Monday, February 19, 2018

Fixed



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.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Winter Time


I've been going through some of the photos of late - partly for the family history, partly because it needs to be done. This one was taken a few years back as you can see from the time stamp. Nothing much has changed around here in the intervening years, however. Same tractor, same pickup truck same operator in the same coveralls. The wife has a different rig from the one in the photo and it stays in the new barn instead of out in the weather. But otherwise, looks just like me plowing snow this past week. If I ever get a new truck, I'm planning on getting a snow blade for it. Realistically, however, as little as I use the old Allis, it'll probably be serviceable as long as I live here. I would like to have a bucket loader on the front end. It would help with snow removal, but more importantly, it would be able to lift things that I can't.

Since it warmed up a bit yesterday I went out to the shop to work on a couple of things. I made this little wooden piece for a buddy of mine. Fortunately I had a piece of hardwood in the kindling box, so all I had to do was rip it and then cut it to length, etc. You would think I've about got all the tools I need but I don't have a 3/8 countersink bit anymore. I've got a few others but I'll have to make a note of that and get another one.

Supposed to be warm again today and get some rain as well. That should get the rest of the snow off the roads at least. Of course, it'll freeze up again and create more pot holes. If you want to make millions, just figure out a way to pave the roads with a layer of blacktop impervious to water and you'll be set.

If you're putting together your calendar for the year, check out the link to The 520 Chain CafĂ©. He's got his annual list of events up for 2018 - mostly geared to cyclists but nothing wrong with that. There's a bike show in Indy this weekend I'm considering, since the snow scared me off of the big Chicago show. There's also a swap meet coming up soon in Lebanon. 

In addition to thinking motorcycles, I'm starting to think about the garden. It's about time to decide what I'm going to plant this summer and get some seeds started. The way things are going with the stock market and politics, might be a good idea to expand this season. Even if things stumble along like they have been, I'm sure the prices are going to continue to climb.  Never a bad idea to invest in some healthy veggies for yourself and your family. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BSA Plan


High pipes on the BSA - I like it. Maybe shorten up the head pipes a bit and then roll up an aluminum reverse cone "mega" with some type of insert to quiet it down a bit.


Add a Corbin saddle and Bob's your uncle. Lots of choices of colors and patterns but black all around would probably be my choice. The perforated leather on the actual saddle surface might be nice. Since the bike's one of the last of the line, it's an oil in frame just like the Triumph shown in the photo. I'm not sure how the seat would line up with our tank but I could make a seat similar in style with the back part painted and then get the saddle upholstered. Then get the tank, seat and sidecovers all painted in a nice color that would go well with the grey paint on the frame.

New sidecovers with the European style tank, throw away the airbox type filter and replace it with a couple of individual air filters and it could be a real nice looking bike. And everything could be put back stock if one was so inclined.

This one is going on the list for the upcoming year. As soon as I finish the motorbike, I'm going to commence to commencin' on the sidecovers Surly designed. I'll get his input on the high pipes and seat, paint, etc. Time for this one to be back on the road.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Gear Fix




These were both found at The Industrialist - nice photo blog of manufacturing and transportation subjects. It's hard to get good pictures of the electric arc welding process due to the brightness of the arc. You almost have to have something blocking the arc itself otherwise the only thing you see is the arc and everything else is underexposed. Someplace I've got a pretty decent shot of me welding at the last weld shop I worked at prior to starting my teaching career. I set the camera up on a tripod after everyone had left on a Saturday afternoon and used the self timer to capture a shot of me welding something on the bench. I'm planning on printing some old negatives from my Mom's collection one of these evenings soon. If I get a chance before hand, I'll see if I can dig out that negative and make a print.

I consulted with Surly and he agreed with my diagnosis about the gear cutting problem. He also offered a suggestion as to what we can do to make a gear using our limited equipment set-up. Always good to have a Journeyman Machinist on call. I've got an item I'd like to make for the little Harley motors. I need to have him take a look at the one I've got for a sample and see what he suggests. Step two would be to take it to school and see if we could make a few of them on the CNC machines.

The Missus came up with a bunch more family history stuff for her clan. Looks like I'm not done with that after all. More typing and research in the works but since I fixed the chair it's a lot more comfortable sitting and typing at least.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hoodoo Men


Never saw Junior Wells but I did catch Stevie Ray once.




Surly and I got a chance to see both of these run at Daytona. Some definite hoodoo magic from both Dr. John Wittner and John Britten. The Battle of the Twins was something to see - and hear. It was even better walking around in a tee shirt when it was cold and snowy up North.

