Motorcycles, tools, and garages! A little bit of everything mechanical and technical.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Airing out the Z50's...

Man, I have got to do this more often.  The boys have been driving me batty asking if they could do this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or that.  Time to get them OUT OF THE HOUSE.  They finally asked, very half-heartedly because they knew the answer was going to be no-  "Can we get the dirt bikes out?".  SURE! 

Trusty old Honda's fired right up and away they went.  I could tell they were going to get bored with the standard loop down the road so I let them add a 'round the house loop.

Didn't take long until they were bending the last corner pretty hard so they could hit the "jump".


Oooopss... Little TOO fast on that corner with the wet grass.

Who knew? The front fender of a Z50 can be used as a plow in a pinch.

He got back on his horse though.

Might have to load 'em up and head to the Rose pond again. That was a lot of fun too!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Leftover Printer Projects.

So I found a few pictures from my tech 2 class from last school year.  Thought I posted them already but apparently not, so here they are.

I gave them a pretty simple set of directions:  Design something in Sketchup with at least 3 different parts, one of which must "move".  I had several kids try and do cases for phones and ipods, but they proved a little to detail rich for most of them.  Here are a couple that I managed to take pics of before they left for the year.

Airplane.  Printed in several different pieces then assembled with glue.  The propeller spins!

Ipod charging stand.  No moving parts, but very functional!


Lego guy and a robot.The one on the right has moving arms.

Turntable.  Tried printing rollers for it but ended up using ball bearings.

And a couple of pics while on the printer.



There were several others, but I didn't get a chance to take pictures of them.  Had a couple of R/C winches and a really cool bicycle with spinning wheels and a working set of handlebars.  I'd like to reprint that one for my classroom sometime.

Just for fun, a few from today.  Making an "Occupied" sign for the handicapped bathrooms at school.  Cranked up the speed, man is that thing fast!


There you go.  I'm sure we'll have plenty of projects to post in the coming months!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

IGSBEP- are you doing it?!

Well, I made it through day 1.  Its all downhill from here, although I can't decide if thats a good thing or a bad thing.

Helping my wife decorate her room got me to thinking, my room has tons of gadgets spewing forth from every corner, but it could use some more "artsy" informative decorating.  Spent some time and made the big IGSBEP banner and hung it up on the wall.

A year or two ago I had a bit of a breakthrough-  Seeing as how there are no specific state standards that really dictate what I'm supposed to teach, I figured I could do just about anything.  Probably shouldn't admit this because I'm sure some well intentioned fool will eventually find *something* that I am *required* to teach.  Not that I have a huge problem with that, but in my case it would have stifled a really good thing.  I sat down and thought about different overall themes I could teach about.  I settled on the Design Process.  It fit perfectly with the projects and tools I already had and is applicable everywhere.  Interestingly enough the design process is almost identical to the steps used to write a report in English or test something scientifically with the Scientific Method.

The best part:  You can use it to solve ANY problem.  For example, before ISATS I would sit my classes down and explain to them that during the test and in life in general- you will come across problems that you don't know the answer to.  Does that mean you just guess? NO.  Does that mean you just pick a random answer? NO.

Take a minute to IDENTIFY what specifically the problem is.  Once you have a good handle on exactly what you are being asked to do, GENERATE some ideas.  Sketches, different possible directions, whatever- just let your brain vomit (yeah, my students love my imagery) random related ideas out on the paper.  Once you've got a few, SELECT what you think is the best one.  Is it right? Who knows?!  Lets find out!  BUILD it.  Try it out.  Most important on this step- don't be afraid to fail.  If it doesn't work, try something else!  The next step is sometimes hard to seperate from building-  you EVALUATE.  Did it work, did it work well, if it didn't work why not?!  You might need to go back to generating new ideas to try more options.  Keep trying.  Once you have a viable option, PRESENT it.  Sometimes you might need to present it even if its not right- ask for help.

Whew.  Little long winded there but now you know what the IGSBEP is. My point is this:  students need the ability to SOLVE PROBLEMS, not just by rote spew facts out correctly.   There is a place for that too, don't get me wrong.

