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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Guide to Knife Metal

All steels are not the same. Even those with the same ingredients are not the same. The time, care, and precision of manufacture that go into making a quality knife are more important than its material. Carbon content is not the only factor, as there is an ideal range for specific uses. The most extreme of these uses is knife throwing. High carbon knives, or knives that are too bendable, or thin fail quickly. Any knife can be thrown, but only good quality throwing knives, or special multiple-function knives can be thrown repeatably. Grades of steel are plentiful enough to be confusing. Just check out the following list.

Blade materials

Of these, only a few are good for throwing knives.
1050 carbon and 440C stainless are among the best for throwing in terms of tensile strength, which lends well to general toughness of the blade. To lend to the confusion there are very inferior 440A, 440B, and those just listed as 440. 440C is the only blade material of the 440 group that is referred to as a supersteel.

 Browning 122BL knives

 A good throwing knife has less carbon than a good cutting knife, at 1% or lower, but generally higher than .4%. Molybdenum and manganese seem to lend these steels toughness rather than a bitingly sharp edge. Cutting edges in throwing knives tend to be duller than other knives, due to the danger to the thrower. Piercing geometry and balance are more important.

A well made knife from 1055 carbon or 420HC stainless can also be pretty good. Plain 420, however is plain awful for throwing. 420 with the low levels of carbon typical of stainless cannot form the tough crystalline bonds of the higher carbon blades. This makes it too pliable to thunk into logs without bending and folding. 420 also can lose its edge quickly, so is inferior for regular knives as well.

AUS 8 and ATS 34 seem to perform well from what I've read, but I have yet to find tensile strengths or comparable values for these. CPM metals would likely hold up well to throwing, depending on carbon content, due to their uniform structures.

Don't throw D2 steel.

D2 tool steel (almost stainless steel) is premium level for holding its edge, but forms carbides in its structure. If you throw this premium knife, you will eventually pay a price. Carbides are strong, but fail catastrophically, by breaking apart like glass. So score and cut away with these knives, but never throw them.

High carbon steels will be similarly brittle, although they are super hard. So don't throw that high priced, high carbon knife. Stainless steels are tougher, usually. (The exceptions being 1050 and 1055, which are strong metals with no real chromium content- therefore non-stainless).

What is good for a hunting, skinning, and all around outdoorman style knife is unlikely to be a good throwing knife. Don't test out the good hunting knives for starting out throwing. Use a throwing knife. If you don't want to buy a good throwing knife  for a hobby that you're unsure about, then just go ahead and buy the cheap throwing knife set from These should come in at under $10. These will last longer than kitchen knives in that log out back. Whetstone Trio

Keeping stainless from rusting.

Many stainless steels rust. Silicone based car-wax will prevent this. The same treatment will work for 1050 and 1055 carbon steels. Grind only lightly... better yet use a whetstone. Over grinding thins the metal, and may make it lose its original heat treatment due to the heat imparted by grinding. Whetstones carry none of these risks, but you should use a quality whetstone for a quality knife. Learn how to use it properly.

How to sharpen a knife with a whetstone

Only sharpen the cutting or piercing edge, and try to maintain the original geometry, unless you plan on converting the blade into a different type or usage. Once a blade loses it's geometry, it's nearly impossible to restore to its original state.

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Science How to Guide

Every once in a while scientific fields become so saturated and mature that progress seems impossible. What is needed is a new science. But inventing a science from scratch would take more than a lifetime and acceptance is unlikely. Fortunately, there is a solution. Areas of science that overlap are often under developed. They are also complex. With the science of heuristics, and isomorphic studies (universalization of patterns and rules, which are applicable to more than one area),  and lots of mathematical and concept based research new sciences are possible.

There is a caveat, however. Young sciences, like startup businesses, must behave differently than mature sciences. What is unproven must be tested, whether it's been done, or is thought to be practical. In other words, rather than the unproven being considered false, it is considered possible, if there is any way of approaching it experimentally left at all. This is one of the only ways to produce scientific progress. Scientific method is good for textbooks, but not an effective way of producing progress. The old empirical method of trial and error is best for producing progress in a young scientific field. This is equally true of the areas of overlap between seemingly mature sciences.

Another point to consider is, for a science to be considered and developed further in society, it must be useful in producing something new. With overlap, a lot of old things can be made more efficiently, but new possibilities produce interest. The science must also be relatively open... with no secrets or expensive textbooks. Amateurs often produce more results (with varying levels of success) than experts because they don't "know" that certain things aren't supposed to work. Whatever works, will work... let's just leave the testing to the experts.

Some work in developing these sciences can be done by putting the applicable math and physics in computer code or scripts. Making computer models is sometimes more possible than multibillion dollar projects for amateurs. If you don't know programming, there are many free resources online that teach it. Even free programming tools. Blender (the 3d modeling tool) is relatively open to being coded.. it seems to use python scripting.

So to sum it up. Invent a new science by doing the following.

