Tuesday, November 23, 2004

documentation time

Work has taken on a whole new direction this week. Previously Ewan and I were both on the Tarbato, the wire-road project. We were getting the tandem drive cart up and running. It worked! We successfully got the 5-speed tandem working - derailleur limits set and everything. Prim, Krishna, and Balaram loaded up the train with 800 kg of weight (not including the two pedallers), and the tandem pulled it. I won't say it was easy to pedal up the test track's 2 degree grade with the weight, but it was definitely doable. No harder than pulling a ~5 degree grade on a normal bike. We have video of the tandem working, complete with the 800 kg behind it. Once we get that editted, I'll put it up on the site. An overhead-wire road isn't the easiest thing to visualize. And then, two people moving 800 kg by pedalling isn't easy to visualize either.

At any rate, Ewan is now on a pedal-powered generator project aimed at non-electrified rural markets. I'm on the Tarpul project: the wire bridge. The Tarpul is Ecosystem's current product. I have a design for a bearing-test jig that needs to go to our fabricator, and there are some other maintainance/QA tools to think about and get built. However, the primary responsibility is to write documentation for the entire Tarpul.

Documentation - big job. The goal is to create a package that would be useful to a group that wanted to build wire bridges for their rural mountainous areas - South America, Africa, and on. Elsewhere.

The Tarpul won a a Tech Award last year. Between the current Tarpul and its potential to benefit rural mountainous areas beyond Nepal is a package of extensive documentation. By extensive, it needs to fully document the motivations, specifications, and procedures to fabricate and erect a bridge that requires civil-engineering surveys/concrete/land-management, mechanical-engineering wire-tensioning/rolling/machining/welding, management of local labor, logistics, finances, and more. Wow, but can you imagine how awesome a book it'll be when it's done? 2,000 Nepali villagers use the existing bridges every day. Can you imagine how many people elsewhere could use a bridge just like the ones we know how to build?


At 4:26 AM, Nitin said...

Hi William,

Good to a blog from Nepal. Keep the posts coming !

Btw, do you have any recommendations for good Nepali blogs?


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