The snow kind of fizzled around here the other day. Came down hard for a bit but we only got 3-4" more. North of me they got that 12" they were talking about. It warmed up here while the snow was coming down. Wet, heavy snow - the kind that takes the fun out of shoveling. Being out on the tractor was rather enjoyable though. After I got everything cleaned up, got another 1/2" or so later that day. Just enough that I needed to shovel so I could get the steps and sidewalk down to bare concrete again. Old people break hips, you know.

I canceled out the trip to the motorcycle show. Didn't feel like fighting all that snow and slush, plus they were forecasting some more snow Saturday evening - 4-5". I did make it to the gym yesterday and worked out a bit. Did my normal bag routine and then worked with one of the boxers on some things. Talented kid and a hard worker but he needs some individual attention to go to the next level. He's fun to work with - real coachable and appreciative of the attention. I see him going to the nationals - maybe even farther. He's got the drive but he's 16 years old. A lot can happen in the next few years to de-rail him, but I told him to save me a seat in the front row when he makes it to the Olympics. Gonna take some real hoodoo for that to happen but you never know.

Supposed to warm up a bit towards the middle of the week - planning on getting out in the shop and working on the motorbike. I'm putting my plan of attack together. I've got some physical fitness goals I want to achieve - so getting the weight where it needs to be is a priority. I'm down to within three pounds of my goal but looking at my belly, I'm thinking I need to revise that at least five pounds lower. I'm going to start putting in some time on the bike trainer at least two days per week. A bit of strength training and a couple of days at the boxing gym should set me right. My running buddy wants me to do some Yoga with her. I was set to start when the back left town on me. I think Yoga would help loosen me up a bit. Next time I see her at the gym, we'll get something set up and I'll give it a try.

In addition to a regular fitness schedule, I want to be sure I get out into the shop and get some jobs finished up this year. I've got several that could be done without a lot of bother so I'm planning on picking a couple of the easy ones off the list and see where that takes me. Keep the schedule loosey-goosey but stay busy. Cuzzin Ricky and I want to expand our area this year. Maybe Sprint Week in Pennsylvania. Maybe a trip to Alaska. Maybe a train trip to California and Nevada. I've still got four more states to see to complete the list of 50. I want to get at least one this year. Need to get after it. As my old pal Joey used to say: "Daylight's a burnin'."

Friday, February 9, 2018

Winter Days

Photo From Here
Snowing again after a couple of single digit temperature mornings. Looks like we're kind of on the cusp as far as how much snow we can expect. As I write this, anywhere from about 2" to 12". Doesn't much matter to me. I've got no where I need to go for a few days and I'm well stocked with provisions - If I'm going to be snowed in, I want it to be with Little Debbie:


Fun times at school this week. I made up a fixture to hold the gear blanks for drilling the setscrew holes.


I knocked this out just prior to class starting out of some scrap in the Weld Shop. The blank requires two holes at right angles to each other. Holding it in the angle iron it's possible to drill one hole and then flip it over onto the other leg and drill the second hole. Actually worked pretty good. Had to tap the holes by hand but I took care of that and they came out OK.


I also repaired a part for my computer chair at home. The bottom of the seat broke a couple of years ago and I took it in to work and welded it up. While I had it in the shop the old geezer who used to work there told me I should strengthen up the piece on the back that holds the back support while I was doing it. I told him the wife was planning on buying a new chair so this was just a temporary fix. Of course when I got it home, no reason to buy a new chair because it was fixed, right? Anyway, I should have listened to old Eddie. Fixed now though.



Started cutting the gear teeth this week as well. Everything went well until we got to the last tooth and had to decide if we wanted one big tooth or two little ones. Not sure what went wrong but definitely need to figure it out before next week. Maybe a phone call to Surly. He knows about cutting gears. I've got an idea but I'll think it over a bit and then see if what he says coincides with what I come up with. Either way, his will probably be the definitive answer.

Since it's a small class, everyone was busy doing something - I cut stock, got the broaching operation started, tapped some holes and fixed a job for another part of the lab while I was in between operations. Time goes by quickly and everyone is learning and doing. Education as it should be.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Taking Stock

I'm thinking the other way around - more like Bill Murray & a gopher

While the back was out, I was working on the family history and thinking about what I needed to get done. As I mentioned, most of my family from my dad's generation is gone now. The youngest remaining aunt is 82, which is only 15 years older than I am. Pops was gone at 74, seven years older than I am. If I make it to 82, I'm now counting backwards from 15. Damn, that's not a whole lot of time. I've got a ton of half finished projects and a few more swirling around in my mind wanting to get out. I really need to start working in earnest on finishing up a few of these.

