Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sourcing parts

One of the major challenges in this project has been finding sources for some of the materials I've needed. To date, I've done 4,887 Google searches and accumulated 237 bookmarks. In addition to the cycling specialty shops and solar energy suppliers you might expect, I've gleaned insight and ordered materials from an assortment of highly specialized industries and niche hobbies I never knew existed. Here's a list of some of my favorites:

  • Aerospace - satellite-grade solar cells (Emcore via eBay)
  • Fire performance - as in breathing and juggling fire. Bought Kevlar tape to make an abrasion-resistant border around the solar module (Bearclaw Manufacturing)
  • Sculpture - fiberglass mesh for first solar module (Compleat Sculptor)
  • Auto racing - aluminum rivets
  • Boat building - marine-grade wiring and electrical components
  • Remote controlled hobby airplanes - power meter/fuel gauge (RC Electronics)
  • Veneer woodworking - vacuum bagging supplies (Veneer Supplies)
  • Star Wars replica costume builders - plans for vacuum forming machine (TK560)
Imagine all of these people at a cocktail party trying to make small talk.

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