Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nerdgasm - casting pulleys

Holy crap - this is just plain awesome. This guy did sand casts of some pulley he needed for his EV bike conversion. Wow... My favorite part is him throwing old aluminum hard drive frames into the vat to be recycled. That's cool.

Great. Now I need to find a CNC mill machine. I'm sure those aren't cheap. The rest of the bits look pretty easy to come by though! Well, the metal lathe looks kind of expensive too. Okay, I won't be setting this up this weekend, but it's still cool as heck.

Here is the project page.

via Make

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Too cold for paintwork, turning to woodwork.

It has turned cold again, so no more painting for a little while. I couldn't stay out of the garage though, so I did make a little progress. I added the original speedometer back (not a big deal, two bolts). It is mechanical and runs off of the front wheel, so I'll just re-use it as is.

One problem that I've had with my fancy shmancy motorycle lift is my old small bike frame doesn't fit well on the jack. I've heard that you can buy different adapters for your life, but that just seemed like a good way to spend money without getting what I wanted. I had some lumber left over from a previous project so I used that to make some platforms for the frame. It only took a few minutes, but now I can securely lash the frame to the jack and not worry about it coming loose.

Forunately, I had previously picked up two extra long bungy cords that I figured I could use someday. Well, today is that day. Those cords are perfect for lashing down the frame.

I'm still working on my nemesis, the rear axle. That involves spraying some PB Blaster, beating the snot out of it, cursing, then leaving it to soak longer. I might have to bring it out in the sun on a warmer day to see if I can expand the sleeve a bit before the axle warms up.

Some other fiddly bits I've been playing with are the rear foot pegs. Nothing complicated there, but I stripped them apart and prepped them for paint. It was so cold that the rubbing alcohol I was using to clean them off wouldn't evaporate. Dejected, that's when I decided to make the blocks for the motorcycle lift.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


With every project, there is at least one part that causes more headache than the entire rest of the project. For me, that's the rear axle. Holy crap. The rest of the bike was in remarkable shape when I took it apart. The rear axle however has rusted to something inside of the brake assembly.

My first victory was getting the rear brake assembly to come apart. However, the axle is still stuck. I have put about a gallon of PB Blaster on it and have whacked the absolute crap out of it but still it remains. When the day arrives that I can finally remove the axle, I will wield the shaft like Excalibur itself.

Child Labor

I had some extra help in the shop. Having some extra hands to degrease nasty parts is really nice. The two girls were kind enough to clean up the rear fender for me. They did a great job!

They kept on asking for things to put together, so we ended up getting the bike a little closer to a rolling chassis:

It's starting to look like a bike!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Some EV Bike Inspiration

Here is a cool video I found today of a Honda Rebel conversion. Even though my 74 CB550 is over 30 years old, it's amazing how similar the frame design is between the two bikes.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Well Hung Frame

Last night, motivation struck and I made some serious progress on the bike. First, I took apart and cleaned both of my forks. It turned out to be not nearly as scary as I thought it would to break those down. I didn't take any pics of that process, but I did get to painting the frame - finally!

I did as much prep work as my patience would allow. That consisted using my faithful dremel tool (well, I have a cheap Harbor Freight knockoff) to take down the little spots of rust. I then roughed up the paint with some sandpaper. After that I blew the whole bike off with all compressed air. Finally, I wiped it down with rubbing alcohol.

Here is the bike before priming:

Here it is with the primer. I was able to do the whole bike with a can of primer, with plenty of primer left over. This is another good reason to convert a bike - there isn't as much surface area to work with when you compare it to a car.

Here is a shot of my professional hanging apparatus. These are some chains I found in my bins (they came from various hanging lighting fixtures and other projects). And yes, I'm just hanging it off my of garage door opener frame. It's conveniently located in the middle of the garage, so it works well. Note the little piece hanging from the chain on the right. That's the little piece that holds the gauges.

I actually got the first coat of black paint on last night. I'll take some pictures after my second coat tonight.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Toolbox Upgrade

Finally, we got a break in the weather. It has been very cold here as of late and that has slowed progress significantly. So, when a nice 63 degree shows up, do I start sanding the frame down? Of course not! I found a great deal on a toolbox and couldn't say no.

This was a floor model at Kmart. Ever since Sears bought Kmart, I've enjoyed browsing the tool section there for good deals on tools. Here are the shiny new toolboxes:

I went to town and organized all of my tools. I've been getting more and more organized with my tools - my garage time is limited and I don't like spending the whole time looking for tools.

This was a huge upgrade to the way I was storing tools. As you can see, I added some black drawer liner to protect the toolbox and keep the tools from moving around too much.

If you look closely, you'll notice that I had to drill out the lock on the top toolbox. This is how I got the units so cheap - they were floor models and the keys were missing. They were already knocked way down in price when I showed up, but the manager was kind enough to take some more money off for the lack of keys.

I actually tried to pick the lock before drilling. It was an utter failure. I know more about how locks work now, and I think I had the theory down, but in practice I won't be picking locks Magnum PI style anytime soon.

Before, this was my main toolbox:

It's a solid toolbox, and I'm going to keep using it. My dad gave me this toolbox when I left for college and I've been using it ever since. While it is too small to hold all of my tools now, it will make a great toolbox for keeping all of my files / allen wrenches, etc. I'm going to clean it up and add some drawer liner.

Here is the toolcart I was using:

This was actually pretty handy. I should have taken a picture of this before I took all of my tools off of it. I had the little black toolbox on the bottom and all of my screwdrivers in the little tool rack on the side. This was a very inexpensive way to keep all my tools together. Whenever I did work on the car (brake jobs come to mind), I would just wheel this little guy over to where I was working. It saved a lot of walking back and forth to the toolbox. Since I'm still recovering from a pretty stellar ankle injury, the less walking I have to do on the hard concrete floor, the better.

It will still be handy to have a cart, but I'll take off the tool holder apparatus.