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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dan's Chariot #10- Trailer in MOTION!

Time to get 'er done.

Fender mounts.

Spent some time polishing off all the nasty beads you get when using a flux core wire feed welder.

Frame "done", ready for assembly so testing can commence!

Install basket.

Install foot pan.

Install seat.

Install belts.

Make yet ANOTHER axle... and install it. The smaller rod above the axle is an interference fit, holds the axle in there nice and tight. It can be removed with a hammer and a punch sorta easily if I want to change the axle later.


Trailer hitch.

Ready to go.

Will definitely need a fender on the back wheel.

Turns pretty sharp before the tire rubs on the tongue!

And for your viewing enjoyment, some video. Please excuse my skinny butt...

Really close now!  Need to dig my bike out so I can hook it up to a bike that doesn't have parts falling off of it every 30 feet or so (this is a "school" bike - and has had dozens of 12 year olds working on it...).  Still need to make a caster attachment, but other than that, barring any failures during testing, I think the hard parts done!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dans Chariot #9 - Tying up loose ends.

I've been chipping away here and there over the last couple of weeks, so here's an update.

Made the inner fender covers. They're a bit bigger so we can be sure that Dan can't get his fingers caught in the wheel.

Got it all fit up to the rest of the fender just to see how it was all going to work.

Getting the holes for the axle to align was a bit of a challenge...

Bought some thing plastic sheet off of ebay to extend the outside and top of the fenders. Cut it out and bent it up.

Removed the outer cover to punch a few more holes in the back,

and put it all together.

Back to some more framework- finishing up a few of the modifications. Cut a couple of chunks out of a lawnmower handlebar, welded them together, cut 'em down, and tacked them into place. This is the bar that their basket will mount to so they can carry misc. junk.

I've been going back and forth about how to do this next part for at least a month. It's go time. I decided to just use a standard bicycle head tube and handlebars for a couple of reasons- 1st, its pretty much built, and 2nd, it's very easy to adjust or change styles of handle bars. Simple is nice. Now the chariot can double as an ultra cool stroller!

Still have lots of cleanup to do, but you get the idea.

Even managed to start on the fender mounting brackets.

Once I get the axle in, I can match the holes I made in the fender, drill the brackets, bolt the fender on, and figure out where the upper bracket needs to go.

Getting closer... My list is getting shorter.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Newton's Laws.

We finished up our water rocket unit last week and it ended with a bang!  Built about 70 rockets.  The test launch a couple of weeks ago had a lot of failures- but thats why it was a test launch.  We had several rockets over 200 feet, and one even broke 300 feet!

Forgot to bring my camera for the first class, and had one embed itself about 4 inches into the ground. Lotsa fun watching the students scatter!

These are all from the other 2 classes.  Took dozens of pics, most of them were only of a stream of water because I couldn't time it right.

Hard to see, this one has a funnel for a nose cone.  It flew pretty well, but he had a little too much weight so it didn't go very high.  On the bright side-  when it came down the funnel stuck into the ground and the bottle broke off and bounced away. 

This one collapsed the launcher...  Are you sensing the duct tape theme!?

(students commence scattering...)   Not really.  Didn't have any close calls this time, although in the past I thought I was going to have to buy the resource officer a new windshield for his cop car.

And my all time favorite:

 Love this picture!  Sooo many things going on here.  I'll be using this one a lot in the future-  all 3 of Newtons's laws are going on there.

Here's what happened.  The rocket's nose cone was made out of flimsy butcher style paper.  We normally layer them so they are pretty strong- but this student layered it and the stretched it out.  It was really floppy.  Then he added a cup or two of gravel inside the very tip of the cone to move the Center of Gravity up.  When the rocket went off, the nose cone collapsed and the bottle went PAST the tip and cracked itself like a whip!

If you look close, you can see the tip of the nose cone STILL GOING in the right direction!!! (part of Newtons first law-  objects in motion will stay in motion in a straight line)

You will also notice the gravel spraying out of the nose cone, and just for fun, try following the path of the water.

Anyways, got the rockets launched in the nick of time-  its starting to get cold out.  Already started on the Lego Robotics and the rest of our activities we can do in the relative warmth (not really possible at our school because we're "trying to save money") of my classroom.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Cookie Dough and Lego Robots.

Well, the cookie dough fundraiser is almost over.  I've been keeping track of my students sales and if they are about average for the rest of the school it looks like I'll be getting a nice bit of money to help update some stuff in the shop.  I have a list of things I'd like to update- and if I were to add everything up I bet there's over $50,000 worth of crap on my wish list.  Ain't gonna get anywhere near that much, but its fun to dream.

