Wednesday, 9 September 2009

wooden bikes etc

Here's my discovery of the day. You must see this guy's experiments. I found his site via one I discovered earlier this week and love, called Instructables



Tuesday, 8 September 2009

unusual garage jack - anyone know anything about it?

I have just acquired a curious garage jack, a Millennium, which if my initial searches are correct, was produced by Lake and Elliott, an Essex company. Catalogues for the forge go back to 1913, I believe. There are no hydraulics - the whole thing works on levers. When I first saw it in a corner of a garage I was clearing for a friend, I thought from its long handle and release lever, that it was a points has that look about it.
As well as Millennium Garage Jack in the casting, it has the number P 191 A (that's what it looks like, anyway - At first I thought, hoped even, that it said 1914, but am pretty sure it doesn't, though the last figure is not totally clear)

know anything about it?


Monday, 31 August 2009

one wheeled skateboards and tanks

Crikey, you really must see this! April 1st 1980-something I remember a hoax in one of the broadsheets about a one wheeled stretcher which had a gyroscopic balancing device, allowing it to motor up or down mountains without falling over, while carrying a patient. Like all great hoaxes, it was feasible because there was enough credible science included....

Meanwhile, way back in the 50s and 60s, this chap was adjusting the centre of gravity to achieve something which Dave Southall had been working on before he found these films, a one wheeled skateboard principle...a tractor which hurtles along with no hint of a wobble.


Who knows, if the principle had been turned inside out, this 1930s tank might have been possible...even without the stabilisers.


Been reading Dr Southall's website and think I have finally found my guru!


Sunday, 30 August 2009

Steampunk and monowheels

A year or two ago I got interested in Steampunk after reading an article about this aestheic cult in Rolling Stone. I spotted this steampunk concept cartoon today on Google when looking for monocycles, after seeing a Scrapyard Challenge repeat on TV this afternoon.
I want one. The trickiest thing about making one has to be the bending of steel into a perfect circle; not a job for an amateur working in his shed! Then I discovered the blog of someone, Dr Southall, who has done just that...or rather he built one in his shed, but employed a tube bending company to do the tricky bit. So that is the solution!

The resident expert on the Scrapyard Challenge was an American, Kerry Mclean, who builds monocycles and rides them very expertly....inspiring stuff! He proves that in can be done.

Funnily enough, I designed a hubless wheeled trolley in 1992, when I was doing my degree, and that was inspired by black and white films of this 1932 contraption, which is more like a hamster wheel than a monowheel.

I really like the simplicity of Southall's Ring of Fire. It is superbly uncomplicated...and SMALL. And I like the look of the machine which appears to have inspired it,
the Bressen of 1969

I really must one day have a go at designing and making a monowheel.
They look such fun

De-Cluttering and deals with neighbours

Lily has gone! She was taken away by Dez Stringer, who has been working on my J Type as part payment. Dez is a restorer and mechanic - in the real sense of the word; not just someone who replaces parts, but someone who repairs things. I have watched him work, while I have been his gopher and general dog's body, and from the depth of his knowledge I'd have imagined he was in his early thirties, but it transpired he is only 24!

I met Dez first at the Felixstowe Run a couple of years ago, and he realized who I was when he came to look at Lily, having seen her mentioned on a forum contributed to by a friend of a friend from work.

It was sort of sad to see Lily go but I really felt philosophical. I have got my money's worth out of her. The time was right. She needs to go to someone who can give her the attention she needs now...and I need to thin down on my projects. Life can feel cluttered when you have too much on.

Paul, my neighbour, whose garage I have been renting to work on my J Type, has been admiring my Lambretta Chopper, parked in the corner...and we have done a deal. He gets the scooter and I get 60 weeks' rent, power and access to the garage.
I have had my chassis in the garage for a little while but haven't been going in and out. Yesterday I built an easily opened gate through my immediate neighbour, Greta's garden fence to Paul's garden, where previously I had to move a heavy fence panel. The weight of the panel and concerns about their rabbit getting out acted as a deterrent to just popping in. Now I can go to my project whenever I want.

Greta and I had a chat yesterday and she is happy with the prospect of another year or two of me going across her garden, on the understanding that I will replace her garden fence panels.

All very satisfying.

A good day.....though twelve hours solid in my workshop...welding, constructing a metal gate and progress on my roof-rack and painting wheel plates etc left me with a back painfully in spasm!

But a feeling of satisfaction with progress, all the same.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Selling Lily

1958 Ford Prefect

4 door

1172cc Sidevalve engine - 3 gear + reverse

Tax free - historic vehicle. I get comprehensive insurance (including business use) for £68! So she is cheap to insure, if you limit the mileage.

(1 month left on road fund and no MOT)

886 UXR (coincidentally, UXoR is Latin for wife) Period plate non-transferable. Original sold by previous owner.

Comes with spare windscreens, filters, radiator etc

£500 (negotiable)

I have decided to sell my Ford Prefect....and finally I am getting round to putting details online; so far people are already talking about this car online because a friend of a friend mentioned it on a forum, and as there has been some mistaken info doing the rounds, I thought I ought to set things straight.

I have shown all the bad points because I want nobody to be in any doubt about the challenges involved in restoring and keeping Lily, though I do have to admit that all I have ever done was keep her running, mechanically.

Until I took her off the road to work on her underside last year, I had run her continuously for 4 years and she was even more reliable than my Metro in winter. Never had a trouble starting her. Engine is sound.

In 2008: new battery and starter motor, suspension bushes and drive shaft bush and new lockable fuel cap with Ford engraved logo. Previous year I changed the exhaust manifold. This winter I put her on ramps (see below) and comprehensively waxoiled the underside, which has no holes and needs no welding. The chassis is solid. Carpets have been removed because of a tendency to absorb moisture - the windscreens leak because the rubbers are perished. Oil changes done regularly and gearbox oil checked too. I garaged it for the first two or so years I had it but this got expensive.

It looks ropey and work does need doing but structurally she is sound. Doors will need doing and bubbling just starting on offside sill needs to be nipped in the bud. A small hole is developing in the nearside sill, just beneath the rust in the front door.

This winter I went to bleed the brakes and couldn't remove a rear nipple, so brakes will need to be done. Currently she is held on handbrake, which releases fine, but you cannot use the footbrake for towing. You will need a trailer.

My girlfriend has convinced that I am over-stretched when it comes to projects (restoring 3 other vehicles) and that I cannot afford the time Lily really deserves to preserve her. She has only ever been a daily run-about for me.

Lily is huge fun to drive (I love the old fashioned sound the transmission makes and her second gear engine growl ....and her heater makes her warmer in winter than my house!) and she turns heads - everyone remembers a relative having one or having learned to drive in one. Other drivers are courteous and friendly and lots wave, especially other classic car owners. She has taken part in several classic car road runs, including the Felixstowe Run, twice. She will give loads of pleasure.

Here's the deal: if, like the bloke who looked at it earlier this week, you turn up, suck in your breath and shake your head in disgust and start banging on about how much time and money she will cost you to restore (in order to get the price down), it'll be £500 and rising. However, if your first reaction is one which shows that you can see how sweet she really is and you seem like you are going to lavish love on her, can manage a smile for me and feel to me like a fellow-enthusiast (rather than a scrap merchant) ....the price will gently descend. It is up to you.