Probably the only way I'll get ahead of the game is to hire a few things done but that's OK. I'm trying to do a bit of triage while the snow's coming down but my track record's pretty poor when it comes to time management - I did finish typing up the family history, however. 100 plus pages with quite a few photos and documents. Maybe not the most scholarly of research, but it'll give the grandkids an idea as to where they came from. While going through the old photographs, slides and negatives I was thinking it would be nice to scan them in and get them organized. And that's how it always begins. Not this time though. I'll save that job for the retirement home.

I'll have to give this all a bit more thought. In the meantime I'll try to stay warm (6 below yesterday morning), keep up with the snow shoveling and work on something as best I can. Stay tuned - I just might have quite a few actual progress reports this year.  Might even get a few things finished.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Squirrely Things

The Missus showed me an article in Saturday's NWI Times talking about an addition to a local high school that's going to be adding a welding program. Indiana changed the law concerning pensions of retired teachers a few years back so now you can retire and then go back into the classroom and still keep receiving your pension while teaching. I hinted at applying for the position and that went over like a fart in a space suit. No way I'm interested but I could make a pile of money, at least by school teacher's standards, for a year and then retire again. If I really wanted to work more, it wouldn't be a problem to get a couple more classes at the college. In fact, my boss would jump for joy. Can't see either of these scenarios happening, however. High school = heart attack. No thanks.

The back is doing much better. I went to the gym Saturday morning for a light workout to get things loosened up. Three light rounds each on the double-end bag, heavy bag and speed bag. Then home for a trip into the crawl space. There's a squirrel that has gotten into the walls of the house. I don't know how he got in but we've heard him in the ceiling and I heard the pipes for the hot water heat making some unusual noise in one corner of the house. I went into the crawl space under that room and found where it's been chewing on acorns so I put the trap down there. My truck radio has quit getting decent reception like the antenna is not working well. I have a feeling a squirrel has gotten to the truck again also. Looks like I'm going to have to declare all out war on the little squirrely-whirrleys.

It was about 40 on Saturday, so I took care of a few outside things and went into the shop and puttered a bit. I made up the coil mount for the motorbike, so one step closer on that. The top of the carb is up close to the top tube on the frame, so I drilled a hole in the frame so the cable will pass through. I'm going to weld in a small piece of tubing to reinforce the frame and to give a nice smooth surface to prevent chafing the cable. Chain guards are about all that are left now and then I can take it apart, finish welding things, paint and reassemble. I was going to take a photo of the progress but the batteries were dead in the camera. By that time my back was starting to tighten up a bit so I decided to play it safe and call it a day.

Cold and snow here again. If you're going to be spending some time in the house, check out the Friday Night Steam post at Chicken Mom's. It's a video of the building of a big steam locomotive including everything from the pattern making, pouring of the castings, forging, welding, machining, assembly and test running. It's about 14 minutes long. Maybe something to watch during your coffee or lunch break. Worth a look.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Three Cheers for Technical Illustrators


Villiers engine from 1957 manual. Most anyone with the gift of a bit of talent can make CAD drawings. Obviously some are going to be real masters and some, like myself, are going to be duffers but to be able to draw the types of drawings like the one above, one would have to be truly gifted and extremely dedicated to mastering the craft. I've got several old manuals that have similar illustrations in them. I've always taken them for granted, as I suppose most people have.

I know lots of craftsmen working in a variety of trades and most of the time everything they do is taken for granted by the general public. When you drive across a bridge you normally don't think about the carpenter, laborer, iron worker, welder, painter, design engineer, cement finisher, operating engineer, teamster, and who knows who else was involved taking the bridge from design to completion. The work mostly goes unnoticed. Likewise, when it's time to repair your 60 or 70 year old motorcycle, your main concern is on fixing the bike not the drawings in the shop manual, as long as they are clear enough to help you rectify the problem all is good.

We're working with a new dividing head in my class at school. It has separate plates for different numbers of divisions that are contained inside the dividing head. The dividing head was made in Poland and the instructions are in three different languages. Not the clearest of descriptions in the Polish to English translation, but the exploded drawing makes things quite clear as to how it goes together and what the plate looks like thanks to a skilled technical illustrator in Poland.

I've been involved in technical education for over forty years. I don't think I've ever heard anyone promote the field of technical illustration to a student, unless it came from inside the cover of a matchbook. No technical illustrators showed up on career day. Most all schools used to offer board drafting to the boys along with some metal and wood shop - home economics for the girls. Drafting was offered because every trade uses blueprints and you could get a job as a draftsman. Technical illustrator? Just one career out of probably hundreds that never was mentioned or promoted as an option that at least a few students could have pursued and done well at.


