Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I made my first real cut on the Nudie Pond (this name dates back to my childhood when the quarry was a popular nude beach destination, and on any nice day one could look over the edge of the gravel pit and see a dozen naked sunbathers.)
I bought a chainsaw from Lowe's that turned out to be too weak for the job. It kept bogging down in the ice, which was about 7 inches thick. I made the cut roughly 4 x 10 feet, thinking that I would be able to rotate the piece 90 degrees and have it rest on the bottom knowing that the winch would freewheel until it hit something solid. The wooden gantry held up fairly well, but I never could get the slab to stick to the bottom. It was either too deep, or the ice became too buoyent down there, and kicked out. Nonetheless, it was good to see that I could raise a really big chunk of ice from the water, now I just need to resolve the winch issue. I either need to find another winch that has a locking mechanism built into it, or rig up some type of clamping device.
I was able to get part of the slab to stick out the water, and by that time it was getting dark. I figured this would be worthy simulation of the real thing, and left it for a couple days. I went back this morning to inspect.
It had frozen over very well, and I was pleasantly surprised by some interesting effects going on when the sun illuminated the slab, and the difference in color from the existing ice on the pond and the negative from where the slab was cut.
Next, I need to build a bigger scaffold so I can handle larger slabs, and figure out the winch / locking mechanism. I should also mention that my the test gantry crane is now frozen in 2 inches of ice. I need to devise a better system for the base, which will always get flooded when I cut a slab of ice. There is quite a bit of water pressure under the ice, and when the slab is liberated from the frozen pond, it sort of pops up dispelling a bunch of water.
I'm also working on some drawings for ice hand saws to try out as an alternative to the chainsaw. These will be made using the waterjet cutter at school.