Sunday, December 21, 2014

Prettiest Harley Ever Made?

Harley-Davidson RR350
Photo From Here

That's one fine looking motorcycle. Nice write-up at the link under the photo. Molenaar's HD in Hammond used to have a 250 RR in their place. I used to drool over it every time I went in there. I was fortunate to add Walter Villa's autograph to my American Racer book. According to the Wiki article, he passed away in 2002, which wouldn't have been too long after I met him at Daytona. He won both the 250 and 350 World Championship on the Harley road racers in 1976.

There used to be an auction house I drove by on my way to work that had a Harley 250 DT two-stroke flat tracker that they must have picked up at an estate sale or something. It had a nickel plated frame, maybe a C&J or a Trackmaster? Spool on the front wheel, disc brake on the back, both brake and shift lever on the right side so you could work them both when you were sliding. Way cool. The price was good but what the hell was I going to do with a flat tracker? I was already drag racing a bike. I sure didn't need to try my hand at flat tracking but I have kind of regretted it from time to time. I'm sure it would have been fun. Or more probably painful. In retrospect, I should have bought it and just sat on it - probably would have gotten a pretty good buck for it when the vintage racing craze hit. "Too soon old, too late wise."

I handed in my time sheet the other day for my lab tech job and I was informed that was going to be it - they hired someone full time to take over. Looks like I'm going to have a little more time on my hands to work on the projects. Speaking of which, Surly has made a little progress on the sidecover design for the BSA. I need to grade a few exams and get the grades posted but other than that and the holidays, I don't have much else in the pipeline except what I want to do. Like hammer out sidecovers and wire up a Sportster. That feels pretty good.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tin Cans

Tin cans don't hold the same place of value they did when I was a kid. Between tin cans and baby food jars, there probably wasn't a basement, garage or workshop anywhere that didn't have a few being used for storage of screws, nuts and bolts, and let's not forget the can required to bail out the wooden row boat. I've even got a book laying around here somewhere of things you can make from tin cans. Now days many of the cans, even coffee and paint, are made from plastic or spiral wound cardboard. Now with the K - Cups, my coffee can supply has dwindled down to nothing. Which brings us to the above photo. 

I needed a scoop for the cat food in the barn. I've made several over the years from coffee cans but all I really needed this time was a can. No handle, no tools involved. Just rinse out the bean can and done. However, if you look at the black olive can in the photo you can see that the lid is on it but the can has been opened. The Missus bought a Kuhn Rikon can opener a couple of years back and that thing is the berries - takes the lid off with out any burrs and you can stick the lid back on the can and it looks like it was never even opened. I rinsed out the one above and I'm planning on saving up a few more of them and then making a rack to keep them in. I've got a bunch of rivets that need to be sorted and the small cans should be just the right size for them. As tight as the lids fit, you could also rinse out a larger can and stash your roll of "C notes" in there along side the rest of the cans on the pantry shelf - be better than a safe unless the thief was hungry for spinach or whatever when he was robbing the joint.

Looking for a last minute Christmas gift? Here you go. Works slicker than snot on a doorknob and only twenty bucks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

That's the Brakes

I got the lower die for my press brake altered. I'm thinking I might need a little more reinforcement in the middle, however. There's roughly a 5/16" gap between the base plate of the die on both sides and the channel iron it's sitting on. I'm going to weld a tab of some sort in the middle, probably more for peace of mind than for anything else. The real weak link in the chain are the rods that support the whole works. There is a 3/4" round pin on each side that allows you to move things up or down as needed. The press has a 12 ton jack and it's managed to bend the rods a bit. If I'm going to put a big load on it I may need to beef up the lower support. Maybe make something that uses two rods per side rather than just the one. While I'm contemplating that, I'll work on getting the top die taken care of. 

I'm planning on using the pipe laying in the vee of the die to attach the top die to the press. The press has a 2" stub sticking down. If I bore out the pipe to slip over it I should have something I can then weld to the top die. The only problem with that pipe is the wall will be a little thin after I bore it out. If I wrap a piece of 1/8" flat around it to beef it up it'll have a 5/16" wall around it then. Add a couple of brackets to the ends of the die and I should be in business. Maybe wire brush it all down and then get a coat of paint on it next Spring.

