DIY heating system

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click to enlarge



Simply the best

Could it be that the very best high performance ecological heating system is also less expensive than a conventional system? Could it be so simple and quick to install that you could do it yourself?

Yes absolutely, is the answer to both questions if you use a Specflue Xcel heat bank which, in my opinion, is still the best available.

It is DIYable because all the pumps and wiring are already fitted to the tank so all the techie bits are done for you; one of my plumbers says he can fit one in a day.

Because it is an open vent system it is absolutely safe and anyone is allowed to install it.


I could go on forever about why it is the best high performance system but here are the main points:
Stainless steel tank will probably last a lifetime – I prefer the 500 litre one.
Solar panels and woodburning stoves are properly integrated.
Heat pump connections, if required, are sensible and prevent destratification.
Condensing gas boilers run in condensing mode all the time and deliver their full power.
Recovery times are almost instant due to stratification.
Domestic hot water is pure and plentiful enough to equal 4 combi boilers running at once.

You don’t even have to install it all at once.  Just keep adding the next bit when time and funds allow.

See here for a brochure

I have installed many systems like this. In the days when solar PV gave good returns some of them were ZERO COST for all energy and my own house still makes a profit of about £1,000 a year. The system has been refined over the years and now there is even a special factory version of the tank incorporating a few of my favourite tweaks. I am also very particular about the way it is installed and the thermal characteristics of the house are modeled to make sure transmission matches power etc. I am also very picky about wood burning stoves; you’d be amazed how many people buy the wrong one.

If you are interested in having a go then you can depend on me for lots of advice and supply of a matched set of the heat bank, stove and panels in the UK and across Europe. I try to round down on factory prices and, within reason, give free advice so there is no better way to do your project.

Just use the contact form below to get going and I look forward to discussing your project with you.

Electric sports car 2020

EV Chassis

EV Chassis

Chuck a car out of the back of a Hercules and gravity will accelerate it to 60mph in under 3 seconds. It is no coincidence that, back on the ground, a few supercars also accelerate this fast. They have enough power to give a push on the ground equal to their own weight; a similar scenario to the car falling out of the sky. Friction limitations of normal road tyres level the playing field for all these powerful cars but in the next 5 years there will be cheaper sports cars and hatchbacks that can perform better and they will be electric. Bosch have just announced that a game changing range of lighter and more powerful batteries are on the way. Significantly this year’s Pikes Peak race was won convincingly by an electric car powered by six Yasa electric motors. Four of the motors used in the racer will do fine for an example of how our future car should perform. Allocating one to each wheel of a 3,000lb car means that it has to transmit 750lbs of shove on the road to push 750lbs weight to match the supercars. With a reduction gear of 2.8 the Yasa 400 motor has enough torque to do this and yet still not run out of revs before 190mph. For brief periods the maximum combined power of the motors is 880bhp so that should be erm, adequate if twice the power of a Porsche Turbo can be called adequate. In practice the acceleration should be better than anything on the road today because with each wheel finely controlled to prevent wheelspin the grip will be as good as it gets.
Individual wheel control will also transform road holding and handling. Imagine cornering with the outside wheels getting extra power and revs to augment the steering; worries about oversteer and understeer will be things of the past. In the same way that your satnav spookily shows the road ahead the on board computer can calculate the best power allocation to all the wheels to enable a safe trajectory through the bends and at speeds not really experienced in any car yet.
As mad as all this sounds there is no obvious reason why it should be particularly expensive. The layout of the car seems fairly obvious. The backbone chassis carries the batteries as centrally as possible and an inboard motor for each wheel is attached to the chassis. As the drive shafts are strong enough to handle immense power it makes sense to have inboard brakes integrated with the motors and then it is just one more logical step to have the suspension mounting points integrated into the motors as well. These power and suspension units can be deployed over a wide range of vehicles so, as we said, there is nothing particularly expensive here, in fact, quite the reverse. Roll on 2020.

