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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dan's Chariot #12: Powder coat!

Finally had a chance to drop the frame off at the powder coaters over Christmas break.  Yesterday was Martin Luther King day and we had it off this year, so I ran in to town and picked up the frame.

Fresh from the powder coater. Big kudos to Eastern Idaho Powder Coating for doing a great job!

Went with a slightly textured finish. I think it turned out great!

Ready for final assembly. Theoretically, these are the only tools I should need to get the job done.  Got some better hardware- allen button heads mainly- so a few of the bolts will be left over.  Added a dob of blue thread locker to the bolts without nylock nuts just to be safe.

Step 1. Install basket holder.  It's kinda hard to get to the screws when the seat is installed.  Not impossible, just hard.

Step 2. Install Seat.  Used some big 'ole allen bolts.  Still need two more slightly longer ones for the front.

Step 3. Attach seat belts.  The nut on the back is a nylock, and the brackets can move freely on the bushing.  Figured some allowed movement here would keep them from coming loose from repeated tightening / loosening of the belt.

Step 4. Attach leg pan.  Nice smooth button heads.

Step 6. Wheels and fenders.  A few spacers in between.  This is one piece I wish I had done a little differently-  the fender and the wheel have to come off together as a unit.  Makes it a bit awkward, but I couldn't see an easier way to do it without adding a bunch of junk to the frame.

Step 7. Put the caster on the stroller attachment.

Step 8. Drop the handlebars in.  I'm guessing they will want different handlebars / grips.  That's the reason I used a bicycle stem like this- pretty easy to order whatever set of handlebars you want and drop 'em in there.


Just a few small things left to do. Need to put some reflective stickers here and there, have to pick up 2 longer seat bolts, and cut the excess strap off the seat belts when Dan tries it on. WOOT!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Think first...

 photo Portraits-Warren_zpsb88fcd97.jpg

I *love* this picture.  I remember finding it when I was maybe 15 in a book about airplanes.  The man had invented a helmet to help protect pilots in the event of a crash.  What better way to prove how it well it works than to run full tilt into the side of a BUILDING!?  LOVE the looks on the spectators face.

Some of my students finally found it again for me a year ago while working on their flight history research.

Made me stop and think.  Sometimes, you might have to do something stupid to prove your point.   Part of the design process, as I'm always telling my students, is EVALUATE.  You can't know if something works unless you test it.  Hopefully you can find a little safer way to do it though.

In other news, we are already halfway through the 2nd trimester.  Sheesh, time flies.  I dropped off Dan's Chariot at the powder coaters last week and they already have it ready!  Need to figure out how to go pick it up, our hours don't make for easy access.

Lots of new projects to bring in the new year.  Got "Dad's Fiero" to get on the road, planning a motorcycle sidecar build, hoping to finish a couple of my truck projects, do some (little more) serious gardening with the John Deere, and with some luck installing a CNC plasma cutter in the school shop.  Still hoping to figure out a way to do a Masters degree.  Thoughts have been percolating on that a fair bit lately- more to follow I'm sure.

Have a great 2014, y'all!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mendelmax 2.0: Tech and Design's latest 3D printed cars.

Finished last trimester's Tech and Design car prints. Little over 50 of them, and there are 10 or 15 more that had some manifold issues so they wouldnt print properly. If the students come back in and fix them, we'll get them a print as well.

Works in progress. Gluing wheels.

3 classes worth.

1st hour's.

2nd hour's.

and 5th hour's.

Here's a few of the more interesting designs. This one was named the "Hippy Bus" by its owner.

Love the lightning pattern on the side of the one, and the truck on the far right I didn't think was going to print because he hollowed it out. Actually turned out pretty decent! May start letting them do that a bit more!

The convertible is pretty cool, the interior adds a lot of detail to the car.

In another month or so I should have some Tech 2 projects done- they usually are a little bigger and more detailed. Harder to get them to work the way the students envision, but thats part of the purpose of the printer- to let them create something and see if it actually WORKS!

Still impressed every time I see the designs these kids come up with. Most of them are only 12 years old, and these were the simplified versions of their designs. The full size models had waaayyyy more details. Some days (okay, most days), I really love my job.

On a related note, there was a great writeup in a neighboring cities paper about a rural library near me that recently also got a 3D printer.  Great to see these popping up close to me.  REALLY wish I could get some locals around here interested in doing some sort of a community class / makerspace... I'll keep trying.  Hoping to offer another class starting February, so if anyones interested, let me know!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dan's Chariot #11- 150 lbs of Beans, Sugar, Flower, and Powdered Milk.

Spent a little time today tying up a few final loose ends. Had an idea for the caster- put it on the tongue! The tongue can be flipped around, so when it was in "bike" mode, the caster would look something like this:

When it was in "stroller" mode, the tongue would be under the seat and the caster would be down.

Decided that would look too goofy so I just made up a new attachment.

Stroller mode.

I sat in it and wiggled all over trying to get it to tip over backwards- no dice. Suppose thats a good thing!

Made up a little bracket to help hold the basket straight. The basket has got to be the chinsiest thing I've ever seen.

