Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wash Cycle

This idea grew from the Corvallis Bicycle Collective at a time when we felt a need for a way to wash our greasy rags. It has developed into a companion for the EcoPot, but I must admit it hasn't been built yet, though I've seen prototypes of each of the elements.

The system begins with a hose or pipe carrying tap water into the lower opening of a solar batch heater built from the tank of an old electric heater. The tank is painted flat black and enclosed in a triangular box. The glass face is exposed to sunlight while the other two faces and both ends are insulated, as is the pipe leading from the top of this tank to the washer.

An old front loading washing machine must have all parts functional except the motor, which is removed. It sits on a pallet straddling an old bathtub full of stones, sand and topped with wood chips inoculated with oyster mushroom spores. The washer drains into the tub, whose contents will clean and filter the wash water, while producing edible mushrooms. Water exiting the drain can be captured for reuse. It should be drinkably clean.

The washer with no motor is driven by an old bicycle that has been made stationary by optionally welding the fork to prevent the front wheel from moving and elevating the rear wheel as on a track stand. The tire and tube are removed from the rear wheel and replaced by a belt that drives the washer pulley previously moved by the motor. Both bike and washer are anchored to keep the belt tight.


The person pedaling the bike can use gears as appropriate to maintain a steady pace. The washer should be run through a standard hot wash cycle before the clean cloth is hung out on a solar dryer (aka clothesline).

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