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.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Motorbike Monday

Here's the latest part from my CNC class - pencil holder that looks like a revolver cylinder. The OD was turned on the CNC turning center then chucked into the three jaw chuck on the auxiliary axis attachment of the CNC milling center. The holes are drilled by rotating the part rather than the machine moving to the proper location. It could be done either way but since we're supposed to be learning multi-axis machining, might as well spin the part. After the holes are drilled and countersunk, the part rotates 90 degrees from the upright position to the horizontal and the flutes are milled with the machine rotating the part so everything is done in one chucking. Pretty slick actually.

The next project is going to be a "threading" exercise. A milling cutter will come into the part while the machine rotates it. It looks like an Acme thread. I should be able to get mine done this week.

We got some new welding machines where I teach.

They are set up to Stick, MIG and scratch start TIG. For those of you with limited welding knowledge, scratch start means no high frequency so you are limited to welding steel - no aluminum or magnesium. That won't be an issue at the school because they have several other ones that will do that. The nice thing for us will be the additional MIG capabilities. I went through a short training session last week and there's all kinds of things you can set on the machine for different materials and the various processes, including a pulse function. I tried a little bit of stick welding with both a 6010 and a 7018 rod in the flat and the vertical position. It welded really nice. More like the old transformer-rectifier machines instead of the crappy first or second generation inverters.

I should look into buying myself a new machine. My old Miller Goldstar still welds OK but the timer for the TIG post flow quit working and it takes up a lot of room. I don't know if I can justify buying a new machine with the little bit of welding I do now days. I'll probably just keep using what I've got until it quits. It's seen a lot of service since Uncle Pete purchased it back in the 60's, so that could come most anytime.

I've got the motorbike done but I've got a bit of an issue with the pedal chain. I put a tensioner on the bike but even with that the chain is either too long or if I take another link out it will be too short. I'm going to try it out and see how it works once it warms up - it was 19 degrees at 6:30 yesterday morning and it was snowing last night/this morning. As long as the motor starts easily enough, I shouldn't have to pedal it much anyway.

My buddy who hooked me up with the recent bike repair job called me the other day. He's retired now and wants to do a bike tour - might end up doing the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska this summer. I'm going to get my touring rig and trailer out and he can come down and check it out before he starts buying any gear. I haven't been camping or bike touring in several years now and he never has. I'd like to do another ride. Hopefully we can get something put together.

I'm back working on the sidecar. With any luck at all, I should have that completed this week. Additionally, I took a look at the sidecover drawing for the BSA to see what's the best way to approach that job. Might see about making one as son as I finish up the sidecar.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Slight Pause In The Action

I'm going to see if we can make a few of these in my fab class.

I just love these old technical illustrations. Both of these were taken from Facebook.

Not much productive going on - nothing worth posting about anyway. Taxes are finished, got some stuff done around the shack, school, both the class I'm teaching and the one I'm taking, is going well. Should have some project stuff to post again soon.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Lovely Weather We're Having

Went to Indy yesterday to take care of some biz, so as long as I was in the area I stopped at the Royal Enfield dealer. He says the response to the new Himalayan has been pretty much over whelming. He's taken several orders already and he's hoping to get a demo in for the shop. They should start shipping soon but he's not sure exactly when he'll be getting his orders filled. Also the bike is going to be available with racks and aluminum panniers but he doesn't have any details on those yet. Excluding sales tax, should be right at $5K with delivery and set-up fees. $500.00 down payment will put you on the list, by the way.

The cables came in for the Sprint so I can piddle with the that project a bit as time and desire allows. I dug the old struts out for the 900 but at a quick glance they appear to be a bit short. Even if they're the right length, I don't like the look of them. They're not anything I made - I got them from someone else's bike I had worked on if I remember correctly. As soon as the motorbike is done I'll drag the bike out, unhook the sidecar so I can get that finished up and I'll check out the length of the struts I'll need, make a pair up and measure up for some wheelie bars. Been a while since I did any drag racing but I've got the itch to give it a shot again.

Still cold around here. It was snowing a bit in Indy in the morning and it was spitting snow just about all the way home. I've got a bunch of stuff cookin' right now anyway but I want to get out to the shop and put a couple of hours in on the projects every day. Not really worth running the heater if I'm only going to be out there a short time but it's usually mid-fifties this time of the year, not mid-thirties. I'm going to be busy all day today but maybe tomorrow I can get out into the shop and finish up the motorbike.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sprint Progress & The Chicken Tax

I got the levers machined down to the right thickness and I made a couple of bushings to press in the pivot holes. The Sprint handlebars have brackets that use 6mm bolts to hold the levers in place. The bottom flange is threaded and after snugging up the bolt on the lever, you put a lock nut on it. It'd be nice to find a couple of chrome plated bolts to use. I'll try to keep that in mind when I'm rounding up parts for the various projects.

