In this week's episode, I took a trip to Responsible Jon's Deluxe Powder Coating operation in Georgetown to see the magic first hand. Owner, Proprietor, Powdersmith Phil walked me around the shop. Having painted some bikes in the past with automotive paint, spray gun, clear coat etc.. I was very impressed with the quality of finish the powder coating could render, and the relative speed of the process itself. Phil was shooting some small compost bins, to make them machine washable. He also had earlier coated a bicycle frame a lovely satin black. After observing the coating operation on the compost bin from bare metal to a textured copper vein, and general BSing, we went and grabbed some lunch across the street at Matt's Famous Chili Dogs. I had a Chicago style brat -which was exquisite! Exquisite enough where I took a bite before remembering to take a picture first. Whoops. Josh hungry.
If you didn't get so see Tony's Rigid Puch frame, I can say that RJ's Deluxe Powder Coating does some fantastic work. The spray booth is huge and the oven is huge enough to accommodate any moped frame or part, any bicycle frame, fixie or whatevs, probably a Lambretta frame, probably many motorcycle frames as well, definitely capable of any gas tank, rim, fender, etc.. etc... You get the idea.
As always I ended up taking pictures with the crappy phone camera, because my vintage 1995 digi-cam was out of batteries -I mean diesel fuel. My apologies, obviously.
-for Paaaaarrrrrrrrrking! Josh Jones has wisely, boldly posted on the 'Ideas for Seattle' board of Mayor McGinn's webnet thingy to help legalize parking mopeds on the sidewalk. The board is a popularity contest for any issue anyone wants to put before the mayor, with topics ranging from "sustainability"? to bringing in another NBA team. As it stands, mopeders and scooterists are the frequent target of parking enforcement officers and police, who are often very under-informed about the law regarding our beloved vehicles. Because of this, a regular amount of harassment on the part of Johnny Law is expected from Mopeders and Scooterists. Having gone through this process before in Columbus, I personally believe the law should include all bikes under a certain capacity or size/weight restriction; if for no other reason than to gain the support of the much larger groups of scooters riders in Seattle.
Some believe that the community is better of not calling attention to itself, living within the blissful ignorance of the cops and meter maids out there. I certainly understand that position, but I feel that as the number of riders in the city increases, we must either get involved in the political process, or we will find ourselves legislated against, by some disaffected bureaucrat.
At some point last night, the Team Nerdspeed blog here hit 10,000 views. Woo!
Yesterday was my first day working with the Exhibit Design Team at EMP/SFM. Our first project is the renovation of Sound Lab, a permanent exhibit that offers musical instruction. Even though it's been maintained since the opening of the museum, many of the systems are banged up or have reached the end of their service life. The computers in there are running Windows 98, for example. This project will require a lot of original fabrication and design, so I've been assigned to assist in the fabrication and design of the new components. EMP/SFM has two separate and well-equipped workshops, a wood shop and a metal shop -which is where I'll be spending my time mostly during this project.
A thousand apologies for these crappy pictures. Bonerfail!
Sorry I haven't posted anything in awhile. Notably, there has been some progress with the casting stuff, but I have yet to cast anything since that time. Early last month, I took some time to cook up some aluminum and pour a few molds. Phil came over to watch the process and help out a bit. The results were pretty discouraging, even though I had done things as best as I knew how. The pictures show some copied wax positives and the resultant castings, as well as an original mold and its almost "ok" result. Watching clips on youtube, it seems every yokel with a sandbox and a blowtorch can cast aluminum accurately. So that made me really question what was going on.
Thusly, I took a trip to the Seattle Central Library to spend some quality time getting to better know what the ding-dang is going on with my aluminum. This is the part of the movie where there is a montage of me pouring over books, writing equations on a chalk-board, maybe pouring fluid in a beaker and taking notes? It concludes with the camera fading away as I am asleep on top a pile of papers at a table. Yep. Most of the information was the typical facts and figures and numbers that I already know, but one book actually had a troubleshooting section. That proved really helpful as it identified my problems exactly and also offered new information I had not yet encountered. So hopefully, the quality of my results will improve hereafter.
We're going to get off topic a minute here -
I also took a trip back to Ohio for Christmas. After some flights getting bounced around, Thanks to my cheapo standby status, I finally wound up in Huron. We hung out with Liz's nice family for a bit, then down to Columbus to hang out with my folks for a few days. I got to run into a few old friends and even go to see my elusive sister for thirty seconds. In other news, I've been trolling around the Moped Army forums looking for cylinder bodies that I can use to copy in preparation for a mass-produced cylinder project. With the cylinder port-arrangement insert that I have, case-inducted cylinders are the natural candidates (Batavus, Vespa, Peugeot, Derbi). Thus far, I have no specimens suitable for replication other than the flat reed and pyramid reed Derbi jugs that I got from Vic of the Puddle Cutters. My original intent was to avoid the marques of machine that already have a good selection of performance parts available. Seeing the cylinders first-hand, its now easy to see the tremendous potential a derbi motor can have, and how much more work would be required to match it with another brand of machine. As an example, the spigot diameter is quite large (54mm) which means a determined tuner could build a 90cc Derbi without having to touch the cases, aisde from porting. The cylinder studs are spaced so that with some machining to the case mouth, a 100cc motor is plausible. If last year's Polini Cup is any indication, I'd say it's only a matter of time before these things are reality. (maybe already are?) I'm not a Derbi guy, so i don't really know.
Look for updates in the near future regarding casting progress and a well-equipped metal shop I might get to play around in. Weee!