Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Clean Air

 I'm in parts gathering mode trying to secure everything I need to build a small spray booth in my workshop. This means I need a general idea of what I want to accomplish and I think I have that but a paint booth is something new to me. I toss the idea around with others and pick their brains for things I may have overlooked. In doing so, my dad offered me an air filtration unit he was no longer in need of.

 I think I can make this work but I do need to take a closer look at the motor and make sure I'm not gonna be igniting paint fumes.
 I have an air compressor that will be incorporated with the spray booth but not actually in the room itself. I see they now make plastic air line similar to pex water lines. I need to do some research there but running flexible lines would make life pretty simple.
 Another consideration is the actual small size of my shop and the fact that a 32" or greater door will swing into my bike lift. I'm in search of a rat door. Rat door? Ya, a trashed sliding patio door that still slides decent but may have a cracked pane or other problems. "Gear head on a budget", don't cha know.

 This is where the magic is gonna happen. The room is nine feet wide so the booth will be 9 x 4 feet. I think that will be more than big enough to paint motorcycle and outdoor power equipment parts. I also have an idea to convert a blast cabinet into something I can clean parts with liquid or spray solutions and blow with compressed air. All the while keeping the fumes out of the shop. No more catching a buzz on carb cleaner.

 That's all I have about the spray booth but I wanted to share this pic of a weed wacker muffler. The exhaust was so plugged up with carbon and oil residue that the machine would not run. I went at it with a torch to burn the crud out of it and Al came over and suggested that once the carbon was burning on its own I should turn off the torch flame and just feed it oxygen. Oh boy, that got things heated up. By the time I whipped my phone out for a pic the muffler had cooled down to what you see here. I thought the whole thing was gonna be a puddled of tears on the floor and I was gonna have to replace the muffler but things worked out quite well. The little trimmer runs like new again!


Sunday, March 26, 2017

BSA Stalls Out

 Of course I don't mean I was riding the BSA and it quit. I mean I've been busy and the project has not progressed since last time we talked. Ok, I've not been so busy that I couldn't have worked on it but I'm not sure what I want the bike to be so its hard to make the next move.

 Putting the seat on like this has cleared a few things in my mind and one of them is I don't like the factory fender and tail light. Not so much their style and shape but more the frequency in which they appear on any given Brit bike. Ya I know you can't see them but I remember what they looked like and I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. I'm thinking maybe a subtle mix of new age tech to compliment the classic English bike styling. Maybe a narrow LED tail/brake light strip just under the seat. The low power requirements for LED lighting is also the reason I'm thinking of doing an LED headlight. The Lucas charging system will appreciate it.

Excuse the mess. I'm in spring cleaning mode.

  For a long time I thought this bike would get more of a stripped down look, maybe a battery elimination and see through mid section. That was until yesterday when I strapped this side cover to the frame. I most likely will use the stock oil tank and it would block that see through effect so I'm drifting away from that idea. Maybe its just because the side panels are another place to add acres of more black paint. If you haven't been paying attention, I like black bikes and I can not lie.
 One thing is for sure, the fuel tank is in worse shape than I remember. Gotta get that paint booth finished. It's funny I wrote that. I need to get this shop clean, remove the shelf system and start building the paint booth.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Puter Problems

 It may not look any different from your view but from here things are fresh, clean, vivid and exciting. What am I talking about? I bought a new laptop. I'm not excited about having to make the purchase but there is something exciting about unboxing a new gizmo and getting that first whiff of new plastic. That smell means to me that nobody else has screwed things up yet and that task is fully on my shoulders. I don't necessarily like the smell of plastic but it's better than the smell of rotting food crumbs jammed in the cracks of a keyboard or whatever residue the cats leave behind when they rub their junk on my monitor.

 I was feverishly trying to get my old laptop up and running again when my wife made me an offer. Get rid of all the old computer crap laying around and buy yourself something new.  This did kinda fit into the spring cleaning theme going on around here so I took her up on the deal.
 Normally I would research the shit out of a new puter purchase but this time I did something different. I went on amazon, looked for a "best buy" with high ratings, made sure it had some minimum capabilities I needed and added it to my cart. Done. Three days later its waiting for me at home.

