Friday, January 17, 2020

Photogenic Insides

I had an aneurism screening yesterday. When I saw the cardiologist about a month ago he recommend me having the test. I was a little alarmed when he first mentioned the word aneurism but he said the screening is recommended for anyone over the age of 65 who has had a cardiac event and smoked more than 100 cigarettes. I smoked a bit way back about 45 years ago but I've also inhaled quite a bit of welding smoke over the years along with plenty of second-hand smoke. I doubt the test will show anything but it's painless, I've got Medicare and it's probably a good idea to listen to the guy who saved your life. And the young lady who was rubbing my tummy with the ultrasound wand while administering the test said I've got photogenic insides, so I've got that going for me regardless of the outcome of the test.

I went out to breakfast after my test with my cycling buddy who broke his neck a couple months back. He's been sporting his neck brace since then and he still can't drive or do much of anything so I figured he'd like to get out of the house. He invited me to check out his new welding machine after we got done with breakfast, so I took a helmet and some aluminum along and played with the machine a bit. He'd only done steel with it prior to his accident but I wanted to see how it did on aluminum. The machine has a lot of adjustability and features for a machine in this price range. I played with all the buttons and was able to lay down some nice beads.


Everlast 185. The machine comes with everything you need to TIG weld except tungsten and a bottle of argon. This model will run on either 110 or 220 and is small enough to be portable. It will also stick weld with the included electrode holder. Nice little machine with a 5 year warranty for less than $1,000.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Music to Soothe the Savage Beast




Not much to report these last few days so here's some music for you. Great musicians that I'd never heard of before until I stumbled across them the other day here. I got a chuckle out of their dress - a couple of them look like Cuzzin Ricky and I when we're just hanging out. They were filmed playing in New Orleans. I missed a chance to go down there again. Amtrak had a twofer going but I didn't find out about it until it was too late to book the trip. I am kicking around a couple of travel plans for the year, though. I definitely see some sprint and champ dirt cars in my future.

In the meantime,  I worked on a few things for the side hustle and finished up the last two pieces for the motorcycle carrier - still need to be painted, however. Got the new shelf in the basement full and tossed a few things out while I was organizing. Still got a long way to go on that job but it's a start.

I replaced the broken spokes, trued and repacked the bearings on the wheel for the railbike. I was going to shine up the rim last night but forgot to bring in the steel wool. I'll get it shined up and then get the new tire and tube installed so I can put that one in the finished column. I still have to make some kind of gizmo to raise the guide for the front of the bike when I encounter a switch but that's way down on the list. It would be nice to finish it up and then get the bike painted. I imagine the tracks that run by my house are going to be abandoned in a couple of years when the power plant shuts down. Might be prime railbiking territory until I get run off or arrested.


Postmodern Jukebox with The Sole Sisters. I'm a big fan of tap dancing and these two girls are dynamite. Postmodern Jukebox sure ain't bad either. I did just a wee bit of tap at the high school. I'd like to get some instruction to get better at it. It would be a nice supplement to the exercise I get at the boxing gym. I'm sure there has to be something on You Tube if I was to look into it. Looks like the cold weather is finally going to be here this weekend. Might be a good time to dust off the old tap shoes.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Welding Stuff


Photo of one of my students running a bit of 6011 vertical. He's progressing well. Even though he's having a bit of trouble with the vertical up, he's been doing the finish welding on some parts I've made and they're looking real good. The welding lessons are easily the best part of my work day. It's nice having the freedom to set the curriculum and teach as I see fit without all the BS that usually accompanies education in a more formal setting. Very rewarding.

I put in a couple of hours working on pieces for the side hustle the other day and I brought a box of parts home to work on the next couple of days as well. I sketched out a small frame I need to make up. Making it will be a piece of cake - just don't know if it will do the job for which it's intended. I've been addressing a lot of issues that have been hitting the company bottom line for quite a while. Some of the solutions are actually pretty simple- just needed someone with a bit of fabricating experience to come along. I'm making patterns for all the brackets and the ladies in the office are scanning them in. They are also taking photographs of the finished installation so when I drag up, someone will be able to continue making the parts without reinventing the wheel.

I picked up another job from my buddy the Ducati specialist. It's a 450 gas tank that's practically like new but has a crack about one inch long underneath one of the fuel taps. I need to figure out a way to repair the crack without burning up the chrome and keeping the damage to the paint at a minimum. The fuel tap is brazed into the tank but torch brazing the crack is out of the question. I think I've got it figured out. I need to buy some supplies but I'll quote the job first to make sure the owner is good with the price. Buying the supplies will be a little bit expensive but I doubt I'll ever use those materials again, so I'll let the customer pay for them and add a little bit for my labor.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Bike Carrier +



I got some paint on the bike carrier. I need to finish the two pieces of angle that bolt to the ends and it'll be done. The angles will have a slot or a hook to fasten the tie-downs to as well as a marker light on the side. Along with the two lights on the rear it should be well lit. I'll probably get some reflective tape and put on the back and sides as well since the bike will partially cover the truck taillights. I've got some work to do for the side hustle today but I want to get the angles made up also. It was cold here yesterday so I stayed out of the shop. It's supposed to warm up today and tomorrow, so I should have everything painted and wired by the weekend.


