Thursday, December 29, 2016

Seatpost Ultimatum

As much as I enjoy my renegade bicycle lifting operations, one of the major downfalls seems to be getting the seat post high enough without it bending over time. It appeared this was happening with the San Antonio Smuggler as well (AKA Bicycle Upgrayedd 2).
seatpost bent
I decided this would be the last seat post I should ever have to make for this bike, thus the most unnecessarily rigid and heavy. I figured since welding causes weakening of the surrounding metal, I'd make this one without any welding, which meant a lot of rivets.
preparing new seatpost materials

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ironing Board Bicycle Rack

As a continuation of the "Bicycle Upgrayedd 2" project, I wanted to build a better rack for this thing since the previous one was flimsy and had a poor mounting mechanism.
upgraded bicycle
The basis of this new rack was a sleeve ironing board I got for free at a garage sale.  I will admit, I had no idea that's what it was, but it definitely looked like the perfect shape to be made into a bike rack!  The design allowed me to add an interior compartment into it.  Here I am riveting some sheet aluminum to create the bottom.
sleeve ironing board with aluminum riveted

Friday, December 9, 2016

Brooks B17 Saddle After 4 Years & Asymmetric Issue

The great thing about leather saddles is that over time they conform to your own personal pelvic bone spacing or something that makes it more comfortable the more you ride it.  It hadn't really occurred to me that my saddle has changed shape over the years until somebody with a newer version of the same saddle parked right next to my bike.  At first, I thought it was a completely different model because the shape was so different, but then I remembered that mine used to look like that when I first bought it. I will admit, I probably haven't been using that leather preservative as much as I should, but it has lasted well so far except for a little ripping around one of the front rivets.  Aside from the animal sacrifice requisite, still the best saddle I've ever used.
My saddle after 4 years
A newer Brooks

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Lean Manufacturing

A book on lean manufacturing
Lately I've been learning a lot about LEAN manufacturing at Foundry Academy.  Basically, it's a manufacturing philosophy revolving around eliminating unnecessary work and wasted resources in the production environment (AKA common sense).  Since it seems like such a basic concept, it puzzled me why they waited so long to teach us about it since it seems that teenagers across America are already getting into lean at stunning rates.  For this reason, I don't think I will be getting a career doing lean since the job market will be already saturated by the time I graduate.  Besides, I saw this video on lean manufacturing, and it kinda turned me off to the whole idea altogether.  It also reminded me of a time in high school when I was actually accused of lean manufacturing before I even knew what it was; I was just trying to sell my friends Kool Aid mixed with Mountain Dew! 

Overall, I mean no disrespect any practitioners of lean, I just don't think it's for me.  Besides, it's also illegal.
Lean manufacturing

Monday, November 21, 2016

Blanket + Bucket Brew-in-a-Bag (BIAB)

One of the easiest ways to transition into all grain brewing is to use the Brew in a Bag method. When I moved and lost my larger brewing equipment, I had run into the problem where my new small brew kettles could not hold all the grain required for a standard 5 gallon batch.

So I have devised a system where I can mash my grains in a 5 gallon bucket instead of using a kettle on a stove top. Essentially, if I can make a lauter tun out of plastic buckets, then I can mash in one too. Here are the items required:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Coffee Roasting Log #1

Today's varietals to roast
For the first round of coffee roasting, I opted to try roasting the beans on a frying pan. The system I ended up rigging up consisted of a cast iron pan on the grate of the BBQ grill in my backyard.

Coffee roasting supplies

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Coffee Roasting -- The New Frontier

One of my professors from school was starting to teach a class on roasting coffee as I was preparing to graduate. One day, he gave a demonstration of how the class was to be taught, along with the activities to be performed. The purpose of the class was to apply engineering principles to the art of coffee roasting (flavor, energy consumption, cost of raw materials, etc). But it expanded beyond standard book work; there was a lab where you would get to physically roast coffee. I found that part of it fascinating, and hoped to do my own roasting in the future.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hand Cranked Foundry Blower

I'd mentioned before that I wanted to try melting metal with a wood fire and manual powered air blower. I liked the idea since it sounded simpler than my oil burner regime and didn't require electricity.
I finally got an opportunity to try this when I received a blower for free at a garage sale. Apparently the previous owners had their house heater replaced, and the workers didn't want to throw out a perfectly good blower.
At first, I had the impression that the original housing would be to flimsy to bolt the required hardware to, so I decided to build a new one.
a free air blower from house heater

