Sunday, September 21, 2014

The perfect machinist's apron.

(Ed. note: No river science or geomorphology today!  This is a post about the perfect shop apron, designed at Little River Research & Design!)

As a thanks to all the professional machinists who’ve helped me online, here’s a shop apron design.

Please note I am NOT selling anything here, not the design, not aprons; just passing along my experience.

You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this years ago if, like me, you’ve not liked any of your shop aprons. I haven’t been able to find a decent ready made one, so I made my own.

 I used cotton duck fabric. I started with an old apron and modified from there.  I can sew a bit, so I made mine.  If you don’t have friend or family to sew it, you can always find a local alterations place to do it; it’s a very easy project. In that case, just mock it up with butcher paper and take it to them; a good drawing would probably work as well.

There are also patterns you could modify.   Check a fabric store.   Especially if you want one that wraps around you, I didn't; that would be too hot for me.   Having a tight wrap-around apron (check "French apron") might be just what you want.

 Above:  Me at Little River Research with my home-made apron.  It goes below my knees; one benefit is that it usually catches things I drop when I'm sitting down.

 I made the pocket high and small (and the front of the apron, too, most don’t come up high enough for me) and just the size for a few things; notebook, scriber, pencil, ruler or two — and tight to keep chips out; that’s worked great.
The wide cross straps were made by seaming a tube (think seam-welded pipe) and turning it inside out.  No skinny string digging into your neck.  And the cross strap design just slips on like a t-shirt; you don’t need any ties or buckles.  You could add these if you’re not fat like me and want to look trimmer, or keep the apron out of moving machinery.

If you do work around dangerous machinery, perhaps use big buttons where the straps join the apron; something that will disconnect if it gets caught and not drag you in; I would change that on my design.

Length is about the knee; that’s optional.  I do like that this length protects my usually bare legs, and also if you’re sitting at the bench and drop a tool or part, it usually ends up in the apron and not on the floor!  I would also change this one so the sides wrapped around a bit more; I have the habit of using the apron to wipe my hands and I often miss and hit my shirt on the sides.

If you make it yourself, I'd recommend attaching the straps at the top (front, near pocket) and then experimenting a bit with safety pins on the bottom strap attachment point (and strap length) to get it just right.    Or make them adjustable; here a big button would work; maybe even one turned out of aluminum!

Straps are bar tacked to sides, but you might want to use something that would release if machinery catches it, like a big button or snaps.  I experimented with the length and attachment point until I got it just right; just use safety pins.

 The crossed straps are very comfortable and you just put the thing on like a t-shirt, no knots to tie.  No skinny string digging into your neck all day.

Bar-tacked front straps; again, something that would release if the apron is caught in machinery might be better.  A big turned aluminum button would be pretty cool.

I put the pocket high on my chest and made it tight with just the space for things I keep there; this has worked great to keep chips out, and things don't fall out when I bend over.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Summer of Flumes

We’ve had an exciting summer at LRRD. After six years of development, the Emflume1 is now on three continents, and we seem to be busier than ever.

Back in May, Emflume1 users at the University of Adelaide Australian School of Petroleum sent us several photos, and we've shared a few here.

Geologist and Ph.D. Candidate Jess Trainor, Lecturer in Sedimentology Kathryn Amos, and Geologist and Ph.D. Candidate John Counts pose for a photo with their new Emflume1.
Jess studies the Emriver Color-Coded-by-Size Modeling Media in the Emflume1.
Jess and John experiment with the Emflume1.

Steve, Jim and I took two Emflume1s, two Em3s and one Em2 to the American Society for Engineering Education annual conference that was held in Indianapolis in June.

It was the first time Jim and I attended an ASEE conference, and it was definitely an enjoyable experience. We got to talk with some of our model users and curious LRRD newcomers as well.

Jim stands ready for thousands of visitors.
Jim demonstrates how the Emflume1 works.
A visitor experiments with an Emflume1.
Jim explains the impact of a human-built structure to the river channel in the Em3.
Anna talks with a visitor about the Em2.
Jim describes the erosion occurring in the Em2.

Later in June, Researcher II, Facilities Manager Andy Coursey with Southern Illinois University in Carbondale visited LRRD and picked up SIU's Emflume1.

Andy and Steve discuss the functions of the Emfllume1.

It's been a great season for water education, and I'm looking forward to shipping more models and the excitement continuing through the fall season!

Anna experiments with an Emflume1.