Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bicycle Handlebar "Up"grade

Being tall is pretty nice sometimes.  Benefits include being able to pick fruit off trees overhanging peoples' backyards, and reaching the drawbar on a Bridgeport mill.  One disadvantage, however, is that the vast majority of bikes were designed for short people.  Mine in particular is about 10 sizes too small (it used to be my mom's), but since I have already decked it out with so many customizations, like the extended seatpost, I have no desire to replace it.  As a long overdue modification, it was time for my handlebars to get lifted higher than ever before thought possible.

My original idea was to buy a bunch of 7/8" tubing and construct a completely new set of integrated-stem handlebars, like the "bullmoose" design, except angled really high.  However, one day a better idea crossed my mind that would utilize the original handlebars and stem, and require buying no metal at all.  All I needed to do was find a piece of tubing with about the same diameter and wall thickness of the stem's upper section.  In the most blatant use of scrap alchemy ever, I found that exact piece of tubing later that day in the scrap bin at school.
free metal for handlebar upgrade
The tubing came "pre-bent" for me!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Foundry: Oil Tank Redemption and Controlled Burn

After the tragic outcome of the previous foundry session, a few things needed to be fixed before we could fire it up again.

Act 1 - New Wheels
Since the original furnace wheels got lit and completely melted, we decided it would be wise to make new ones out of steel.  We couldn't just let the furnace sit there without wheels either because it would cause a height difference between the blower and the furnace inlet.  I went to work turning the new wheels out of some 3" scrap.
Turning a new steel furnace wheel in the lathe

Saturday, February 7, 2015

New Sink Handle

The attachment hardware for the handle to the bathroom sink broke.  The most obvious design flaw was that the entire handle was made of plastic.  PLASTIC!!!  They didn't even have the decency to make it chrome-plated die-cast zinc.  To me, making a sink handle out of plastic is tantamount to a plastic trailer hitch.
crappy broken plastic sink handle
A plastic sink handle? This is heresy, blasphemy, polygamy!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Foundry: Testing Everything and Pressure Tank Disaster

Alright no more messing around, time to fire up the foundry for real this time with the new burner, new oil tank, and blower.
First filtering the oil with a metal screen and funnel I made from a coffee can with a pipe floor flange bolted on the bottom.  This just screws onto the pipe welded on the tank for minimum leakage.  I say minimum because it still leaked, which is why the towel is there.
filtering oil with screen and funnel
Reconfiguring the burner with the new needle valve.
assembling burner with needle valve