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Jonahan Hare's Diary

Day 11: Auto Panning System

Today started off cold and it took a while for all of us to get going, despite a brief sawing spree to warm us up. Sawing through a thick plank is a really good way of getting warm on a cold frosty winter morning.

Jonathan building the wheelRough Science is all about trying to do what you need to do in the limited time available - its all about time. This one was really going to be difficult timewise. By lunchtime Mike L and Kathy had finished the cradle and we had attached it to the waterwheel. We had also tried making a pump using the tennis ball, but although it worked well it didn't look as though it was going to do much at the speed the waterwheel would rotate at. We showed it working by hand.

Before lunch Kate and I did the last knocking in of nails and final touches to the wheel and then we did a test run on dry land to see that everything all turned and moved OK (in principle).

Mike and Kathy with the wheel at the riverAfter lunch we took all the gear down to the river (about an hour's drive) to see where it should be set up and try it out in the water. We spent the rest of the day looking for and experimenting with different places to put the wheel. The best flow is in the middle of the river but of course this is not practical if we need to drive the cradle, and it would have been difficult to fix the wheel in place. But at least the sand flies don't seem to be in the middle of the river. Everywhere else they bit and they bit!!

Kathy and I tried the wheel in a number of locations and there was nowhere that was perfect. In the end we had to compromise and we found a place fairly near to the waterside but with enough water passing to drive the wheel round with some force. With hindsight we should have thought about looking around way before we got to this stage of the project, but in Rough Science you often don't know what the best thing to do is until afterwards, the time factor making things difficult. We wasted a lot of today so that by the end of the second day we had still not used the machine.

So by the end of day 2 we had shown that the waterwheel drives the machine, just, but not enough to get the pump to work. Ended cold and in need of some food.

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Photo: Jonathan Hare
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