Modern house boat

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click to enlarge

Introducing the Original Twist canal going house boat; in the style of a narrow boat only bigger, better and absolutely modern. As a living unit it presents an economical lifestyle choice. For £160,000 you get very low cost housing and maybe some change left over for a holiday house, long ski breaks and other good things. A comparable land based house or flat would be twice the price because of the cost of land, a boat on the other hand effectively rents the river via the canal licence.

A house boat might be small but as well as reduced outgoings there are some great advantages. You are never stuck anywhere you don’t like; if you need a change you can just cruise to somewhere else, maybe near a cosy riverside pub. River life can be like an aquatic pub crawl but without the driving. You’ll make more friends among the friendly and hospitable canal community too, especially with the most interesting boat on the water.
There is more scope for travel than just the English waters as you can get a tow across the channel to use a huge French network extending all the way down to the South of France where winters are not so harsh. Otherwise the house boat is an attractive proposition for a house swap so the whole world is your lobster.
It’s a tough life being retired!

The Original Twist Eco-house boat is all about, modernity, comfort and enough economy to make a modest pension go far. Many traditional ideas have been updated to achieve this.

Unlike a go-anywhere narrow boat ours is 10 feet wide and 55 feet long – we’ll forgo visits to a few stretches of narrow canal in exchange for a lot more room and the garage – yes that’s right, a garage.
The shell of the boat is normal steel but without the enclosing steel roof parts. The front saloon and the rear transom are full height steel as is the central bulkhead that separates them. The two open parts between the steel constructions are connected at roof level by tubular trellised ladder frames which run the length of the boat interrupted only by the central bulkhead. The open parts of the boat are then covered by 2 insulated wooden rooms made of plywood and foam panels (SIPS).which are factory prefabricated – complete with windows, pipes, wires etc. This makes the boat lighter, cheaper and better insulated.

The two central living spaces house the kitchen a bedroom and shower room, all with heated floors. Each has a large pop-up roof (just like on a camper van) to give a more spacious feel while being flattened whenever a low bridge is encountered. These roofs carry the solar panels and can tilt sideways in either direction to catch the sun – the simple mechanism to switch hinge points is activated by the flick of a switch.
The steel and glass front saloon is very light and airy with a door giving access to the front deck. Standard fan-coil units are turned on end to make a pair of powerful demisters for the huge windscreen and to heat the room too.
A flat sun deck on the roof of the saloon makes a great place to watch the world go by and as we shall see later the boat can be steered from up there too.
The steel rear transom accommodates the propeller shaft, engine mounts, rudder mechanism, a niche for the air source heat pump.  A tail hoist mounted across the back (like on delivery trucks) supports a light vehicle such as a Polaris RAZR side by side.  After adjusting the height the ramps are dropped and locked onto a nearby bank so one can drive off in style and comfort. What is life without wheels?  Because the hoist can be folded up, the length of the whole boat can be shortened to navigate some of the tighter locks. An awning can be extended over the vehicle and there we have it; the first house boat with a garage.

The real point about eco-technomologicalness here is to get along as cheaply as possible without damaging the planet. The 24 solar panels on the top produce a nominal 6kWp; more than most domestic arrays and enough for the small air source heat pump and to charge the batteries for the electric hybrid drive system. The hybrid drive is almost identical to that on the Original Twist hybrid 3-wheeler found on this site; here with a Lynch motor and a Kohler water cooled diesel. The usual benefits of a hybrid drive are there; the batteries give a few hours silent cruising and the diesel can take over indefinitely. The batteries are mostly solar charged or sometimes diesel engine charged with the Lynch motor doubling as a generator. Many moorings supply electricity so the batteries can be charged on cloudy days. With the air source heat pump the heating will run cheaply and conveniently off connected electricity or the batteries.  So there are 4 sources of heating power; the PV panels, wet panels, outside electricity and engine cooling . Most boat engines are cooled by river water but here a second coil in the heat bank uses the 60% of wasted heat to make hot water. There is no connection to the river or the gunk that blocks up the filters (boat owners nod knowingly here).
Heating is state of the art with a couple of tweaks. Twin heat banks with my stripper circuit make year round use of the 3 wet solar panels and the tanks are plumbed to optimise the little 2kW heat pump which delivers about 6kW. N.B. River water is not used as the heat source. See ‘Air source heat pumps in Southern Europe’ also on this web site.
Notable omissions are a wood stove and any gas as there is no need for either.

