I am really looking forward to the Society for Industrial Archeology Fall Tour this year. It will be held in Nashville, and looks like it will be a lot of fun. I won’t release many details on this site, but the official site can be found here.
I will also see about organizing a student club this year at New Mexico Tech. I’m already involved in quite a few clubs, so I’ll see what I can do. I really want the metal casting club to remain active, so that is probably my main focus. However, there is so much overlap between metal casting and industrial archeology, that perhaps students will be interested in both.
The metal casting club, better known as “What The Foundry” was started last year. Unfortunately, (well for me, anyway), my two most interested students graduated in May, and I don’t think they really found replacements, so we may have to start over from scratch. The club uses my propane-fired small furnace for melting aluminum. We have cast horseshoes and some parts for a viking shield, though more things were in the works, until Senior Design class kept them busy for their final semester.
I’ll keep you posted on both the Fall Tour and the student club as things develop.
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On campus, I am the faculty advisor for the metal casing club, “What The Foundry”.
Monday was their first official meeting, and I think we have a good bunch of students ready to do some metal casting.
Three of the students approached me during Junior Design last year as they needed some aluminum parts and had no idea how to make them. Seeing as most of the casting operations have disappeared from high school shop class (for that matter, most of the shop classes have disappeared), I set them up with a propane-fired furnace and some no-bake casting sand.
They ran with it, and really had a great time, volunteering to ram sand molds, build flasks, meet with people needing metal casting and pour metal.
Two of the members were scheduled to weld some stainless steel cruicbles this week, and another two were set to buy some plaster and charcoal, as we are going to buils charcoal furnaces to do something a little different.
I am really proud of these guys!
Thank you for reading my post.
A few weeks after our initial visit to the PNM Reeves Generating Station, we were given an opportunity to visit the natural gas power plant again. This time around, there was a turbine disassmbled and ready to be reinstalled. This gave us the rare opportunity to see a turbine, as normally they are spinning and in use.
Here are some students taking pictures of a new turbine. The fins of the turbine blade are bigger when the steam pressure is lower, and smaller when the steam pressure is higher.
Here is set of thrust bearings for the turbine. They are gigantic.
One of the neat parts of the tour was getting to cross between Unit 1 and Unit 2 on a high catwalk between the two generators. This was not for those who were afraid of heights.
We also got the opportunity to go into the control room. One of the more fascinating pieces (though I did not take a picture of it) was a giant phasing clock- it spun around in response to the phase of the generator. To bring the power plant online, the phase had to line up with the phase of the grid.
We also got to go onto the roof of Unit 2. These next pictures are from the roof- including a steam drum and a few candid shots of the students asking questions and taking pictures.
Touring the plant some more, we got to take a picture by the firebox door:
Overall it was a great trip, and I think we all had a good time, and learned a lot about power generation.