1. Pick two or more sciences with interesting areas of overlap.
2. Define the rules or criteria that enable the sciences to work together well.
3. Test new ideas and experiments to try. Or model them.
4. Viable sciences will create new things, and be able to be learned by an amateur community.

Last of all... if the science doesn't seem to be currently viable. Don't waste the effort that you've already put into it. It may make interesting stories, games or short youtube videos. The inspiration from amateur science may just be what we need to pull our little world from its current stagnation.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Techno Tech Store Link

I have set up an Amazon store to aid people in finding relevant products for their hobbies. I hope that you will find it useful. I hope to update it in the future to keep it relevant and interesting for you, and try to match it with the Techno Tech Blog content.

Techno Tech Store

Monday, September 30, 2013

Light Sabers are for REAL now!

   I've talked to friends before about light sabers being theoretically possible. I imagined limits on them as being different than those imposed in the movies... perhaps magnetic containment would open the possibility. This new discovery moves beyond that imposed limit, because the photons contain themselves. Star Wars fans may delight in this new discovery as it is very similar to light saber "matter" in how it interacts with itself and solid objects.
   This may also open other previously impossible weapons such as photon torpedos. Space Age discoveries seem to be happening when many space missions are on hold. I can't wait to see what is coming next!

The Newest Thing: Light Sabers

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hardware Trojans?

Good news everybody! The hardware trojans that you never knew existed in the first place are now undetectable. Good luck in the efforts to maintain that security, folks!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SVG is cool!

SVG is a powerful scripted image format. What makes it unique is that it has gained support as a standard image format, and should be supported along with other HTML5 elements. It is capable of animation and interactive gaming through javascript control. Unlike the canvas element, the individual SVG elements can be scripted to recognize mouse events without any special workarounds.

SVG should be easily learned by people that are familiar with HTML, CSS, and the concepts of XML. It can be used as an image format without a javascript library being added to the page.

Convert to SVG

SVG editor

SVG tutorial example

SVG browser support

Monday, May 13, 2013

Paper Shooters

An incredible design of a paper shooting, cardboard and plastic gun. The paper shooters gun looks amazing. This is definitely a hobbyist sort of gun, and probably would not make a good weapon. Probably not meant for firing at people like paintball guns either, though. I could be wrong, I haven't done extensive research on the product. Cool idea, though.

Link Below:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Free Design Tool

It's been awhile since I last ventured into the world of CAD, but as a former student in Mechanical CAD design, I still feel the draw to it. I miss being able to draw developments and many other CAD enabled drawings (I don't have a drawing board, so physical drawings have been primitive at best.) So I've now found this new tool to play with called DraftSight. It's a free professional level product that I have yet to experiment with. I will let you know what I think when I do, I may not have the time to do it justice yet, but I do expect to be using it in the future, if it proves to be very usable.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Amateurs on the Rise

   Despite the job climate being cold to entry level applicants at best, many people are bravely trying their hand at new skills. Currently speaking, this looks like play. These skills become serious hobbies sometimes, and occasionally turn a small profit.
   Many people are attempting skill sets like 3d printing, programmable electronics (Arduino controllers), upcycling, home hydroponics (legit stuff, like gardening, but for techies), home solar projects (solar cooker, solar collector for home or water heating, home greenhouses,etc.), underground geothermal, home machine shop or woodworking, and many other serious skills (like biodiesel production). These are actually all upper end skills that relate in many ways to industry. Many of these small scale operations are new, and don't have a lot of proper support yet.
   There is a rising culture of self-sufficiency directly linked to these skills, this is often referred to as "DIY" or "Maker" culture. There are suppliers that have staked a claim in helping these hobbyists find supplies to make things. There are videos all over YouTube that instruct people on how to make things themselves (take care to make sure that your instructions are safe). There are instructions on how to make or do things on and There are project ideas on, and on the many, many blogs out here on the internet.
  Historically, many things have started small. Science itself was very amateur-like when it started. Taking notes and keeping records helped, as well as communicating to each other effectively, in taking science to the next level. Industry sprung up from some innovative iron works in England, gradually working its way into every aspect of our lives, as its innovative ideas made producing goods more effective. Now it is time to start again. We need to have a grasp on the process of making things, and putting ideas into motion, for ourselves and with our own skills and minds. This is the time when we can rise or fall. Together we rise.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Makers Unite!

    DIY (maker) culture is gaining momentum. This is the critical period for makers to band together to make a change in society. There is no greater pride than making your own things. There needs to be more businesses   that cater to makers. There needs to be more makers turning their ideas into profits.

   This requires unity. The primary problem is that the profits are small. Advertising is prohibitive at the per item profits that can be made within this culture of household industry. This makes being a maker a hard sell, literally.

   This could easily be taken on. Sites for makers that sell products are out there (, Ebay, Amazon)

Amazon DIY
Ebay DIY

Partnership, funding, advertising all offer possibilities for return on investment. We need growth. Makers can provide it, they just need help. Just putting it out there.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

To the Moon

Analysis has lately revealed that the current state of the satellites falls far short of what it should.