Someone else was impressed with the BSA 650 illustration I posted the other day, so it got cleaned up and is now being used for demonstration purposes at MIT! I guess I wasn't the only one who thought it was way cool.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Enfield




Saw the other day that the Royal Enfield Himalayan is due to hit the dealers in April. MSRP is $4499.00 I'm thinking there's going to be one of these in my future. I sold a couple of my old bikes for just about this same amount and set the money aside to put towards a new bike. I checked it out when Cuzzin Ricky and I went to Milwaukee last summer. It's only 421 cc or something but I'm thinking it should be a ton of fun.

Looks like cold and snow for the next 10 days at least. Probably won't be getting much done in the shop but I need to get cooking on something. Maybe see what I can do to work on the basement lathe project that won't require me running in and out. Maybe just pick a day, fire up the heater and stay out in the shop for a decent 8 hour shift. Other than pulling the motor and going through it and the front brakes, there's not a lot left to do on the 900. I need to finish wiring the sidecar and it'll be paint ready. I might get the sidecar frame powder coated. I can have that done while it's cold out and then it'll be finished.

The CNC class is going well. I've been sawing stock and setting up some tooling. I just like fooling around in a shop - especially when there's no profit motive so there's no real hurry. Just keep my feet moving and help out with whatever needs done. I can pretty much do whatever needs to be done except anything CNC. If I'm planning on hanging around there I should probably sign up for his programming class next so I would actually be of some help on those machines - plus learn a bit more. He's got some hybrid lathes in there I'd like to be able to run also. They're not really manual and not fully CNC. I don't have any metric thread cutting ability at home, but it's no problem with those things. Other than that, I really don't know what I'm going to do with what I'm learning in the class but the class is costing me next to nothing since I'm an employee - so why not?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Two Wheelers & History

From Here

Words to live by

I went over to the high school yesterday to offer a little advice on their high mileage car. He's got some spiffy new rims and hubs and was looking for a bit of advice on lacing them up together. I'm no pro at lacing but I've done a few wheels. This one is supposed to be a cross 3 pattern. I've got a book on bicycle wheels but I thought I'd look and see what the internet had on offer and I ran across a real good tutorial at Atomic Zombie. That's a dangerous place for a guy like me - lots of plans for making bicycle projects. Especially since I've been thinking bicycles lately anyway.

The weather warmed up a bit yesterday so I went out into the shop later and hit a couple more licks on the motorbike project. I've about got everything all tacked together but I'm not pleased with the chainguard from the engine to the rear wheel. I'm going to have to come up with something different. Actually I need to make two. I haven't made anything at all for the pedal cranks yet. I've got an after market one on my old Elgin I could hang on the motorbike. If I ever get around to restoring the Elgin I'll need to make something a little more in keeping with the time period. The main thing is I'm close enough to the finish line that I should have the motorbike ready to go when the weather warms up.

650 BSA engine drawing. I can't imagine what it would take to draw something like this up. That is some serious work. Beautiful, actually. There was a lot of this kind of work back then. All of the shop manuals and much of the advertising work had these technical illustrations. This one came off of the Just Beezas group on Facebook. In addition to dealing with bicycles and a motorbike, I want to get back on the BSA project real soon. Surly drew up a design for the sidecovers, so it's my move now. Between the cold weather and the sore back I haven't done much of anything lately, except the family history project, but I've got the itch to get out in the shop and go to work on some things. There's a Villiers Engine group on Facebook I check out now also. I'm keeping on eye on that for a source of parts for my Frances-Barnett. I knock out a couple other projects and it'll be time to go all Brit bike around here for awhile. Or at least do a teardown on the Fanny-B motor and see what I'm going to need so I can start ordering parts from across the pond. 

At least the back is better, and the family history project is nearing completion. My brother is coming into town in March and he has a connection to get it published. I want to have a proof copy done when we meet up. He can check things over and see what we need to do to get various versions printed for family members. The way I'm thinking is mine will have my side of the family tree as well as my wife's. My brothers and cousins can take what I've got on my side and add their spouse's side or we'll just print them copies without my wife's side and that will be that. No matter how it goes, I'll be finished.

I would urge all of you to get a family tree chart and jot down all of your ancestors, if you haven't already. Don't wait until grandma passes away. I was lucky that I started working on mine before all the old ones passed. I've only got two aunts left, one is 82 and the other will soon be 90. That makes my generation the "elders" now and it's up to us to preserve our heritage. That might not matter much when you're young, but it does seem to become more important as you get older.