Control of all the lights, heating, entertainment and even the steering is done by i-pad and Z-Wave meshed radio modules which are cheap, reliable and plentiful home automation items. Narrow boats are usually driven from the back, a bit like a bus driver standing on the rear bumper. We can sit at the front in the saloon and steer from there or from anywhere else within range of the wi-fi; perhaps the sun deck even from the nearby pub! The Z-Wave controller allows for plenty of home automation tweaks like lighting control, security and leak detection, all from anywhere in the world. Theoretically the boat can be driven from anywhere there is an internet connection.
Actuators to move things like the roof panels and the rudder are operated by compressed air which is cleaner and easier to maintain. An i-pad and Z-Wave relays makes child’s play of these things; even a simple dimmer switch allows proportional control of the rudder.  The motorised satellite dish also needs to fold into a recess in the centre section when a bridge is encountered.

Neat extras
To make the kitchen a great place for eating while admiring the view the picture window on one side tilts up and out and a table is pushed outwards to make use of the outside space. Once parked up an extending awning over a drop down side deck, complete with an extending Barbie unit, makes an outside cooking area.

Central dust extraction – The centre section houses a fixed dust extractor plumbed to outlets around the boat to make cleaning much easier.

With a boat like this life will certainly be rich and varied.

ECO-HIPPY – One who is sufficiently off-grid to live almost cost free.

Heating News – Autumn 2015

ENGLAND FRANCE ITALY – Transcontinental Edition

Heating consultancy – England, France, Italy
England and Italy are covered so if you need a stove and a heat bank just get in touch, wherever you are, and I’ll get them to you. My usual transport goes from England to Italy every 2 weeks via France so sensible heating is equally available there. Just fill in the contact form below and we can start to chat.

Heating – Not too late for this winter
A system makeover might seem like a daunting prospect but it can often be as simple as connecting a new tank in your technical room to a few pipes that are already there. The most essential connection is to the wood burning stove; all the other power sources like solar and gas can be added later. There is an immersion heater on the tank to provide backup power if it is ever needed.
A heat bank and stove can be shipped out in about 6 weeks and installed in as little as 2 days.
Not only will your heating bills reduce dramatically but you’ll be cosy and in most cases safe from power cuts. If you were snowed in for 2 weeks without power would your existing system give you heat and cooking facilities? System continuity in a power cut is one of the most important considerations when designing rural heating systems.
Make sure you are safe and comfortable this winter. There is a contact form below.
Special offer on Solar panels
If you buy a stove and tank together I’ll arrange solar panels at trade price – like a big 3 panel kit with pump, controls and fluid for €2,000 + IVA. This is top quality Italian kit at a spectacular price especially as it‘s in Euros.
If you are in the UK or France I’ll do a similar deal and get the panels sent out to you from Italy.
(Subject to supplier price change)

Italian farm house scores a ‘C’
We’ve had the Energy Performance Certificate done on our Italian farm house as it’s up for sale. All the eco systems fitted to the house were officially vindicated by an unusually high ‘C’ rating, narrowly missing a ‘B’, so this proves that old stone houses can be efficient. Apparently the energy rating is an important factor as far as house buyers are concerned and quite rightly so as the wrong systems can cost a fortune to run.
Briefly, the spec. that achieved this was:
Wood stove (Clearview 650) with back boiler
Specflue heat bank
Wet solar panels
PV solar panels
Underfloor heating
Insulated roof
Double glazing.

