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My farewell to fluidynes

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Posted by Morris Dovey on May 28, 2011, 5:55 pm

For anyone who has been following my efforts to build a solar-powered
fluidyne engine/pump, I've decided to discontinue fluidyne engine
development and tell a bit about that at:


The fluidyne appeared to offer considerable promise in the lab - until
the time came to do actual work, and it took me a while to figure out
the reasons why.

I can't count the time spent working on them was wasted - I learned
enough doing the R&D to devise a new (at least to me) type of heat
engine that appears not to suffer from the fluidyne's limitations.

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar

Posted by vaughn on May 28, 2011, 6:56 pm

Life is a journey.  You have just crossed one of life's state lines.  Did you
feel a bump?

Good luck!

Posted by Morris Dovey on May 28, 2011, 7:17 pm
 On 5/28/11 1:56 PM, vaughn wrote:

I did! I realized as I uploaded the page that I'd expected to to
experience some sadness/disappointment - but it turned out to be very
different because, even though I didn't achieve the hoped-for goal I may
have learned enough along the way to produce something much better.

Life's an adventure! :-)

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar

Posted by Jim Wilkins on May 29, 2011, 1:27 pm
I found that learning the skills to build equipment and
instrumentation greatly increased the range of what I was willing to
consider, by removing the prohibitive expense of custom machining and
electronic circuits, or at least reducing the expense by knowing what
to ask for and how to specify it.

Non-CNC machine tools and low-frequency electronic instruments are
obsolete for most commercial use and can be bought quite cheap. My
1960's machine tools are still fine for one-off prototypes and
modifications to parts that were made on CNC equipment when I don't
have the original program.

You can weld anything with a small TIG machine and a tank of argon.
Oxy-acetylene is pretty good too. Other methods may add metal too fast
for fabricating small engine parts.

Be careful with used high-vacuum pumps, the oil may be contaminated
with arsenic etc. from AsH3 used in semiconductor fab.

It helps a lot to learn about commercial bearings, seals, valves, etc
so you know what you can or can't do with them, and recognize useful
surplus parts.

jsw, R&D lab tech

Posted by Morris Dovey on May 29, 2011, 2:03 pm
 On 5/29/11 8:27 AM, Jim Wilkins wrote:

Yuppers - add to that list the savings possible by trading work with
friends who already have needed skills and equipment that I don't.

Agreed. Some of those old tools can be converted to CNC, too. At one
point I needed greater precision than my purchased CNC router could
deliver, so I designed and built another that did the job I wanted. CNC
technology is neither as expensive nor as complicated as most people
seem to imagine.

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar

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