Monday, April 20, 2009

Parts is parts

PIC-0428 What do these pictures look like to you? Someone's junk, sitting by the dumpster and waiting for the garbage truck? Someone got a new power chair and is getting rid of their old ones? Someone passed away and relatives are finally throwing away some things?

These are pictures of what was sitting by the dumpster at the storage place where we keep junk that we don’t need every day but can’t throw away. Ok, well, stuff my wife can’t throw away. Really, if it’s been in a box in storage for a year and you haven’t needed it, don’t you think you can live without it?

I’m wondering if even the concept of storage units is unique to America, the land of consumerism.

PIC-0429I digress. Anyway, my wife looked at these and saw junk. I looked and saw four likely perfectly good 24v DC motors, two batteries, and the electronics to control it all. It was raining so I couldn’t deal with them right that moment. I worried through the night that someone would get to them before me, and went back to storage as the sun came up to go and deal with them. As they were too big for the van and too heavy for me, I hitched them to the van with the rope and towed them to our storage unit, where they await dismantling or moving to my garage when I get some help and a pickup truck.

I’ve long been a tinkerer, starting from one of my earliest memories of cutting the cord on my parents alarm clock to see what would happen… while it was plugged in. I moved on to forts and tree houses and robots in high school and computers for a living. But I still love building something unique and weird, and in these two discarded power chairs I see endless possibilities.

My first two thoughts: I’ve been thinking lately about building my own Segway. With one of these as a starting point it would be relatively cheap. While I think that Segways are pretentious and playthings for the rich, building my own would have a sufficient level of “cool” that I might just do it. It sounds like a tall order, but there is really lots information out there on the internets on how to get it done.

The other thought is lawn mowing. I’ve long had a desire to build either an GPS guided mower or a remote controlled mower. Given the large hill that I now have to mow in front of the house, this may just win out.

Time will tell, and I’ll keep things updated here on whatever happens with them.
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