 9 volt batteries, I was able to get several other colors. We were told, but didn’t test, that with much higher DC voltages, the color schemes begin to repeat.

Could be I’m just tired from using the router for 2 hours on my snowboard project tonight. I was routing out 1 inch particleboard to make a template of a snowboard. Got that done. And I routed out a piece of 1/4 inch balsa wood for a core. Wednesday night, when Young gets back from Portland, we will make two, hopefully three snowboards. One from regular snowboard parts, P-tex, fiberglass, spruce core, clear capsheet, one from P-tex, fiberglass, balsa wood, clear capsheet, and then hopefully one from aluminum skins and a balsa wood core. The balsa wood/aluminum will use a thinner fiberglass than the other ones. We’ll take them up to Mammoth Mountain this Memorial Day weekend to test them out

I know, I know. No pictures of the snowboard project up here. I’ll get around to it sooner or later. Hopefully this weekend, after we get some good shots of the boards in use.

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