Monday, March 23, 2009

Vulcan, God of Fire & Metal

First off:

That---> just happened.
It's a Baretta trike, and it will rule someday.

A lot of stuff has been happening recently. Notably, Dean has let me borrow his 16mm PHBG to replace the 21mm overkill I've been running. -And the Puch is running, indeed. I swapped out the stator for another one, between that and the new harness, the bike seems to be a lot stronger. and with a 16mm carb hooked up, it should be easier to manage the jetting issues. My thanks to Naz, who chopped up a helpless biturbo to make that happen. Finally I'm able to get my machine roadworthy for more than fifty feet at a time.

My folks came out here to visit, and we got to do some touristy stuff, like check out the Museum of Flight down at Boeing Field. Liz briefly trades her Vespa P200 for a SR-71. Mach 3+...not too shabby.

I've also been working on the furnace to make my custom-cast cylinder efforts actually happen.

After a few simple measurements, I modeled a piece of styrofoam to represent the hollow shape in the furnace.

After some shaping of the form, I lay out all the essential parts involved: Crucible, Torch, Bucket, and negative.

From that, I'm able to measure the location of the torch aperature

With that reference I use a hole-saw to cut out the insert for the torch

I then check the hole with the torch head. It's a snug fit.

After popping out the hole for the torch, I fit the styrofoam negative into its position.

I then anchor the negative in place with several large screws. This is necessary to support the refractory mix later and to keep the negative in position, as styrofoam is really really buoyant and will float through the soft refractory mix. I also added 'ears' to the negative; these will be cut-outs for the crucible stays to drop into.

I also add a few footers to raise the furnace off the ground. These are simple hardware store brackets.

With everything in place, I set up out in the garage and mix the mizzou refractory. It has to be mixed up by itself to ensure proper homogenity of elements, then it must be mixed precisely with water by weight, not volume. Because it's somewhat expensive, I use a cheap home-brew refractory in 'filler' areas and only use the mizzou around the critical areas. (the homemade filler refractory is 2 parts portland cement, 1 part perlite, 1 part water, btw)

I've been at this a few days, using different refractory types requires that I wait for them to dry up enough to be firm enough to hold their shape, before pouring in the next layer. It's all poured now, but will be a few days before the refractory will be cured enough to chase out the styrofoam. And then I'll make the lid and brackets for the torch. and then I'll cast some aluminum just in time for my 50th birthday ...weeee!
Puch Gilardoni 75cc

Friday, March 20, 2009

The most important video you may ever watch, really

Sorry for two non-posts in a row, but my consciousness is utterly leveled by the power and majesty wrought by this Master-Opus. Thanks for passing it along, Matthew... also, work continues on the furnace, I'll have a for real post when its done. But for now, I beseech thee, watch!

themostimportantvideoyoumayeverwatchreally from prettydamnnotbad on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

On like Chakka Khan

Ah! Thank you sweet money bags Uncle Sam. I got my tax return and decided to invest in awesomeness. At long, LONG last I am moving forward with the rebuilding of my furnace and will hopefully get to do some aluminum casting in the near future. The last time I cast anything was last summer. I built my custom cylinder mold back in August, and it's been waiting since then. My old set-up was fueled by charcoal, powered by a shop-vac, and housed in a pair of christmas cookie tins. But whatevs, it totally worked. With my extra nickel I've now got mizzou 3,000 degree castable refractory, a 1,610 degree infrared thermometer, and today a propane torch. I'm so stoked. giggity!

Also, last weekend, I decided to rebuild the wiring harness in my Puch. I bought it off of an old race announcer, it had seen plenty of track days and his kid beat it up pretty good. The loom next to the triple tree was wrapped up in duct tape, but the lighting was usually very reliable. But that was the past. Taking the duct tape off, the harness was pretty chewed. Looking at the Stock layout, I knew I could simplify a few things, so i rebuilt the harness for a aftermarket three-button switch. The harness is in the bike and I should have everything buttoned up soon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Let's make a poster! (for reelz.)

Smokin' hot off the presses, I've got the first tiny batch of Moped Racing Posters! I think they came out pretty good. As you may or may not know, the whole idea is to sell these guys to:

A. Hype our shit, as nobody is going to do it for us.
B. Raise some dollars, to fuel my HRY team racer.

All proceeds will go directly into getting fast bikes on the track, and making moped racing awesome. -And that is a guarantee, friends. The posters are currently 11x17 (13x19 happening maybe someday) high-quality digital print on ivory medium cardstock for extra vintage flavors. Each one is numbered and initialed by "the artist". Things might be glitchy at first, as I'm still working the bugs out of Etsy / auto-shipping and I don't know how many to order(?) yeah, Want Some?

Get Some!