What have I been up to? (I know no one is really asking this, but I will answer anyway.)
Not much. I've been a bit overwhelmed taking care of the little one.
I did get my ice cream machine working. I mixed up silicone caulk and aluminum powder and put it on the evaporator of the mini fridge. I wrapped it around the stainless steel pot and used some large hose clamps to tighten it down. Actually, I put a garbage bag inside the pot and compacted wet sand first. I noticed that the hose clamps dented the pot before. It still slightly dented in one spot, but it is not affecting its use. I'm getting more even cooling on the pot now and likely better efficiency.
I made a mixer by welding onto a 1/2" steel rod. I made one batch and it took longer than it should have. I had maybe 3/32" gap between the pot and the mixer as it rotated. I ended up screwing some thin Kydex onto the blade and it scraped the ice off the sides of the pot as it went around. It worked really well. Unfortunately my Dewalt drill wasn't liking the extra force require to turn it, but the ice cream turned out very well.
My first batch was just half and half, sugar, vanilla and cocoa powder. It was pretty icy and I was using the first mixer version.
The second batch was half and half, sugar vanilla, chocolate chips (melted) and an egg. Oh boy did that egg make a HUGE difference. It was just like REAL ice cream. Apparently the egg acts as an emulsifier and is pretty much required to get the right texture. This batch used the improved mixer which probably helped the texture too.
The mini fridge works so well because I can get the ice cream down to a much lower temperature than other methods. I can run the mixer until it gets pretty stiff and then just let it sit and harden. I measure a temp of -8 degrees F. That's NEGATIVE 8! This is from an old mini fridge that I think paid $10 for.
I need to make a new mixer blade system so that I can improve it a bit. I want to make two blades to scrape the sides so that there isn't as much lateral force on the shaft as I have now (I'm using just one blade). I'm debating whether I REALLY need a stainless steel one. I guess cast iron pots are not stainless and are used for cooking so I should be able to use mild steel as long as I'm not doing lemon sorbets all the time.
I've stalled on the recliners since I don't have a power supply for >5V DC. I was thinking of using a 12V car battery and then trickle charging it. The battery can supply enough amps for all chairs yet only needs a power supply with an output of 50mA or so.
50mA x 24 hours = 1.2 AH
If the motor runs for 1 minute a day (which would be probably 6 full travel movements).
1.2AH / (1/60 H) = 72 A
It can be pulling a full 72 A for 1 minute and still be charged with a 50mA trickle charge.
I'm not sure if the motors will handle 12V though. I may have to pull out the battery in my car to find out.