In the mean time, one of the top items on my list is new Lego robots.  I've got 12 extremely well used Lego NXT's.  Pulled them out this morning to use in class and two, yes TWO of the 12 screens worked.  Not a big deal, we can work without the screens- just means more headache for everyone involved, and its a common problem with a fairly easy fix.  So I spent my prep, lunch, and a few minutes here and there while students were working trying to get them fixed.

Managed to get all but 3 of them working, and it looks like those three are finally toast.  Might try and find some new resistors and give that a try, but for now they're just going to have to live with it.

Lego came out with a new version- EV3- last year.  I really only need the "brains" and maybe a couple of the new sensors, but by the time you buy the parts individually you're already almost at the price of the complete kit.  Not that I need all the extra legos- we've got boxes and boxes left over from past FLL tournaments and the 12 kits we already have.

The kicker-  the district won't let me surplus the ones I currently have and re-invest the money in my shop.  So, they'll probably end up in some closet somewhere for the next 20 years, and some teacher down the road will toss 'em in the dumpster (along with the table saw and disk sander I "surplussed" a couple years ago).  Great plan guys.  Guess I just have to hope I got enough cookie dough money to upgrade the robots and get the new curriculum from Carnegie Mellon that goes with it.

Counting money tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed.  Anyone wanna buy some cookie dough!?

Friday, October 04, 2013


Been working on this case for my wife's Ipad in hopes that the next time my boys drop it, I wont have to replace the digitizer... (you may have read about the replacement process a few posts ago).

I had done some 'figurin a year or so ago.  Just think, if I'da built it then I wouldn't have had to replace the screen!  Laid it out and started cutting.

Tried something new- molding the leather by soaking it and keeping it formed to the shape I wanted until it dried out. Had to make an Ipad "blank" to hold the shape but it seems to have worked pretty well!  Also the first time I've ever used a stitching awl.  Pretty sad considering I teach leather working in one of my classes...

All molded and ready for some stain / super sheen.

Viola.  I used Range Tan for the stain and whatever Tandy sells as Super Sheen- Superflow something or other...  *LOVE* how the color turned out, kind of has a distressed look.

Can you see the one thing I forgot to do?!!?

Yup, its missing the hole for the charger.  Oh well... Don't think it will be to hard to pull a few stitches out and cut a hole there.

Might still add a handle and make a few changes but she's going to use it for a while and we'll see how it works.  Almost makes me want to give up the Stainless Steel one I made for mine!  The leather sure is lighter!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The dryer broke.

So I have a couple of days off, and think maybe I can catch up on a few things around the house. Morning started off great, then after lunch the dryer suddenly sounds like it sucked up one of the cats and is slowly ripping its fur off.


Nothing serious though, the pulley on the belt tensioner finally wore through and split in half. The belt was just running on the rod and rubbing on part of the pulley making a heck of a racket.

Called around, no one local had one in stock so it would have been Monday before I could fix it AND the pulley would've cost $24!

Hey, I've got a 3D printer!!! Took about 15 minutes to draw it up and about an hour to print.

Installed with the belt not routed quite right.

Well, its in and it's drying. We'll see how long it last! Saved myself about $23 bucks AND I don't have to wait 4 more days for the parts to show up, so I can catch the laundry up!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Student Torture Chamber.

I picked a blast cabinet from Harbor Freight for school. It came in an really teeny little box labeled "some assembly required". After "some" assembly...

Students kept asking me what it was- so kept telling them it was a torture chamber for the obnoxious kids.  They didn't seem to believe me but everyone wanted to climb in anyways!? 

It was almost ready to test. My shop space is extremely limited so one of my goals this year is to make a bunch of the tools mobile. I ALSO picked up a bunch of casters at Harbor Freight.

This is going to be as painless as possible, so quality may be a bit on the low side but it should be totally functional. Cut some bits of metal out and started welding.

Aint purty, but it fits! Yes, I just zapped the casters on there instead of drilling / bolting.  Time is not a luxury I have...

I'll put a board in there and even get an extra shelf out of the deal. Sits level enough and rolls like a dream. All 4 casters lock, so when its time to use it I'm hoping parking it against a wall and locking the wheels will hold it in place.

The plan here is to have my welding students use this instead of the wire wheel for cleaning slag off. I don't have a good spot for them to be using grinders without spraying crap aaaalllllllllll over the shop.

One tool down, I'll do the parts washer next, then I still want to do the pedestal grinder, bandsaw, and drum sander.  If I get ambitious a few of my tables might end up with wheels too so I can move them around to make more space for working on mowers and such.

Now if I could just remember who built the home made Sand Blaster Vortex thingy out of a traffic cone.  Shop Teacher Bob, was that you?  Can't seem to find it anywhere and I have a feeling I'm going to need the reclamation feature for my sand blaster...