Get off my lawn.

Monday, December 12, 2005

German Craftsmanship

Every Christmas, Alissia's cousin Val sends us a box of cool stuff from Germany -- German cookies, calendars, German toys, etc. To date, she has not sent a BMW, but the stuff she sends is pretty cool nonetheless. One year she sent us a chocolate cake that was really tall and narrow and was apparently made without the use of sugar or other sweeteners. It was a bit different than I'm used to, but still interesting. It's nice to see stuff like this. It's kind of a snapshot of normal everyday stuff from another part of the world.

We reciprocate by sending her stuff from our part of the world. Kind of a cultural exchange, if you will. Last year we sent her a can of fix-a-flat, a Dale Earnhart poster, a Linkin Park CD and a can of Skoal.

This year, one thing in the box from Val was this little candle-powered contraption:

It's cleverly designed and goes together easily, with stands for 3 candles integrated into its base. It turns out that 3 candles is not enough to make it actually spin; it just sits there and gets hot. So, I doubled the 3 candles (to 6, for those of you not inclined to reach for a calculator) and got fan to spin. It produced an estimated peak torque of 0.000000000000000073 in.lbs, at a peak rpm of approx. 16. Hooking a generator to this thing isn't going to light up very many homes (other than the one with all the candles burning to make this thing run). It's still neat to look at, and Christmas...ish.

Since the extra 3 candles are fastened to the plate via melted wax, I don't think I'll start this thing and leave it unmonitored. The candles on the plate would eventually fall into the wooden base, setting the whole thing ablaze (note to self: Make a video of this).


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