The whole energy package actually returns a profit every year but we were still relieved that the applied criteria gave a respectable result.

If you’d like to talk about a high performance heating system like this please get in touch using the contact form below. Many versions of the system have been fitted in Italy and several refinements have been added to make it a well honed product known to the supplier as ‘The Italian Job’.
UK energy costs
Gas Gas Gas! If you live in the UK and have access to town gas you have enviably cheap energy. About 3p/ in fact which means a big 28kW gas boiler costs about £1 an hour to run and 50p for the typical smaller boilers. Knowing that winter lasts for about 200 days gives you a guide to your potential gas bills; 4hrs a day = up to £800 down to £400.
The exact cost depends on the boiler efficiency of course and a condensing boiler will get around 93% (versus as bad as 75% for an old one) but – and here’s the rub – only if the temperature of the return water is low enough to enable the latent heat to be condensed out of the exhaust gases. Upping your efficiency to 93% will save about £280 a year so the boiler is a good idea but it will only return a good result with low return temperatures. The best way to guarantee this is to fit a new tank or, to be specific, a heat bank like the one from Specflue. This stainless steel tank has a long list of benefits, such as integrating solar, wood stoves, under-floor etc but with regard to gas use and hot water delivery it is particularly impressive.
The gas boiler is directly connected to the tank (i.e. no coil) and can deliver full power to hot water to give fantastic recovery times and also continuous use of multiple outlets rather like an overpowered combi-boiler. The return temperature is managed and always correct for condensing mode. Hot water is extracted via an external heat exchanger so the hot water is fresh and pressurised so you can fill the kettle and saucepans with hot water. The pressure you get from your hot taps will now be the same as your cold taps which will put a bit of zing into a previously dribbly shower.
Don’t be put off by last winter’s bad press on condensing boilers – ‘Thousands left without heat in cold snap’ etc. Plumbers were quick to blame the kit but it was the condensate drains freezing and this problem can be bypassed with a break in the tube; the water drips into a funnel and any overflow is caught by a small plastic bowl.

UK electricity.
I used uSwitch to get a deal for 12.251 p/ after an informative chat with one of their advisors. A £400 annual saving so well worth the cost of a phone call. He will also tell me when a better rate comes up for a free switch to another provider..
It was interesting to note that Economy 7 at 6.232p/ was still twice the price of gas so the immersion heater is pretty much redundant as is economy 7 itself in most cases. The exception would be an air source heat pump where, despite a poor night time COP due to low temperatures, one would still be running a little cheaper than gas. The all electric eco-house is a possibility then.
UK electricity is almost half the cost of Italian electricity. As a rule of thumb every 1kW for 8 hours a day will cost you £1 (£365 a year) and this could be near your current use as a power meter usually reveals background consumption of around 1kW with a few lights, fridge and computers.
Replacing a 60W bulb with a 10W LED saves 5p in just 8 hours (£18 a year) so chuck all those old bulbs in the bin NOW and remember those curly CFL bulbs are not comparable so go straight to LEDs.

Eco house design

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click to enlarge

I was thinking about a small but overtly modern eco-house design a while ago and realised that it could not be smaller than the panel area required to run the small air source heat pump on a winter day. So the design is basically a big set of panels with a small house underneath. A 6kW array would be good for just over 2kW, just enough to run a small ASHP which in turn would be able to heat the well insulated house. Here is a sketch of what the house could be like. Using modern building materials it would be unusually low priced for the amount of space provided.
See the full article here
Comments welcome.


Silent PC

Top view

Top view

Fanless PC case by Original Twist

A totally silent Mini ITX PC case made from low-cost, off the shelf components with easy progression from prototype to large scale production.

The extruded fin case side is glued onto extruded aluminium corner sections; both are available from stock.  The corner sections have slots to accept side panels in any material – the blue parts on this drawing could be marble for example.

