Thursday, April 30, 2015

Press Brake

Press brake attachment is painted and installed. I couldn't find any cup point set screws with the square head to hold the top piece on but I'll keep looking. I've got a couple more hardware stores to check and if I still can't find any, I'll just grind a point on a couple of bolts and call it good. I did bend a little piece of 1/8" thick sheet just to see how it works. Didn't seem to require much in the way of muscle on the jack handle, so that's a good thing. The piece ended up with what looks to be about a 3/8" radius on the bend but I didn't run it all the way down into the bottom die. Regardless, looks like it's going to be worth the effort I went through to build the thing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Three For Three

I was knockin' 'em dead yesterday. The above photo shows the insert I made for router table. When I bought the router from Sears I figured I'd make a table for it to increase the utility. My last year at the high school I had the boys in the woodshop put the table together using the plans I had from the Marc Adams School. I went back to Sears to get the metal plate to sink down in the table. It had a 3" hole in the center but I figured they sold something else to drop in there that I'd get at a later date. Seems they don't have anything else to go in there and the 3" hole is just not safe so I've been thinking of what to make that would be safe and allow me to use the router with a variety of bits. Inspiration finally hit and I came up with this. 

There's a matching pair of 3" discs that are bolted together with the plastic router bottom sandwiched  in between them. The one facing up in the photo has a 9/16" center hole for clearance on the common 1/2" bits. The one on the bottom has an 1-1/4" hole. For big bits I can just flip the two pieces and I'm set. There are six holes in each plate on the outer circle - three are threaded, three are countersunk for flathead screws. No little nuts to drop in the sawdust and it's a pretty quick change-out.

Finally got around to finish welding the press brake attachment yesterday after working on the router insert. I need to chip the slag, knock off the BB's and splash a little paint on it still. I'll also pick up a couple of proper cup point screws to fasten the top piece to the press. I'll get everything lined up and then spot a couple of holes for the attachment screws so it'll line up properly and have less chance to fall off and smash one of my fingers while I'm installing it. 

I also got around to soldering up the additional water tray I made to help humidify the house. I've got a big electric soldering copper but for some reason it wasn't working. Might be because it's 50 years old, so I drug out the air-acetylene torch and used that. Not quite as easy to control and I waited until I did a little additional cleaning before tackling that and the press brake so I wouldn't burn the barn to the ground. 

So that gave me three, count 'em, three jobs off the list yesterday. Yippy, Damn, Skippy!

Monday, April 27, 2015

All American Boy

Photo From Here
I worked for a small paving outfit many years ago and the driveway we were working on was for a house located at the top of a pretty steep hill. At the bottom of the street was a hard 90 degree turn but if you went straight you would run out into an open field. Across the street was a house where a little guy six or seven years old was riding his tricycle. Next thing we know he pedals out into the street, heads downhill, kicks his feet out, lets out a big war-hoop, and he's off. No way he can make the corner on a tricycle, so he just points it out into the field and rides it out. Had to be going 20 - 25 mph by the time he got to the bottom. Next thing we see is Mama coming out the front door and, buddy, she's pissed! She heads off down the hill after him and the little guy knows he's in for it but he can't quit grinning. She paddles his ass proper and then drags him and his tricycle back up the hill, one on each side of her. When they get back up to the top you can see the wheels turning in the little guy's head doing a risk/reward calculation and it was pretty obvious he figured it was well worth it. Probably didn't help that I gave him a thumbs-up when he went by. We would have applauded the kid but mom probably would have come over and paddled our asses as well.

P.S. The link to the photo is to Bicycle Luv. Lots of excellent bicycle photos as well as some VW stuff.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Welding? What's That?

The current AWS weekly e-mail newsletter had an article about how little young people know about jobs in the construction industry. The young people surveyed were in Britain but I wouldn't think the numbers would be much different in this country. Only about half of the 18 to 35 year olds were able to describe what a welder did. And, as always, the newsletter also had another article about not having enough young talent to replace the older craftsmen leaving the workforce. Hard to get them interested in something they know nothing about. Maybe someone needs to start talking to high school counselors so they'll get the word out to the students what a job as a welder, laborer or dredger is. Maybe bring back a general metals class at the junior high level as well. Or maybe the parents should take a little responsibility and see that their child is exposed to a little bit of the real world rather than just what's going on with that little screen in the palm of their kid's hand.