I've started doing some clean-up in the basement and needed some shelf space, so I made this unit. The sides and shelves are made from particle board. I used a 2x2 in the corners to screw everything together since particle board is not real fastener friendly. A 1x3 on the back keeps it from racking out of shape. It's nothing fancy but we've got some boxes that need a place. The idea is to get everything sorted and organized and then start the process of downsizing or at least make it easier when it's time to sell the farm and move into town or "the home".

I'm not sure what's up next on the to-do list. I need to do some work on the inside of the shack and I need to get back on the Rapido job. I've got some other half finished things that it would be nice to have done. I need to do a little planning on the garden one of these days. I only had peppers and tomatoes last year but I'd like to do a bit more this year. I've gotten a few seed catalogs already. Need to spend a few minutes and get a plan together so I can get some things started.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

New Horses



My new saw horses came Sunday evening. I was surprised to receive an e-mail saying they were shipped and would be delivered on a Sunday. It got late and I turned the porch light off at about 7:30 that evening and the delivery showed up at 7:40. I took one out of the box and while they seem to be rather well made, I don't know if I'd load them up with the 1500 pounds each they're rated at. They should be pretty handy, though. They fold up nice and they have a carry handle.

The cord on my chop saw shorted out the other day, so I got that fixed yesterday and then I cut the last two pieces I needed for my motorcycle carrier. I primed the main part of the carrier, so I'm just about finished with that job.

I've got quite a bit of work to do for my side gig so that's cutting into my project time. I'm getting quite a bit done around here but I'd like to be getting a bit more done while the weather has been so nice.


Turner Classic Movies had a documentary on Mary Astor last night. I've always liked her as an actress and admired her beauty. The documentary focused on her child custody battle and all that entailed while she was filming Dodsworth, which just happens to be one of my favorite movies. I can identify with Walter Houston's role in the movie as a guy who retires and is a bit lost when he no longer has that purpose. The movie is based on the book of the same name written by Sinclair Lewis. I read the book a couple of years ago. I can recommend both the book and the movie.

Did a bit of research on TIG welders and I think I've got it narrowed down to a couple. Have to think about it a wee bit more but I'm about 90% on buying a new machine. Might as well pull the trigger while I'm still working some.                                                                            

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Plasma's Ready




I finished the plasma cutter set-up yesterday. I moved the one hook to the other side of the cart so both the power cord and the ground cable have hooks. I bolted the MIG wire spool onto the other side of the cart to wrap up the torch cable. While I was reading the manual, I came across a "last chance" water drain on the bottom of the machine. They recommend draining it after every usage. Even though I have a dryer/filter on the air source, I need to make an access hole in the baseboard before I strap it down to make it easy to drain the machine. I bought some straps for the Himalayan to hold a bedroll or tent to the top of the saddle bags. I think they should be about right to hold the plasma to the stand. I'll try them out and if they work use them and replace them. If they aren't right, the place I bought them from makes anything you could want or need. Eastwood makes a cover for the plasma cutter, so I think I'll get one instead of using a cheapie tarp or a big garbage bag.

I ordered some saw horses from them that were back ordered. They are supposed to show up today. I'm pretty well set for tools and equipment now. I am considering buying a new welder, however. Mine came out of my uncle's welding shop. I think he bought it sometime in the early sixties, so it's at least 55 years old now and has seen a lot of service.  One of the new inverter type machines would take up a lot less room and use less electricity. To Cuzzin Ricky's amusement, I now think of big ticket items in relation to my Social Security checks. A new welder is right in the neighborhood of two checks. Two out of twelve ain't bad - leaves me plenty of traveling money. Have to do a bit more research and see what I come up with.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Made Like A Gun



I got a late Christmas gift - Enfield tee shirt from the Missus. The new Royal Enfield logo is a stylized RE. It's not bad looking but I wanted the old logo for a tee shirt. Royal Enfield has a catalog with a lot of swag available now - the dealer in Indy didn't have anything last time I was there. When I take the bike down for the 500 mile service, I'll see what, if anything, he has now. I'd like to get a coffee cup. Like tee shirts, I need another coffee cup like a hole in the head but this isn't about need.


I picked up the Harbor Freight welder cart on Monday - bolted it together yesterday. The top shelf is a bit shorter than the plasma cutter but I new that going in. However, for $29.99 it was worth not having to make a cart. I cut a piece of 1x10 to set the plasma on. When I get everything hooked up I'll get a couple of straps to hold it down so it won't fall off but will be easy to remove if I need to take it outside or on the road.


I bought a dryer/filter for the air line. Of course it didn't come with a mounting bracket - that's the aluminum angle in the photo. I got lucky and actually had some metric screws that were the right size to fasten the bracket to the dryer. I'm going to fasten the spool onto the side of the cart to hold the torch instead of the little hook that came with it. I need to pick up some air hose and a barbed fitting to connect the dryer to the plasma but other than that, I'm pretty much set to start cutting.