We worked most of Tuesday with university electricians to rewire the hotpress so that it wouldn’t continually shut down the electrical circuits in the FADU basement, outside of the CEP, where it is now located. By Wednesday morning the electrical work was finished, and a safety control box was fitted to the machine that would shut it off if anything went amiss. Without this addition, the whole machine could potentially become a live 220 volt electricity conductor. Except for the single, not very controlled test we had made at INTI a year ago, we didn’t really know if the hotpress could preform the way Darko intended it to. Was the temperature high enough to melt the plastic? Was it evenly spread across the metal plates? Did the truck jack and leverage system provide adequate pressure? Caroline made up layers of plastic and newspaper, which she sandwiched between the 60X60 cm teflon sheets we brought with us from Canada, and we put these in the press. The video below shows the results 20 minutes later.

[QUICKTIME http://wasteforlife.org/movies/hotpress_works.mov 320 196]
Caroline takes our first sheet our of the hotpress mold at the CEP

We went through this procedure 3 times, and each of the composite sheets we produced got better and better as we learned about the quirks of the machine. Finally, we decided to fuse the 3 together to create a single composite piece having more rigidity. 5 minutes into the process one of the wires on the back of the machine melted and shorted the machine. Luckily for us the control box worked and immediately shut the machine down, though not before extinguishing the FADU basement lights for about the 5th time since our arrival. End of trial one. We met with the electricians and determined that we needed some heat resistance wires and ceramic connections that are being installed today.

We’ll be back for more tests on Monday.