simple-machines

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Jessi and Squeaks found a ton of rocks for their rock collection… but they’re too heavy to get back to the fort! Join them as they figure out the perfect simple machine to help them out: the wheel and axle! 

Basics of the Basics of Sewing: What even IS a sewing machine?!

Welcome to the Basics of the Basics of Sewing! This is a new “series” (sort of) of weekly posts that I will be putting out for people who want to learn to sew and have no experience. If you already know how to sew, then check out my “tutorials” tag instead. Note: I am not a professional seamstress, I am mostly self-taught, these tutorials are based on my own methods.

When you start out sewing garments, you of course need a sewing machine. (I will go over hand sewing sometime later) Pick one that is affordable and simple. Mine is made by Kenmore and is perfect for beginners, not sure the model however.

In your manual there will be a diagram showing what and where everything is like this:

This post is about what everything is and what it does. One must be the sewing machine before one can use the sewing machine.

1. Stitch pattern selector: Where you pick what sort of stitch you will use, generally we will stick to straight stitch and zigzag stitch.

2. Reverse stitch control: Hold this lever down while you sew to back stitch. Back stitching is stitching in reverse and is almost always done at the beginning and ending of sewing in order to secure the stitch.

3. Stitch pattern setting display: Shows the stitch currently selected.

4. Stitch length dial: Adjusts the length of the stitch, I usually use a 1.5 setting for a straight stitch, and a 2 or 3 setting for zig zag stitch.

5. Stitch width dial: Adjusts the width of the stitch, this doesn’t effect straight stitch, I generally use a 3 setting for zig zag.

6. Bobbin winder spindle: Used for winding bobbins. More on that later.

7. Spool pins: These usually are retractable, simply extend it and place your spool of thread on it.

8. Bobbin winding tension disc: Your thread will pass around this when winding a bobbin. More on that later.

9. Upper needle thread guide: This is usually the first guide in threading your machine. See your manual.

10. Thread take up lever: This will bob up and down as you sew. It will be visible when your needle isn’t inside the machine.

11. Thread tension dial: Adjusts the thread tension. Once you figure out the right tension do not adjust this. I use 5 setting on mine and never touch it.

12. Face cover: Just part of the cover of the machine. Should be open able in case of a thread jam.

13. Thread Cutter: A little blade one can use instead of scissors to quickly cut thread from machine.

14. Needle threader: Another piece of the threading puzzle. More on that later.

15. Needle plate: Protects fabric from inner workings. It should have different numbers on it which are used for different seam allowances.

16. Extension table/Treasure Box: This is detachable and doubles as a drawer for seam rippers, presser feet and other accessories.

17. Carrying handle: Um. Yah :3

18. Hand wheel: Pops out for bobbin winding, only turn this towards your self, not away.

19. Power switch: Turns machine and light on/off.

20. Machine Socket: the power cord and pedal will plug in here.

21. Free-arm: table in the back of machine, it is great for putting cuffs of shirts around to sew around them.

22. Presser foot lifter: Lift the lever to lift the presser foot. Lower it to lower the foot.

23. Presser foot holder: Holds the presser foot into place, release it to switch feet for zippers or buttonholes.

24. Thumb screw: Yep.

25. Presser foot: this holds your fabric in place while you sew.

26. Needle Clamp screw: Holds needle into place. Unscrew to release needle for switching needles.

27. Needle: You will need a sewing machine needle, not any old needle.

28. Foot control/pedal: This powers the whole thing, just like a gas pedal, the harder you press, the faster the machine will go.

Next week I will go over sewing terms and threading the machine. Maybe we will even do some straight stitching! Try and learn the bolded terms as I will be using them a lot! Ask if you have any questions :)

Good luck!

Excellent interactive resource for teaching Simple and Complex Machines from Aspire.

#elemchat #spedchat #scichat #machines

Includes interactives, lesson plans, and printable lab packets.

Make sure you check out their “New Machines Lab” (beta) (screenshot below) for an updated version.

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Interested in more interactives from Aspire? Click here.

Added to my 

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Sensational Science Sites

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It is a scientific and mathematical fact that Madonna invented almost every mode of transportation known to mankind. The Beatles, in the contrary, did not invent anything in their lifetimes (unless you count stealing as “inventing”). In fact, these men have built their careers based on what they’ve stolen from The Queen. I know it’s very hard to believe that this group of brainless men could even formulate the thought to plagiarize a patent created exclusively by Madonna. That is why I’ve provided photographic evidence of The Cockroaches copying The Queen’s iconic bi-circular compound machine, commonly known as the bicycle.

