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Trenchless Pipe Repair

by adminpower

Sewer pipes (and water pipes) go bad after time. For sewer pipes, that can be especially true if there are trees nearby and the roots get into pipes. The problem is that most of the older pipes that need replacing are terracotta. With ground shifting or house settling or just age the terracotta can deteriorate over time. Since there are joints in the terracotta pipes the roots can grow through the joint or any crack in the pipe and as the root gets bigger it breaks up the pipe.

Traditional Sewer Pipe Replacement

The traditional way to replace a sewer pipe is to bring in a backhoe or other machine and dig a trench down to where the pipe is and then lay a new pipe. Nowadays the new pipe will probably be cast iron or more likely PVC or some other plastic. This creates a large pile of dirt in your yard, can destroy plantings and walkways, patios or decks and whatever else is above the pipe. So you not only have the expense of replacing the pipe but rebuilding the deck or patio and re-landscaping after the project is completed. Plus, the whole project can take a number of days.

New Trenchless Pipe Replacement

Usually, with this newer process, the whole job is done in a day. You don’t need to replant the lawn or shrubs or worry about walkways or anything else that you do with the traditional trench method. It is less expensive and the repairs are permanent (perhaps not in geological time, but for all practical purposes) and meet code.

2 Small Holes vs. One Giant One

Rather than making a large trench, all this method needs is a much smaller hole at the beginning and the end of the piping run. A drilling head is run through the old pipe, breaking it up and expanding the space so that a pipe of the same size can be pulled through. This new pipe conforms to code, has a 100 year lifespan, doesn’t leak and deflects roots and is chemical resistant.

Pipe Relining

Another option, instead of pulling a new pipe through, is to reline the old pipe. A lining is pulled through the pipe. Then an air bladder is blown up to press the lining out against the old pipe. The liner is saturated with an epoxy resin which dries in 3 hours. The diameter of the pipe is only reduced by 5 per cent but is now very smooth with no joints so the flow is better.

So, if you have problems with your sewer line, or water line, check around for the different options available. You may save yourself a lot of money and hassle.

3D Printing

by adminpower

3D printing is the new thing. The prices have come down considerably so that now you can buy them for as low as $350. Of course, there are others for $3,500 and for industrial purposes, much more than that.

What is a 3D printer?

Well normally, you think of a printer putting ink on a piece of paper. This is 2D printing since you just have the X and Y axes. (Technically even paper is 3D because it does have thickness but we are only considering the surface.) You can have dot matrix printers, laser printers and ink jet printers among others. The 3D printers are variations on ink jet printers.

Instead of printing ink through the “ink jets” they put out plastic or metal. This was developed first for plastics in the 1980s.  Some people also call it additive manufacturing.  Layer upon layer of plastic is laid down and cured with ultraviolet light. Because it is being built as you go, it is possible to create things that would be impossible to create in any other way unless you later glued or bolted parts together.

Cost benefit analysis

Generally it has been more expensive than creating something on an assembly line where the unit costs are very low because of the volume. However, the costs are rapidly coming down. Even so, there have always been cases where the expense is justified and cheaper than the alternative. A good example is in the car industry. In the past when they were working on a new car, they would come up with a design for a part and then have to get it tooled and made and it might take several weeks and be quite expensive. With 3D printing, they can just feed the specs into the computer and out it comes a short time later. It is not only cheaper than the alternative method of making the part, but it also saves a lot of time in the development process which also saves a lot of money.

Subtractive Manufacturing

Processes for metals have also been developed although originally they were called laser sintering and laser melting among other terms but it is now considered to be under the general 3D printing or additive manufacturing category. At first when people thought about 3D manipulation of metal they thought more about removing metal from what was there rather than adding metal. CNC milling would be an example of this. This concept is most commonly called machining but now is sometimes called subtractive manufacturing.

Sacrificial / Support Materials

Another twist that has been added are sacrificial or support materials. If you want to create 2 cogs for example, you don’t want them fusing together as you are laying down the layers. So, you can lay down more than one type of material, not just plastic or metal. The other material will separate or support the parts so they are in the right place and then when done can be removed. Ingenious, eh. Not unlike the masking and other techniques they use in creating computer chips and circuit boards.

We will go into other aspects of 3D printing or additive manufacturing in the future.