Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Dehydrated forklift truck vending machine

What i just said
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For those of us without motorised transport, raking through skips and moving stuff about from place to place can be hard because of the ungainliness and weight of the likes of sofas, lumps of MDF, SGI Indigo workstations and the like. My mind goes back, topically, to the Apollo program, and more specifically to the moonbuggy, which packed nicely into a suitcase-size bundle.
It occurs to me that there may be a way of making a forklift truck out of telescoping tubular components "soldered" together with lumps of a hard carbonate compound mixed with crystals of an organic acid. The tubes themselves are housed within a piston and spring-loaded, and the whole lot is shrink-wrapped into a suitcase-sized package. A number of these are stored in a vending machine connected to the water supply.
When you want a forklift truck, or for that matter just a form of motorised transport, you put some money in the slot and the vending machine drops the package and squirts water into it. The water dissolves the acid-carbonate mixture, releasing carbon dioxide into the piston and causing the whole lot to sproinge open into a fully-fledged forklift truck. Meanwhile, the carbon dioxide is trapped in the piston under pressure, which is sealed by a shutter which comes down as the truck springs into shape, ready for use.
The truck is powered by the compressed gas. When ready for use, the driver releases the "brake" holding the piston in place and the plunger gradually moves out, connected via some kind of transmission to the wheels. Another similar system powers the forks. The object can then be shifted more easily, but of course eventually the truck will run down, possibly very quickly. It is then closed up into the package once again and wheeled along to a nearby vending machine, where it's stored for replenishment.
These are the problems as i see them:
* How can the piston be made air-tight?
* How can the gas be trapped efficiently?
* How much power can be realistically provided by compressed carbon dioxide?
It may be that lifting anything massive is impractical in this way. However, it could maybe still provide some kind of easily available motorised transport.
nineteenthly, Jul 16 2009

Wikipedia: Compressed air car https://en.wikipedi.../Compressed_air_car
Mentioned in my anno [notexactly, Oct 05 2019]

YouTube: How Its [sic] Made: CO2 Cartridges https://www.youtube...watch?v=i-w7pqowcPI
Mentioned in my anno [notexactly, Oct 05 2019]


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Annotation:







       In a usual forklift, the power is provided by some motor, and transmitted hydraulically. You propose adding the hydr*- part at POS, with actual water (usually it's oil...) and powering a mouse-trap-style motor with fizzy...   

       I do not know the size/power ratio for fizzy, but i bet it is worse than that for rechargeable batteries.... as for a mousetrap-style motor (huge linear force over short way translated into rotary action/long way)... it definitely is worse than the worst electrical motor.   

       But... the possibility of producing flavored fizzing forklifts : Great.
loonquawl, Jul 16 2009
  

       I thought about using a urine-powered battery, but that'd just be taking the piss.
nineteenthly, Jul 16 2009
  

       This is a Transformers geometric packing exercise on how a forklift can be folded into the smallest possible space.   

       The result would be a very heavy box. The manual version would have consecutive pull tabs.   

       ...Air bags that set solid once inflated and exposed.
wjt, Jul 16 2009
  

       The way I see it, you want a fold-up forklift for shifting bulky things.   

       1) Moon buggy was to operate in low gravity at lowish speed --> much smaller loads than we're talking here. Think how foldup bikes are around suitcase sized.   

       2) A forklift depends on it's own mass to prevent itself from tipping up when carrying a load --> you need to either be fat or fit to carry the heavy counterbalance for the vehicle.   

       I propose an alternative that can be built to be strong enough and small, whilst being able to run undefinately...   

       Take: four small bike wheels a fold-up bike frame some steel tubing one small diff, two half-shafts and a couple of UJs   

       Build up two frames that can meet in the middle and join up their twin chassis rails, or clamp around the object to be carried, so the sofa becomes the chassis or a workstation rides on the flatbed. One simply has a bike wheel on each side solidly fixed. The other has the fold-up bike frame welded to stick out the front, from which you peddle and control the front wheels and brakes. Drive is from the front, through the diff.   

       Unlimited distance, small packed size but no good if you want the sofa on the first floor!
Skrewloose, Jul 17 2009
  

       or just get a folding manual lift. the light duty ones lift 600 lbs at 72" fold down to a small size and cost ~ 450$us
WcW, Jul 17 2009
  

       Ooh, interesting, so they could be vended with maybe a deposit?
nineteenthly, Jul 18 2009
  

       Not a form of transportation, but one of my real world reinventions is what I call a low down dirty wheelbarrow. You can probably figure it out. This is an interesting, if not slightly complicated idea, though. [Skrew] many forklifts are built with the lifting body located centrally between three or four wheels, thus reducing or eliminating the need for a counterweight. I have seen, in an old popular science (mechanics?) magazine, a front wheel drive truck which was entirely open behind the cab, which backed over it's cargo and lifted it, then latched on and drove off. I think it was around a 1963 year.
Sparkyplugclean, Sep 16 2009
  

       // How much power can be realistically provided by compressed carbon dioxide? //   

       Is the carbon dioxide solely provided by the chemical reaction? I doubt that would produce much gas compared to what's usually inside any gas bottle. Even if it did, the backpressure as it fills up may stop the chemical reaction (I think?).   

       However, if you have pre-filled gas bottles, it could work pretty well. Compressed air cars [link] work fine and have probably adequate range for this application: "the only published test of a vehicle running on compressed air alone was limited to a range of 7.22 km".   

       Carbon dioxide could also be supplied in liquid form to make it denser, and would also have the important benefit of providing much more constant pressure as it's used up. That's how it's stored inside those 12 g CO2 cartridges: [link]
notexactly, Oct 05 2019
  


 

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