I ordered some cables for both the front and rear brakes, as well as a clutch cable. The cables I ordered are Sportster parts but the Sprint used the same large diameter cables. The front brake is a cut to length item. The rear brake cable crosses over from the pedal on the left side of the bike to the drum on the right side. That one might take a bit of fettling to make right but I've done tougher. The clutch cable will probably require me making a boss and sweating it on the cable - again, nothing I can't handle there.

I shouldn't have much more of a cash outlay on this one to finish it up other than some gaskets and deciding what I'm going to do with the rear wheel. I've swapped around a couple of wheels on various bikes in the past. The one I've got for this one looks pretty rough. I'd like to have an aluminum rim with stainless spokes but that would cost more than everything else I've spent on the bike plus. Probably would be money well spent, however. Have to wait and see when I get there. I'm just working on this one a bit here and there. Not too much left on it, however.

Got a little bit more done on the motorbike. Hooked up the drive chain and got most of the wiring taken care of - I still need to hook up the ground wire for the kill switch. Install the pedal chain and the fuel line and it should be done. Won't be long now.

The new Royal Enfield Himalayans are supposed to be arriving in the dealerships soon. I'm making a trip to Indy this week and am planning on stopping at the dealership and see when he'll have one in.

I came across an interesting op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal the other day. There's a thing called the "chicken tax" dealing with the importing of pickup trucks. Rather an absurd tax thing but it explains why there are only about six brands of trucks available even though there are about 30 brands of cars here in the US. According to the WSJ, South Korea just re-signed the deal through 2040, which means no Hyundai pickups coming to America.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Motorbikes

Hyundai is coming out with a new high performance version of the Veloster. I've been real happy with mine, which is the turbo version. The new one will have about 75 more horsepower which should make it an absolute blast to drive. It'll also have some improvements in handling and braking. I'm planning on my next four wheel vehicle being a truck to replace the old Dodge but I'd like to try one of the new Velosters just for the heck of it.

The Veloster is definitely cool but so is the fact that I've about got the motorbike finished up. I still need to install the chains and chainguard, fuel line, double check the wiring and clean up the whitewalls, but it's about there. A couple more hours of work and it'll be finished up.

When Surly was here a few days ago we talked over a bit on the BSA. He's going to order in some parts we need and I'm going to see about the sidecovers. After the motorbike is finished I'm going to finish the sidecar on the 900. Get that wired, painted and the decking fastened down then get a little bit of muscle helping me get the motor out of the frame and I can go through it. Get some new brake calipers for the front wheel and that one would be real close to finished also. I've been thinking about going drag racing again. I've got some struts for the bike some place around here. Get myself some 4130, make up some wheelie bars and make a few passes at the strip this summer. It's the first of April and I'm not working this summer. If I get up on it, I can have the 900 and the BSA done this year as well as some progress on a couple of the other things - like the Rickati project.

Surly was asking about that one the other day as well. I don't think I need to do much more in the way of fabricating. I should look it over one of these days and if I don't need to do much else on the frame, jerk the motor out and send it to my buddy the Ducati specialist and have him put together a nice little trials type motor. Even if he takes all summer to get the motor back, I'd could finish it up over the winter. Give me a good head start on finishing up a couple of projects for next year.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Teaching Stuff

Interesting commentary about why you shouldn't go into teaching here. I'd have to agree with most of what's there. I've had a great career and I'm still doing a little teaching and enjoying it but I don't know if I'd want to do it all over again. I could easily have made more money and had a fulfilling career working with the tools.

And on the subject of arming teachers? Below is from The View From the Porch. The best op-ed I've seen yet in the pro column. Plus, I'm a fan of her writing - refreshingly non PC with the proper amount of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.

"Arming Teachers"

This phrasing keeps popping up, as though there's some nefarious NRA plan to order teachers to form ranks in the gymnasiums (gymnasia?) of America, where they will each be issued a brace of sixguns in a buscadero rig and a GOP party registration form.

The reality of things is that we already have plenty of armed teachers in America, it's just that in all but a few enlightened states, they can only be armed at the grocery store and the mall and the gas station, not at work. In most states, they're not even protected by "gun in parking lot" laws that shelter employees of private employers, since the entirety of school grounds is usually verboten terrain for firearms.

"Well, what will keep some disturbed kid from snatching the teacher's gun?" The same thing that keeps them from snatching the teacher's gun at the grocery store and the mall and the gas station: they don't know it's there because that's how concealed carry works. The same thing that saves me from having long, dull conversations about the best brand of JHP with every gun otaku with whom I'm stuck in a checkout line will prevent the hypothetical gun grabs the antis are conjuring.

"Teachers should be teaching, not the last line of defense for their students!" Hey, guess what? They're already the last line of defense for their students. That's not a decision you or I or even they get to make; the asshole who decided he wanted to grab some headlines makes that decision. Their only decision is how effectively they want to do it. If you want to be an ineffective ablative meat shield, that's on you, honey. I've already decided that I ain't goin' out like that.

Here's the thing: As long as there are guns, there are going to be a certain amount of shootings, just like as long as there are booze and cars, a certain percentage of people are going to drive drunk.

