Category Archives: Projects

Past Projects: Recumbent Long Racer

I built this bike about 4-5 years ago and won a few things from instructables.com for the effort. Also, I ended up with a pretty sweet ride! Here’s the link to build your own: http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-long-wheelbase-low-racer-recumbent-bicycle/. I still haven’t got around to painting it, but I have high hopes for next spring! This year has been full of other pressing bike projects (which I plan to post photos of soon).

Here’s a video of the bike during a test run:

Spring project: tandem fix-up

My mid-90′s Trek tandem was due for some alterations. It was getting to be unridable because of the handlebar and seat setup. I would get upper back and arm numbness. I picked up new riser bars, Cloud 9 seats, cork grips, and home built wooden fenders. I’m quite pleased with the results.

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Project of the day: a gentleman’s bike light

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One should have a proper brass oil lamp for safe evening bicycling treks. Yes, it works quite well, throws off a nice amount of light, and stays lit at cruising speeds.

Spring project: single speed/fixie road bike

The first of my three bike projects this spring, this is an 80′s vintage Concord Freedom 12 that I’ve converted to single speed. I picked it up at the local thrift store for $15 a few years ago for the $40 saddle that was on it. I kept it around because on the nice large frame that fit me well. I completely disassembled, cleaned, washed, waxed, oiled, and greased everything. I also removed everything that I deemed unnecessary for a single speed. Many people go with one or no brakes and use the pedals to slow down with a fixed gear bike. I’m not overly thrilled with trading a very small amount of weight for safety. Also, being a flip-flop hub, I want two separate breaking mechanisms when using the freewheel side.

The saddle is from an 80′s Raliegh. It’s old, but it’s in good condition, fully sprung, and comfy. I’d like to replace it with a Brooks b135 next year. There’s a new moustache handlebar wrapped with cork tape. It looks racier flipped down, but my back isn’t up to that these days.

I took a chance on a Retrospec 700c flip-flop hub wheelset. It was pretty cheap on Amazon.com. They need some touch-up trueing, but I’m happy with them. There’s new single-speed chain and new pedals with toe cages and straps (I’m not a clipless fan).

It’s by far my lightest bike. I need to get mirrors, bags, and lights installed, but for well under $200, I’m very pleased with the outcome.

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Project of the day: bike wheel lacing

Cleaned, greased, and re-laced an 80′s vintage 27″ wheel for my recumbent today. It’s on the original bike while I wait for a replacement 700C wheelset to arrive.

I tried out a non-standard lacing pattern. I like the looks, but will likely only do the front wheel as it isn’t quite as strong (but plenty strong for this purpose).

I just need to finish trueing it and it’ll be ready for the trails!

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Update: I may do a rear wheel if I can dig around for spokes of the correct length amidst my pile of wheels. I have two decent vintage 27″ wheels with new tires now for my recumbent. I may re-lace one with this pattern for toodling around and keep one with standard lacing for long rides.

Update: It doesn’t look like I have the spokes I would need, so no rear wheel after all.

Project of the day: buttonhole attachment

I had several left over Christmas projects that required buttonholes. Unfortunately, the old 1950′s Singer One Touch died last weekend after three holes. It stripped the gears which would cost around $300 to repair. It just isn’t worth fixing.

So after much rumination and web scrounging, I discovered that there were buttonhole attachments made in the 50′s-70′s that supposedly would work on my straight stitch machine, although my local repair place said it wouldn’t. My understanding is that my machine is too fast and needs an industrial attachment, but the home version works great if you’re careful to go slow.

I found a new-old-stock attachment on Ebay. It’s a Greist #10. It does in fact, work, and is identical to the old Singer attachment except for the outer case. The cams are interchangeable, which is great. I have a nice selection from the Singer, but would like to find the eyelet size cam. The following are photos of the original box it came in, the cams and feed dog cover, and a side-by-side with the Singer attachment. There’s also a video of it in action!

The original box:
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Inside the box with original instruction booklet:
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Singer and Greist attachments side-by-side:
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Cams and foot plates and carnivorous plants:
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And the video:

Project of the day: CNC Mill Electronics

I’ve finally been able to make a little time to work on my CNC mill/router project.

I have a dedicated controller PC built from three old PCs. Older desktops are best as they don’t have all the power saving features that interfere with real-time processing and control. It runs Ubuntu Linux 10.04 LTS from LinuxCNC.org. The OS comes as a live CD that you can try out to make sure it will work with your hardware before you commit to installing it. It installs a basic system that has everything you need to run a CNC machine with EMC2 (control software). It’s also free, which is pretty great!

The controller hardware and motors are from Xylotex. I have a 3-axs controller and 425 oz. motors. I tested the software and hardware out today. Below are the results:

The next step is to build the actual mill table. This will probably wait until warmer weather arrives.

Project of the day: birthday cake!

Here’s J’s birthday cake. It’s vanilla white cake with peanut butter frosting. It will be devoured shortly.

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Past project: bell bottoms

Here’s a set of jeans that needed to be patched. They wear out around the belt loops and the back pockets. I figured I might as well add some bell-bottom goodness to the legs while I had the sewing machine out.

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Project of the day: starter replacement

Meet the bane of my existence for the last two days. It is the starter from my late-model Saturn s-series.

It had to be towed home. The drive was too slippery to push it into the garage, so yesterday I suited up and wrestled with it.
After 2.5 hours and a bout of freezy, panicky claustrophobia, I called it a day. Everything was together except for the last bolt. I fooled with that last bolt for an hour. It was tucked up out of the way and not visible. One had to have arms the size of a small child with the strength of a gorilla to get it.

The snow melted enough to push it into the garage, so this morning I gave it another go. I got lucky and hit it on the first try. Then I took the kids swimming. :)

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