How to increase seating capacity on trains

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Technical & Discussion

Irish Rail MDU MK22000 entering stationOne of the advantages of travelling by train is that it gives you time out to read, chat, stare out the window or think. And it occurred to me on my daily train commute that the seating layout on Irish trains could be easily changed to boost seating capacity.

In contrast to planes and buses, where the seats all face towards the front, Irish Trains are different. Typically the seating arrangement is comprised of a set of four seats, where one pair of seats face the other with a table in between.

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Make your own steam engine

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Technical & Discussion

With the school holidays upon us many kids, and their parents, are probably wondering what to do with their free time. Well why not help them to build a simple steam engine. I had a go myself some time ago, I made a ‘putt-putt’ engine and was delighted when it worked after only a few hours work. All you need is an aluminium drinks can, plastic straws, epoxy glue, foam tray, some tin foil, a candle, elastic bands  and of course water.

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Ireland should buy an aircraft carrier with its aid budget

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Technical & Discussion

The recent theft of €4 million from the overseas aid given to Uganda, by Ireland, should lead to a rethinking of the Irish foreign aid programme. Despite Ireland’s serious economic woes, it has still managed to fund an aid programme of €636 million in 2011. Uganda receives €33 million in aid from Ireland each year, but was also able to recently purchase six jet fighters for its air force. Ireland by contrast cannot afford military jet fighters and in fact has none at all.

So what else could Ireland do with its €636 million yearly aid budget. Well what about buying one of these:

Wasp-class amphibious assault ship
Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, picture sourced from seaforces.org

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Hand sketches: The buildings of the Phoenix Park

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Technical & Discussion

Original entrance to Dublin ZooHand sketching remains a very important part of the engineers skill set. Its a quick and easy way to communicate complex building details and concepts. Now that we can scan and e-mail sketches it means that little of the detail is lost when compared with the awful quality of faxed sketches in the recent past. The people of Dublin and its surrounds have a great opportunity to see some wonderfully detailed hand sketches at an exhibition in the Phoenix Park this month.

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The right tools: Cutting wood

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Technical & Discussion

Using a maul to split wood
Using a maul to split wood

In a previous post we discussed the importance of only burning dry seasoned firewood. I mentioned that I bought my own firewood, already cut, seasoned and dried for our wood burning stove, click here.

However, a few months ago I was given some excess timber by a local builder who was clearing some hard wood trees. I left these outside to season but our summer was unseasonally wet. Last week I decided to split this timber up into logs to store under cover and allow to dry. I quickly discovered that I knew very little about splitting wood.

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How do heat recovery systems work? Thermal Wheels

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Energy Conservation, Technical & Discussion

Thermal wheelHeat recovery systems are a great way to save energy, and therefore money, for building owners. They reduce energy bills by using the expelled air to heat (or cool) the incoming air, depending on the season. Most designs use a great invention known as the thermal wheel to operate.

What are thermal wheels? Thermal wheels are perforated spinning wheels or discs that allow the transfer of heat between two adjacent flows of air. They are a relatively simple, but ingenious, device that forms the backbone of heat recovery ventilators.

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