I put the rear wheel back under the Sportster - looks pretty good with the chrome lever and rod. As always I ran into a couple of snags along the way. I had to Heli-Coil the hole for the forward mount on the chain guard but I new that. I also had to chase the threads on the axle and nut. I'm not sure how one vehicle could have so many damaged threads but this one sure does. Or did. I should have most of them fixed now. The gizmo that clamps on the brake rod to actuate the brake light switch doesn't want to clamp down tight enough. Looks like I'll have to weld in a little shim to make it grip a little tighter. The brake shoes looked good but I had to use most of the adjustment to get them to make contact with the drum. I'll get the chain on it and adjusted and then see where I'm at with the brakes. 

I checked the school calender and my vacation's not as long as I thought but I've got a good 3-1/2 weeks. I'm planning on finishing up all the mechanical things on the Sportster while I'm off and with a bit of luck, the wiring as well. With the new lights, heater and radio, it's pretty nice working out in the shop now. As long as it doesn't get super cold, might be able to get a couple of things done on the 900 as well.

Marching right along. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

National Bill of Rights Day

From Here

National Bill of Rights Day today. In light of what's happening in this country, we all should take a good, hard look at these amendments and be a little more demanding of our politicians to prevent any further erosion of them and the rest of the constitution. In November's election, here in Indiana we had the distinction of the lowest voter turnout in the nation - 28% There's something to be proud of. However, in spite of the lack of interest, we Hoosiers have the third lowest debt per resident at $5,726 according to the 12/10 Wall Street Journal. The same Op-Ed goes on to say the federal debt is $17 trillion and increasing by $4 billion a day, making each citizen's share $58,604. The unfunded liabilities, however, are around $115 trillion. That's $1.1 million per taxpayer. I hope they're not waiting on me to send in a check for my share. 

Our freedoms are eroding and the debt keeps rising. Apparently the politicians believe in unicorns and fairy dust because they obviously don't believe in the laws of economics. Or the Constitution.  It's not going to be pretty when it's time to pay the piper. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas List

Photo From Here
This might be asking a lot from Old Santa, another trip to Paris and an E-Type Jaguar.

This is a little more reasonable, Lewis Leathers Universal Racer jacket like Steve McQueen wore. Price listed on the website close to $1000.00 US dollars. It'd be just the thing for riding around on the BSA on those beautiful Fall days. I could pick one up next time I'm in London if Santa doesn't come through for me.

And while I'm there, pick up a Belstaff waxed cotton jacket for the rainy Spring mornings - either on the bike or while walking around Paris. Good enough for Sammy Miller, good enough for me.

And to complete the motorbiking ensemble, a pair of Gasolina boots. Gasolina also sells leather jackets. Both the boots and the jacket prices are pretty reasonable, actually. With shipping, about $300.00 for the boots, $500.00 for the jacket.

Last but not least, a Gerstner machinist box. I've wanted one of these ever since I started collecting machinist's tools. This one is about $1,400.00. Gerstner now has their International line with cheaper prices but I'd have to hold out for an American made one. They do have a kit for their Journeyman box if you want to build your own. That'd be you, not me. I've got enough sh*t to do.

If I low-ball the prices, trip to Paris $4,000, Jaguar $30,000, jacket $500, boots $300, machinist chest $1,400. Hell, that's less than $40,000. Not like I'm asking for much. Throw out the Jag and the list starts looking reasonable - not necessarily for my circle of friends and family - but for the high rollers out there, chump change. 

The truth of the matter is that all I really want this year is a couple of tools, a couple of books, continued good health for me and mine, "and on earth peace, and good will toward men". And if I could get the latter, I'd gladly give up the former. I don't need to see any more riots and young men and women getting killed, whether at war or in the streets. This Christmas season how about we think about others? While you're out shopping, drop a couple of bucks into the bell ringer's bucket or maybe help out the Toys for Tots if you can afford it. Maybe a donation to the local food pantry or soup kitchen. Kindness is contagious.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Inside Joke Part III

"And put it on my bill!"

And then we laughed 'til our faces cramped.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Genius at Work

From Here

Surly has been thinking about the BSA and has posted a couple of things about the upcoming build. Check out the link and see where he's coming from on the design process.

PS. I've got no idea what Wiley Coyote is thinking up there but since Surly was tossing around the names of Italian motorcycle designers, it seemed to fit. And you should check out The Panelbeater video at Handverker. Also, here's a link to the Brandoli Workshop. Signor Brandoli says it takes a lifetime to learn the skills. Me thinks I should have started a little earlier.