Satellite Crisis via

The thing is, I knew that it would be this way. One indicator was economy. The other was the de-emphasis of the space program.
My thought on this was that a moon base partially solves the problem. A moon base can contain a larger number of instruments, is farther from the Earth and will not ever fall to Earth in our lifetime, can involve many collaborators and benefit all countries involved. I am convinced that weather monitoring will be as effective from the moon as from an orbital position, and that any working satellites could be more effective with data gathered from a moon base.

A moon base may have other offerings as well. A magnetic launch system from a low gravity object such as the moon would be very effective, and can accelerate modular objects used for space mining (which may even be assembled on the moon base itself by a human crew). This saves fuel to reach a planet for gravitational acceleration and can reach high speeds with low energy. So, inevitably, a moon base would save money on space mining operations.

A moon base may also be a good foundation for the theoretical space tourism industry. The moon may be a more popular destination if there is something there other than moon rocks.

 So, economically speaking, the moon is a better option than dozens of satellites. It is more permanent, more versatile, generates less space junk, and is a stepping stone to projects in deeper space. So, let's go to the moon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

STEM for Kids on Netflix

Anyone who has followed any topics in education lately knows what a big deal STEM fields in education are. Surprisingly enough, there are shows on Netflix which can be viewed with a digital streaming device that fit into some of these categories.

1. Curious George- Category STEM. This inquisitive monkey apparently doesn't just get into trouble anymore, in this show (which originated on PBS) he also investigates scientific topics such as magnetism, basic math topics, and even some of the thinking behind engineering (which he uses to design a bridge from playing cards and marshmallows and a few other odd items). One of the best shows on streaming to get a child interested in STEM fields. One of the side effects that may have to be tolerated, however, is monkey-talk.

2. All About... Construction, Trucks, Helicopters, or Airplanes- Category Engineering. These informative kids shows teach about some of the technical details of the large mechanical vehicles which contribute to the modern lifestyle. To me, building interest in technical topics like these help to shape an future interest in engineering.

3. Sesame Street-Category Mathematics. A good source for all the fundamentals, which includes math. Nobody can make math fun like Sesame Street.

4. The Adventures of Chuck and Friends- Category Technology and Engineering. These enthusiastic trucks are always building something.

5. Shaun the Sheep- Category Technology and Engineering. This sheep is rarely up to any good, but he does build all kinds of devices and makes it fun and interesting the whole time. This is basically a spin off of Nick Park's "A Close Shave", which is a Wallace and Gromit adventure in which Shaun the Sheep makes his first appearance

6. Wallace and Gromit Amazing Adventures- Category Technology and Engineering. These movies are essentially about engineering, and may be over the heads of many children, but my 3 year old seems to enjoy them.

7. Adventures of Jimmy Neutron- Category STEM. Although it makes science fun, genius Jimmy and his unrealistic devices may also make science seem unapproachable in real terms.

8. Beakman's World- Category Science. Weird, wacky and scientific. I think that this show may be targeting an audience of  7 year old to 10 year old kids. This hasn't become a favorite for our kids yet.

9. Explorers- Category Science, Technology and Engineering. This was a favorite movie for me during my childhood. The spaceship built from scrap is very inspirational to technology and engineering inspired children.

10. Phineas and Ferb- Category Science, Technology and Engineering. These kids build everything, and just for the fun of it. Every plot is crazy, with a zany villain, a superspy platypus, and a sister that really goes all out to bust her technology crazed brothers. But at least they use blueprints to build their masterworks of technology and engineering. Got to use a blueprint, okay.

And many others... The LeapFrog programs are also available and there are a few for Math in particular (Numberland, Lets go to school, etc.). Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue features songs about technology and the internet, not too bad for a toaster. Bob the Builder is interesting for kids and lets them think about using tools, and plans, etc.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reverse Engineering A Remote From Khan Academy

To initially get to the video content from Khan I created a profile. Using a Google + account this was really easy. Select the create profile option... it should display near the bottom of the screen as "Sign up for Khan Academy". Use the "Google" icon to sign up using Google +.  Then you will be able to create a username and password. Under science I selected "Projects", then "Reverse Engineering". Once I accessed the video, I used my "Plex It" bookmark that I got from the Plex website so that I can watch it on my TV with my Roku box later.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Top Technical Shows on Netflix

Top Five.

1. Mythbusters- Currently 9 seasons. From rigging to electrical engineering to almost a hundred ways to make something go "Boom!", Mythbusters has it all. Adam, Jamie, Grant, Tory, and Kari make an excellent team.

2. Eureka- 4 seasons. Although everything here is science fiction or strictly theoretical, it can be an inspiration to techies.

3. Nova- Various Episodes. Science... really, really interesting science. Even though I wish there were more on Netflix, admittedly I haven't watched every episode currently on it.

4. Extreme Engineering- 4 seasons. Really good shows. The best are projects that have already been made. In those episodes, such as the "Big Dig",  the engineers interviewed talk about overcoming real world challenges.

5. How it's Made. 9 seasons. Watch machines hum away to produce everything that you've seen, touched, or heard about in the modern world.