The huge finned extrusion makes one side of the case.  Heat transfer is via 6 heat pipes.

There are multiple SSD and HDD mounting options opposite the motherboard and also higher up the case.

The open case power supply (PSU) can be mounted internally and low down in the side channel extrusion. Any heat produced from this and the motherboard drives the updraft.  There are no other components and no moving components at all.



Side view

Side view

The Magic Power (PSU) that fits the case is 80W so that much heat needs to be handled by the case.  Any more power will need a Pico-PSU i.e. an external brick with internal ATX distribution leads. The case can cool up to 100W but most CPU chips will run under that level. The 6 heat pipes only use the top half of the case but extra heat pipes can be fitted down the side to bring the bottom of the big heat sink into play.

When standing up the tall chimney case draws air up through the bottom and expels it at the top so cooling is effected both inside and outside the case. The aluminium corner extrusions are part of the heat sink and are bonded on with heat transfer glue.

The finned heat pipe clamp on the CPU sits neatly in the airflow (splayed fins would be better) as do the heat pipes on their path to the side wall. The mother board, mounted at the bottom of the case, heats the air at the lowest point. Full height cock’s-comb RAM coolers also heat the air low down.

The heat pipes go across then down to the sink so the motherboard becomes upside-down when the PC is on its side with the heat sink uppermost.


Thermal performance calculations

The 6 heat pipes on the CPU block can remove at least 15W each and almost double that with the case in the upright position. Additional air flow through the case in this position will also remove some 10W from the CPU heat sink. So the removal side is good for over 100W but, of course, we need to dispose of this heat through the case.

The heat pipes only lie in half of the finned side and the manufacturer’s figures suggest a DegC/W of 0.45 for this length. With the CPU at 50C and a room at 22C we would be looking at 62W cooling power which would comfortably cool the 55W Intel Core i3 chips. Actually CPUs can run much hotter and the cooling power would be equally higher.

If the big heat sink side had additional heat pipes embedded along its entire length then the case would be able to remove around 80W so the i7 3770S at 65W could be accommodated and probably any 75W versions as well.  It is hoped that the case will be able to lie flat for 55W chips and be good for practically anything while standing up or on a VESA mount. The added cooling power of the corner extrusions has not been taken into account in these calculations so real world performance should be much better than indicated. Theory is all very well but we can be sure by comparing with several existing silent PCs which work perfectly well. The Original Twist design has cooling surfaces of around 5 times that of the others so this should be the best of its kind. Some PCs have heat sinks; this PC is a heat sink!


Case size 124.5 x 240 x 350mm

The components dictate the shape.

Width – the I/O shield between 2 corners

40+44.5+40 = 124.5mm.

Side length – the finned extrusion between 2 corners

= 160+40+40= 240mm

Height/length – 170mm motherboard with HDD or SSD above – 350mm.

While it is big enough to house that monster cooling extrusion it is not as tall or deep as a typical small form factor PC and only slightly fatter.


Design notes

The corner extrusions come with threaded inserts for the ends and these are used to bolt on the top and bottom plates.

4 big round feet enable the start button to be fitted in the base plate as well as the ‘power on’ LED and an angled power plug.

The radiused corners on the end plates match the case style.


Market position

Various Zotacs and the Compulabs Intense exemplify this silent PC slot but they are too expensive and none have enough cooling power for fast processors.

The Hdplex and Streacom cases both employ similar heat pipe cooling but with less cooling power and more complexity.

The Original Twist Fanless PC case delivers higher performance for a lower price.

The beautiful, contrasting black and aluminium finish looks truly modern making this ‘the computer you want’ and in every way better than ‘the computer you need’.  Design flexibility allows the non cooling sides to be in various materials such as wood, aluminium or marble, none of which requires special tooling to produce.