How can you be 25 years old and not know what a welder does? If they don't have enough natural curiosity to find out about some of these things, maybe you wouldn't want to recruit them into the trades anyway.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Woodworking Stuff

It was pretty crappy Monday - windy & damp - so I spent a couple hours in the top of the barn checking a few things off the list. I put a shelf in a cabinet, made a cut-off sled for the table saw and also made a little rack for the shop vac tools. The sled isn't quite done. I'll finish it up next time I need to pull the saw out. I want to rip cut the edge of the back stop to both square it up and shorten the height a bit along with another bridge piece for the leading edge of the sled. Then I can screw things down. I'm planning on making another sled for cutting miters one of these days as well.

My goal for the next three weeks is doing a little something on the projects every day. After that I'm on vacation for about a month until summer school starts. Should be able to check a lot of things off the list by then. These here are just things to make the real work easier and faster. Be nice to just work on the projects rather than working on the things I need to work on the projects. 

Looks like the weather is going to continue to be crappy for a few more days. Might as well spend them in the shop.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Brit Bikes

Photo From Here - NSFW
Starting to look at the BSA in earnest. Surly is working on a few design elements and I'm working on a few other things in the meantime. My buddy who tinkers with the little Ducati's is branching out into BSA's as well. He brought me a Bantam tank in need of repair.

I'll get this one knocked out this week and start back on a couple of my projects using my normal shotgun approach. The Sportster definitely needs some love. Need to tackle the wiring and it'll be pert near done. Have to wait and see what else speaks to me. I put together one of my many lists the other day and already knocked out a couple of the jobs. Probably should do a little better job on triage, but don't know that I'll ever change when it comes to starting and finishing jobs. 

Photo From Here - NSFW
I threw this one in just because. We don't want to make any permanent alterations to our BSA but a street tracker would be cool. Especially if it came out looking as nice as this one. That's one nice looking scooter.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Patriots' Day

Photo From Here
Patriot's Day today. I was fortunate to be able to go out to where the revolution started a few years back - Lexington, Concord, Walden Pond, Emerson's house. Stood on the recreated bridge where the shot was fired that was heard 'round the world. Like most citizens of this country, my knowledge of the early days of America is a little weak. Wasn't all the school's fault, however. I was more interested in motorcycles and girls at the time than "ancient" history. In light of what is currently going on in the world and to be a better informed citizen, wouldn't hurt me to brush up a bit on my American history. I did do a little reading on the subject a few years back but didn't follow it up with anything. Time to pick it back up again.

Hillsdale College currently has available the Constitution Reader website that I'm going to be perusing as time allows. Also, the college is offering several online classes, a couple of which on the Constitution that should be mandatory for anyone wanting to hold a public office. Myself, I think the course American Heritage: From Colonial Settlement to the Reagan Revolution would be pretty interesting and serve me well. They also have a new course, A Proper Understanding of K-12 Education: Theory and Practice that I should probably find the time for. The course description in their latest news letter looks pretty interesting. There's no charge for the classes, by the way.

Remember the events of this day in 1775 and the great risks the Patriots/Minute Men took to break away from the king and form a new nation.

"The condition upon which God hath given man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt. - John Philpot Curran

PS: Looks like it's going to be lousy weather for the Boston Marathon today.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


The Wall Street Journal had an article last week about the "bling" given out at foot races. Apparently the Little Rock Marathon is still the biggest when it comes to finisher's medals.

This baby is 8-1/2" x 8-1/4" and weighs about three pounds. Gi-normous! The article showed a photo of a runner's rack of medals and while I don't have near as many as what was in the newspaper photo, I do have my own little shrine to sweat.

