I’ve very precisely dug two trenches in the front yard that are exactly the dimensions that I want to use for my rails. (They are also not-coincidentally the size of the planks I’ve been making doors out of. Because I’ve gotten pretty consistent with the door work and this way if something happens to my trenches I can remake them with my plank templates.)
I’m building a forge out there so I don’t have to try to walk from the current forge’s location outside and down a hill carrying molten iron. Also, if I build it closely enough I can just tilt the forge’s bucket and pour, and that would be somewhat safer. Somewhat. Just a little.
The forge is actually the part taking the longest, since the soil here is sandy clay and thus actually was relatively easy to mould. But the forge I really don’t want to screw up. I don’t want to risk an explosion with the volume and temperatures I’m talking about.
Learned the hard way to not work with the red rock near my other stuff. Dropped a hammer on it accidentally, got my arm royally zapped. Not feeling well, hoping I haven’t fried my heart. Think I’m taking the rest of the day off to sleep.
It looks like those sparks can pack quite a punch. Instead of just setting a chunk of iron near the spark, this time I punched a hole in the middle of an ingot so that it could spin like a propeller, and then set it down near the spark.
A single spark on a reasonably small amount of red rock spun that heavy chunk of ingot for a good long time.
So I’m thinking I can use this to power a rail system.
The biggest problem will probably be that the rails where the electricity is running will have to be much more conductive than iron, especially if I want them to do things like go up hill.
On the other hand, even on relatively flat land it looks like a medium amount of red rock should be enough to move a cart a reasonably long distance, even if I build the cart out of iron.
(And let’s face it, an iron cart of reasonably thin walls is going to be more durable and possibly lighter than its counterpart in wood. Less kaboom from the giraffe-corgis.)
So I played around with the red rock and here’s what I discovered:
- When you hit it, it releases a spark from the place you hit it to the far other end.
- If you have a piece of iron at the far other end, it will react to the spark’s arrival similar to a magnet: which is to say, it moves.
- Based on my infinitesimal education on electricity, I think it means when you hit the rock, you create not just a spark but a magnetic field around the spark.
- Magnetic fields will turn things.
Am now experimenting with how big a thing it can turn.
I ran out of handle wood to make axes, so I’m back to my home base, still short of the last of the diamonds I want to have before I go back east.
I could just skip the last of the diamonds but then who knows what else I’m be giving up?
On the other hand I might be digging this direction to get to the big mountain, it’s hard to tell.
In other words, I’m over tired from hauling bags and bags of red rock back and forth and I’m ready for bed.
Maybe tomorrow before I head back I experiment with pouring those wheels I keep talking about.