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fender Repair 4

When we last left off, the top bracket had broken (again) and one of the stays snapped off. Also, there was a large crack forming in the middle. When in doubt, just add more metal! Actually, if I were using the bike for its intended purpose, this never would've happened. Most of the front fender damage was a result of improper use (attempting to put a bicycle inside a car). Note to self: never put a vehicle inside a vehicle.
home made fender

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Graff Bottling

The head on the carbonated product was much more profound.
Two weeks of fermenting the graff, and it was ready to bottle. This brew finished up at 1.000, giving it an ABV of 8%.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Graff -- A Beer-Cider Hybrid (Apple Ale)

The next batch of homebrew is the combination of two familiar creations. One part ale and four parts apple juice makeup Graff. The idea behind Graff is to add a small amount of malt and hop flavor to nullify the strong alcohol taste usually found in strong cider. With some inspiration for this thread at homebrewtalk, I got to work putting my recipe together.

Apple ale ingredients
Grains and juice ready to be combined.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Chair Repair 2

My friend had offered to give me his broken chair to see if I could fix it, so I jumped at the opportunity.
I discovered that the back had fallen off due to two of the bolts failing in tension. It looked like the other two had come loose at some point, so the entire load was placed on the ones which broke.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts

"The things I would do to these cookies are only legal in Flavortown."
My coworker gave me a bunch of walnuts from his trees. I had more than I knew how to eat alone by cracking them open and eating them, so I decided to bake with them. Cookies seemed like an obvious choice, as not only are they easy to bake, but they are also very delicious. Since summer has ended, the temperatures outside have dropped low enough to start baking again, so it was a perfect time to bake some cookies.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Maple Mead -- Oaking Completed -- Taste Test

A browner shade of yellow
After a few weeks of oaking the Maple Mead, it was time to remove the oak chips from the mead. At first glance, the color change of the brew was obvious. The oak chips turned the mead from pale yellow to a translucent brown.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Maurice White's Mic Stand

I always thought there was some kind of spiritual connection between Maurice White and some street called White Avenue. Actually, that's entirely untrue, I didn't even know his name until they announced on the radio that he had made the jump to Electric Kingdom two nights previous.... but in any case, I found this cast iron brake rotor on the side of White ave. which had his initials on it, so I figured he probably wanted me to make a microphone stand since it's already the correct size, shape, and weight for a base.
brake rotor
First disassembling the thing. Wow! that's a lot of grease.
cleaning out bearing

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 8 - Light Mount/ Finale

The finishing touch for the trailer was to add a rear light for nighttime usage. I found this light at a garage sale which had a 1/4"-20 thread mount, so I figured I could bolt it onto the trailer frame. I decided to tap a 1/4" thread into a 3/8" bolt for this. I figured I might as well use my most messed up bolt since the external threads weren't going to be used anyhow.
a light and a bolt

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 7 - Bathtub

Now that the trailer is in working condition, the first assignment was to get the rest of the metal to complete it. Conveniently, the metal store had the exact size piece of aluminum I was looking for to make the cargo bay.
piece of sheet metal attached to the trailer
Using aviation snips to cut the pattern.
sheet metal pattern before bending

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 6 - Deck

For the deck, I cut some pieces of wood. Initially, I used carriage bolts to attach it, but decided I was going to add a cargo bay below it, so the deck should be readily removable.
First, I took some 1/4" bolts and welded them from underneath through the holes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Putting some Oak on the Maple Mead

Getting setup to rack the mead onto oak.
The next stage of the Maple Mead is to add oak chips and age for three weeks. As I have a little over two gallons of mead, I would need two 1 gallon carboys and a few mason jars to hold it all. I decided I would only be oaking the carboys, and using the mason jars to top up the mead when I rack it off the oak.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 5 - Wheel Protectors & Hooks

