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

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

World's Smallest Flying Merkel!

Got a wild hair and built myself a Flying Merkel.  This is, without a doubt, THE COOLEST motorcycle to ever grace this planet.  Merkel built "motorcycles" in the early 1900's.  You can read all about them on the interewebs.

Here is my very favorite:  The 1911 board track racer.

I've dreamed of building a version of this bike, and even went so far as to design one around an old Honda XL 350.

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I still hope to be able to build that bike someday, even though someone already beat me to it and built one around a Yamaha XT 500 engine.  You can see his entire build here:  http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=619303  There is some incredible craftsmanship there.  It turned out GREAT too:

Oh, right, so the one I built.

Lets see what we can do with all of my wifes jewelry stuff.

Frame was bent out of little bits of wire that are supposed to be made into earings. The rims were pre-rolled just like they are there.

See that lump of aluminum?

Thats the gas tank.

Forks done. Look familiar?

Engine was made from the bottom of a 1/4" bolt and the tops cut from two spark plugs.

Test fitting.

Painting was a real pain in the hiney.

Starting to come together. Used this fancy wire from Walmart to add some detail.

Took me 4 tries to get the pedals right, 3 tries to get the mag and plug wires right, and lots of tries for various other bits...

Made some custom decals with water transfer paper. Took several tries on regular paper to get the size and curve right but I think they turned out okay.

Voila! Done.

And to get a better idea of the size:

"Final" pic.

Now if only I could afford the REAL one!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


2 weeks of school to go. Been working on what was supposed to be (story of my life) a quick refresh so I could use this mower and sell one of the others.  Pics from the seller:

Been phising for parts and implements for my 314 and this little gem popped up. Owner's sister gave it to him about 3 years ago. He planned on restoring it but was tired of it sitting in his shop. Dickered a bit, oggled his awesome collection of Deere junk, and loaded it up.

Drug it in the shop with the 314 and got busy.

Some "before" and during shots to help me remember where everything goes.

Pulled the motor down today. Oh look! Rod Soup!

To make a long story short, this:

Eventually became this:


The motor is ready to bench test.  Complete rebuilt.  Well, mostly.  Brand new standard size piston, rings, and rod, newer block, new gaskets, seals, plug, points, belts, and of course a ton of John Deere green paint and some expensive stickers.  I have quite a bit more info in my thread on the mytractor forum here:  http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=528857

I'm also making really good progress with the rest of the tractor.  Its torn down to almost the bare frame and ready for sanding / paint.  Apparently, I've been bitten my the green bug pretty hard, but in all honesty I came by it naturally-

Sunday, May 11, 2014


My neighbor at school ordered a Shop Bot CNC router several weeks ago- it FINALLY showed up.  I don't know who's more excited about it- him or me. 

Now if only I could find enough donors for my CNC plasma cutter!

Friday, April 04, 2014


Work In Progress...  Been playing around with Sketchup and have managed to learn myself a few new tricks.  Gotta love Sketchucation and all of the cool rubys and plugins you add on to Sketchup.  A few months ago I downloaded and printed this engine from Thingiverse.

It works great, but I've wanted to design my own engine for a while now so here's where its at.  I thought it would be cool to make them "stackable" so this is my expandable air engine.  The idea being you print one, and it runs off of compressed air like the one above.  If you wanted, you could then print another long block that could be plugged in behind the first, but with the piston and valving running at a different timing- 180 degrees out, 90 degrees out, whatever.

Little hard to understand, but heres a shot of the rotary valve.

Still working on getting tolerances figured out but its close to actually running.

Getting closer.  At the rate I work on projects I might be done by June!  Of 2018...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

That time of year.

Yup-  Mother Nature messes with our heads and the rumor mill starts churning 'em out.  Seems like every year about this time whispers of  "change" start trickling out from somewhere.  REALLY hoping the changes made work out for the best.  We learned today that almost every single administrator in our district has been moved around.  I honestly have nothing to say on the matter-  I don't see the big picture and don't have any idea what the plans are for the future. 

Really going to miss some of the ones that are leaving.  In addition to the administrative musical chairs, we are loosing a few good teachers to a well deserved retirement, which is good.  Just sad to see them go, especially the ones who weren't invited back.

On a more interesting note- the district also announced that they are planning on creating a "Vocational High School" in the next year or two.  Whatever that means.  I'm definitely interested in seeing where that goes and being a part of it, albeit from my position in the middle school as a feeder program.  Have I mentioned that I *love* my job?

Also had a chance to talk to our superintendant about the possibility of an option to getting a masters degree.  Had an idea, or maybe someone gave it to me in my search (man, my memory is getting as bad as my Dads!) that maybe I could take classes at a technical college or the like and get certified as a journeyman in some specific trade.  He (the super) seemed intrigued by the idea of petitioning somehow to get the journeyman's certificate to count AS a Masters degree!  I would still love to take additional education related classes- can always learn how to be a better teacher- but I think the experience and skills I would learn would be a WAY bigger benefit to my students than a degree in Educational Technology.  We'll see how that pans out.

Now, if we could just GET RID OF THE STINKIN SNOW...  Finally managed to get the new tires on the ST- just in time to have it sit in the garage and wait.  Had beautiful weather 2 weeks ago, spring break last week was decent enough that I got all the trees pruned, the tiller on the tractor, and the garden spot rotovated.  Then Sunday we wake up to 5" of the white gunk.