The guns aren't going away. There are more of them in this country than there are people. States that have passed draconian restrictions on the scariest-looking guns report single digit compliance rates. The sort of creative little doucherockets that think the Columbine shooters were role models are gonna be able to get their hands on guns for decades to come no matter what improbable legislation you ram through today.

The single most viable thing we could do to stop school shootings (and most public mass shootings in general) is as unlikely as wishing all the guns into the corn field, and that's to have a near total media blackout on them. But as long as shooting a bunch of classmates remains the easiest way to get to the top of the news cycle, get your own Wikipedia page, and ensure more people know your middle name than the president's, we're going to continue to incentivize these little shits.

That leaves one really effective solution: Eliminating victim disarmament zones. Nothing takes the cachet off your trenchcoat massacre more than being shot in the ear by the pink Kel-Tec .380 of Mrs. Perkins, your remedial grammar/comp teacher.

And that's the thing! There's no need to force teachers to play hunter/killer SWAT commando. The training requirements outlined in Florida's hasty-ass legislation are ridiculous, and I say this as someone with a reasonably extensive firearms training resume.

The shooting problem here is the easiest possible one there is. There's no need to go in search of anybody; just get all the kids out of sight of the locked classroom door, post yourself up in the blind spot against the wall between the doorway and your young charges, and wait. If the disturbed youth somehow manages to force the door, you send him to the respawn point like a proper camperfag.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bikes, Bikes, & More Bikes

Got just a little bit more done on the motorbike. I forgot that I had to modify the coaster brake lever to clear the new sprocket. It'll be easier with heat and I didn't want to drag the torch out, so I'll take it to work and do it there. I had to attend a meeting at the college the other day and then I worked in the lab on my CNC project. We had a bit of difficulty at first, but after I got it finished I didn't have time to pick up my fenders. I'll get them soon and get them installed. Not much left. I should have taken a photo of the CNC project and posted it. Maybe after I get it back from being graded.

Quickie fixture to machine the levers on my Sprint project. As long as I'm dragging parts to school, I'll take this up there as well and tack the little angles down onto the plate. I machined a bushing to go in the hole where the cable normally goes to keep it fastened down tight to the plate and I'll clamp the lever to the angles and I'll be able to mill some stock off where the pivot hole is at in order to fit in between the flanges that are on the handlebar. Should go quickly. Take a cut off both levers as shown in the photo and then flip them over and reposition to thin off the opposite side. I've got the part that needs machining running parallel with the edge of the plate so it should be easy enough to position it on the mill.

Surly came down yesterday and he used a couple of the tools to make a little headway on his Sportster project. We also talked over a few things concerning the bikes. The grandsons drug out the recumbent bike I made years ago and we found the back tire wasn't up to the job. Surly found another wheel out in the junk bike parts that should work. It was missing a tube but the tire is good, I had a tube in my stash, so I put that in the tire but decided to hold off on swapping it out on the bike. I've enough irons in the fire.

The weather's supposed to cool off again next week and we've got a bunch of rain on the way. I'll see if I can't force myself to get out in the shop and finish the motorbike and the Sprint levers in a timely fashion. I'm liking the look of the motorbike - anxious to see how the fenders are going to look on it. That might be all the incentive I need to get it buttoned up. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Motorbike Progress

Kind of a slow start on the motorbike re-assembly but it's been chilly and when the Missus also came down with a cold, I figured I'd take it easy, rest up a bit and take care of her. It is going to be in the 50's all week, so that will help both of us wrap up the battle with the colds. I'll pick up the fenders today for the motorbike and I should be able to get the rest of it put together this week. When I get it all assembled I'll push it to the back of the shop and finish up the sidecar on the 900. That won't take long - just electrical, paint and then fasten down the diamond plate on the floor. Finish that part up and bring the BSA up front and see what Surly and I can come up with on that one.

I still have a little bit more to do on the taxes before I meet with the tax lady at the end of the week but I'm real close on that. I've got some other odds and ends on the list that need attending to as well but since the weather's warming up and there's some longer days, I should have a little more motivation to tackle them. Need to start getting out on the bicycle and do a little brisk walking. I've got a work/exercise schedule made up. Just need to get after it. I have lost a bit of weight, however, I think another 10 pounds should put me just about right. Just real glad it's warming up and it's comfortable to be outside without long underwear and a heavy coat. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dead People

Don't know why but Rory Gallagher popped into my mind. Probably something to do with St. Paddy's Day and the hazards of drinking too much Irish whiskey. Dude was one helluva guitar player until his liver shot craps and he passed away at the age of 47. Not the kind of music I listen to much these days but there was a time.

Speaking of dying, here's a recent conversation between the Missus and I:

Missus: "Didn't you work with a lady by the name of Genevieve at the KFC?"

Me: "Yeah, Why?"

Missus: "She died."

Me: "I'm sure she did. She was old when I worked there and that was fifty years ago."

Missus: "No. She just died. She was 101 years old."

Me: Whoa! That's something!

