Wednesday, December 23, 2015


I like curves. Domes, arches, waves - I don't think we were made to live in square boxes. Somehow, though, we think its cheaper and more efficient to make straight lines. We think that a bed wont fit well into a circular room. So we put a square bed into a square room and then hop into bed with our curvey body. Strange.
So I hope from now on I can put a curve at least somewhere into every building I build. We are experimenting with a curved roof in the training centre for the main training room. My Timorese mate, Anen, somehow continues to take my crazy ideas in his stride and together we weld up a curved set of 'rafters' or roof members.

I was asked how I knew it would be strong enough. I replied that once it was built we would get up on top and jump around a bit and see if it wobbles. Its a non-technical approach but it might work.
My curved trusses are 200mm wide using 1" (25mm) gal steel water pipe. This was flexible enough to bend around in a curve by itself. 4 lengths are curved and welded to some zig-zag 10mm reo-bar steel. Then for the purlins that hold the roof sheeting, 2 C-channel 100mm steel lengths are welded together and slid in and attached to the 'trusses'.  East Timor Roofing, in Baucau, kindly agreed to curve their zincalume sheeting to a 12m metre radius. The whole thing is a bit of a pig to put together but it is a bit fun.
The main training room getting a curved roof

I have been known to do dumber things in the past. We once built a dome sort of home out of straw bales. One of my many mistakes in that particular venture was that I sourced local straw bales from a soy bean farm. 

Building our first home with curves - its basically a dome. On the left is a sleeping arch.

The fatal flaw was that there were small soy beans mixed within the bales. The mice thought these were very yummy and proceeded to eat our house. Drat.

It had a skylight using helicopter grade perspex. It was coated with local clay mixed with hydrated lime and Clarence river sand. Part of the house had a grass roof. We had solar panels and carried water from the river. Israel is about 2, and Serenity 8.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Weather stations

In one of my worlds I help the Ministry of Agriculture with weather stations and climate research.
I'm testing a new mapping technique which I thought I would put up here.

This shows all the weather stations MAF/SoL operate (well at least plan to operate).
The little map makes it all so easy but when I view it my mind starts thinking back to history, adventures and future possibilities. Here's some picks of the crew and I out at Loes Agriculture research station upgrading sensors to the weather station.

A weather station installed on a Government Agriculture Research station.

Measuring down to install the soil moisture metre.

Sensors - wind speed, solar radiation, rain, wind direction, temperature,humidity, soil temps and soil moisture. These are all sampled every minute and the data logged into the box (with wires) every 15 minutes.

The team - some local friends from the Timorese Govt as well as a couple from German and Portuguese organisations.