Via A Mighty Girl:

Arunachalam Muruganantham, who has become the unlikely leader of a menstrual health revolution in rural India with his invention of a simple machine to make inexpensive sanitary pads, was recently recognized by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014. Over sixteen years, Muruganantham’s machine has spread to 1,300 villages in 23 states and since most of his clients are NGOs and women’s self-help groups who produce and sell the pads directly in a “by the women, for the women, and to the women” model, the average machine also provides employment for ten women. His success, both at providing women with more hygienic options and creating local economic opportunities for women, is generating interest in his machine in many developing countries.

Muruganantham’s interest in menstrual health began in 1998 when, as a young, newly married man, he saw his wife, Shanthi, hiding the rags she used as menstrual cloths. Like most men in his village, he had no idea about the reality of menstruation and was horrified that cloths that “I would not even use… to clean my scooter” were his wife’s solution to menstrual sanitation. When he asked why she didn’t buy sanitary pads, she told him that the expense would prevent her from buying staples like milk for the family.

Muruganantham, who left school at age 14 to start working, decided to try making his own sanitary pads for less but the testing of his first prototype ran into a snag almost immediately: Muruganantham had no idea that periods were monthly. “I can’t wait a month for each feedback, it’ll take two decades!” he said, and sought volunteers among the women in his community. He discovered that less than 10% of the women in his area used sanitary pads, instead using rags, sawdust, leaves, or ash. Even if they did use cloths, they were too embarrassed to dry them in the sun, meaning that they never got disinfected – contributing to the approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India that are caused by poor menstrual hygiene.

Finding volunteers was nearly impossible: women were embarrassed, or afraid of myths about sanitary pads that say that women who use them will go blind or never marry. Muruganantham came up with an ingenious solution: “I became the man who wore a sanitary pad,” he says. He made an artificial uterus, filled it with goat’s blood, and wore it throughout the day. But his determination had severe consequences: his village concluded he was a pervert with a sexual disease, his mother left his household in shame and his wife left him. As he remarks in the documentary “Menstrual Man” about his experience, “So you see God’s sense of humour. I’d started the research for my wife and after 18 months she left me!”

After years of research, Muruganantham perfected his machine and now works with NGOs and women’s self-help groups to distribute it. Women can use it to make sanitary napkins for themselves, but he encourages them to make pads to sell as well to provide employment for women in poor communities. And, since 23% of girls drop out of school once they start menstruating, he also works with schools, teaching girls to make their own pads: “Why wait till they are women? Why not empower girls?”

As communities accepted his machine, opinions of his “crazy” behavior changed. Five and a half years after she left, Shanthi contacted him, and they are now living together again. She says it was hard living with the ostracization that came from his project, but now, she helps spread the word about sanitary napkins to other women. “Initially I used to be very shy when talking to people about it, but after all this time, people have started to open up. Now they come and talk to me, they ask questions and they also get sanitary napkins to try them.”

In 2009, Muruganantham was honored with a national Innovation Award in 2009 by then President of India, Pratibha Patil, beating out nearly 1,000 other entries. Now, he’s looking at expanding to other countries and believes that 106 countries could benefit from his invention.

Muruganantham is proud to have made such a difference: “from childhood I know no human being died because of poverty – everything happens because of ignorance… I have accumulated no money but I accumulate a lot of happiness.” His proudest moment? A year after he installed one of the machines in a village so poor that, for generations, no one had earned enough for their children to attend school. Then he received a call from one of the women selling sanitary pads who told him that, thanks to the income, her daughter was now able to go to school.

To watch a TED talk by Muruganantham, visit http://bit.ly/1n594l6 or view his company’s website at http://newinventions.in/. To read his profile in Time’s 100 Influential People, visit http://ti.me/1hrm6AJ.

1981 Simple Machines Yamaha SR250. My friend Tim and I have been working on this project in the background over the last couple of months. We’re mounting up the aluminum rear fender, controls, and battery box this week then it’s on to wiring and final tuning.  

I’m setting up over the weekend to shoot some proper photos of the completed SR and ‘78 CB750. More pics on the way…

*The SR250 will be on display/for sale at Smith & Butler next week.

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Engineered DNA Make Nano-Machines

Engineers have built simple folding machines the size of molecules out of snips of synthetic and natural DNA. The nano-machines, like the opening and closing hinges shown above, can repeatedly perform the task for which they are designed.

Mechanical engineers at The Ohio State University built these objects using the long-understood principles of human-sized machine design. They say this approach to building 3-D constructs out of DNA is different from other groups, which are instead trying to build complex, static shapes or mimicking the structure of biological systems.

Keep reading

After spending years developing a simple machine to make inexpensive sanitary pads, Arunachalam Muruganantham has become the unlikely leader of a menstrual health revolution in rural India. Over sixteen years, Muruganantham’s machine has spread to 1,300 villages in 23 states and since most of his clients are NGOs and women’s self-help groups who produce and sell the pads directly in a “by the women, for the women, and to the women” model, the average machine also provides employment for ten women.