Pretty remarkable to make it past 100. She was a nice lady and a pleasure to work with.

I also just heard that a former student of mine was killed in an industrial accident. Forty years old. I just saw him a couple of weeks ago when Cuzzin Rick and I were out for breakfast. He was cutting up scrap metal and something fell on him according to the paper. Damn shame. Rest in Peace Josh and Genevieve.

Ending on a more cheery note, Frankie Flood left a comment a couple of posts back with a couple of links to videos on making the finger plate. They show the whole project from start to finish. The videos are as well made as the finished product plus there's an addition to make cross drilling small round stock easy. Thanks again Professor.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bicycle Repairman

When I got the call from my buddy the other day, in addition to talking about perhaps taking a bicycle tour this summer, he wanted to know if I would be interested in welding up a part for the bike shop where I just had my bike overhauled. That's the bike above - expensive piece of gear. Aluminum frame with carbon fiber seat post and fork and top notch components. The bracket that the front derailleur bolts onto was broken. It's a small part, thin, and brazed onto the frame. I was a little concerned about getting it too hot when I TIG welded the break and loosening up the brazed joint. That along with not wanting to scratch or mar anything else. It was hard enough finding a spot to attach the ground clamp. Anyway, I got it done, looks good with minimum damage to the paint, and I swapped my labor for a pair of fenders for the motorbike.

I started back teaching this week. Looks like a pretty good class. I've had most of them in class before one time or another. Should be fun. It's only eight weeks and it'll pay for a trip to Alaska.

I came down with a cold - knew it was too good to last. I made it all winter long with no cold or flu and then I start having symptoms on the first day of Spring, I've got the scratchy throat, itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and a cough. All the classic symptoms. So far it's not too awful bad so it shouldn't slow me down too much. Just doesn't make me happy. Oh well, better days are coming.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Frame's Done

I got the motorbike frame all welded up and painted. I was looking at a picture I had of it when it was assembled and I got to thinking some chrome fenders might look nice. The only problem being there's no place to bolt a rear fender on so I made up a piece of tube to run across the chain stays with a hole drilled in it. Hopefully it won't interfere with anything else. The paint job is just a rattle can job, so it wouldn't take much to cut the tube out and touch up the paint if it doesn't work. I'm going to give the paint a few days to set up and then I'll see about getting it all back together again. Additionally, I've now got a couple of hooks and chain to hang things up so I can paint them. 

I got the new Cycle World and was surprised by the new format. It's now like Motorcyclist - more of a motorcycling lifestyle magazine, rather than the old road tests, expert columnists and race results. I'm about a fourth of the way through it. So far some good articles but it's now a quarterly rather than a monthly also. I like the way things were with one of them monthly and one quarterly as well as different takes on the sport. Looks like now they're both the same again. I figure that means one of them will be gone soon, at least with a printed copy.

I got a phone call from the salesman at the HD dealer last Friday. He said the new Sportster came in and that they were having some kind of shin-dig for St. Paddy's Day. I wanted to check it out but I went to the gym in the morning and I already had a date with the Missus to go out early afternoon. I'm going to try and get up there soon and check out the bike and see if they'll do anything on a trade with my Suzuki. Right now it's kind of a coin toss between the Royal Enfield or the Harley. Two bikes that aren't a thing alike, I know, but I'll see which one speaks to me the loudest. I do regret selling the other Sportster a bit. This one would be a bit more practical with a larger tank and an electric starter. To be honest, as a guy who's had a heart attack, I was a little concerned about having to kick start that old one. Once they're dialed in they're pretty reliable but if it didn't start on the first few kicks, I'd have to either call for help or an ambulance. 

Now it's make the fingerplate and get the fixture finished for machining the levers on the Sprint. I'm shooting for at least three projects with wheels to be completed this year. The motorbike will be the first. I'll get to work on the BSA and finish the wiring and paint on the sidecar project next. Need to stay busy - it's officially Spring as of today.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Missing Link

Frankie Flood left a comment in the post that showed the small drill press hold-down. Apparently, it's called a fingerplate and he left a link in the comments to a site that has a nice explanation of how it was made with photos and in English, too. All the threaded parts are metric 4mm which would work out to being equal to a #8 machine screw. I'm going to make one up but I think I'll use #10 threads on the stud and hold-down simply because I'm kind of ham-fisted and I think the larger size will be more durable and convenient. I don't know if I'll cut the hold-down groove in the edges. I've got that nice little toolmakers vise I can put it in that should work just fine. I could set it on some parallels or I could machine a rabbet around the edge of the plate so it would sit down on top of the vise jaws when it gets clamped in. Regardless, thanks Frankie for the link.

I posted this one a few years back - the link to where it came from no longer works so all I know is there it is. That plus I really like the look of this thing. I'm thinking a similar look for the BSA might do it for Surly and I. I'll have to get his take on it. I'm planning on tackling the sidecovers for the Beezer as soon as I put the finishing touches on the motorbike.