My Little Rock Marathon medal is right above my very own Guzman Glove just left of center. When I ran the race in 2006 it was billed as the "World's Largest Finisher's Medal". Compared to the current one, it looks kind of anemic. I mentioned the article to the Missus and she told me straight out, don't even think about doing another one. No problem there - one and done. The real question is, what the hell am I going to do with all this junk. Other than the pint glass and the Indian clubs what good is all this crap? Who needs a pair of mis-matched wooden shoes? Or for that matter, a pair of horseshoes? 

Or an age bracket medal like the one I won yesterday. I really shouldn't say won. It was more like a show-up award. The race was a little fundraising event for a local family and I think I was the only runner in the 60-69 age group but I did actually run about a third of the distance. Felt pretty good to be out and moving on a beautiful Spring day. My running partner and I are planning on another run towards the end of May. It's to raise money for lymphoma and since I now have a personal connection to that, seems like the one to run. Won't have to worry about a medal at that one. It's a larger race - probably more than one entrant in my age group. But I do have time to actually train for it - be nice if I could actually run three miles again without stopping. And speaking of lymphoma, the Missus is doing better. She's been having some issues with the chemo but it's working. Dr. says the treatment is progressing nicely. Amen to that, Brother!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tax Freedom Day

Photo From Here
It's Tax Freedom Day here in Indiana today. Theoretically speaking, every dollar I make from this point on belongs to me. Of course, every dollar I made up to this point belongs to the government. Nationally, Tax Freedom Day is the 24th, three days later than last year.

Thanks Obama

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Photo From Here

Monday, April 13, 2015

Velocity Stacks

Since the weather has warmed up, I'm able to sneak out into the shop and work for a couple hours at a time and get some things done without freezin' my ass or waiting for the shop to warm up just to turn around and go back in about the time it gets comfortable enough to work. 

I dug through my box of parts I made when I had access to the CNC about 20 years ago and came up with a velocity stack that fits the Amal on the BSA. Took the K&N off the Ducati and put the two pieces on the bike to see what it looked like. The air filter has an angle on the inlet. It just clears the cardboard template for the sidecover but in use it would probably rub the paint off. If I put an air filter directly on the carb, no clearance issue at all. I need to have Surly weigh in on what I've got and then get to gettin'. Haven't done dooky on the bikes all winter long. Again.

I've only got one complete velocity stack but I do have another base already machined up. Making the actual stack part isn't all that tough. The Prez might have a pen and phone but I've got aluminum and a lathe. I like the look of the stack with the filter and everything clears the fuel taps. I think I might be on to something here.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Field Hospital

I got the drive chains replaced on the snow blower yesterday. This thing has an interesting system to make everything go - a couple of belts, a couple of chains, a few gears, and a wheel with a rubber tire on it that slides back and forth on a hex shaft to change the drive speeds. As long as it works, I'm happy. And so far it has for quite a few years. With new chains and a couple of squirts of grease on all the Zerks, hopefully it's good for a few more years.

Beautiful day yesterday to be out working on things. It was about 65 and sunny when I was working on the snow blower. - much too nice to be inside the shop. Hence the "field repair". Later in the day it cooled off a bit and the wind picked back up so I moved the wife's car outside and cut the top for the table saw out feed table. Need to get a few 2x4's for the framework and I'll have that job done. Man it's nice to be working again.

The magnolia trees are all budding out now and the grass is greening up. It'll be a few more days before the tree in the photo will be at it's prime but I can wait. 

The newest addition to the family - my niece's daughter. Beautiful little thing. Fall used to be my favorite time of year but the older I get the more I like Spring. A time of new growth and fresh starts. It was three years ago today that I had my heart attack. I was very fortunate to get a fresh start on life. Most every day is like springtime in my world now. Don't take what you have for granted. Enjoy every minute you're blessed with. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Teacher Training

I got an e-mail about Weld-Ed's summer training sessions, one of which is Instructional Design and Teaching Strategies. For non-members the four day session is a cool $1K. For a thousand bucks, I'll be happy to come to you and put on a training session but I can save you some money if you'll just remember a few simple things.

