If necessity is indeed the mother of invention, then the three contraptions mounted near three BARN windows are perfect examples.

When the pandemic highlighted the importance of air circulation inside buildings, BARN volunteers looked up at the windows located high above the floor in the metal machine shop. They would provide great air movement to supplement BARN’s existing fresh-air ventilation system. But getting to these lofty windows was no small feat, and during the winter it’s helpful to be able to close them. “We had been thinking about this for some time, but what really got us off the dime was the desire to better manage our air circulation.” said David Hays, Studio Lead.

So the Metal volunteers put their design caps on to figure out how to open and close the windows without climbing a ladder. They looked at pivot systems, 3-bar linkages, all of which would work but be expensive to build.

Chris Stanley explored the idea of using affordable, easily sourced motors. They settled on one that is a standard part of the window openers in GM vehicles, which costs about $25. Peter Moseley designed the base and rack, a 16” long geared bar with teeth that mesh with the pinion gear on the motor. David Hays printed the racks and bases with polycarbonate and carbon fiber filament on Metal-Fab’s 3D printer. Ralph McCotter then wired up all the electrical components.

Then an electrician ran power and control cables through the wall for the needed 12 volt power supply and three control cables. Now, with just the press of a button, a motor high above whirs into action and open a window. Fresh air flows, and ingenuity triumphs once again.

Are you interested in exploring the world of Metal Fabrication? The studio offers classes in machining, welding, plasma cutting, sheet meal work, and now foundry bronze casting. You’ll find a progressive series of casting classes and more available in Metal Fabrication listings, with more to come. Check out the Metal Catalog for info on what’s coming up!