 Back in the day when you bought a new computer it came with an assload of paperwork. Directions, warranty cards and owners manuals and other trash can filler for every piece screwed to the motherboard. This laptop had two pieces of paper and one of them was just a screen protector. The other was a quick start guide that basically said I should plug the laptop into a power source before turning it on. Alrighty then.
 So I'm back online with my new shop computer. It won't help make this blog any better or your experience here worthwhile but it should keep me happy.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ya I Don't Know

 Sometimes I write these blogs in advance and they just sit in my draft folder until I'm ready to post them. Right now I have fourteen different drafts in there and not one of them is worth a crap. Oh sure maybe they could be doctored up a bit and made post worthy but I'm trying to keep this blog non-fiction. I'll probably just harvest the pics and scrap the rest. Why am I telling you this? Because I'm writing this in advance and it's gonna be crap too.
 Lets see, where did I leave off? The bent back blade wing is still bent. It's the end of the plowing season and there really isn't gonna be any rush to fix it till the weatherliars predict another storm. We should be able to flatten it by running it over with something heavy, scabbing a brace on it and then just one pin and bolt to mount it. Run what ya brung.
 I've been giving a lot of thought to the spring cleaning purge and right now I'm not having any trouble throwing stuff away. Well what I meant was I have no problems with the idea of throwing stuff away. In reality not much has hit the trash yet. My mind says toss it so you can build the paint booth you want, then another voice jumps in and says maybe you could use this stuff for a future project. One trick the hoarder half of my brain has been caught doing is moving items out of the heated shop and into the garage. I'll deal with it later. So, what gets tossed out?

 These tail lights from an old version of my sportster could hang on the wall I suppose but thats not really a purge if stuff just moves from a shelf to a wall. I mentioned them to a guy at work and he took them. Gone. Out of my life and not my problem anymore.

 Everything in this box-o-crap went in the shit can. I found a lot of boxes like this that seemed easy to toss out.

 Not everything was easy to throw away and this electric actuator/ram thingy is still on the shelf. I'm thinking an automatic center stand deployment device or some similar nonsense. Despite keeping the actuator thingy, I was picking up momentum on the cleanup but kept getting slowed down by the memories each item was bringing. Why did I have this item to begin with and what was that project like? Then I came across a box of pics. Many of these were scanned and featured in this blog years ago. Reminiscing wasted another hour or so. 

 Lets old Willys truck, a wedding photo, some crashed and yet to be crashed bikes. Ahhh, the good old days.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Another Back Blade Update

 The GoPro camera that I monster trucked while trying to get some Back Blade footage has been replaced with a Gopro Hero 5 Black edition. This camera is a bit different than the version I had before. There is now a video touch screen that makes changing settings a breeze and allows for instant playback. I'm not sure if the case/mount is as nice but it hasn't failed yet so I shouldn't complain.
 I put together some footage to show what the back blade can do. You'll notice in some of the scenes that the blade has down pressure and can really lift that hard packed snow without gouging the gravel lot. Well, check it out for yourself...

 I wanted to get a few more angles and a full width view in daylight but when I got to work I discovered that wouldn't be possible.

 It seems the night shift had an encounter with an immovable object. The outer edge of the wing took a direct hit that made it buckle. This was the only way it could have bent without busting the shear bolt. Shit happens and we'll fix it. The good news is that my welds on the plow mount all held. Gotta be happy about that.
 Does this change the way I feel about these back blades? Hell no. That wing is built heavy enough for what it was intended to do. If it were stronger the rest of the plow mount may have bent.
 The other day when it snowed throughout the day it was my mission to keep a certain large factory clear of snow and ice so trucks and forklifts could keep moving and employees could safely get in and out of the lots. When I've done this in the past with just a front blade I always struggled to keep up. Not with the back blade. The wider path and down pressure to scrape cleaner make a big difference.
 I know this blade isn't for everyone. I don't do residential drives on my route but I can see how the down pressure would be helpful. Then again you can add down pressure to some front blades. In fact the kit came in to convert my front blade to have down pressure. This will help in certain back dragging situations for sure. I look at it like this. If you have a toolbox, you don't just put a leatherman in the top drawer and hope for the best. You fill the box with tools you may need for different jobs. A full box doesn't make a professional but a professional doesn't just carry a leatherman.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bearings, Bolts and Gremlins

 The last time we talked about the BSA I was complaining that I lost the bearings for the clutch basket. Twenty of the little suckers and I figured I had lost them during disassembly a few decades ago. I ordered new ones and have that side of the engine buttoned up now. I used new allen head bolts in place of the buggered up phillips head screws that were in there.

 So I figure the next step is to put the engine in the frame because it's already too heavy for me to lift and set in there without damaging the frame paint. I laid the engine on its side and planned on setting the frame over it.

Simple, right? Just grab the engine where did I put those bolts? They must be nearby because I only separated the engine and frame a few years ago. I searched for a while and guess what I found?

 Twenty clutch bearings lightly oiled in a sealed container. Good for me to have packed them this way and marked the container. Now why couldn't I find them before I ordered new ones? Sigh. Where are my motor mount bolts? I swear if I buy new bolts and then find the old ones I'm gonna be real pissy.

