Dan Robinson

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since May 21, 2014
Many years experience doing 'real' mechanical engineering analysis and design across multiple industries, including aerospace, missile defense, bus manufacturing, construction machinery manufacturing and agricultural machinery manufacturing.

Currently, designing advanced software control algorithms and system simulations for farm machinery automation, in particular for GPS guidance related functions.

Hold 2 Agricultural Engineering degrees (B.S, M.S.), and 2 Mechanical Engineering degrees (M.S., PhD). Registered Professional Mechanical Engineer in 2 states (CA, IA). Hold 3 patents.
Ames, IA
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Recent posts by Dan Robinson

I'm in agreement with J. Davis. I like Eastern Tennessee. I own undeveloped land, all forested, just north of Chattanooga, which is an easy 20 to 25 minute drive to downtown Chattanooga. I am well familiar with this area, having grown up in Alabama, and having spent significant time in the Chattanooga area. The problem for me is just getting down there permanently, so I can begin development.

As far as TN goes, the climate is to my liking, and there are no state income taxes. However, the sales tax is higher than where I now live. But, I've found that not paying the state income taxes I am now paying significantly compensates for possible other higher taxes in TN. If I could keep my same job, it would be like getting a significant raise to move to TN. My land tax on the undeveloped land of about 13 acres (two parcels) is currently around $400 per year.

From my perspective, anywhere east of Nashville is worth considering. Obviously, the closer you get to large metropolitan areas, land prices go up significantly, such as Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, etc. I don't know much about western TN, but I've never had the warm fuzzes for that area.

Before moving to a new area, I would recommend spending at least some extended time there, getting to know the area, and meeting people (if possible). At a minimum, you could possibly spend your vacation time there. Before purchasing my land, I met some of the "country" neighbors in the area. Even now, when I travel down there, I just go up and knock on doors, and chit chat with them. I found that if your neighbors like you, they tend to keep an eye on your property while you're not there. They can also be a treasure trove of information on the area. This also helps establish some tentative relationships before you move there.
1 year ago

I'm jealous of your job! You have an enviable position.

Moving hasn't worked out yet, because I have a number of other issues outside of work to solve. One of those is how to transport my significant other, such that she also has employment. She is a business woman, so it's doable. But, she would be starting a business from scratch in a new location.

The way I handle the exercise issue when working at home is by working out in a gym. I enjoy (more or less) doing weight training. I also, during the summer, make time on weekends for cycling, and long walks.

I use vacations to travel down to my property. I've gotten to know a few of the neighbors. One thing I've discovered, when you move to the country, is to get to know the neighbors. If they like you, they tend to keep an eye on things for you.

2 years ago
How do you handle overflow when there's lots of rain and the tanks are all full?
3 years ago
I'm really glad you posted this. I have undeveloped land down south that I need to start thinking about developing. I've been thinking about what to do about water. I can connect to a county water main, but looking at other ideas as well. Your post gives me some ideas.
3 years ago
Looks like an awesome piece of property. Keep us posted as you proceed with development.

I have some undeveloped land down in TN, which I can't develop anytime soon, due to living so far away. I'm trying to come up with ideas; so, it's nice to see what other people are doing.

Good luck!
3 years ago
I’ve noticed in these threads that sometimes people talk past each other, without really understanding (or wanting to understand) where a person is coming from. Sometimes we have a paradigm (world view) and mode of thinking that puts our heads into a box, and we tend to have no desire to lift the lid and look outside at the surrounding world.

This issue is compounded by the printed forum structure, where rational people can’t just sit around in a room, with favorite drink in hand, feet propped up beside the RMH, look each other in the face, and rationally discuss the issues at hand. The forum structure is also susceptible to drive-by shootings, by the types of people mentioned above.

In addition, “people don’t always say what they mean, or mean what they say.” (I learned this in a sales class, once upon a time.)

Before providing my thoughts, and attempting to shed some light on a few of the RMH posts, let me first disqualify myself. That way, paradigm deficient people who read this far, can just move on. There’s nothing to see here.  

I am a complete newbie to RMH’s. I have Paul’s DVD set, and I follow some of the threads in order to acquire knowledge and build my database for future use. I also like to see what issues people are struggling with as they get into these projects. I currently do not have a way to begin an RMH project, because I live in a small apartment inside a medium size city. My biggest challenge at the moment is to find a way to relocate, while remaining gainfully employed, to my parcel of land located a long way from here.

Frankly, I'm getting kinda sick of proving shit.

Amen, Paul! I have been in that situation a lot of times in life, especially while working inside large cubicle farms (i.e., large companies), with a lot of cubicle rats running around trying to partake of the master’s scraps.

Paul is addressing, as he said, a particular target audience. These are the people, maybe like me at this point in time, who are just wanting to make some rough practical decisions, and then get on with the job at hand. Should I invest time and money into constructing an RMH? What are the benefits of an RMH over other possibilities? Roughly speaking, how much wood can I save? How much less wood do I have to cut? Roughly speaking, is it best to use one type of wood over another? If I do things differently, what are my expected results? And, so forth.

