Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sidecar Hubcap

Inside of the hubcap after I finished facing it off. It's got a 9 degree taper that I computed using a little trig. I left my scientific calculator at work so I did it the old fashioned way - did the math for a tangent function and then looked up the angle in one of my old  books.  The outside has a 5 degree taper on it. Likewise on the math. It's amazing what a guy can do with a bar napkin and an old machinist book.

It fits inside the hub just like it was made for it. I still need to drill some holes to fasten it to the wheel but that'll happen soon - maybe today. I can't clamp the hubcap into the three jaw chuck on my dividing head so I made a quickie mandrel to hold it while I drill and spotface the bolt holes. The holes are going to end up right about where the taper and the flat surface meet, hence the requirement to spotface for the bolt heads.

As soon as I get that finished up and I weld the nut on the one end of the axle, I can install the wheel. I should probably paint the parts of the wheel that are in the as cast condition before assembly. Everything else looks pretty nice - no point in half-assing it now. The main thing is - it's fast nearing completion. As soon as the sidecar is done I'll get started on jerking the motor out of the 900 and get busy on the bike itself.  

Feeling pretty good about all the progress of late. Just need to keep the fire burnin'.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Thinking Hot Rod

As is my usual modus operandi, while working on one project my mind is thinking about several others. I've got a hot rod project that's been on the back burner for years. I've been thinking about making a move in that direction this year, hence this Mooneyes photo above. Back when I was growing up, Moon and Honest Charley were big names in speed equipment. My goal for the year is to finish at least three wheeled projects. The motorbike is done, sidecar rig's progressing nicely and I'm moving forward by fits and starts on a couple other things. It'd be nice to see some progress on the old hot rod as well.

Since Surly mentioned the Rickati project recently, I should drag it out, jerk the motor out of it and send it off to my buddy. When that one comes up in the rotation, the motor will be ready to run at least. Actually, of all of my partially finished projects, that one is probably the closest to being finished. The photo was taken at the high school in 2010. As you can see, there's really not a lot left to be done on it. It could easily be one of the three that gets completed this year. Something to think about.

In the meantime, I've got a little forward motion to report.

I got the sidecar lights all wired up and I'm working on the hubcap.

Made a little shelf out in the woodshop for my "trophies" from the CNC classes I've taken. I figured displaying them was a better option than tossing them in the aluminum scrap pile or taking up space in the house.

I'm working on a little step stool for out there. I've been tripping over the aluminum section for quite awhile but I didn't have the heart to scrap it. Finally getting around to doing something with it. I need to pick up another 2 x4 to finish the job and maybe a couple of hinges. I need to check and see what if anything I've got around here before the trip to the lumber yard.

I got the SV out and went for a little ride since we finally had a nice spring-like day. I rarely go for a ride just because, but it was nice and it hadn't been started all winter. I keep it on the battery tender and covered so it doesn't take much more than putting the key in it and starting it up. One of the nice things about the fuel injection is the fact that the fuel system is sealed so the gas doesn't get funky. I always top off the tank with some Sta-Bil added just in case.

It's should be warm enough now until the fall comes to keep busy on things without having to run the heater in the shop. I'm just grabbing things off the to-do list in no particular order now and working on them. As long as I keep busy, something's going to get done. At this point, I'm not too fussy as to what. It's been a long winter - need to get out in the shop, ride my bikes and enjoy myself tinkering with the projects.

The rhubarb's up and the magnolias are starting to bloom meaning it's just about garden time as well. That's always a chore, but one that I enjoy. I'm going to try and do a little better job with it this year. I've got a lot of plans for the year, so it'll probably suffer from some neglect again but as long as I get some tomatoes and peppers, I'll be happy.

Have a good week. Spring is finally here!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Doggie Post

Our boy Larry. He's where the sun rises and sets around here. That's OK, though. He brings us a lot of joy. He was of tremendous comfort to the Missus when she was going through chemo. Which brings me to this:

I heard this on the way home from work the other night. Cute little diddie. It's short, give it a listen.

And as Surly mentioned in a comment on the last post, tomorrow is Record Store Day. Maybe pick up a copy of the above or something else to your liking. It's going to be a sad day when there are no more record or book stores left. Do your part to keep them alive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Almost There

Another photo of the sidecar frame - mostly just because I really like how it looks.

I found a piece of stock to make the hub cap. I'm already getting started on that. I spent a little bit of time cleaning up the wheel. As soon as I take the frame down I'll get the lights wired up and I'll have it all set to go real soon.

While I was cleaning and polishing, I deburred and polished up my latest CNC projects. The big piece is just a threading exercise made on the multi-axis machine instead of a lathe. The smaller part is a weight that sits on top of an LP while it's spinning on a turntable. I didn't realize it but vinyl is apparently still a thing with a lot of music connoisseurs. I've got a turntable I bought a few years back to convert my records to digital, so now I've got solution to a problem I didn't even know I had. I'm still contemplating signing up for another machining class this fall. Doesn't look like I'll be teaching but I like hanging out in the lab and doing the machine tool stuff.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Say It Loud, It's Black and I'm Proud.