Muruganantham’s interest in menstrual health began in 1998 when, as a young, newly married man, he saw his wife, Shanthi, hiding the rags she used as menstrual cloths. Like most men in his village, he had no ideas about the reality of menstruation and was horrified that cloths that “I would not even use… to clean my scooter” were his wife’s solution to menstrual sanitation. When he asked why she didn’t buy sanitary pads, she told him that the expense would prevent her from buying staples like milk for the family.

Muruganantham, who left school at age 14 to start working, decided to try making his own sanitary pads for less but the testing of his first prototype ran into a snag almost immediately: Muruganantham had no idea that periods were monthly. “I can’t wait a month for each feedback, it’ll take two decades!” he said, and sought volunteers among the women in his community. He discovered that less than 10% of the women in his area used sanitary pads, instead using rags, sawdust, leaves, or ash. Even if they did use cloths, they were too embarrassed to dry them in the sun, meaning that they never got disinfected – contributing to the approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India that are caused by poor menstrual hygiene.

Finding volunteers was nearly impossible: women were embarrassed, or afraid of myths about sanitary pads that say that women who use them will go blind or never marry. Muruganantham came up with an ingenious solution: “I became the man who wore a sanitary pad,” he says. He made an artificial uterus, filled it with goat’s blood, and wore it throughout the day. But his determination had severe consequences: his village concluded he was a pervert with a sexual disease, his mother left his household in shame and his wife left him. As he remarks in the documentary “Menstrual Man” about his experience, “So you see God’s sense of humour. I’d started the research for my wife and after 18 months she left me!”

After years of research, Muruganantham perfected his machine and now works with NGOs and women’s self-help groups to distribute it. Women can use it to make sanitary napkins for themselves, but he encourages them to make pads to sell as well to provide employment for women in poor communities. And, since 23% of girls drop out of school once they start menstruating, he also works with schools, teaching girls to make their own pads: “Why wait till they are women? Why not empower girls?”

As communities accepted his machine, opinions of his “crazy” behavior changed. Five and a half years after she left, Shanthi contacted him, and they are now living together again. She says it was hard living with the ostracization that came from his project, but now, she helps spread the word about sanitary napkins to other women. “Initially I used to be very shy when talking to people about it, but after all this time, people have started to open up. Now they come and talk to me, they ask questions and they also get sanitary napkins to try them.”

In 2009, Muruganantham was honored with a national Innovation Award in 2009 by then President of India, Pratibha Patil, beating out nearly 1,000 other entries. Now, he’s looking at expanding to other countries and believes that 106 countries could benefit from his invention.

Muruganantham is proud to have made such a difference: “from childhood I know no human being died because of poverty – everything happens because of ignorance… I have accumulated no money but I accumulate a lot of happiness.” His proudest moment? A year after he installed one of the machines in a village so poor that, for generations, no one had earned enough for their children to attend school. Then he received a call from one of the women selling sanitary pads who told him that, thanks to the income, her daughter was now able to go to school.

To read more about Muruganantham’s story, the BBC featured a recent profile on him at http://bbc.in/1i8tebG or watch his TED talk at http://bit.ly/1n594l6

Simple Skirt Tutorial

I wanted to make a simple skirt with a zip at the back and was looking for a nice simple tutorial, but couldn’t seem to find one. So in the end I just sort of made it up and it worked out well. This will be how I make all my skirts from now on (if they are not made with elastic that is, which I have also done before).

So for the tutorial:

You will need:

Fabric (only 1 metre)

A short zip (about 6 inches)

Thread

How to make it:

Cut out the waistband section and two squares as pictured below.

Measure your waist where you want the skirt to sit and then add a few centimetres for seam allowance at each end. Then decide how wide you want it, double that measurement and add enough for a seam allowance. (this will be folded in half and sewn to the top of the skirt).

The skirt can be as wide as you like really. I made this one 56 inches all the way round, but you can measure a skirt/ dress you are happy with and make it that size.

Whatever size you choose divide the measurement in half for the front piece and in quarters for the size of the back pieces. i.e. my front piece was 28", back pieces were 14" each. 

The length again can be whatever you want it to be.

Once you have done that you will have your pieces ready, this picture below was just before I cut my back piece in half.

Then sew the back pieces to the front, leaving the back seam where you will have a zip.

Now get pinning and measuring, I wanted three pleats at each side folded inwards, so folded my waistband piece in half (wrong sides inwards) and pinned the fabric at the side seams and middle of front and back and then got pinning my pleats, making sure I measured each the same and the same distance from the seams so that they were all even).

Bare in mind that your fabric will look something like this, the waistband much shorter than the skirt fabric.

Then I got sewing all the pleats, then sewed the zip at the back and lastly did the hem.

And this is what I ended up with :)