Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Future Of Billll

Nothing really momentious, but I will be at Westercon  04 July 2018, Wednesday to 08 July 2018, Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the Denver Tech Center. I will be part time helping my friend Bob Pfeiffer, noted rock mavin, sell geodes for the purchasers to crack open, part time seeing the sights, and full time representing the Denver Mad Scientists as a mentor for budding young world dominators.

I believe that the 4th will be an initial opening and setup day with the festivities kicking off on the 5th. Look for the rock fragments in the vendors area.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Conestoga Project 4 - Motorizing The Mountain Bike

Got the chainring adapter done and by cutting the teeth off the chainring that was provided and making an aluminum ring to carry the 3 chain rings. Had to sink the crank into the ring on the back side to get the chainring locations right.
Next the motor mounts. 2 separate pieces with the front one slotted on the bottom to hold the motor as far forward as possible, this in an effort to provide clearance for the air filter.
It is planned to replace the hose clamps with real U-bolts at some point, but I haven't gotten there yet.
The 2 phillips screws replace 2 Allen head screws that caught on the toe straps that were fitted to the original pedals. Tolerances are that close.

Also noted was the idler pulley as provided with a tall bracket tended to let the drive chain swing in and out and try to jump the rear sprocket.
Moving it closer to the sprocket pretty much fixed that.

The muffler provided would have passed through the front frame tube. I need to find some tubing bits to route it around. a 45 down and a 90 on the bottom should do it.
Throttle and kill button are hooked up and I need to connect the crankase vent tube to the air filter.
Should be easy he said blithly... That and add oil and gas. Oh yes, and final tightening of all those nuts and bolts.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Privatizing Tyranny

From Greg Smiths newsletter:
On 6/25/2018 9:07 PM, Steven Wenger* wrote:

Still Smoldering on the Financial Front: ...In the wake of high-profile mass shootings, corporate America has been taking a stand against the firearms industry amid a lack of action by lawmakers on gun control. Payment processing firms are limiting transactions, Bank of America stopped providing financing to companies that make AR-style guns, and retailers like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods imposed age restrictions on gun purchases. The moves are lauded by gun-safety advocates but criticized by the gun industry that views them as a backhanded way of undermining the Second Amendment. Gun industry leaders see the backlash as a real threat to their industry and are coming to the conclusion that they need additional protections in Congress to prevent financial retaliation from banks. “If a few banks say ‘No, we’re not going to give loans to gun dealers or gun manufacturers’, all of a sudden the industry is threatened and the Second Amendment doesn’t mean much if there are no guns around,” said Michael Hammond, legal counsel for Gun Owners of America. “If you can’t make guns, if you can’t sell guns, the Second Amendment doesn’t mean much.” The issue has already gotten the attention of the Republican who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho sent letters criticizing Bank of America and Citigroup, which decided to restrict sales of firearms by its business customers, over their new gun rules in the wake of the Florida high school shooting in February. “We should all be concerned if banks like yours seek to replace legislators and policy makers and attempt to manage social policy by limiting access to credit,” Crapo wrote to Citigroup’s chief executive... The gun industry acknowledges that there’s nothing requiring companies from doing business with gun manufacturers or dealers. Monthly reports from the federal government show background checks to purchase a firearm are up over last year so far, so the early actions apparently have not put a dent in sales. Still, the industry believes it needs stronger laws against financial retaliation in the future. “We may have to seek legislation to make sure it can’t be done and that you can’t discriminate against individuals from lawful exercise of a constitutional right,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president and legal counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gunmakers. “Imagine if banks were to say you can’t purchase books or certain books aren’t acceptable. That would be problematic and I don’t think anyone would stand for that kind of activity by the banking industry.” (As I recall, total NICS checks have trended higher but not necessarily those for gun purchases. NICS is also used by many states to check applicants for carry permits.)

It's called privatizing tyranny. No legislature can legally forbid the ownership of firearms although some try very hard. The banking industry however can do as it pleases so if you can't make or sell guns, then the peasants won't have them. In practice this will only drive the prices up which will impact the poor the most. It's almost as though the banks have found a way to bring back the antebellum black codes which were designed to keep guns out of the hands of poor whites and blacks.

IANAL but an industry wide practice to deny basic civil rights to identifiable groups of people sounds to me like the basis for a whopping big RICO suit.

