The hidden power of rubber bands

June 16, 2017

Max The Magnificent-June 16, 2017

I am constantly amazed by the shear ingenuity of people. I'm also amazed by the number of interesting nuggets of knowledge I'm continually running across of which I was previously unaware.

Take rubber bands, for example. Until I saw the video discussed below, I had no idea that these little scamps had official sizes. Of course, their having defined sizes makes perfect sense, it had simply never struck me that you could go somewhere and ask for a “size-64” rubber band.

Also, it didn’t surprise me to discover that if you take a rubber band and stretch it, it will heat up. What did surprise me was the fact that if, while in its stretched state, you blow on the rubber band to return it to room temperature, then when you release the band it will actually cool down to be lower than ambient temperature.

All of this is interesting, but — as far as I'm concerned — it takes a real leap of the imagination to realize that you can use this property to implement a heat engine. In this video, my new hero, Ben Krasnow, creates a rubber-band-powered refrigerator.

As part of this, Ben employs a CNC hand-held router from Shaper Tools. I'm not sure if this router started out as a Kickstarter project, but I remember seeing it (or something very much like it) some time ago. As you can see in this video, this router is really rather clever.

Once you've uploaded your design into the router, you provide the main motive force to move it around, but it handles all of the fiddly work to give you perfect parts every time. I really, REALLY want one of these, but the $1,699 price tag is too rich for my blood.

To cheer me up and take my mind off the router I cannot afford, I'm looking forward to perusing and pondering the myriad videos on Ben's Applied Science YouTube Channel. One that just caught my eye, for example, is an Arduino-controlled DIY X-ray CT Scanner.

I'm not quite sure what I would use this for, but I'm sure something would come up. I'd certainly be the only guy on my street to have his own X-ray scanner. How about you? Why don't you take a look at Ben's YouTube channel and then tell the rest of us which of his projects most amazes or impresses you; also, which of these projects you would most like to recreate yourself.

Originally published on Embedded's sister site, EEWeb: "What! really? a Rubber-Band-Powered refrigerator."

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