This case provides excellent flexibility for product variation and expansion. The side panel with the I/O plate is long enough to mount DVD players or removable drive bays.



heat pipe layoutThe computer is assembled with the finned side down. The heat pipes are cranked down once clear of the motherboard and are pressed into the machined slots in the side. After that the PSU channel and the opposite face plate are fitted along with the I/O plate.

Any SSDs or HDD are screwed onto the lid with their looms running neatly up the side so as not to impede airflow. This lid and attached corners then bolts on and finally the end plates hold it all together.


The bending of the heat pipes is fairly minimal but it is, none the less, quite critical. The sketch above shows how just 3 shapes of bend are needed to fit all six pipes. The yellow positions show where additional heat pipes could be laid to increase the effective case length. The pitch of the heat pipe slots on the heat sink have to be exact multiples of the pitch on the CPU block.


Marketing words?

Our philosophy is simple. Cut waste and spend the difference on better components.

Designed in solid aluminium this PC brings you beautiful modern looks that reflect the quality and performance of the internals.

To bring you the best value for money with absolute reliability we removed all the moving parts. All discs and fans have been replaced by top quality components to bring you the best value, high performance, totally silent PC.

The Gigabyte motherboard is sheer indulgence – top quality with built in Wi-fi and built to last. It is WiDi compatible too so a wireless link to your TV is easy.

The 120 GB solid state drive gives exceptionally fast boot times and application loading.

Super fast USB-3 ports are available for you to plug in your external media storage devices or there is room inside for a hard drive with support for up to 3Tb.

The side plate holding the PSU can also house an optical media drive bay (41x146x185mm- dotted line on the drawing). A blue ray player built into your ‘Totally Brilliant Original Twist i3’ makes the perfect HTPC.

This case is not in production yet. If you would like to own this design and the business of producing it please use the Original Twist contact form.  If I get enough ‘likes’ it will go into production.

Tiny Affordable Eco house

Tiny Affordable Eco house

view - South side

view – South side

Eco house from the end showing garage door

Eco house from the end showing garage door

Check Google images for tiny house, small house, eco-house, pod, green living module or just a modern house. See anything you could imagine building very cheaply then living in?
Here’s the Original Twist idea of a simple modern looking house which, by using blocks or ICFs for the first floor and SIPs (structural insulated panels) on top, is quick and correspondingly cheap to make. It is also quite small which leaves something in the budget for all the latest mod cons like the home cinema, a nice car in the integrated garage and of course the eco kit – 24 solar panels and the heat pump pod in the garden.
The actual building is conventionally cubic, clad in vertical wood, with all the metallic looking curvy edges added on later. The edges conceal wires and pipes and are made of polystyrene or zinc covered forms. The upper south side is nearly all glass which adds to the feeling of space and allows for enough solar gain to take us into passivehause territory.
Small it may be but it is huge inside with the main living area 6m x 10m and a similarly massive room downstairs, both with cavernous ceilings. The raised bed platform gives a visual separation from the seating area and allows the big room to be a sitting room, bedroom and dining room all in one go. It will feel like a large expensive modern house but without the heavy price tag.
The main seating backs onto the big step and faces the partition wall which neatly houses a huge 4K TV, and all the usual kit, beneath a roller tapestry. This prefabricated wall incorporates storage on the reverse side and integrates all the gear for home automation, security and communications.

To convert the living space into a dining room the table comes up from the floor – (see magic table on…… the TV disappears, the bed tips up and away and the sofa glides back into the recess behind it; fanciful maybe but it makes excellent use of the space and easily accommodates large dinner parties. The sofa mechanism is quite simple with the sofa parking on top of the cover door when it is deployed.
With all the clutter cleared away there is plenty of room for partying with the ‘bar height’ raised platform making a safe place to put food and drinks. This house really is an entertaining machine.
There is a doorway either side of the big screen; one for the upstairs loo and the other to the kitchen. The generally high ceilings allow for an optional extra bedroom over the upstairs kitchen, accessed by a stairway along the back wall. It has to be very light and airy looking to preserve the cube like look of the main structure.
The house is suited to be built on a sloping site so access to the first floor would come from that level and ideally via a glass entry vestibule to the front door on the wall opposite the big glass south wall.

