The 3rd Dimension – So little to say and so much time!!!

An Orgy of Selfishness
November 23, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Has anyone cared to look at – the front for the ADA (American Dieticians Association)? On the site they have a link on the top bar for Nutrion – then a link on the left for Nutrition fact sheets which will bring you here:

Click on any of the nutrition fact sheets and you get fun healthy facts for the food you clicked on! Like mangoes? Here’s a fact sheet on all the good things about mangoes! Like alcohol? Here’s a fact sheet extorting the virtures of moderate drinking! Like chocolate? Chooocolate! Another PDF for you on all the good about chocolate.

It’s all well and good until you read the bottom right of page 2 for each of the PDF’s. Every fact sheet is sponsored by an organization with an obvious vested interest in it. Mangoes promoted by the mango industry. Alcohol promoted by – The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Oh the absurdity! I didn’t even know they had councils for those types of things named discus. Makes you wonder sometimes doesn’t it? Capitalism is a good system but it is not faultless and people need to get that in their head. No one is infallible. Our high reward for valued work capitalist system is capitalism at it’s best – the orgy of selfishness is our same system at it’s worst.

There was that one economist I forget his name who theorized that all people are selfish and therefore the markets must be designed as to base themselves on that fact. He must be rolling around in his grave orgasmically now at seeing what the United States has become. Too bad that our country is falling apart quickly due to the combined weight of all our past transgressions caused by our selfish and short-term thinking.

Some lego’s NOT ABS plastic?!
November 10, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As much as I’ve ranted on lego building blocks and the industrialization of their inferior clones into malleable plastics I may have found something that has shocked me to the core. Certain Lego elements may NOT be made out of ABS plastic. Yeah I know what you’re thinking,     :-O      ,  so am I. How did this come about?

As detailed in my last post I found out the plastic I was melting (lego clone bricks) were not ABS at all so I decided to try and make authentic ABS sludge to supplement my WTF sludge made out of mixed plastics. To make authentic homemade ABS sludge only pure ABS plastic would have to be put into my acetone dip.

Where would I get ABS plastic? For the most convenient source in my house I would have to melt down some Legos. As much as I’d hate to sacrifice some legos in the name of progressive science I had to do it. Because of this fact and the fact that I love legos it was decided that I would melt down the most undesirable elements for this unholy experiment. My eyes instantly turned to the plastic bin of lego roborider and bionicle parts. (I consider bionicles and many licensed sets to be a travesty on lego driving the prices of regular elements up – grrr!)

I selected a small sampling of mixed bionicle pieces – 1 torso from bionicles and about 3 or 4 arm/leg/etc… limb ball socket pieces from bionicles/roboriders. The parts went into the jar last night along with the acetone dip. This is how we handle things down in Toontown…

This morning I checked on the birthing ABS sludge. The torso and various other parts were melting down pretty fast and looked like fudge at the bottom of this liquid dip. To my horror though THE BALL SOCKET LIMBS WERE UNSCATHED!!! THERE WAS NO DAMAGE AT ALL FROM ACETONE TO THE BALL SOCKET LIMBS. This could only mean one thing. Styrene plastics readily melt under acetone – ethylene type plastics don’t. ABS is the more or most expensive and highest quality of the styrene plastics. Does this mean *gasp* that the limb pieces are NOT ABS PLASTIC? WTF?

At first glance the ball socket pieces look just the same as any other – quality vibrant colors and tough lego resilience topped off with a microscopic “Lego” brand marking on each limb. According to all sources I’ve read each lego piece  is made out of the highest quality non-toxic injection molded ABS plastic (except rubber tires and other such miscellany). If what I perceive with my eyes is truth though I see that the Lego brand ball socket pieces are made out of a non ABS material. Could it be better? I don’t know but all I know is that these pieces don’t melt and therefore they are not ABS plastic.

I suspect these limbs were from the 90’s early 2000’s roboriders sets and not bionicle. Did early lego action figure sets use cheap plastics secretly? Lego how dost dare thine betrayl !!! Knowing something like this breaks my heart – seriously it does Lego. What was the lego executive board thinking? Probably the same thing when it decided to make Bionicles and Indiana Jones sets. Sadly this is what kids today want and what they will pay for. Maybe its’ time we split lego into 2 companies – Adult Lego stuff which specializes in Mindstorms/Lego Technic/rapid prototyping of robotics and mechanical pieces for industry and Kids lego with their movie sets and bionicraps.

Anyway my heart’s deepest wish tonight is to look at that jar and see those ball socketed limbs in a pile of melted debris as well and not in one whole piece. If they are still whole that puts them in the same plastic category as those non melting Polyethylene Mexican lego clone building blocks which will not fit onto any other piece besides themselves (despite having the same studded brick paradigm).

