Monday, March 1, 2010

Shower pans and reading lights

These are a few of my favorite things. 

But first, I've added a link to HandyBob's Solar Page, over on the right side, there.  If you have any interest in solar systems for battery charging, I'd highly suggest you pay a visit to his world.  There's some really great information on his blog.  "Jim" sent me the link.  Thanks "Jim." 

Onward we go.

Scratching my head (you'd think I'd be bald by now at the rate I've been doing this, lately), I've been tossing about the notion of shower pan construction.  I know I covered it previously with my cool river rock and resin test, but I didn't really tackle how the whole thing will securely contain water at the very bottom without leaking all over the van.  Yes, I could buy one of those prefab white resin pans, but the factory sizes won't work for my layout, so I'll have to make one from scratch and I have to cover all my bases.  Water is like a toddler.  It'll get into the darndest of places at the blink of an eye.

So,  a guy with whom I work has taken interest in the great Moho Project of 2010, going so far as to offer his assistance with certain aspects of my construction -- something I'm sure he'll regret later on.  Apparently he installed roofs for 15 years prior to his current profession and he provided me with some valuable information about membrane. 

Whenever I hear the word membrane, my mind travels back to seventh grade and sticky petri dishes of weird milky stuff on the counter of my science lab.  I can't help it.  Nonetheless, I hopped in the car and steered toward the foothills and that barren wasteland of "not in my backyard" businesses such as concrete manufacturing, masonry suppliers and adult toy stores. 

Sure enough, my yahoo map was right on the money.  At the corner of North Loma Place and the railroad tracks stood a ramshackle house, a ratty old junkyard dog and pallates of shingles scattered between rusty clumps of industrial waste -- Cooper Roofing.

I drove carefully through the yard, looking for wayward nails and bits of barbed wire that could ensnarl my car, preventing me from ever getting out alive.  As I approached the house, there he emerged.  I'm not sure if it was "Cooper" of Cooper Roofing, but he actually had a friendly look about him.  I remained in the car until he secured his animal and waved me over with the "all clear" signal.

Now, it's been my experience that guys like this don't necessarily think "outside the box" very often.  They generally know one thing and know it pretty well and will do a fine job completing the task at hand, thereby functioning as productive contributors to society.  It's the rest of us that turn everything upside down with our crazy ideas about self fulfillment and how life should be.  Which reminds me of the time when I was eleven years old and I asked my mom why she believed in God, to which she replied without hesitation, "Because ya do!"

I laid out my plan.  I told him about my RV, my river rock floor, my custom appointments and my overall desire to make something never seen before, including the dry toilet with disposable liner and decomposing know, ecco friendly. 

Now, I'd done it.

His chin jutting out with a wrinkled forehead, he glared at me, mortified.  "I'm eccofriendly, too, but I ain't that friendly!"  At that moment, I could have sworn that he was reaching over to unleash his dog in an effort to teach me a thing or two about disposible pooh baggies, but in fact, he was reaching onto a nearby stack of roofing shingles and pulled up a piece of heavy black paper.  He folded the corners in a such a way that created a three sided box.  "Go to a plumbing supply place and get that rubber stuff.  You lay it right on the floor before you tile a shower."


PVC shower liner, Home Depot, $5.45 a square foot....done!

Now, onto the fun stuff.  I ordered a couple of 12 volt LED lighting fixtures in order to perform a test on my lighting design.  The first one arrived in the mail a few days ago. 

Isn't she pretty?  It's a 1 watt high powered LED in a cast aluminum housing that's flush mounted and pivots on one axis to direct your light exactly where you you need it.  And, you know what?  It's freakin' bright!

The color of light is balanced to daylight, so it's blueish at night.  For reading, our eyes actually respond better to that so I think it's a good thing.  I have another fixture on its way that has three little lights and a frosted lens.  So, I'll compare them and make a decision on which ones will go where. 

Check out my idea for a wall sconce. 

I'm going to slide into the wall a tin box with a window lid.  The box will serve as the electrical housing for the thin strips of 1 watt LEDs

These light strips are able to be cut between those little light squares at certain spots and can be lined up in tight rows, thereby creating a solid flat panel of light.  I'll adhere them to the inside of the tin along the bottom, then place some frosted plexi in the window of the hinged lid.  Closing the lid of the can, I will have created a light box sconce.  In front of the plexi I can place any image of my choice that will serve as a piece of art and a source of light at the same time.  More testing will be done and the tins are on order.  The point here is to conserve.  I like clean lines and open space.  And, my expanding bed has to slide out over the kitchen counter and dinette, so I can't have things in the way.  More on that, later.   

Fun times!

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