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

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Parent Night.

For some reason we aren't doing "Parent Teacher Conferences" this year.  Instead, we are trying out a "Parent Night".  Seems to have worked out pretty well.  Instead of parents picking up a report card, then standing in line waiting to visit with teachers in the gym, there was an opening ceremony with a welcome and some performances by the band and choir.  Then parents were invited to wander around the school, having thier students show them their classrooms / projects / meet the teachers.  While I didn't get to see as many parents as I normally did at a Parent Teacher Conference, the overall effect I think was pretty darn good- very positive vibe.  Also, in most cases, got to meet most of the family instead of just one parent.

All cleaned up and ready to go.

Tech and Design:



And of course, Metals.

Overall the turnout was great too. Mighta had something to do with the Chili and Cinnamon roles, but I'd like to think they all came just to see me!

Thursday, November 06, 2014


Just learned something new today. This ratty old lunchbox I've been using for like the last 9 years?

Well, apparently they were built in 1913. Frickin thing is over 100 years old!!!

Near as I can tell they were built from 1913 to maybe 1917 but havent been able to find much information on them. Found it in an old garage we were cleaning out- EVERYTHING in it was headed to the dump. Thought it looked neat so I saved it and stupidly, apparently, cleaned it up and repainted it. Its starting to get a decent patina back though. Maybe in another 100 years it'll look good again. It also holds a can of Pringles perfectly!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

From the Teachers Desk.

The never ending cycle- completing 1 project means you can now start working on the next 2 related projects, meanwhile you are already 3 projects behind somewhere else.  *Sigh*.

Finally got around to this little endeavor.  Ever since I relocated my desk (3 years ago, remember that never ending cycle?) I haven't had a bulletin board.  Had a great big sheet of glass that I wanted to lay over the desk to put stuff under.  Well, I finally found my glass cutter and hauled the sheet of glass into school.  Of course, my glass cutter was utter garbage, so I bought a cheap oil filled cutter off of ebay and tried it again.  Turned out okay, although as you can see there were a few issues from trying to use the old cutter.  Not pretty.  What an amazing difference having a "good" tool makes.


And another fun bonus is now I can write notes to myself on my desk with permanent marker.  They're right there in my face where it's pretty hard to miss, and the marker comes off easier than dry erase markers do- but only if you give it a little squirt of Windex first.

Another "project" I've been working on is trying to make some type of clamp to hold our Roper-Whitney style metal punches.  Kids were having to strain awful hard to punch holes and that's never save.  To prevent smashed fingers here's what I came up with as a temporary fix:

So far it's working great.  Has the added bonus of not tying up valuable bench space when we don't need them- just stow them in the cabinet.  What's that in the back?  Oh, just another project- a hot chocolate machine I scored from a gas station.  Need to build a small cabinet for it to sit on, get it cleaned up, and put to work.

Sensing a theme yet?  Here's one more.  Picked up a scroll saw to play with thinking I could have students try it out as well.


I've got a couple of students coming in for "FLEX" to build custom Hot Wheels, and this may come in to play there.  Not sure how much patience the average 7th grader will be able to expend on a project like this but we'll give it a go anyways!

And just for fun- and Idaho sunrise, as seen from out my shop door at school.

Now, if we could JUST GET PAST ELECTION DAY, life would be pretty darn good!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to keep a 10 yr. old busy for hours...

Drag home an old pile of junk, park it in front of the garage, and wait for said boy to wander by.

Scrounged up this bike with the intent to have my students play with it, but son-one took an interest in it- spent an hour trying to "get it started".  When I finished mowing the lawn we had a quick lesson in troubleshooting- checked spark, compression, and squirted some gas down the carb and by golly it popped.

Did a little more work and got it running half decent and had a short lesson on clutches. He only killed it once (keep in mind, its a TL and 1st gear tops out at something like 3/4ths of a mile an hour...).

He road it down the street, turned it around, and stopped and started a few times in the process. Its a little tall and plenty too heavy for him, and he said he was done after that one pass. Once we start changing gears so he can go faster, he might like it more. Next issues to address- leaking petcock, bent gear shifter, and busted brake lever.  We also discovered that the swingarm slopped around like it was connected with a rubber bolt.  Found a used one on ebay, gave it to him, and turned him loose.

He's had very minimal help from me. Helped him crack a few bolts loose that were too tight and showed him some nuts he forgot to take off, but he's figuring it out mostly by himself.  The swingarm fixed our wobble issues-

Now time to keep DAD busy for hours!!!

Still have to do some finish work up- inside still needs a redkote. New petcock on the way. Trying to decide if this should be a Christmas present or if I should ride it...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Custom Fire Truck.

So "The Workshop" hosted another build-off last month.  This time the theme was Fire Trucks!  Here's my entry for the build.  Turned out nice and I learned some new tricks in the process.  Getting more comfortable in this "medium" and the cool part is I'm learning some neat things I can apply in my metals classes.  I leave bits and pieces of builds on my desk at school during the week and I've had a couple of students ask about them- some are interested in trying their own builds and it gives me an opportunity to not only show hands on working skills but also a LOT of different problem solving ideas.

My starter pic.  Wasn't really sure where I was going at this point so I kept my options open.

Eventually I decided I had to go with the Ford.  First step was to drop the front as low as it could go.

Then try and figure out how to make it loooonnngg.

Ended up combining a base with the overall body of the truck. 

Fenders.  This was tricky but they turned out pretty nice.  Wanted to completely enclose them- old fashioned skirt style- but that didn't work out.

"Water Tank".  Again, something new.  Forming the curve was a challenge.

Ladder time!  Most expensive part of the truck.  Had to buy a whole roll of wire.

Ladder mount and some more cleanup.  We added a friendly competition halfway through the build to see whose ladder was longest / tallest.  Mine missed by 1/4"...

Bolt is attached to the ladder pivot, the nut is attached to the base, allowing the ladder to swivel and raise.

Time to clean up the cab!

Paint and assembly.  Should have used some better paint, but this deeper red made me feel more "vintage" so I went with it.

Custom skirts made with chrome pin stripping tape.

Test fitting.


Ladder tilt.

Hose reel.

Cab detailing. Windshield wipers were a booger to do.

Single stack.

Ladder assembly.

Stock vs. Lowered.

Decals and more assembly.

Few more pics of it, then we can move on to the next project.

And there you have it, "ENGINE" 7.