Sidecar frame is painted. You can't really tell in the photo but it looks very professional hanging there with the fresh, shiny black paint job. Rather proud of what I've made so far.

I figured I'd just stick a couple of things in the end of the tubing to hang the frame up with but after giving it some thought I figured I'd better have it fairly secure, just in case, so I took a couple of anchor bolts I had in the "shorts" bucket and made a quick wooden piece to fill up the space inside the tube and then bolted them on using the nut that was welded to the bottom of the frame to secure the lights. I didn't want to take a chance on dropping the thing after I got it painted and booger it up. The hooks I put in the ceiling to paint the motorbike frame came in handy.

After I finished painting I took a look at the wheel and I think I've got a plan for a hubcap to blank off the brake drum that will look decent. I should have looked at it a bit earlier and added it to the list of material I bought the other day - would have saved me some money on shipping charges, plus I had a 20% discount code. I thought I had a piece of stock about right for my design laying around here but I didn't find it. I'll take a better look and maybe I can find something in house. 

I'll start cleaning up the wheel while the paint is setting up. It's turned cold again, so I'm going to let the frame hang a couple of days to make sure it's good and set before I take it down. I still need to decide on what I'm going to do about the seat on the bike. I'll get that figured out and that should about do it for any welding on the frame. I can then strip it down, go through the motor and get the bike itself painted and re-assembled. Making some decent progress on things now.

Tax Freedom Day here in Indiana, by the way. From this day forward you get to start working for yourself, having theoretically met your federal and state income tax obligations for the year. I'm inclined to think you never get out from under the tax burden, however. Buy gas, pay tax; most any type of merchandise, either locally or on the internet, pay tax; renew your license plates, pay tax. In fact, you'll pay excise tax as long as you own the vehicle. So when I put the 900 on the road, in addition to dealing with the lousy gasoline and all the potholes, I'll have to pay my tribute to the state. At least it will be the minimum due to the bike's advanced age. It is nice that Tax Freedom Day coincides with tax due day - might ease the pain a bit.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Watching the Paint Dry

I got the sidecar frame all finished up and managed to put some primer on it while the weather was warm. I'm going to hang it from the ceiling to put the color coat on so I can paint the top and bottom without having to flip it over by myself and scratch it all up or get a hand print or two in the fresh paint. I need to clean up the wheel that goes with this thing and make a hub cap for it while I've got it apart. I should get a new tire for it also. Depending on the weather, I'll get it painted soon - talking snow on Monday around here. Not the best weather for painting but I'll get it done. I might just wait until I've got the wheel finished up and then paint it. Regardless, I'm a big step closer to it being done.

I got some new panniers for the touring rig. I gave my old ones away a couple of years ago thinking I was done with the bike touring. Kind of wish I would have kept them now - would have saved me a few bucks. They're on now and I'm ready to travel. I need to get out and start putting in the miles to get the legs in shape. Maybe a couple of short trips pulling my complete kit to make sure I've got everything I need if I get the chance to ride the Cowboy Trail. It's been quite awhile since I've been out on tour. Need to remember what to take, how to pack it all and how to set up camp in short order if it's raining.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


It's been six years now since I had the heart attack. Health wise I'm doing real well - but I thought I was prior to having the grabber also. I had my cholesterol checked recently and it came in at 124. That's about 100 points lower than it used to be and that's with me adding some cheese and some occasional meat back into the diet. Actually that's a good way to get some vitamin B12 into the diet. That's about the only thing you can't get as a vegan but I'd classify myself as a vegetarian rather than a vegan now.

My weight is pretty good but I'm still planning on losing a few more pounds. I exercise on a regular basis both with a little bit of strength training and cardio. I need to pick up the cardio some more. I'm operating on the assumption there's a bicycle tour in my future as well as a few more race walks this season. The weather hasn't been co-operating much but I'll be out on the bike soon and I've been putting in more and harder rounds when I go to the boxing gym.

One of the hardest things for me has been to keep my life in balance. I want to spend more time on the projects out in the shop, do all the rest of the things I like to do, as well as the things that need to get done, without overdoing it. I need to remind myself of that. I had a painful reminder recently when the last principal I worked for at the high school had a fatal heart attack. He was two years younger than me. Good man and a decent boss. I'm enjoying life and would like to avoid a similar fate. If I can stay on the middle path I think I'll be able to achieve that.

For the rest of you, do what you can to keep yourself healthy. You can get away with a lot when you are young but it's liable to come back and bite you in the ass later in life. The Missus and I are planning on going to our 50th high school reunion this summer. Last one I went to there were quite a few canes and a couple of oxygen tanks and that was ten years ago. I don't suppose that anyone found the fountain of youth in the last ten years and will be looking any better. Just remember you're in it for the long haul. Keep the weight in check, eat whole foods, get some exercise on a regular basis and be nice one another.

Live long and prosper.