At this point of the trailer progress, the concern was how the cargo would fit onto the trailer, and how to prevent it from hitting the wheels while they're spinning. I decided to make some sort of fenders/ wheel protectors which also served as rails for attaching bungee cords on.
First, I took some small pieces of bed frame angle iron, and welded a square. The square contains both fenders since I figured it would be easier to weld before cutting the pieces.
bed frame square welded
In order for these to fit properly on the trailer frame, I would have to smooth out the welds from before. First trying a small grinding wheel, but later deciding a file was faster since I don't have an angle grinder.
grinding down excess weld material

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 4 - The Linkage

After hours (okay maybe half an hour) of getting the alignment of where I wanted the trailer to follow behind the bike, it was time to enter "fabrication mode" and make the linkage. This is when the concept of tolerance goes out the window, and metal just starts flying everywhere, and you're not done until every tool in the toolbox has been used at least once and not for its intended purpose. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating... but still, I remember this part taking a long time.
aligning the trailer behind bike
Doing some math to get the proper elevation and to make sure the two ends are parallel.
doing math to get trailer placement correct

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Maple Mead (Acerglyn) -- Mead Batch 2

The next item on my list of things to brew is another batch of mead. This time I decided to throw down and find a unique recipe that sounded like it would turn out fantastic. So I located this recipe for Maple Syrup based mead, known as Acerglyn. It would be pretty similar to making the first mead I did last year, but with maple syrup.
These ingredients look tempting

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 3 - Trailer Hitch

I realized from the internet (and by observing homeless people) that there's really no right or wrong way to build a bicycle trailer hitch, so here's my story:
I was considering using a bicycle head tube and fork combined with the swivel castor I bought in the first post, but not having any spare bikes to take apart, I figured the steering mechanism from my scooter would work just as well. It was a great relief to finally destroy this thing after crashing on it at least once per day during my first week of college. Those small wheels just can't handle pavement deviations!
destroying a scooter
Video explaining the design:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Rye Stout Batch #2 Bottling

After (a somewhat explosive) primary and secondary fermentation, the second batch of Rye Stout was ready for bottling 3.5 weeks after brew day.
Setting up to bottle this batch of Rye Stout

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Press -- 2016 Estate Blend

For this year's estate blend, I left the skins in the fermenter to allow for more color. After a week of fermentation, the must had turned from it's original pink color to a dark purple. It was time to remove the skins by pressing the grapes.

The Syrah skins turned the wine dark

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bench Grider Tool Rest

Let's have a recap:
Since the demise of my terrible $3 Black & Decker bench grinder which didn't even have real bearings, there came a desperate need for a bench grinder that was actually good, the search began once again.

*I also had an oscillating sander by Black & Decker which also broke soon after I bought it at a garage sale. As a result, I've been living by the mantra: "Never Ever Black & Decker"

Monday, July 25, 2016

Grape Harvest-- The 2016 Estate Blend

Cab sauv
How many different ways can you pronounce "Cabernet Sauvignon"?
With the summer temperatures heating up and the grapes riping, it was time for a harvest. Several days of sampling the berries told me that today was the ideal day for picking, especially with highs in the triple digits coming up.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

With A (Cotter) Key, Sissy!

For at least 4 years, I'd been waiting for an opportunity to finally use a cotter key (AKA cotter pin, but ever since I started listening to X Clan, I've had an obsession with anything that contains the word "key" in it). That, and I fervently enjoy making fun of people with body piercings by saying it looks like they were impaled with a cotter.
We had a situation with the gate where the nuts kept falling off. This was reminiscent of the time when I bought my welder and was wheeling it home aside my bike when one of the wheels fell off. Whoever built that cart were idiots. On one axle, there was a locknut, which fell off from the wheel rotating. On the other, a castle nut WITHOUT a cotter key! = not protected by the red the black and the green, sissy! They also broke the rule of never welding on galvanized steel! Probably a good thing they sold me their welder for $20. I ended up finding the nut after retracing my path for about a mile.
The solution: castle nuts with the anti-rotation cotter keys. These particular keys are 1/8" which means drill an 1/8" hole in the bolt where it goes through. The actual pin diameter is less than the nominal of course.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 2 - Wheel Prep

As I mentioned in part 1, I had to modify the hub/ axle of the rear wheel to make it fit just as well as the front one. I measured both hub spacings, and they were within about .025" of each other which meant the same spacing would be okay right off the bat (since the rear hub was for a freewheel and not a cassette). The main concern was the extra length on the axle and the quick release skewer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Master Sword