I'm also working on a little fixture to modify a couple of clutch and brake levers for one of my old Sprints. The originals were steel and made to fit into brackets that were welded to the handlebars. I'm going to use aluminum levers from a Sportster but I have to mill a bit off the part that slips into the handlebar mount. I don't have a lot left to finish on the Sprint. Even if it doesn't actually run, I want it to the point where all it would take to make it go is gas and a battery.

Here's where I left off. I'll keep working on it off and on until I've got it all put together. I get the levers done and then I can get the clutch and brake cables made up and the front fender mounted. Nothing hard here, just needs my attention.

The latest Cycle World e-mail has a short write-up on the Royal Enfield Himalayan. A tad over weight and under powered but it's got its place according to them. Especially when you factor in the price. I'm thinking there should be one in the dealers within the next month or so. I definitely want to check one out.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Little Something Done

Photo frame is finished - need to get a piece of glass for it and then I can get it hung up. Looks a little better in person than it does in the crappy photo. It'll be fine hanging on the wall of the woodshop.

Got a chainguard for the motorbike. This is an old universal fit that was on my Elgin. It was pretty rusty but a little elbow grease and some steel wool got it looking decent. Good enough for this job anyhow. I need to make a little tab to bolt the back of it onto the bike frame and a couple of other tabs but other than that, it's about ready to finish weld and paint. Depending on how things go today, might have it all welded up by this afternoon.. The frame is pretty rusty due to sitting around in the barn with no primer or paint on it after I retired but it cleans up well with emery cloth. I'll hit the spots where the tubes come together with a wire wheel and it should be clean enough to paint. I'm going to mount a couple of screw eyes into the ceiling so I can hang the frame up from some chain when I paint it - that'll help out when I'm ready to do a couple other bike projects as well. I can run the heater to get it warm enough to paint so it should be ready to re-assemble before the weather warms up. That'll be one done. Need get at least two more projects with wheels finished this year as well. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ready For Spring

I saw this on Pinterest. I went to the site but all the text is in Russian. There is a sketch that shows the hold-down clamp as being two inches long. The bottom of the plate is drilled and tapped for screws so you can fasten it to the drill press table. I've got a million and one projects now but something like this could come in handy in my basement shop.

And speaking of the basement, I put some stain and varnish on my picture frame and the other little gizmo you see in the photo. I used the one step stuff where you stain and varnish at the same time. Works OK for what I'm doing - things that'll get hung in a barn. Don't know that I'd use it on a fine woodworking project, not that I do much of that anyway. I need to scuff it up a bit and then put another coat on it today and then I can finish both pieces. The light's not real good for this sort of thing down the basement but at least it's warm enough. It was spitting snow again yesterday morning but I did see a bluebird while I was out doing my chores. That did my old heart good.

Went to the gym last evening and Big Ernie was there. He's a great coach but he works out of town quite a bit so he doesn't get a chance to come to the gym too often. I got a chance to work the mitts with him a couple of rounds - he had me huffin' and puffin' pretty good. I need some more of that.

I got a phone call the other day from a guy who used to race vintage bikes when I did. He does a lot of bicycling and he just retired. He's thinking of doing a long distance tour. I'd like to try that Cowboy Trail in Nebraska. We might be able to put something together. I need to start training.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday, Monday

The birthday party for my aunt came off well. She was surprised and happy. Lot of friends and family in attendance. She's doing pretty well for someone who just turned 90.

One of the relatives brought some old photographs to the party. We were only able to identify a few of the people in one of them that looked to have been a big family gathering of some sort. The photo was probably taken late 20's/early 30's. We took a group photo at the birthday party and I can't even identify all of the people in that one. I'm going to print a couple of copies and get all the names right so if someone cares enough 75 or 80 years from now to try and figure out who these people are, at least they'll have the names.

My brother stopped by the house after the party to check out the family history I've been working on. We've got a plan now to get it finished up and published. I've got just a bit more to do on my wife's side of the family and then I can call it done. It'll be good to get that finished. Typing everything all up has been a pain in the ass but I'm glad I've got things written down. Like it or not, with just two exceptions, my brothers and cousins are the "old" generation now.

Talked to Cuzzin Ricky and his brother at the party. Looks like the three of us will be going to Alaska. Rick and I can go most anytime but the his brother is still working so we have to get a date that will work with his vacation time but looks like it's a go! Hot damn!

Anniversary today for the Missus and I. 47 years and still going strong. The photo was taken about 50 years ago along the Erie tracks that ran by her grandparents house. My older brother and his wife said to mark the calendars for a day in September when they'll be celebrating their 50th. Pretty rare in this day and age to have marriages last as long as both mine and my brother's. Might not say much for my brother and I but sure says plenty about the women we married. Bless them both!

As Uncle Pete used to say: "Keep your end gate up."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Makin' Plans

Photo From Here
They don't get much prettier than this one, now do they? 

