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.

Friday, June 10, 2016

California Persimmon Progress: June

Like I mentioned in the Grapefruit post, Persimmon trees bear fruit in the autumn, and as it just so happens at Foundry Academy, the plant tours aren't only industrial in nature.  We actually have an agricultural college with Oranges, Squash, Grapefruits, Grapes, Avocados, Kale, Yellow Watermelons, and just about anything else you can grow here (which is pretty much everything). AND there's a farm store where you can buy our produce and support the program. With that being said, let's check out our friend Mr. Fuyu (which I'm pretty sure is Sebulba's final line in Star Wars Episode 1 because he has an orange colored pod racer)
Stay squashy my friends
 Foundry Academy: "The Place To Be For A Quality Metal Casting Education"

How To Not Do A Singlespeed Conversion

If you actually do want to do a single speed conversion, you need either one of two things: horizontal dropouts, or a chain tensioner. For fixed speed conversions, you can't even use a chain tensioner since the chain must accept tension in both directions for both pedaling and braking.  When I tried to make my bike a singlespeed, it was because my derailleurs and shifters were either breaking or broken at the time, and I figured I'd try singlespeed since I hadn't considered it as an option yet.  I had neither horizontal dropouts or a tensioner, this is what happened:

Vertical dropouts don't allow you to move the rear hub back and forth, which means you can only get the chain to fit on at certain gear ratios for the fixed distance you got. (unless you have a chain tensioner)  I had this setup with the chain strung on the cassette for whichever gear worked.  The problem is that chains eventually stretch, and even a slight amount of slack can mess things up.  With this setup, I inevitably had the chain falling off the rear sprocket and onto a smaller one.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Who's Got the Best Jasmine Exhibition?

When riding a bike around the semi-utopian subtropical metropolitan paradise looking for the best deals on Earth at garage sales in the springtime, I occasionally get a whiff of a familiar buttery, fruity, and wonderful smell.  It smells like..... Legoland.  The sense of smell is very powerful when dealing with memories, and it just so happens that the Jasmine flowers at Legoland from when I'd visited years ago were responsible for that connection.  The type of Jasmine we're dealing with here is the 5 star variety which blooms here starting in April and can last through June.  There is another, pinker, and more fragrant variety which has 4 petals and blooms in March, but only seems to last for about one month.  The 5 star variety is more common and hardier when it comes to landscaping selection, and I prefer it also.  I also call them "moon flowers" since they are more fragrant at night.
jasmine close up
Here's a picture from when I went back to investigate the Moon flowers at Legoland.  Yep, that looks convincing enough to prove my case.
jasmine at legoland

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Return of Corn in the Backyard

New life sprouts in this soil
I was showing a friend of mine the garden one day when I was given a good idea. "Why not expand it to cover the whole backyard? All those weeds aren't doing anything."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"916" Fermentation and Bottling

Continued from Part 2
Alcohol: Origins
It took no time at all for '916' to start fermenting. At first I thought since this was a lighter colored beer, and my ABV was low I would have no danger of blow off. Burton Ale yeast proved me wrong once again. I had to install blowoff tubes on all 4 of my vessels within the first two days of fermentation.