Sunday, May 10, 2020

An Idle Mind is a Dangerous Thing

I usually strive to stay busy, whether it being at the day job, or puttering away in the shop during the evenings and weekends or doing the other obligations that I have on the plate.

However, when I do have an odd moment when I have absolutely nothing on the go I often find that my mind tends to wander on what sorts of things I could try out. Often these flights of fancy turn into projects that I have posted here,

Sometimes the pondering sends me down a rabbit hole - with some help from my good friend Google.

The other day, an idea popped into my head that I have a couple of small engines that I had gotten from a couple of rusted out lawnmowers stashed in the back of the shed that I didn't really have a use for - they all worked fine, it's I just didn't have the heart to send them off to the scrapyard.

Thinking about it a bit more, I figured that building some sort of motorized cart to haul garden waste around my place might be a neat project to try. The gotcha here was that I don't really have any metal fabrication skills to speak of, but of course, I am a bit handy with wood.

 A bit of searching online showed a good number of go-carts made from wood, but I don't think I needed to be that speedy in hauling my grass clippings around, but I was intrigued by the fact that I could make something out of wood that was powered by a gasoline engine, so I kept trolling the depths of the web.

Eventually, I landed on a website that was a bit of an archive of projects that were featured in magazines like Popular Mechanics backing in the 1940s and '50s. There on the page was indeed plans for a small tractor, powered by a lawnmower engine, made entirely from wood.

Looking at the plans for the tractor, I was immediately struck on the complete lack of safety equipment around the moving parts of the tractor - particularly when your feet were only a couple of inches away from a large pulley being driven by the engine. While I am definitely am motivated to give the tractor a try, I would need to design some safety features into it before I built it.

While I was on the site, I took a look at the other projects that were published  It immediately became apparent to me that "safety" wasn't really an overriding concern those days.

Besides the exposed belts on the tractor, I found plans on how to build a repeating crossbow with a 5 arrow magazine

Of course, you need to make the arrows for it too...

If weapons are not your thing, you could always set up a small smelting business in your garage or maybe go prospecting for Uranium, 

I don't think there was ever really a high mortality rate from people trying to these projects. If anything, I think these projects are artifacts of something that we seem to have lost in this day and age. 

These days everything is either triple-sealed for your protection or slathered with warning stickers saying things like hot coffee can burn you if you decide to pour it in your lap. 

Back in the time that these projects were built, it was assumed that most people had an abundance of common sense - something that definitely seems to be missing today. 

Maybe someday common sense will return, But in the meantime, I need to figure out how to prevent sticking my foot in that pulley on that tractor before I build it. Trust me - if there is someone with no common sense - that would be me! 

No comments:

Post a Comment