Hopefully, I can help my students be able to solve problems that come up not only in my classes, but in English, Math, Science, etc, and most importantly, life in general.

Hope all you teachers out there are having a great start to the new year, and remember, keep your stick on the ice!

p.s.- just for fun, the birds eye view of my room about 18 feet up when I was hanging the IGSBEP up.  Kinda messy, was still putting things away and my room was being used to build stuff for a parade float.

And one of the awesome morning views I get from my classroom.  *Love* my job.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Labor day- One more Iron in the fire.

Tried my hand at forging a knife this afternoon, since I needed another project to work on.

I made a knife in Grade 9 Industrial Arts class and loved it. Knife turned out okay, but remember, I was a 9th grader. Fast forward 20 or so years. Now I TEACH "Industrial Arts", and while they won't let me have the students make knives, that doesn't mean I can't!

Been thinking about doing one for a year or so. Then I discovered that the school has a little electric kiln oven stored over in the wood shop. AND, I've got several old Nicholson files that are pretty much useless as a file anymore... Hmm.

So today I decide to attempt some blacksmithing. Something I've never really done but have always wanted to try. What's not fun about red hot metal and big hammers!?

Lugged the kiln over to my room, plugged it in and fired it up. Let it bake for a bit while I smash some metal.

The file:

Welded a chunk of rod to the end so I don't have to mess with tongs.

My setup. I don't have a forge, period. Turns out a rosebud works pretty darn good, although it sure got warm in the welding booth...

So I read a bunch on the interwebs (including a bit here on advrider) and watched several u-tube vids. I should be good to go, right?!

Get 'er good and hot,

and start pounding. Really have no idea what I'm doing, so I'll just pretend.

Not your typical knife blade. It'll make more sense when I start to clean it up. I hope.

Pounding the bevels was dang hard. Got it sorta close and called it good enough. The rest will be done the, uh, old fashioned way? Er not. You know, with a grinder and a file. Not the reaallyy old fashioned way, like blacksmiths used to do. 

Here she is fresh out of forging. I stuck it in the oven and let it cool slowly for about 1/2 hour. I know thats not long enough to anneal it, but I'm experimenting here...

Cleaned it up a bit with an angle grinder and spent some time filling it. It's definitely soft enough to file, so I guess thats good enough?!

And a bit more with the sander.

Probably going to leave the crosshatch on the upper part of the blade. It still has a ways to go, need to clean up the plunge cut on the bevel near the hilt and I want to put a short edge on the outside of the "beak". More to follow, eventually...

Sunday, September 01, 2013

One possible solution to Education's Issues.

 I stumbled on Shop Teacher Bob's blog a couple of years ago, right when I got back into teaching.  Tons of cool stuff there and many awesome educational insights and links.  He posted this last week and I thought it was a GREAT idea- had to repost it here to share with y'all!

From Shop Teacher Bob:
I was prowling through my blog list yesterday and came across some info on the Milwaukee MakerFest at Handverker. First of all it amazes me all the stuff that Frankie Flood and his students are into on that site -  motorcycles, bicycles, VW's, and hot rods just like I am - and then there is all the high tech machining, printing and extruding creating artistic and functional items of all stripes.  I know very little about this new high tech stuff but what I do know is that this is the future of manufacturing.

With Maker Faires and Maker Spaces popping up the world over, (there's one in Rome in October), and the cost of college skyrocketing, maybe it's time for a new look at the traditional college model. At the community college where I'm currently employed, as near as I can tell, other than some digital photography and printing, we don't make anything. That's right. We make nothing. Since there are other campus locations throughout the state, I'm sure somewhere they're making something but maybe not. In the lab where I spend a few hours every week in my role as lab logistics technician, there are trainers for a variety of disciplines - hydraulics, pneumatics, electricity, electronics, etc. - but it looks like the main focus here is to turn out technicians for the local power company rather than making anything. I suppose that certainly is in keeping with the mission of a community college but from my high school teaching experience, I know people want to make things and they learn more if they are allowed to do just that.