I'm on Spring Break now - not that it's going to change my schedule much. I only go in one day a week, anyway. Looks like the weather's going to stay chilly while I'm off but no rain in sight for the next week or so. I've got the basement dried out and I'm doing a bit of clean up down there. I cut some parts out for a picture frame but it needs to be 60 degrees for the glue. Might be April before that happens around here, so I'm going to take the pieces and the clamps downstairs and glue it up. Not really an important job but one I've been wanting to get around to for a while.

Birthday party today for my aunt's 90th. Went to a coaching clinic in Indy a week or so back for my boxing license. Made a trip to the dentist for a root canal a couple of days after the Indy trip. Read a couple of more chapters in my textbook and another quiz. Did breakfast with Cuzzin Rick and another guy yesterday. Closed out a couple of bank accounts and started up replacements since the local branches are closing down. I've got some computer training for the college I need to do along with finishing up the tax prep. I've got nine books read so far this year and I've made a dent in the magazine pile the last few days, so nothing big going on but keeping busy just the same. 

Cuzzin Rick and I have been tossing around some ideas for our travels this summer. We've got some midget, sprint and silver crown races we're looking at, plus, I think we've got the Alaska trip figured out. Still some details to work out on everything but I'm excited about Alaska. Going to probably hire some help to get some of the work around the shack done if I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling but that's fine by me. 

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

It's Always You

Lola Albright who portrayed Edie Hart, the love interest of Peter Gunn. Did a search and found out she just died about a year ago at age 92. Not the greatest voice but a talented and beautiful woman just the same. I don't know who the backup band was on the show but the music is always good. I'm a big fan of 50's jazz and, it seems, television re-runs from that era as well.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I piddled around the shack while the weather was nice over the weekend. I have a light over the service door in the new barn that takes small halogen bulbs. They seem to be very sensitive to shock. Depending on the weather, the door closes easily or won't close all the way at all and will stick in the jamb. Slamming the door seems to shorten the life of the bulbs in the light, plus it's a pain in the ass wrestling with the door when it's stuck. Adding a touch more clearance to the jamb is pretty much an annual event, but Sunday I  decided to shave down the side of the door a bit from top to bottom to clear up the problem once and for all. I had to remove the lockset and mortise the part in the edge of the door a bit deeper which added to the fun. Since it was warm enough I put some primer on it when I was done and touched up the edges on the tool-board I made the other day while I had the paint out. The door opens and closes easily now - probably be able to throw a cat threw the gap this summer, however. Replaced the bulb in the light while I was working there so should be good for awhile. Nice to be working outside without having to bundle up. Looks like that will be short lived, however.

I got some peppers and tomatoes started for the garden. I need to see about tending to the grape vines. The knucklehead farmer behind me blasted them with weed killer often enough that I quit trying to grow them but he's been pretty decent the last couple of years, so I'd like to work on getting them back into production. My gooseberries haven't done much the last couple of years but that's on me. I should plant a couple more bushes and a couple more blueberries and see to it that they get a bit more TLC. I won't be working this summer, so I should be able to tend to the garden and fruit as I should.

The remaining three chickens are starting to lay again. I was thinking about getting a few little chicks but I would probably be better off just getting a couple more pullets from the sale barn rather than dealing with the chicks. Baby chicks limit my freedom to travel and the first race in Terre Haute is only about 7-8 weeks away and I'm still trying to put together something for Alaska.

I've got another quiz and a couple chapters to read this week in the machine shop class. We'll be making our next project also. The program runs quickly but it does give you an idea of what can be done when you add an auxiliary 4th and 5th axis to the 3 axis CNC mill. We started on that last week and made one part. The cool thing was the way the tool offsets were calculated. There's an actual tool setter on this machine. You bring the tool in close proximity to the setting gizmo and the machine then brings the tool down and records the value. Likewise, there's a probe that comes down and touches off the part to locate that height and then you know where everything is at in relationship to each other. Pretty spiffy.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


The weather is looking like there's hope for us around here. We've still got lots of flooding, though. The water in the front field has mostly gone away, the basement is about dry again and we've got a couple more dry days on tap. That's a real good thing. I'm wanting to get out on the newly serviced bicycle before I turn into a Roly-Poly.

Since it warmed up a bit I made it out to the woodshop on top of the new barn. Cut out and routed a little board for mounting a turtle shell to add to the skulls and things I've found out running and walking.

I also made up a shelf/toolboard for the basement lathe. The material was from a left over job and the magnetic strip I attached is one of the free things you get from Harbor Freight when you make a purchase. I'm going to paint the bare edges white so it looks a bit more finished. I can't see me gluing any laminate on the edges. After I get it hung up I'll see what else I need to accommodate the tools and tooling and make whatever hangers necessary and then screw them onto the board. The white surface should reflect the light nicely as an extra bonus.

