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Kettles

Friday, June 5, 2009 11:39:11 AM Categories: engineering problems
This morning it was Very Cold which I'm aware is a difficult concept on a hot June morning in Coalbrookdale and Ruislip, but icicles stood as stalagmites under the dripping garden taps in Riwaka and our kettle stood in a flood of water on the kitchen bench. Our kettle is a Breville Platinum Model SK50S, Engineered in Australia by Breville Manufactured in China to Our Exact Specifications, all of which I'm sure Breville are happy and contented for you to know because they stamped it on its base. The puddle of water it stood in had leaked out from a small crack which I am equally sure Breville do not want you to know, though they don't need to write it on the base because after a while you'll spot it for yourself. Are Breville a bunch of marketing idiots? Are they in fact some kind of subdivision of the Black and Decker Stupid Design Dept.? What goes through the corporate executive's mind of when its Board of Directors decides to employ an Engineer to Exactly Specify how to make a kettle? Have kettles not been made, with some success, in the past? What exactly is lacking in prior kettle design that requires Australian Engineers to add their tuppeny ha'p'orth of Specification to be dictated to a kettle factory somewhere in China? Is the Modern Kitchen Occupant no longer able to function a kettle without a transparent section at the side to facilitate the assessment of how full it might be? Can't we just take the *ucking lid off? And given the likely differential expansion of plastic and stainless steel, what kind of engineer would specify their juxtaposition in a container that has - let us remind Breville - as its primary aims both to be water-tight and to vary its temperature from 0 degrees to 100 degrees? Note to the Membership: do not buy a Breville kettle. They're crap.

 
All of which could be a perfectly innocent rant but for the fact that it reminds us of one of the sadly late Steve Donaldson's favourite principles: Keep It Simple, Stupid. And this leads me back to the subject in hand. Some years ago a chap called Rob Wallace built a machine called Red October, still extant and owned by Paul Dunlop, but finding that it was (in the pithy words, I think, of gNick) 'like wrestling with a gorilla in a sauna' and not conducive to mild commuting, it sort of got retired.


One of these is Red October

Therefore I am now going to focus on wheel discs which can be had for free and which provide a small advantage over spokes if you get um design right. This fairings game is all very well while you're making one, but, face-a-fact (as my Hungarian father-in-law merrily said), a wheel disc is altogether less stressful. And wheeldiscs, too, can be made of corriboard.

Tomorrow, cried Toad.

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