Let us suppose for a moment that Shop Teacher Bob opens his own college. We'll call it the Shop Teacher Bob Maker School and dedicate it solely to the making of cool @#$*- might even want to make that as the motto, in fact. Anyway, have a two year course of study culminating in a maker degree. Keep the curriculum loosey-goosey and like Hillsdale College, don't accept any federal funds so the focus can remain on what really matters, giving the students a custom tailored education that allows them to make things. All types of things. Beautiful things, practical things, wooden things, plastic things, metal things, Steampunky things. Incorporate some old school skills like blacksmithing/metalsmithing, maybe some woodworking with hand tools - a nice blend of folk arts and CNC.

Think about it. A nice Maker Space/Tech Shop with a big garden. Maybe follow the Putney School model or the college in Berea. Work for your supper/tuition rather than a big ass student loan that will be hanging around your neck like a dead albatross you spent 40 grand for. Focus on the things you want to work on along side other creative individuals doing the same. Isn't that what Bell Labs used to do? Lots of potential for cross pollination of ideas. A hands-on approach but so much more. Granted there wouldn't be a football team but I suppose we could set up a couple of heavy bags and have the students design and build a few bicycles so we all get a little exercise instead of just the gridiron squad.

If one of you decides to start just such a school, let me know if you need a lab tech. I know just the guy.


Wouldn't that be awesome?!  Able to focus on each student individually instead or ramming a square peg in a round hole.  Really worried about this year as my class sizes have gone way up.  I'm just not going to make it to all of the students that need help.  Still not sure how I'm going to handle that.  On the bright side, I think the year isn't going to be as rough as I originally feared.  Been able to get a fair bit done in preparation for students that are showing up on Wednesday.

This is EXACTLY the kind of school I'm looking for to get my Masters in.  Hmmm... A Masters in "Making".  I'll keep dreaming.  And searching- if anyone knows of anything like this that exists and would be possible for me to keep my teaching job while I got it, I would be VERY interested!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Printer prep. Got 300 kids that want to play with it this year!

Dug my MM 2.0 out of the closet and got it set up and running in anticipation of 300 new students that want to try it out this year...

'Course, had to do a test run...

Printer ran great, although my design needs some tweaking to prevent warpage.

Thought I needed to give the printer a workout, so I found a broken bit of plastic I needed repaired.

I've got Pelican cases on my KTM, and one of the latches lost some teeth. The release would still catch and sort of hold it on, but I didn't want my lunch flying out on the way to school.

Gettin the dang thing apart proved to be a chore... Had to drill a hole to get to the back side of the pin so I could punch it out.

Pin on its way out:

Viola! Latch removed. You can sort of see where the broken teeth are- the bottom piece where it sticks down is supposed to have a hook on it.

Sketchup to the rescue.

Took me about 5 attempts before I got one that fit nicely and pulled the door shut tight enough.

Gettin a print ready:

One of the early attempts:

Heres the one I'm currently "testing". It was printed with only 10% infill, so I don't think it will hold up long. We'll see. Already found a few minor changes I want to make, but here it is as printed:

Cut and ready to fit:



So here is the before:

and the after:

Had some issues with the printer this time. Think I've had problems with my control board from day one (pretty sure its one of the first RUMBA boards- every now and then I get a random issue where after every move, it pauses for about a second.  Think I found a workaround today though). If I have any money left over in the school budget I might just spring for a new one to rule that out.

Also going to start experimenting with settings (jerk, in particular) to see if I can get better quality and higher speeds.

One other thing (okay, 2) that I want to learn more about is Bridging and "moving part" prints.  Both I can attempt with this model-  could do 2 bridges and have only 2 pieces printed instead of 3, and print them in place.  The harder one would be to print bridged, with pins in the holes so I didn't have to use metal.  Probably too weak for real life application, but it would be pretty neat to print the part, pull it off and have a moving part with out any other assembly!