 I think I'm gonna go on an all out cleaning mission in my shop. I'll touch everything. Some stuff will be put away and a lot will be tossed in the garbage. I think if I touch it I'll remember that it hit file 13 and then I won't spend hours searching for something that isn't there. We'll see how it goes when it comes time to actually throw the stuff away.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Next Project-Continued

 Those that follow know I'm adding a hooded sprayer system to a stand on spreader/sprayer machine. Those that are new here, welcome and where the hell have you been? Click the "hooded sprayer" link in the first line to get caught up. I'll pick up where I left off.

 Above pic is the completed mount. I built it this way to spread the forces from the hood evenly across the frame of the machine. At least it seems that way in my head. The hole will accept an old wheel bearing that Al saved for me. Yes uncle Tommy, these came out of the caravan.

I removed the studs and flush cut the face of the hub so I could weld a receiver bar on it.

 The receiver bar will accept the frame for the hood. This will also serve as my quick disconnect point.

 A little more detail in case you plan on building one yourself :-) There really isn't much weight here so the plates I used for hinges will work just fine. If they slop out after a year or so I'll just drill them out to the next size bolt.
 One thing I worried about was attaching this hood to the sprayer and then someone (oh anyone I suppose) running into a solid object and damaging the frame or transaxle of the stand on unit. I'm no engineer but I think the upright bar that's in the receiver is the weak link and will bend first before any other damage is incurred. That piece would be easy enough to duplicate in a pinch. The other thing we have going for us is that the stand on is articulated. If the hood takes a glancing blow the machine will kinda fold in half and give the operator time to back out of the throttle. At least it seems that way in my head.

 This pic is pretty much the completed unit, at least as far as fabricating goes. It needs some wiring for the foamer and all the plumbing to the spray nozzles and foamer heads. A few other details like some solenoids to control flow to the left or right foam head and a flow meter to monitor spray nozzle health. I think we may also add a water level gauge for the main chemical tank too.
 I ran it around the yard just to see how it handles and I think we'll be happy with this unit.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Next Project

 No bike related news today except that it may get warm enough for a ride later. Yea!
I've talked about how part of my job is doing turf pesticide applications. I know, you're thinking, "No, not more of this fert and squirt crap". Anyway, every year I set a goal of doing one new thing to become more efficient at pesticide apps. One year it was adding a foam marker system to the tractor sprayers. Another year I added hose reels. You get the idea. I've done this every year for as long as I've been at this and it has allowed us to be quite competitive and successful.  This year, just by chance, I've come up with two, count em, two ways to be more efficient.  The first involves the bullshit paperwork end of the business. After an application we are required to leave behind certain info for the customer.  We do this with a laptop and portable printer but we don't use one of those fancy expensive software programs. We use a form that I created and manually enter all the customer info and then enter the numbers for that application. This involved filling out hundreds of forms that are "saved as" today's date then filed appropriately. What a pain in the ass but I don't want or need a fancy schmancy program that costs a bunch of coin or has monthly fees and does shit I'll never use.

 What I've done this year is edjumacate myself on creating a database and how to add formulas to my form. Probably basic stuff for the youngsters or people with formal computer training. I am neither young nor trained but I'm happy to report my form now auto fills a bunch of boxes after selecting a customer. It also does the calculations for product used based on the pre-measured size of the property and rate of application(oz,qt,gal, lb) per (square feet, acre). There are a few other mods that will speed up the process and my arm is sore from patting myself on the back.

 Many of our customers have traditionally been the ones with large lawns. Our big tractors and hooded sprayers make short work of these. Most of our customers also like that we spray under hoods. I like that too. A few years ago we picked up a stand on sprayer/fertilizer. These units are smaller than our tractors and fit well on small lawns. They work quite well for granular fertilizing lawns but they use a single open spray nozzle with a very fine pattern for liquid apps. I don't like this and really only use it to do cemeteries where I can spray over headstones and then not have to follow up and trim spray. Our smaller residential customer base has expanded and I hate taking a huge tractor on a small lawn. Customers don't like it much either. The other options are to use a spray hose and walk it out or use the open tip stand-on I just talked about. I don't mind walking but that method doesn't work as well as the mist under a hood that gets all parts of a plant leaf wet with chemical. So if you follow all this then maybe you figured out that I am going to put a single spray hood on our stand on sprayer. We recently picked up another stand on so its ok to bastardize this one.

 This is the single hood we purchased.The machine already has a tank, pump, filter, switching, plumbing and hand wand. 

 Basically I'm building the mounting point for a spindle that will attach the hood and allow it to rock left and right and hinge up and down. It should float along the contours of the lawn. More details as they become available.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Workshop Wednesday-Winch Update

 You may remember a post about a winch we built at work to use as a skid loader attachment. It turned out to be one of those projects that works pretty good on the first effort. So far it has been used to do the logging project it was built for, recovery of an off road bucket lift that was stuck in the mud, and dragging pallets out of semi trailers so they can be forked off. A handy tool to have around and it gets the Greasy Shop Rag stamp of approval.