Sunday, September 11, 2016

The training wheels are off!


Apologies for the seldom blog posts, rest assured their infrequency is a testament to our productivity.

First we'll start with 'out with the old and in with the new' 

We deconstructed the stand from the last trip, salvaging the highly coveted brackets and screws used for its construction. 

Jen, Dorothy, and Dorothys' cheerleader 

The ability to see what problems occurred to the previous stand were useful in constructing the new stand with emphasis on prevention. We took the steps to ensure the new stand would avoid the old                                                                         stands' pitfalls. 

The stands' integrity was compromised due to ants eating the wood  

A few days ago we finished the new stand; rather than purchasing timber made in Kumponda we opted to buy better quality timber in Blantyre. We've also purchased wood preservative to resolve the ant problem.

Workers at Raiply lumber yard cutting 2x4's for the stand 
We used L brackets and nail plates to increase the stands' integrity 

Other than a few minor adjustments, assembling the stand went smoothly 

The committee members' drive and helpfulness with the project has been motivating, here is Alice giving it a test ride. 

Our new design requires multiple machined parts. Fortunately, our driver, Hamton, introduced us to an invaluable resource and now good friend, Levison Changu.

Levison is the owner of a four story machine shop located in the middle of a bustling street market. 

View atop the shops' roof 

Throughout the years Levison has hired a sharp team of employees that have impressed us with their service and seemingly genuine interest in helping us succeed with our project. Their craftsmanship surpassed what we have encountered with local machinists in California even though our process of communicating our designs to them has been quite unconventional. Interestingly enough, my dimensioned drawings with front, side, and top views were met with foreign looks, it was apparent that they are not customary here and would undoubtedly cause more confusion than assistance. The combination of 3D SolidWorks models, charades, and minimal use of our translator has proven to be the most effective method.

Here are some photos of the finished products.

Three of the four grinding heads. One with deep grooves and two with knurled patterns 

Plates to hold the grinding heads 

Sprocket with adapter
Hub for the rear sprocket 

A few mechanically oriented jobs could be completed within the community. We decided to reconnect with Joseph, a mechanic the last travel team worked with. 

Josephs' work station 

Cutting corners off a few L brackets
Flattening sections of the axles for set screws 

Following Josephs' work we placed the hub and sprocket on the axle before mounting the chain.  

Measuring the span before breaking and connecting two chains. 
A problem arose once the chain was tightened and tested. The chain would not stay on the rear sprocket due to a warped adapter disc. Flattening or replacing the disc is on the top of our priority list.  

Prior to arriving and working in the community during the week, we pick up food to accompany the meal the committee members prepare for us. 

Me and Jen purchasing local chickens (apparently stronger than regular chickens)

Nsima and chicken, smiles all around...

                        It only took a few days for the kids to become comfortable around us.

Inside the van leaving the community for the day 

The next few days will consist of flattening the adapter, assembling the grinder stand, and connecting the hopper. We are satisfied with the progress we have made thus far and look forward to the work ahead. 

Wish you all the best,


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