Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Made a Bicycle

Barbara gave me the steel frame of an old "Romana" brand bike. It's very proudly Italian according to the stickers on it. Seems like it's a 70's era department store bike. It was basically a frame, crank, and bearingless fork when I got it. After a bouncy and bangy ride in the back of my work van and showing it off to Daniel I got to work around 6PM trying to get it road-worthy. Over the next three hours I did the following:

* Unscrewed the top of the head tube
* Figured out it had no bearings at all
* Broke down the bars, bar tube, and fork from another bike for parts
* took parks from original forks and parts bike to bodge together a working bearing/hardware set
* Pumped up spare tires, found front has a bad tube
* Tried temporarily fitting another front wheel, holds air but tire too big
* Pulled tube, put in correct sized front wheel using butter knife handles for tire tools
* Found out front fork is a little crooked, still in an adjustable and usable range
* Put on rear wheel
* Borrowed chain from my trusty, rusty, squeeky, creeky, blue bike
* Tightened the handlebars, stuck the brake (minus seat and brake pads since they didn't fit well) on and rode around the yard and sidewalk a minute to see if everything was holding up
* Pulled the most road-bike looking seat from my junked kids bikes I use for welding material
* Ground the gap in the seat post clamp wider so it could properly clamp
* Installed and adjusted seat
* Cut a brake mount tube from junk bike, welded in place under the bike's original mount. Cleaned and painted to avoid rust.
* Installed brake caliper
* Made brake cable from two short broken cables with a bolt, washers, and nut in the middle to hold it together
* Rode it up and down the road some to see what needed adjustment
* Adjusted a few things.


Tossed bike in my car, rode downtown to watch Anderdown do their thing. I rode it around the Veterans Memorial Arena and it's parking garage a little after the guys had played and it's smooth riding and feels very narrow to ride on. Up next I'll strip it back down, toss on some new brake pads, maybe or maybe not weld in a kick stand mount, clean up the chrome, and re-paint the frame and fork, and re-assemble the whole thing. Not a bad bike for 3 hours of work and some parts that were slated for the scrap pile otherwise I'd say though. More pics to come as I get more done.

UPDATE 4-28-10:
I got some silver hammered paint and after some sanding, grinding, wire-wheeling, and taping I've got the bike looking pretty good. I went with a flat handlebars and brake handle since I'm not one for using drops and the drop bars I had were too narrow for me. I need to replace the rear axle bearings since they're pretty shot, add bar wrap, new brake pads, and clean up the wheels, but to have under $7 invested in it so far I'm very happy with it.

Frame prepped for paint.

Glamor shot in the front yard.

Detail of the orange bands and crank.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Made a Jacob's Ladder

Found an old oil HV transformer at the local junk shop "Shep's". Hooked it up with some hardware from mega-lo-hardware and made this nice Jacob's ladder.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I made "art"?

Found a piece of particleboard and used some 1x3 boards I charred with a torch along with spray paint, gears, other bits of stuff, and not much talent to make what you see above. Good? Great? Art? Trash? Terrible? Just silly? Who knows. It was pretty fun to make though. I might keep adding to it to see what I can come up with. Anyone know of a genetic algorithm for spray painting?

I Made (another) box

Sometimes I think living in an apartment would be nice. No mowing, raking, or other yard work, you get better heating and cooling because of the neighbors upstairs and next to you helping insulate your rooms. But then I realize I wouldn't have room and space to make things, and that apartment dwellers have to part with some pretty cool stuff because they're either not handy enough or don't care enough to do anything with it.

I was stopping by my buddy Mike's place yesterday to watch a movie and saw such a thing in their appartment's free-for-all junk pile. I've gotten angle iron (bed frames) and lumber pieces from there several times, but this time there was a couple of wine displays someone had tossed. A Cruzan Rum display box, and an unmarked 1x2 shelf held together with brads and glue, but with a few pieces fallen off. Looked like they'd go together well to make a nice box.

My neighbor Mitch let me make use of his table and miter saw while he regailed me of his nearly causing an international incident between the US and USSR with a cardboard tube pointed at a Russian helicopter when he worked in the navy. I cut down the 1x4s and bradded them in place. I reused the box's display holder for the front after ripping it thinner. Rope handles on the sides and it's all nice and clean looking. Now what to keep in it?.....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Made an Archer

It's been a long while since I got my welder and since then I've gotten a good deal better at using it and know what works well with. I've also gotten my scrap pile back up in size and there's been some nice goodies on it from sources as different as the woods behind my house and the local Harley Davidson dealership. Three of the best pieces to it were a pair of slightly scraped up exhaust pipes and a chunk of a motorcycle frame that reminded me of a slender torso.

I'd been thinking about getting a decent bow and arrow set to practice and get some stress off with, and with a pair of pipes that looked like a set of legs and a chunk of frame that looked rather like a fit chest, I decided that those and some motorcycle handlebars could be used to make a nice sculpture of an archer. I figured a human figure would be pretty cool to make and since I just so happen to be in such a shape myself I also had a decent pattern to go on too. As I was making it there were countless little moments I'd check the angles and shapes of things I'd done against how I'd do them myself. This photo of myself (taken by Bri Miller) was actually very useful in getting the positions of the arms right. I hadn't realized the drawing arm was basically turned upside down before seeing myself doing it.

As with the dinosaur, I started from the feet and worked my way up. The feet are made of hardware from a garage door with their angles and positioning modeled with my own as a rough reference. The left arm is a truck jack, and the right arm uses a small shock absorber to spring back and hold tension on the bicycle chain that is the bowstring.

The head was easily the most difficult part to make. I didn't have anything that already looked something like a head, so I had to find all sorts of little bits and burn my hands holding them in place while I tacked them together. having on welding gloves made it too awkward to not let some parts slip. I especially like the way the eyes came out. One is part of a bicycle's crank and the other is a ball joint from a car's steering rack.

The fingers were all made from motorcycle chain. #420 for fingers and #428 for the thumbs. The arrow head was the only part made from plain stock specifically to look like it does.

When it was all said and done, I moved the archer off of the temporary wooden base I made for him and welded up a steel base made of railroad tie plates my friend Barbra gave me and an old motorcycle highway bar with a nice twist in it. I also ran over the whole archer with a wire wheel to get the bulk of it's rust off and sprayed it all down with some gloss clear coat. He's looking pretty snazzy in the front yard now taking aim at passing cars, bikes, and one bright orange dinosaur.

Barbra also came by to see the archer and take some very nice photos of it just after the first sun-shower of the year. The first photo of this post is one of hers in face. They came out very nicely and you should definitely check out those any other stuff of hers here ,here ,and here. She also did a nice backdropped photo of my orange dinosaur here.