Conservatory, kitchen, bedroom, car - what else do you need?

Conservatory, kitchen, bedroom, car – what else do you need?

Downstairs the large breakfast room enjoys a wrap around conservatory and incorporates a second small integrated kitchen. Doors to the rear lead to an en-suite bedroom, a loo and the garage.
The daily grind won’t seem so bad when you start with a cuppa in bed watching the morning news then a shower (in the small shower-room on the bed level) before going downstairs to a sunny breakfast before nipping through to take your Porsche off to work.

Of course the eco-technomologicalness will be state of the art. The 24 Sunerg hybrid solar panels actually dictate the size and shape of the roof and the red trim panels are fixed directly to the panels (PV and wet solar are all 2m x 1m).  4 of the panels on the steep roof will be wet to give a massive 8sqm to feed my own twin tank heat bank design – my speciality. The other 20 panels use micro-inverters to give a nominal 6kWp and a real 2-3kW in the winter to run the little air source heat pump which also does some neat heat recovery from the house and uses some ground heated air too.  Batteries make a huge UPS which, combined with the batteries in the electric car, largely makes the mains supply more like a backup.

Eco pod

Eco pod

At the moment this is just an exploratory sketch but with serious intent. Local councils are being encouraged to make space available for self build houses and after a bit of polishing this design might gain some followers. Value for money would be very good if the drawings were all available and various trades all lined up and ready to make the next one. Practice makes perfect.
What next? Comments and criticisms would be good and then a list of the interested suppliers to put underneath here. If you are interested in owning one of these just let me know on the form and I’ll let you know how it develops.

Suppliers please step up:
Architects to draw it all up and polish the detail
Builders who like ICFs and SIPs
SIPs supplier (note the curvy roof)
Curved trim supplier – polystyrene.
Engineer for raising table and gliding sofa
TV partition wall
ASHP supplier
Solar pod for ASHP
Panels and micro-inverters
Power router
Panels – I’m set to import these.
Heat banks and energy design – that’s me.

Magic disappearing table

Now you see me

Now you see me

Now you don't

Now you don’t

You’ve been one of eight guests for dinner in a very modern eco-house. You all dined on a lovely heavy wooden table standing on four polished steel pillars; all very much in keeping with the modern house. You help to clear away the last plate into the kitchen and when you return 10 seconds later the table has completely disappeared. What? Your hosts were in the kitchen too so where has it gone?
OK, here’s the secret of the Original Twist magic table, and strangely, to make one table disappear you need 2 tables.
To start with imagine the original floor – for me, wide lime-washed oak boards – and this is where the table starts off; at this moment it is the floor. Underneath there is a small pit just big enough to accommodate the 4 steel pillars the bases of which screw into a rectangular frame which is raised and lowered by screw jacks and an electric motor. To go techie for a moment, there is an upper frame too with big DU bushes in blocks to steady the legs. When the floor/table is raised up you don’t see a hole in the floor because immediately under the first table there is a second identical floor section with 4 holes through which the legs move. When the legs base frame comes up to the top of the pit it pushes the second floor up to exactly the right height and the illusion is complete. The table has appeared from nowhere and the floor is exactly like it was before.
Hygiene would be an issue but with a rubber backed rug over the floor the table will never have been walked on and double protection would be afforded by a tablecloth as well.
Servicing can all be done from above and would be even easier done from below if the pit had a side hatch accessed from the floor below.
There is more to this concept that the sheer theatre of it. The easy removal of a substantial table makes grand entertaining in a downsized house all very possible without having that old hat idea of a largely unused dining room.
There is a business waiting to be started here. Precast pit and frames etc waiting to be fitted to the floor. If you are interested please contact me on the form below.