Update: The ball socket pieces are still whole – boo hoo hoo. Looks like we’re only making WTF sludge from here on out.

Update 2: About a week after I wrote this the Bionicle ball sockets have started to crack. The limbs themselves though are still as whole as they can be – just the ball parts are breaking down. So it seems like they may indeed be made out of an ABS plastic but modified or conditioned for extra extra toughness. I noticed this property with Lego Technic parts as well – they have that same “toughness glaze” that bionicle parts seem to possess on their axles and gears. Given this I forgive Lego for making some of their bricks out of a modified ABS plastic because it is necessary to make them better than ABS. The youtube videos of Lego pneumatic engines prove this point well – they can handle thousands of revolutions without snapping or flying off from the hinges etc… Not many plastic toys can boast of such robust quality – go Lego!

(Not So) ABS Sludge…
November 9, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Update Nov 09th, 2009:

This post is outdated due to the fact I found out that Mega Bloks are made out of Polystyrene and NOT ABS plastic. So much for inference. Apparently ABS is a close  cousin of sorts to polystyrene (both have styrenes) and I infer (though I may be wrong again) that any styrene based plastic will melt in acetone. Polyethelene I guess is a bastard cousin since it’s unaffected by acetone at all. Given what we know above the following post refers to making Polystyrene sludge or what I like calling it – “WTF Sludge” – as I mixed Megabloks, Enlighten, and KNEX bricks and god knows what all of those are made of. Megabloks is confirmed Polystyrene. K’nex rods and such are from googling made out of “a proprietary brand of acetyl copolymer”. Enlighten chinese bricks not even god knows what they’re made of since they’re the Chinese brand.

As I continue to collect lego’s I must find a use for those ever annoying clones of lego bricks such as Mega Bloks, K’nex Bricks, Enlighten bricks, cheap mexican building blocks, etc… that show up every so often. One very interesting method I run across while looking for a way to melt the ABS plastic so that I can use it for other strange things. The most promising is “ABS Sludge”. Apparently this was one hack by car enthusiasts to replace broken plastic in their cars. You mix simple pure 100% acetone with ABS plastic and keep it sealed and as long as it is sealed the acetone will chemically “melt” the ABS plastic into a goo which you can apply onto surfaces. Once the ABS sludge is exposed to air the acetone starts evaporating quickly and eventually it will dry forming a plastic chemical weld if you will. The remaining acetone in the sludge will melt the plastic you are welding it to if it’s the right type slightly and chemiaclly bond with it – then when the acetone evaporates the sludge should harden again forming a chemical weld that’s as strong as if you’ve made one solid plastic piece.

As an experiment I wanted to see if my lego clone bricks would work so I took a sample of a Mega Blok, a Knex brick, an enlighten chinese military brick, and a cheap mexican dollar store brick and put them into a cup and swiped some simple nail polish (not pure acetone) onto each one. 4 hours later I checked them.

Mega Blok, Knex, Enlighten – all started to dissolve and chip – mega blok being the softest then a tie between Knex and Enlighten. We can be sure Mega is at least made of mostly ABS plastic and the other two being so also or mostly.
Cheap mexican brick – NO MELT. Damnit these are the worst. If it wasn’t enough that they did NOT fit onto ANY OTHER BRICK except their own they can’t even be melted down to form ABS sludge. I guess these bricks are made out of something other than ABS plastic (which I hear is the most expensive – most durable plastic airsoft guns use ABS plastic – that gives me an idea – actually none of my plastic guns have broke only the metal ones 😦 )

The uses of ABS sludge seem promising though. One I am planning on is using the sludge to weld a lego axle holder to a 5$ 24,000 or more rpm electronic supermotor to use in some lego electronic creations. broom broom!!! Yes I know lego has geared down motors but if you do research they have LOTS of internal friction. As for my own testing I put up one of their oldest 2400 or so RPM motors against their new Power Functions XL motor which supposedly has more torque in my 1 to 65,000 lego geartrain. The old motor spun the geartrain’s last wheel’s FASTER than the XL motor. The XL motor uses most of it’s power as internal friction during it’s gear down process so the older motor is indeed more efficient. The XL motors are still good though if you can’t fit a huge drivetrain in your creation. Sadly though I find the XL gear power ratio compared to the old motor is only about 12.5 times more torque (between 5 and 25 in my tests) since it could spin the 5 to 1 gear but not the 25 to 1 gear next to it (whole drivetrain is 8 tooths driving 40 tooth gears).