These people do not need to get into an anal situation of having “paralysis over analysis.” They are not asking Ivory Tower questions that need an f’ing PhD egg head to answer. And they damn sure don’t need UL tested bullshit.

Paul has done an excellent job of building, experimenting, and testing this stuff. He knows more about this shit than just about anyone. So, when he speaks, one should listen very carefully, before needlessly flapping one’s jaw.

Then we have the scientist/engineer personality types who enter the picture (Steve Boyd, M Johnson, and Creighton Samuiels), throwing fancy terms around, and it appears they are throwing a little cold water onto the discussion.

Quickly, before I get chastised, I must explain myself here. I am an engineer. I’ve spent a career crunching numbers. I take high level theory and creatively boil it down to practical use, to create products for customers. Unfortunately, as far as RMH's go, I am not a heat transfer or thermodynamics type engineer.

However, I understand what the scientist/engineer mindset is, and how these guys are thinking. I can read what these guys say, and have a good chuckle over it. Sometimes, I can sense they are saying some things in a “tongue in cheek” fashion. That’s because I come out of a background where lots of these types of goobers (like me) hang out. Other people, who don’t understand where they’re coming from, might tend to get offended.

So, we all need to calm down, sit around the RMH, drink a tall one, or maybe have a shot of whiskey (or two), and sing Kum bah yah.

It turns out that BOTH Paul AND these guys mentioned above are correct, as far as what each is trying to accomplish.

Paul has clearly stated what he is trying to accomplish. His work could easily be published in the popular press. However, it might not be so easily published in a scientific or engineering journal.

The reason is that he might not have, scientifically speaking, gained enough control over the variables that go into the experiment (e.g., wood type, density, moisture content, volume vs. weight, type of construction, materials, dimensions, etc., etc., ad nausea). Thus, from a strictly science viewpoint, there would be a “risk” of comparing apples to oranges, when interpreting between test results.

However, a thinking engineer/scientist type, would look at his “high level” results, and see such huge differences in the outcomes, that he or she would say “further testing and research is definitely warranted” from a scientific viewpoint.

As a matter of fact, Paul’s (and others) comparative results are so large, the average person should not waist time getting bogged down in arguments over scientific minutia (unless that is your hobby). Just get on with it, ignore these finer discussion points, and just build the damn RMH. You have enough evidence, based on Paul (and others) work to safely proceed forward. You will learn what works best for you, under your particular circumstances, and you can learn, experiment, and make adjustments over time.

If you want to measure in terms of “cords of wood” versus “weight density” or some other narrowly defined term, that’s fine. At the level you’re working at, any refinement would just get lost in the noise.

On the other hand, if someone is thinking of starting a business to sell RMHs, and/or looking at the engineering science behind the construction of RMHs to guide engineers on developing new features and types of RMHs BEFORE they are actually constructed, then you will eventually be dragged into a more scientific way to do development and testing. You will need to objectively account for all variables and unknowns, clearly state your “engineering assumptions,” and speak to each other in a funny language. You will be concerned with the types of questions/comments that Boyd, et. al., are making in these posts.

Both points of view (practical vs. scientific, high level vs. a-hole analytical) are valid! So, let’s not get our collective panties in a wad.

Both points of view will, in the long run, get to the same result (at least as far as most of the practical questions being asked in the posts).

However, Paul, et. al., are going to get there sooner.

Science and engineering can then come in and provide the missing details.
3 years ago
This is not "making it yourself," but I just use 100% Emu Oil. It works great for me. I can use it on any part of the body, including the face. Of course it's oily. So, I usually just rub it in and then take a cloth or damp paper towel and rub off the excess residue.

It leaves the skin soft and moisturized. Works great in the winter time when my skin gets very dry.

Another benefit is that it has the ability to soak down into the lower skin layers, contrary to some other oils that sit on the top layer of skin.

I also occasionally use it as an after shave conditioner on the face.

In addition, I make up my own skin conditioning potion for the face. I've had a slight case of rosacea on my face, and this potion has helped significantly with that. This potion has some of the same ingredients contained in some cosmetics advertised as anti-aging. The good thing about mixing your own potion is that you are in control of the quality, quantity, and freshness of the formulation.

I mix a small batch of the following supplements into Emu oil:
high quality Vitamin E (including Tocopherol and Tocotrienol forms), astaxanthin, coenzyme Q10 (Ubquinol form), DHA/EPA (nutrients found in fish oil). The Emu oil acts as the carrier to absorb the nutrients into the lower skin layers.

Of course, you can mix whatever nutrients you believe to be beneficial for the skin.

The only caution with this potion is that astaxanthin, which is a naturally occurring compound found in shell fish, is the color of a lobster (bright reddish orange), and will stain linens, and it will be impossible to get it out. Therefore, I only use a wet paper towel to wipe off the residue.
3 years ago