Loaded it up and brought it back home for round 2 of testing. This time, I strapped 150 lbs of flour, beans, sugar, and powdered milk to it.

Back from another couple of miles.

I think it will work great for their intended use. It's a little more squirrel y when loaded if you are trying to do HARD stops or starts. I was worried about the tongue flexing too much or bending. It flexes, but I wasn't able to bend it with it loaded and being jerked around real hard so I figure it should be good. Still tracked great, only got up to about 30 mph a couple of times for several blocks.

Finally talked to the owners and we are going to powder coat it. Got to get a hold of the powder coaters around here and see what they are going to charge... Might end up spraying it if it's too expensive.

Getting close!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mendelmax 2.0: Misprints and Experiments.

Ramping up the printer for this and next tri's student projects.  Been messing around some more, tried a few things out with ABS and decided to experiment with PLA a bit. This means I've got LOTS of misprints from my experiments! Here's a few.

Students just finished their cars, which means printing about 300 wheels, at 80 a batch. Its SPOSED to look like this:

'sept when you experiment with hairspray instead of the ABS goop and the prints don't stick, and you leave for 2 hrs to a class in a different room. Then it looks like this.

Next up was a larger print with ABS and the hairspray stick 'em. Looks not half bad...

Until you look a little closer.

The bottom warped really bad because I forgot the fan was on... Joy's of using ABS. Then I tried pulling it off while it was still warm and the bottom stuck so hard to the glass (hairspray) that it "bubbled" when I pulled it off.

Pretty sure I have the hairspray figured out and it seems to work great.  Finally, the kids believe me when I say it's for the printer and NOT my hair!!!

This one is just icky. Switched back to PLA and was experimenting with temps, speeds, etc. Finally discovered a partially plugged hot end and solved this little problem.

This is new for me: tried printing a hollow "shell". Came out okay, and with a few tweaks I'll be doing this for all of the students cars with a twist.

Here's what the inside looks like:

And some students cars printing. Notice the .05 infill density honeycomb pattern.

2 cars down, 73 more to go.   Classes finish up tomorrow (we spend every class all day long giving the shop a deep clean) and the new tri starts Monday.  Will be starting right of the bat with Tech 2 on the printer, so in a few more weeks I should have some more cool projects to post.  I'm impressed with what these kids come up with, as you'll see when I get all of these cars done!

Friday, November 15, 2013

How to survive a day in a middle school metal shop...

How to survive a day in a middle school metal shop:

Plug yer ears and put your angry eyes on.

Seriously though, Mr. Grumpypants the teacher isn't good for anyone.  Glad I work with people that understand that!  Wore these glasses in one class, and one of my students looked at me for about a minute with a goofy look on his face, and finally said, "Mr. T, I just can't take you serious with that look on your face."

Been a rough week, but lots of fun.  The trimester ends next week, so of course everything associated with that - grades, finals, new rosters, new units, new classes to teach, end of tri activities, etc.- is driving teachers and students buggy.  Throw into the mix 3 days worth of subs for my classes while I attended a PLC conference in SLC.  Ironic, eh?

The conference was GREAT.  I (we) learned so much stuff our heads hurt, but we came away with a ton of great ideas, and wishing that everyone in our school could have been there to see the big picture of what could be possible.  For those of you who don't know- PLC is an education acronym for "Professional Learning Communities" (sorry Dad, it doesn't mean programmable logic controller...).  Rick Dufour has written several books on the subject, as has his wife Becky and the rest of the folks who presented at this conference.

Pretty hard to condense 3 days worth of excellent presentations, but I think if you could simplify it all down to a main idea it would be something along the lines of:  Working together with other teachers as a TEAM is better for all involved- teachers and students, and you will get more done with less work and get better results.

If only it were that simple!  Too often (and I'm super guilty of this) I think teachers prefer to do their own thing in their own room- or teach in isolation as the Dufours put it.  They have this whole idea of  "Loose and Tight", where there are strict and rigid guidelines put in place, but the teacher is left to determine the HOW.  This mean the teacher can still practice their "art" while STILL working as a team towards a common goal.

I came away with a much better understanding of a lot of basic principles of education- both on the WHY and the HOW.  Formative assessments, summative assessments, guaranteed curriculum, essential elements, when you see why it needs to be done and the knowledge / data that can come out of it, you see why it's so important.

The best part of all of this?!  It's LESS work for the teacher, and the students get MORE one on one time if it's needed.  The downside, of course, is that it only works if everyone is willing to do it.

I could go on but I've had all of this stuff bouncing around in my head for the last 4 days and I'd really like to change gears to something a little more... mechanical?  Time to unplug and enjoy the weekend, but here's a start for y'all:

This was on top of a post near the convention center.  It had maybe a 4 foot wingspan, the props spun in the wind, and it acted like a wind vane.  Would LOVE to build something like this, and I don't think it would be too super hard.  I'll add it to my list of stuff to do, right after surviving a school year, finishing Dan's chariot, building a sidecar for one of my bikes, figuring out what to do with the old Dodge's, and on, and on, and ....

You can find more info on the Dufours and PLC's at allthingsplc.info or http://www.solution-tree.com/