I'm going to do a few outside things today and maybe get out into the shop depending on how the mood strikes me. As long as I get out of the house and it's not raining, I'll be happy.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Golly Dolly

When I went to the bike show in Indy recently, there were people handing out information about cool places for riding motorcycles, most of which were down south. One of the folks was handing out info about Sevierville, Tennessee. I was there once and I've been thinking about taking another trip down that way so I picked up some literature and had a quick chat with the man. Dolly Parton's name came up in the conversation and I remembered hearing about her giving out $10K to all the families that had been affected by the fires down that way. I hadn't heard about the second round. That's right, she gave everyone another $10K at a later date. And as if that's not enough, she has been giving away books to all the young-un's down that way for quite awhile now. In fact, she just gave away her 100 millionth book. What a woman! Get the details here.

Here she is with a little help from a couple of her friends.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Political Post?

Another school shooting by another nut job young man. I usually don't like discussing this sort of thing because most people already feel strongly about their views and aren't going to change because of anything I have to say. That being the case, no point in me getting all wound up - I've had one heart attack. Don't need another. I will say that this last shooting could have been prevented using the tools currently available without having to disarm the whole country.

This is one of my favorite bands. Not necessarily my favorite song but Apolitical Blues kind of fits right in with my mood of late. I've never been a "phone person" anyway, so not wanting to answer the phone whether it's John Wayne or Dorothy Lamour is not much of an exaggeration. Especially since they're both long gone.

The wife and I are contemplating a cruise to Alaska this summer. I'm ready to book the trip, she's still sitting on the fence. I think her biggest objection is having to leave the dog at the kennel for a week. One of us will be going to the travel agent next week and getting some additional info on the trip. We'll see what happens after that. I'll leave the connection to Louis Prima up to your imaginations.

I got my gear finished up last week in class. The switch to aluminum made things go much faster. The blank is turned out on the CNC lathe, including the bore. The reaming is done on a conventional lathe. We had a bit of trouble getting the size right on the money with the CNC. The setscrew holes are drilled on the mill, tapped by hand and then the teeth are cut on the mill. It's been fun for me mostly because I've been involved in making the fixtures and doing some of the manual work. I've got most of that in my memory bank already. I'm still pretty clueless about the CNC end of it. But that's why I'm there, right?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Motorcycle Stuff.

Here's a couple of motorcycling things:

OSSA motorcycles were made in Spain and they were quite successful in trials events back in the early 70's. I remember reading about Mick Andrews and the bikes back then. However, I had forgotten about their success in roadracing back then. I came across an article about the bikes and their star rider, Santiago Herrero, and how they combined to compete with and occasionally beat the Japanese bikes. The bike was a magnesium frame of monocogue  construction. Unfortunately, Herrero was killed in a racing incident at the Isle of Mann.  Check out the link - short article with lots of photos. Note especially the one of the back of the race bike with the shot of the tubes running from the shocks to what appears to be some type of gadget to control the fluid flow. Interesting.

I got my Motorcyclist magazine in the mail the other day. I like the new format of bike related subjects rather than just reviews of new bikes and equipment that typically fills the pages of bike magazines.  This issue has a nice variety of articles, including one about the athletes that compete in MotoGP and motocross. An graphic compared the bikes ridden in each sport. MotoGP bikes are 1000cc and make 250 plus horsepower and weigh 350 lbs. That's 4 horsepower per cubic inch and .714 hp/lb! You'd better be a finely tuned athlete to try and keep one of those things under control. This issue also has an article on Malcolm Smith that's worth the price of the magazine.

Came across this this past week. New Sportster model - Iron 1200. Don't know that I would really call it a new model, more like a new configuration of parts from the big Sportster bin. They've got enough bits and pieces from the stock models plus the optional parts available they can easily come up with new models pretty much any time they please just by mixing and matching what they already have. Regardless, I like this one. List price $9,999.00. About as cheap as a Sportster is going to get. Actually it's a bit cheaper than the 750 Street Rod. I had to go north yesterday to get my car serviced, so I stopped in at the HD dealer on my way home to see what was on the floor and get a bit of a fix for the "Motorcycle Jones" I've been having lately. In April, it will have been 50 years since I bought my Harley Sprint. I couldn't afford a Sportster back then but I was really pleased with the Sprint. I'm a little bit regretful I sold off the other Sportster but buying one of these would make for a much more practical ride. The salesman said he'd call me when he gets one in but I've still got a hankerin' for the little Royal Enfield.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Peter Gunn

The Missus and I have been watching Peter Gunn re-runs late afternoons and evenings along with old Perry Mason episodes. Kind of funny that the best things we can find on television are shows that are 60 years old. Of course it's pretty obvious that people our age are the target audience judging by the commercials - AARP, bladder control, cooking and household gadgets, and other worthless crap that if you buy now, you'll get two of whatever it is they're hawking. However, the upside is that the old shows didn't have as many commercials, so you actually get more programming every hour. The other thing is that even if I watched them when I was a kid, I can't remember any of them so they're as good as new to me now. I would like to see the old Lee Marvin series M Squad that was on about the same time as Peter Gunn brought back. Better still would be some new programming that was half ass decent with about half the commercials.

