The Saturday Video: ‘It All Starts With Dirt’

By November 5, 2005Cool Stuff Being Made

OK, the votes are in, as you can see below, and blog readers continue to demand the real McCoy — no animation, no un-narrated video, “give us the real stuff”, you say — almost two-thirds voted for the aluminum video. (We’ll have to check the log files, see how many folks with an Alcoa address voted….) And, we should say, welcome Boingers, our friends from BoingBoing, who are religiously checking these videos every Saturday.

This is a short but good video this week of the process of aluminum manufacturing. From bauxite (dirt) to ingots, it’s way cool to see this process work. For every 4 tons of bauxite you get 2 tons of aluminum. Who knew? We usually just use it to wrap our leftovers and to hold our beer, but it is clearly a substance with many, many versatile uses. Here’s a link to the video, “It All Starts With Dirt”. Here’s a link to a cool accompanying 15-page .pdf file of the same name. Check out especially pages 11-13 to see a sketch of the manufacturing process. The book talks of the story of the Aluminum Corporation of America — later shortened to “Alcoa” — from its founding by Charles Martin Hall in 1888 to present. A great NAM member, a great company, a great American manufacturer.

We’ve also tossed in a short animation from Alcoa of how a Boeing 757-200 becomes a cost-efficient high-capacity platform for air cargo operations, thanks to the glories of aluminum.

We’ll say it again: Sit back and feel the manufacturing vibe.