My friend wanted to exploit some Legend of Zelda nostalgia in an attempt to make another viral video (since Youtube partnership seemingly makes everybody into the Ed, Edd, and Eddys of videography). To be more convincing than a cardboard cutout of a dragon scimitar, he needed somebody who could actually make a sword, or at least a sword-shaped piece of metal, which is where I came in. As I searched my scrap collection for a good piece of steel, I figured I wanted to get rid of this motor mount, which was connected to a motor I bought at a garage sale, which I will be upgrading my machine with in a later project. First, we had to separate the flat piece from the welded on angle pieces, which we did with a hacksaw. I also found out it's much faster to hacksaw stuff when you have multiple people to do it when one gets tired!
Sandals in a machine shop? Are you kidding me?!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Niterider Light Mount

I'd been meaning to make a new mount for my Niterider light since the last one got borrowed (Huckleberry Finn style) and no stores around had them. This light has been very faithful in my adventures (especially the ones to Cussing Jim's Canyon) and illuminates the road ahead very well. I decided to make the mount from some blocks of aluminum. I originally intended to make the mount with a dovetail like the Criterion boring heads, but decided I didn't need that much precision for something like this!
I didn't really have an idea how I would do it, but it turned out like this: I machined a wedge piece to fit into the light, bolted it to the rectangular block, and afterwards drilled and tapped a set screw hole to prevent it from sliding off.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Practice Light Sabres

I had the mental dillusion that I was... I mean I wanted to be like my favorite childhood hero, Luke Skywalker, so I knew at some point I'd have to start practicing my Wu-Tang sword style.  Incidentally, I had these really thin aluminum poles from a 70's eazy-up which would be the perfect blade since "aluminum" does actually mean "light". I suppose it could also be a spell to illuminate something since they use all the Latin rood words of stuff like that.

I learned from a video that the prophet Lucas made the handles out of junk they had sitting around that looked cool, so I figured I wouldn't have to make anything fancy. The two bits I used here were a boring bar from my old workplace, and a piece of scrap from the side of the road.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rye Stout Brew Day -- 7 Gallon Scaleup

Grain bill for Rye Stout
Got that Roasted Barley
To contrast the light brew I made last time, I decided it was time to bring back the Rye Stout I had previously made at my old house. This time I would be scaling it up to get more than 12 or so bottles as I had done before. Additionally, since I have a larger grain bill, I could add some more complexity to this recipe by diversifying some of the darker malts.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Ironclad Upgrade

I've been wanting to upgrade my "Ironclad" bike for a while. I call it this because of all the steel upgrades I've put on it have made it really heavy and also a homage to the old battleships since it feels so smooth when I ride it almost as if I'm sailing on water. Incidentally, I also use it for my incredible garage "sailing" quests to find stuff to build things.

I learned from Sheldon Brown's website that if you want to replace the drive train on a bike, you should do all the components at once, and mine are well overdue. What happens, is the chain wears out and begins to stretch and then does not mesh correctly with the gear teeth causing them to wear down faster and then you just get a negative feedback loop. It was time to buy some some shiny new parts for once instead of using scrap!

Firstly, the cassette:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 1 - Basic Frame

At last, I got a chance to work on this post! (what else do you do when you wake up at 2AM and can't sleep?) The work on this trailer is about 2 years old at the time of this writing, so I might not remember the exact details of how I did it, but I did take more than enough pictures to make up for it.  Let's go!

My starting materials for this were a couple of bed frames, some 26" wheels from a bike I destroyed, a scooter steering mechanism, and the castor I bought in my first post.  First of all, 26" wheels are pretty large for a bicycle trailer, so I wanted to make sure the trailer frame wouldn't look stupidly tiny compared to the wheels.  Besides, it's my first trailer, so why not make it the biggest and best?

In the 3D CAD world, the frame looks like this:
Now for reality world:
First, I had to take the rivets out of the bed frames.  I tried setting it up in the milling machine to do it.  Now, I don't normally do stupid stuff on purpose, but I just had to try this. This easily qualifies for the worst milling setup award, especially since I had to stand inside the circumference of the bed frame while doing the machining.