Know your subject matter well. 
Be enthusiastic and sincere in your teaching. 
Gear your presentation to the skill level of your students and individualize the instruction as much as possible. A one-on-one in the welding booth with a quick sketch on the welding bench with a piece of soapstone almost always trumps even the best Power Point presentation.
Look them in the eye when you're done. If the light didn't come on, you did it wrong.

Pretty much all there is to it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Vote KV

For those of you with a Facebook account, hit the link and vote for KV Weldshop. It won't cost you a thing but there's some serious money riding on the outcome. Do it now and help my buddy Dave continue to improve the program there.


Monday, April 6, 2015


Saw both of these at Rocket Garage

Saw this one at Recycled Garage.

Managed to get out into my garage and shop - did a little clean up and decided I should look at why the snowblower was shifting hard before I put it away for the year. That was an easy fix but the two drive chains underneath are about shot, so I should probably get those squared away before I park it, forget about it and then go through the aggravation of trying to fix it when one of them breaks when the snow is a foot deep and it's 5 degrees outside. Looks to be a 40 series chain with 1/4" spacing between the links - 420 maybe? I'll see if I can find anything locally and get that checked off the list. If the weather stays warm I'll be mowing in another week. Or it could be like last year and snow a couple of inches this week.

I need to get out in the garden and start getting it ready for the year. With the drought in California, veggies and fruit are liable to see a size-able increase in cost this year. Since I'm probably going to be staying pretty close to home for awhile, might as well expand the garden a bit. Rhubarb is popping up, so it won't be long and it'll be time to get everything else in the ground. 

Lost one of my aunts yesterday. She was a very dear lady who passed away peacefully in her sleep. Via con Dios, Joyce.

Friday, April 3, 2015


I went up north the other day to do a quick spin around Cabella's and stopped at the Chrysler dealer on the way home - had this one sitting out front. R/T model with the Shaker hood. I like the metallic blue paint. This dealership always has a few hot rod versions on the lot - like the old days at Mr. Norm's Grand Spaulding Dodge. The more I look at the Challengers, the more I like them. I'll have to see what they've got in stock come September.

I e-mailed my buddy with the 68 Camaro that I was looking at a new Challenger and he sent me back this photo of what's left of Mr. Norm's. I remember he and I made the pilgrimage to there in '71.

Photo From Here

If you grew up in the Chicago-land area in the late 60's - early 70's, you knew about Mr. Norm's. WLS radio always had spots for Mr. Norm's - "soda pop's carbonated, carburetor's calibrated, dyno timed and analyzed." If you didn't dig Chryslers, you could always run across town to Nickey's, "with the backward K", Chevrolet. I'd say those were the glory days, but these new cars will out run the old ones, get better mileage, go 50,000 miles on a set of plugs, and go around corners. Of course they cost 10 times what they did back in the early 70's but a candy bar now is more than a nickel and a soda is more than a dime.

I buy myself a Challenger, I'll have to get a Mr. Norm tee shirt. Hell, maybe I should anyway. Just for old times sake.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Dynasty 350 

In the don't I feel stupid department, I bring you this: 

The college has a bunch of these Miller welders that are set up to weld both stick and TIG. I've never cared for them because the welding voltage was too low. There wasn't any real force behind the arc, especially noticeable when trying to weld in the vertical or overhead position with 7018 electrodes. Plus, the high school kids waste a ton of rods because they stick the rods when first starting, again due to low voltage, break an inch of flux off the rod and then toss them into the stub cans. One of my students came in last week and said he looked up the manual online and you can change the voltage setting. He brought a print-out of the manual page, changed one of the machines to the higher setting and the difference is unbelievable, They now work like a traditional transformer/rectifier - weld vertical just as pretty as you please. I've been there almost three years and most of that time I've been using these machines. Bitchin' about 'em but using them just the same. Told the boss about how to change the machines and the difference it made. He had no idea either. That's what happens when you give old guys new technology.

Speaking of which, check this out:

New CNC controllers for the milling machines. The lab could be a fun place to work pretty soon. A salesman is going to be coming in one of these days to give the instructor a demo on set-up and operation. He said I could sit in on the demo, so I'm looking forward to that. Maybe I should learn how to take a decent photo with my phone also.