Category Archives: Projects

Century ride!

wpid-IMG_20130928_102953.jpgSo I totally forgot to post my century bicycle ride from September 28, 2013. Oops!

I cycled on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail from the Memorial Parkway Trailhead. I headed north just ahead of the Akron Marathon runners for the first few miles. Apparently, the trail was supposed to be closed. That would explain all of the spectators cheering me on! I continued north until the Tremont Trailhead, took a short break, and cycled south.

Lunch was at the Memorial Parkway Trailhead. This was a metric century in case I wasn’t up to the whole ride. After a half hour break, I cycled through downtown Akron and south to Franklin Township. The last 20 miles found my hands a little tingly and my ass ready for something soft. I made it though, and probably had the legs for another 20 miles of flat cycling. Here’s my approximate route.



My chosen bicycle was my January 1974 Mocha Brown Raleigh Sports 3-speed tank of a bike. It was built the month after I was born. It’s not the fastest and certainly isn’t the lightest (it’s super heavy), but it’s comfortable and fast enough for me. The entire trip was around 9 hours and the actual time in the saddle was around 7.5 hours. My biggest impression was that I needed a partner next time. I was pretty bored for most of the trip and listened to Pandora on my phone a lot. The weather was beautiful – sunny and in the 70′s F (20′s C).


wpid-IMG_20130928_171910.jpgI may try again next year, but probably only with a partner. I’m pretty happy to have accomplished my first hundred mile ride!

Project of the day: cigar box storage

Cigar box shelving Cigar box shelvingTried to figure out some wall storage. Here’s what I came up with. It works pretty well. The spacing isn’t perfect, so some of the cigar boxes are a little tight. You just have wiggle them a little. :)

I cut grooves in the board that’s attached to the wall measured to just fit each cigar box plus the support thickness. Each support piece is held with glue and screws. The whole unit is then screwed to the wall.

Winter Project: 700c Wheelset – Complete!

700c WheelsetFinished my wheels in an evening! Building wheels is fun. I’m trying to set up my red Schwinn as a super reliable city bike – no external cables and with internal wiring for the lighting. This wheelset should be good for fast pavement rides, hopping curbs, and dirt/gravel trails. I’ll post more about the bike once all the parts are in. But for now, here are the specs on the wheels:

  • Front Hub: Shimano DH-3D72 Dynohub. I got two of these for around 60% off the regular price. One is on my vintage Hercules (Which I need to photograph and post). These are good hubs.
  • Rear Hub: Sturmey Archer S2C Kickback 2-speed hub with coaster brake. Pedal backwards a little bit to switch between 1st and 2nd gears. No Cables!
  • Rims: Alexrims Adventurer
  • Tires: Continental Speedride. Widest low rolling resistance tires I could find. Good for concrete and off-road.
  • Spokes/Nipples: 14g stainless spokes with brass nipples. Both in black.


Autumn project: recycled corduroy quilt

Corduroy quilt with flannel shorting lining.

Corduroy quilt with flannel shirting lining.

Catching up on projects after a ton of life explosions. First up: Autumnal Quilt!

Made myself a giant new quilt from a ton of thrift store, wide-wale corduroy pants. The lining is flannel shirting which is softer than ordinary blanket flannel. It’s my favorite blanket ever. It weighs a ton, moderates temperature perfectly, and is extra-snuggly.

Winter project: 700c wheelset


I combined my birthday and holiday gifts to buy parts for a new wheel set for my city bike. I’m super excited to put them together. It’s the first completely new wheel set I’ve built. I’ll post the completed wheels with specs.

Led 3-speeds!


Pair of 1974 Raleigh Sports.

Observe the overwhelming beauty of led-lit English 3-speeds at dusk! More photos after the jump.
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Finished bike project!


1989 Schwinn

1989 Schwinn World Sport Single-Speed Project



I finally finished up a bike project that started last summer. It’s a 1989 Schwinn World 10-speed that I converted to a one-speed fixed/free. Barring a magical bicycle benefactor appearing, I’m calling it complete. It weighs in at approximately 25 lbs. as shown. More photos are below the break.

Here’s what I did with it:

  • Completely disassembled, cleaned, greased, and waxed.
  • 700c Retrospec single-speed flip-flop hub wheelset.
  • Vintage Shimano wing nuts on front wheel.
  • Shimano UN55 107mm sealed bottom bracket.
  • 46-tooth white no-name alloy crankset.
  • All City white track pedals.
  • White and chrome KMC chain.
  • Antique 1950′s chrome chainguard salvaged from a sad Hawthorne-Hercules 3-speed.
  • Dimension Cork grips that I cut down.
  • Velo-Orange Montmartre Handlebars – I like these better than expected.
  • Velo-Orange City brake levers.
  • White water bottle cage (no-name).
  • No-name, Planet-Bike-clone rear light.
  • Saddle is one that I’ve owned for years that has red and black on it. :)

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Cnc Update


Ready for electronics and adjustment!

The CNC router is ready for hook-up, testing and adjustment.

All of the electronics have been set up and tested independently, so it’s mostly a matter of extending and hooking up the wiring to the motors. The electronics are bare boards, so they will need to be installed into something protective.

I cobbled together an older desktop PC and installed an Ubuntu distribution from It comes as a live CD which allows you to try out the OS to make sure everything works. It comes with a real-time kernel and all the tweaks you need for motion control. EMC2 is pre-installed and provides a free CAM toolchain as well.

Hopefully, the next post will be video!

Cnc Update

I’ve been working furiously on my CNC router. Here are photos of the progress! Hoping to finish in the next week or so.


Frame pieces are cut out


X and Y axis complete. Starting on the Z axis

CNC Update

Copyright David Steele

Copyright David Steele

I’ve been working on the Y-axis on my big CNC router (2′x4′ table), but have calculated that it will probably take until late fall at the earliest to complete the machine. I want to be using a CNC router this summer, not building one, so my plans have changed. With the plans I purchased, I got a set of free plans for a simpler, smaller unit. I estimate that I can get this done in a couple of weeks at most. I can also use this unit to manufacture pieces for the bigger unit.

So that’s the new plan. I purchased all my materials and the total for the build will be around $110. I’ll use the electronics and motors that I purchased for the larger unit for now and move it over once the big unit is ready.

I estimate that I can do 75% of the CNC projects that I want to do on this smaller unit. That’s good enough for now. It’ll also give me experience without risking expensive parts on a more manageable machine.

Plans are from here. I’m quite happy with the quality. I’ve already cut the lumber and started layout. More updates with photos soon.