Nice shot of my new lake - supposed to be a farm field but it's now covered in several inches of water. It started raining Monday afternoon like Hell wouldn't have it and has continued on and off for 24 hours plus. Weatherman was saying still more to come over night. The house is dry but everything in all the outbuildings was dripping from the humidity. I went out into the shop and there was fog hanging in the air. I opened up the doors and let it "dry " out a bit while there was a pause in the rain but I didn't want to uncover any of my machine tools as long as they were dry so I bailed out. It was warm though, 65 degrees. 

I was supposed to take my car in for service yesterday but there were several road closings due to flooding. Maybe work on the taxes a bit more today. I can only take so much tax prep at a time. I sit down and start running numbers and I always come back to the same thing. My life, along with every other working stiff, would be so much better if the feds would just keep their hand out of my pocket. I'm willing to do my fair share but I just read the other day that 40 cents out of every dollar the feds collect is spent on the interest of what the knuckleheads in Washington have borrowed over the years. One article I read said they haven't paid off the debt from WWI yet. It'd be nice if they got this squared away and we all got a 40 percent break on our taxes - like that'll ever happen. They're currently borrowing money at the rate of one million dollars per minute.

I've got a couple of jobs I'm tinkering with while waiting for the weather to calm down. Nothing that counts for much but I'm keeping my feet moving.

Monday, February 19, 2018


I got the garage door fixed. Menard's had the parts in stock - new spring and winder. Had a little trouble figuring out which spring to buy. The instruction book I had from the original installation said I need a green spring but the guy at Menard's said you can't go by that anymore. Instead of a green one, I got an orange one. Matched up by coil diameter and length so I got that and a new winder. Cost me about $70.00. Looking back, I should have just got a new spring from the jump and been done with it. Installation was easy enough, though, and it's working like it should. Plus the timing was right for the 11% rebate this week. 

Got quite a few things lined up for the next couple of weeks. Hope to spend some time in the shop, though. Maybe get some seeds going for the garden. I do have to read a few chapters in my textbook for school. We got a couple of gears made last week by the way. So things are progressing there. Anyway, lots going on, nothing real important in the big picture, so I'll just keep plugging away.

Have a good week.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Inspiration & Consternation

Pretty good day on Friday. Went out to breakfast with Cuzzin Ricky, then headed for Indy. Stopped at Trader Joe's, then went to the Fairgrounds for the bike show.

 Motus up close and personal. This is the first one of these I've seen in the flesh and there was two of them to ogle and drool over.

Old Jawa on the back of an International truck. Since I've got plenty of old bikes, I was admiring the old truck a little bit more.

Early Harley road racer - KR 750. If I was wealthy, I'd have one.

Indian - cool, but not KR cool.

I've got one of these little Harleys- only the street version.

New Harley - I could live with something like this.

Wild-ass chopper like you used to see at the shows. 

900 Kaw - they had several bikes with identical paint set up to race. Not real keen on the red engine parts but theirs is done and mine's not. 

One of the prettiest bikes at the show - 650 Ninja. I really like the color. It looks even better in person. They also had one of the new 400 Ninjas on the floor. Seems all the major manufacturers are turning out some nice small bikes now. Good for rookies, those small in stature, old farts like me, and people just looking for a fun ride.

I also got a chance to check out the Zero brand of electric bikes. One of the models only weighed 287 pounds. I bet that would be an absolute blast in the dirt or just fartin' around on the farm. Lots of torque, light weight, quick acceleration. Go play for a couple of hours, plug it in overnight and go play again tomorrow. The salesman said they have a quick charging set-up as well as an adaptor if you have access to a charging station like they use for the Teslas. The guy says they have them at the Lafayette dealership if I want to test ride one. Might take him up on that when the weather clears up.

I didn't venture into the other part of the pavilion for the boat and RV show. I'm not really into any of that. Plus, I've got about all the camping and outdoorsy stuff I'll ever need. What I need to do this year is to start getting out there and do a bit of it. I would like to take a bike trip. There was an outfit there that was promoting a bike trip in Alaska. They ship your bike up there and they have day trips of roughly 150 to 250 miles per day. I don't have too much in the way of details but I'm going to look into it. I've only got four more states on my list. Time to get it done.

I went to the gym Saturday morning and then went out to see what was wrong with the garage door. The door didn't want to work quite right Friday when I went to open it but I managed to get the car out. I fiddled with it a bit and everything seemed to be working again but I reset the limit switches on the opener and reprogrammed a spare remote control. I ran it up and down a couple of times but it screwed up again about the time I was going to pull the car in. 

This is the door that got damaged when the barn went down a few years ago. The torsion spring has a nylon tube inside it that got bent and I had to fool around with the spring itself but it's been working. When it malfunctions, it will go part way up and then bind. The opener senses the excess force required so it will drop out or it will let go with a bang and then the cables will come off the drums. I decided to quit fighting it and I'm going to invest in a new spring and winder. Meanwhile, while I was working on the door it started snowing again. Beautiful big flakes one day after the remains of a foot of snow had all melted off.

Pretty, but between the snow and the garage door, I can see why people buy condos down South.