The Light Sharpener


The plan for strong, temporary lawn anchoring depended on these screw-in dog leash tethers from Home Depot. 

I actually planned on using these tethers in a prank, but that never came together. I attached each one to a screw-eye at the end of a leg.

I also hammered a wooden stake into the ground to anchor the center pole. 

Despite vigorous efforts from the whole family, I needed more help. 

I rounded up friends for a ol' fashioned dish raising

Eric, Meaghan, Nick and I moved the dish into position and tilted it up onto the post. Stacy had camera duty. It took about 10 minutes.

Once the iron sleeve was clinched, it was remarkably sturdy. 

It didn't appear to be perfectly balanced, but it was easy to pivot considering the size. I made a mental note that the balance might have to be improved if I added 100 lbs. (45 Kg) of glass mirrors to the equation.

These two bolts form the axis for left-right swing. We connected the Von Weise actuator, but quickly realized it was going to be easier to tilt by hand than to craft the electronic controls for the actuator.


The dish is huge. The energy-collecting potential is huge. 

Regarding safety: A dish this size, covered with mirrors, is dangerous. It is a fire hazard, with the heat potential of several large barbeques connected in parallel. It would only be dangerous when in sunlight, and the greatest danger would be at the fixed focal point. The concentrated light would disperse past the focal point, so I wouldn't stand much chance of igniting nearby trees. Also, if the dish ripped free from its mount and tilted down, it would hit the ground before it could lock my noggin into its cruel focal point. 

With the dish mounted, it was time to get to work on the reflective surface. 
I wanted to try three different materials: aluminum foil, Mylar and glass mirrors

Please continue reading page 6 of the Light Sharpener

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May 23rd, 2007.   Terms and Conditions  Copyright 2007