*Corrected the authors name.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Good News Week

"... someone's dropped a bomb somewhere.." No wait, it's not that, it's this:

Seems both coffee and alcohol are good for you, at least this week. Click the link, and take the part about moderation with a grain or two of salt.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Life In The 21st Century

NOTE: If you notice your car spitting chunks of catalyst out the tailpipes, it's a pretty good bet it's not going to pass the emissions test which is required every 2 years.
Replacement cat: $428.

Car is quieter and according to the State, clean as the proverbial whistle.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Conestoga Project 3

Spent today fitting parts from the motor kit to the intended bicycle, a Giant mountain bike.

1. The motor kit is intended to be mounted on a heavyweight cruiser bike. The sort of thing we used to call a "paper boy bike". They don't mention this in the advertising. The pedal cranks have a large outward offset presumably to keep your knees off the motor. The right hand crank has a sprocket welded to it which would be used to drive the bike absent the motor. The sprocket is a 1/2" pitch type which means it won't run with the 12mm (I think) chain that derailleur bikes use. The welded assembly also means that putting a 3-ring chain set onto it is going to be a non-trivial job. I'm about half way through it.

2. The motor is about 8-1/2" tall which means that the mounting plate needs to be way down low in a modern mountain bike. Especially in an aluminum frame bike whose tubes are about twice the diameter of the steel ones of yesteryear.

2 heavy iron castings are clamped to the frame tubes as shown, and the sheet metal motor mount is bolted to them. Some grinding was necessary to get the bracket to fit between the tubes and the forward side slots needed to be lengthened. Likewise, 2 new holes needed to be drilled and tapped into the rear cast iron support piece to get everything to mate up.

3. The motor also is fitted with an air filter and oil filler on the rear side, both of which hit the seat post before the motor mounting bolts will align with slots in the mounting bracket. Assembly procedure seems to be to mount the bracket to the motor, mount the motor and bracket to the iron frame mounts, rotate the motor in from the left side into the frame, then add the 2 saddle plates last. Relocating the motor mounting slots looks like a requirement if I plan to keep the air filter and oil filler plug intact.

4. The drive sprocket is fairly straight forward. 2 thick reinforced rubber spacers go on the inside and outside of the spokes, and bolts clamp the sprocket to the outside.
I added a spacer to hold the sprocket centered on the hub. So far it seems pretty sturdy.

5. Not necessary at this point, but what the heck, I mounted the gas tank. Again the mounting is intended for a steel framed bike with smaller tubing diameter but with a bit of judicious hammer work the supplied brackets fit.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Fake News?

Here's 2 headlines. Take your pick:

1. House Democrats Draft Legislation That Would Make It A Hate Crime To Eat At Chick-Fil-A

2.Colorado schools board omits gun benefits in standards

Item 2 describes Colorado board of education policy to discusses only the dangers of gun ownership and none of the benefits.

So far only one of these is real but give it time, there's an election coming up and the Donks need an issue very badly.
Comrades, turn in your weapons! What could go wrong?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Conestoga Project 2

While the motor kit did not come with any installation instructions, It seems there are a bunch of videos on line that explain the process fairly well. I don't think that all the 50cc motor kits are made by the same company, but I would venture to guess that there's a lot of over-the-shoulder-looking going on in China.

When they can't spy on us and steal our technology, they spy on each other, hence these kits look a awful lot alike. What they don't mention in their ads is that the kits seem to be oriented towards mounting on a one-speed heavy duty bike. What we used to call a paper boy bike. Assembling one to a mountain bike could present some new challenges, but at this point it looks like the big items are accounted for.

Going over the assembly videos, I've accounted for about half the fasteners that came in the plastic bag. The rest must be spares to be used when the first set vibrates loose and falls off. Note in the picture 2 posts down that there are 2 large sprockets, one plain and one with a pedal crank attached. I think the pedal crank with sprocket is intended to go on the right side of a one-speed bike to deliver a lower starting ratio to compensate for the extra weight. The larger one gets attached to the rear hub on the left and is driven by the motor. The hole is sized to fit a coaster brake hub. I'm guessing I'll have to make an adapter to go between the derailleur hub on the mountain bike and the drive sprocket to get it to center up.

The pedal crank with the sprocket goes on the right and has 5 holes in it that don't quite match a derailleur set of chain rings. Some modification may be in order here.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Use Of The F-Word

Charles Krauthammer has an essay up regarding the use of the F-word in let's face it, less than polite conversation including its use through 2 or more layers of auto glass and even on the floors of the U.S. Congress.

