AAA Drafting Blog

A SolidWorks designer talks about stuff related to CAD and mechanical design

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Poor quality plastic toilet hoses ruin bathroom renovations

Have you ever checked the little braided hose that connects your toilet tank to your house water supply. Perhaps you should, especially if your bathroom has been renovated in the last few years.

A real problem has been surfacing with the plastic nuts that you hand tighten to connect the hose to the water supply. They have been breaking resulting in the flooding of bathrooms and thousands of dollars in water damage.

Apparently the hex nuts on these hoses use substandard plastic with high porosity which leads to premature unexpected failure. Normally these hoses would have to meet CSA (Canadian Standards Association) specifications would should prevent these types of problems from occuring.

Offshore manufacturers have been ignoring the specifications and as a result failed toilet hoses have resulted in lawsuits. Plumbers, Home renovators and hose suppliers are all being sued by homeowners with majors losses.

If this is a problem in Canada, it can only be worse in the USA, where not too long ago asimilar type of situation arose with imported drywall not meeting national standards.

For the sake of a few dollars, replace your toilet tank hose just to be safe. Make sure the packaging says it is CSA approved. You might be saving yourself a real headache.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Candian high speed rail just another let down

Today Ontario premier McGuinty and Quebec premier Charest talked about a High Speed Rail Link between Montreal and Toronto. They proposed to do what all politicians do when faced with making a decision. They said they would study the matter.

A study might seem acceptable were it not for the fact that the same subject has been studied 16 times already in the past 20 years. McGuinty's study was just to “update” the previous results. As if to wash their hands further of any responsibility they opined that environmental assessments could still add 5 to 8 years to the project even if it were approved by the Provinces and the Prime Minister

As these two leaders procrastinate at taxpayers expense, Porter airlines shuttles folks back and forth from Toronto to Montreal 17 times per day, and has made a great business of it. Clearly another study is not needed to realize the obvious.

At the same time, Montreal based Bombardier rail has received one of the largest train orders in its history, from tiny Switzerland. Unfortunately the order won't benefit Canadians as it will be built largely in Bombardier plants in Europe, where the company has found governments more receptive to the idea of building rail transit.

Obama has earmarked eight billion dollars for rail infrastructure in the USA and is already funding improvements to rail transit in many american cities. Canada sits on its hands prefering to fund US automotive makers rather than create viable jobs for its own people in improving its own rail infrastructure.

Rail freight and travel is the greenest form of transportation, and has been proven successful in Europe and Japan, often with the help of superb Canadian rail engineering talent. If ever a country could benefit from high speed rail, its Canada. With its long distances and access to hydroelectric power, Canadian trains ought to be the most efficient, cleanest method to move people and freight around.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Bike racer Cancellara accused of using an electric bicycle

Fabian Cancellara, a world champion cyclist, has been accused of using a tiny electric assist motor in his racing bicycle. His accusers claim these motors are used by cyclists in many cycling contests to gain an unfair edge over their competition.

This Italian YouTube video, apparently made with the cooperation of the company that makes the motors, shows how it is all accomplished. Notwithstanding all the controversy, its an interesting statement on the state of the art of electric bicycles.

Looking at the video, the builder claims a 50 year old would be able to compete with world class cyclists with one of these motors installed in their bicycles.

The video looks compelling. I can understand using a high current, high torque electric motor for short bursts of extra power. I dont think it could run continuously, because of the need for battery power and with overheating in the enclosed quarters of the bicycle frame.

The video does not show where they hide the batteries and I assume they would have to be installed into the bicycle frame and the frame brazed back together with a battery charger connection hidden somewhere on the bicycle. The batteries and the motor would have to add significant weight to the racing bike.

What do you think. Is this electric assist racing bike possible, or is the video just a very slick attempt at mud-slinging at a world class athlete ?