In the House, where the membership is often indistinguishable from the denizens of dive bars located in some of the seedier neighborhoods, there is less concern with decorum but in the senate, the suggestion should be sufficient.

In declining a members suggestion regarding legislation one should pointed refuse to go into any detail regarding his or her intelligence, personal habits, ot qualifications for the office, and then refer the errant member to other declination to participate put forth by long gone members far more loquaciously gifted than anyone currently warming a seat. One should ask that the member consider the older statement with only the phrase "and the horse you rode in on." appended.

Conestoga Project

The bicycle pulled camping trailer project continues with the arrival of the motor for the bicycle. The opening bars were played 3 or 4 posts down.

The gasoline booster motor kit came yesterday and got opened this afternoon.

What fun! 2 smaller boxes inside the larger one, one containing the motor and motor care and operation instructions, and the other containing most of everything else. Notably missing were any assembly instructions at all. This thing takes after the Dacia automobile company whose attitude was that people of insufficient mechanical aptitude shouldn't be privileged to own one.

I've figured out what most of the stuff is for and where it will eventually wind up living. There are a couple of parts whose function I don't see but will surely find a happy home somewhere if possibly not on the bicycle. Also included is a large bag of screws, nuts, and washers, many of which will no doubt prove useful in the assembly process. This is the sort of challenge an engineer can appreciate as most of us tend to ignore any included instructions anyway. We figure that if you know the intended function of the device, the form of the individual pieces should be a dead giveaway to their ultimate location and attachment. We also understand that most manufacturers include some spare parts for the entertainment of the more creative types in hopes that eventually one of us will complete the assembly of the first working quantum cosmic infindibulum and a part with the donor company's logo will appear in a prominent location.

It could happen.

Friday, June 8, 2018

High School Civics In 4 Easy Lessons

Start here. Links to all 4 are on each page. A great read and useful as a replacement for having slept through the course when you were in high school.

Oh yeah, it's funny too.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Parkland Snowflakes Magical Mystery Tour

Found here.
In a news release from March for Our Lives, the organization said students are calling for "universal, comprehensive background checks; creating a searchable database for gun owners; funding the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence;" and "banning high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles."
The above items are the sort of thing the left would sell their mothers into slavery for but don't generally mention as in most districts this would result in a resounding defeat. Handily, they have a busload of sock puppets to advance the agenda for them.

The item that jumped out at me was the searchable (hackable) database. If you are a burglar and need to supply someone with a Beretta 9mm, what easier way to pick your starting points than a searchable database. Likewise if you are a city council person who has just added the Blastomatic 2000 to the towns list of banned firearms and want to know which houses the police should visit, well, this is it.

Ever wonder why you never see David Hogg smiling? If I had Mike Bloomberg's hand that far up my a**, I wouldn't be smiling either. The proper response to this sort of tomfoolery is a variation on an older one:

 "Sod off, Snowflake."

Oh and one other thing, Who's financing this national road trip?

Trump Raising The Price Of Beer

Oskar Blues Brewing Co. has figured out that Trumps proposed aluminum tariffs will impact the price of a case of their wares by between $.20 and $.24/case of 24 cans.

Tempest in a growler if you ask me.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Projects - Keeping Busy

My oldest daughter, by some other parents, has decided she likes camping, and would like to do this from her bicycle. Fine, there are several hundred like-minded souls wandering around the Denver area on bicycles, camping wherever they find themselves when the sun goes down, but let's take it a bit further. She found some pictures of camping trailers moved by pedal power on the net, and wants to go that way.

OK then how about a trailer about 6 feet long to tow behind a bicycle with a waterproof "lid" of some sort.
 Here's a basic frame in need of some sort of flooring and a top. Maybe just ribs and a tarp like a Conestoga wagon. Or maybe something more artsy like a Corrugated plastic set of walls more like a little Airstream. The frame is 1x1x1/8 aluminum tube, bolted together, with wheels and hitch hardware from a Schwinn kiddie carrier trailer. We are trying to source some 10mm Coroplast to use for flooring but so far this is proving elusive. And expensive.
Here we are carrying my regular bike. It pulls easily so far although with flooring, covering, and a set of camping gear it might not be so easy. Never fear, there's a solution:
This rig goes for as little as $168. I saw one on the road the other day and I have to admit I was impressed. The old boy riding it got across 6 lanes and up to around 20mph in short enough order and with so little noise I could barely hear the motor running. Sharp looking rig too.

At the rate I'm going, I should have some finish pics ready to go by around the end of this month. Don't hold me to that.