Porting equations from Excel to SolidWorks

I develop a lot of equations for use in my designs. Math is behind most of what I make. Generally, I’m using MS Excel while going through the math and drawings to arrive at the system that I want to use. That gets added to master spreadsheets along with all my other calculations that I’ve … Read more

PVD WOPR Frame Fixture

This is the holy grail of the plate style fixtures and is the third iteration of a bicycle fabrication fixture that has developed from modern bicycle design principles. The 2020 Cyberdyne System fixture changed everything. By building a fixture on a breadboard surface, precise fabrication could be done with a lesser investment in tooling. The … Read more

Temperature Management

This is a another diversion within the CNC controller box project. Another opportunity to learn things that I’ve never bothered to in the past. The more time I spend solving these practical issues the more it makes sense and the pieces start fitting together. Electricity is hard. For my CNC controller project, I have to … Read more

Angles for Welding Tables

This is something interesting that came up in the shop yesterday. My friend, Tim Murko, has been working with wood in recent years. He’s been doing various furniture and wall art types of things. For a while, he was content with just wood and fasteners (along with some fun electronics as Tim is an electrical … Read more

CNC Control Box Power Safety Circuit

I’ve made it clear that I’m no electronics expert. This project is challenging my ability to learn at a later stage of life. Still, I’m getting used to all of it and it’s even getting fun. In my research on the CNC control box project, much confusion was made in the vague descriptions of the … Read more

Micronauts

In the last few years I’ve been needing real microscopy in my home shop. Fiber laser engraving, electronics projects, and analyzing 3D printing failures prompts this. There’s seeing and then there is really seeing. I feel foolish that it took this long. Had I known how much of a difference 90x magnification would make in … Read more

Caletti Open House

Yesterday, I went to the Caletti Cycles open house in Santa Cruz. My wife and I had a nice little day trip. A few east bay stops on the way down and a sunset drive back up the coast to San Francisco and Marin. We enjoyed a quick ride in the trail network by UCSC … Read more

3018 toy router pro tune

A few months ago, for fun I bought a crumby hobby grade CNC router from one of my favorite low cost online suppliers.  I was working with some development 3D printed skate trucks and I needed to cut some wheel wells in a skate deck in a more precise way than I had in the past. … Read more

Ghetto CMM

I’ve mentioned using a manual mill with a DRO (digital read-out) as a ghetto CMM (coordinate measuring machine) in the past. Here’s a twisted example of what I’m talking about. Generally, when I’m talking about the ghetto CMM I’m talking about using the DRO to measure some points on a part so that we can … Read more

BikeCAD Pro 17.5 and BikeCAD FREE 17.5

BikeCAD Pro is the ‘go to’ program used by bicycle framebuilders, bike fitters, and riders around the world for designing and drafting bike setups and designs. It really is an indispensable tool that almost everyone agrees is crucial for working in this space. Few things can be agreed on by framebuilders and this is one … Read more

Feynman Technique

I was doing a quick spin on the bike today. The mind clears when you’re trying to ride down narrow singletrack as fast as you can. I was bopping through Hobo Trail and I was thinking about Richard Feynman and his learning technique. Pretend to teach a concept you want to learn about to a … Read more

Ring Sizes

I finally lost my wedding band. As a machinist type person, it comes off all of the time for safety. At the end a day last week it wasn’t in my pocket where I put it. Sucks.   It’s a pretty good design. Stainless is the ultimate ring material. Super slim and strong with a … Read more

Metric Design

I’ve been trying to learn to draw in metric for the last few years. It’s not as easy as you’d think, certainly not for an American. I’m now old.  50 years old so I have been thinking in a mix of old ways and new in the United States. I am able to  change my … Read more

Graphic Violence

Toolmaking has been a theme lately. After putting time into my frame fixture tooling and my press tooling and a lingering mandrel bending project. I’m hoping to get back to some go fast shit soon. I finished the leveling base plates for my Enerpac press a while ago. They have been an awesome improvement to … Read more

Unreasonable Men

History is rarely made by reasonable men…. – Terry Goodkind  We don’t get gifts in life. The golden ticket or silver bullet are things of fantasy. You’re not going to get ‘discovered’ while walking down the street. You’re not going to ‘invent’ a world changing thing casually after dinner on a Thursday. Success in life … Read more

Still Standing

I just finished a small project that is a pretty cool improvement for the shop. During COVID-19, I was forced to move a bunch of personal tools that I keep in the university shop home. I was locked out but I still needed to be productive. Obviously, I was able to produce the Cyberdyne Chassis … Read more

Filigree

Using a fiber laser to mark the outside of a cylinder is relatively common. The EZcad software breaks a graphic into a polygonal cylinder and marks the part while indexing a stepper motor axis. It’s crude but works well enough for most work. The precision and expertise of the user will produce differing results, better … Read more

The full circle

When I was a kid, one toy ruled them all, Lego. Then in the late 70s and very early 80s, when I was in the prime age for using these, we didn’t have a lot of money in the family and Lego were very expensive. Still, Lego is a toy that provide a huge dollar … Read more

Laser accessories

Now that I’ve got my laser marking system up and running, it’s time to fit up a rotary attachment for doing radial marking. This is exciting as so many parts that I produce and encounter have some sort of cylindrical profile. This is an easy expenditure to make this far into the investment. Some marking … Read more

Laser Marking

More on the new frame fixture details… I started on this path when the employer of a friend took delivery of a fiber laser for marking parts. I would have been able to get some limited access to this but, sadly, COVID-19 ate the company up and that opportunity disappeared along with my friends job. … Read more

The finish line.

Advice for the aspiring designer; Have lots of patience, keep working hard, don’t ever stop! I’m currently working on producing a new fixture for making my bicycle frames (a mandrel bender also but that is another story). I need a tool that will work better than what I have been using for modern geometries, mopeds … Read more

Manfrotto Mini-Me

More photo stuff… With Canon’s release (Fucking finally) of a DSLR driver for webcam use in the age of COVID-19, we have entirely new practical uses for photo gear. Quality webcam use has become very important to looking professional. You should put some thought into this. Good lighting is important. Some headphones. A decent background. … Read more

Hard Modeling

This is an important thing for novice modelers and designers to think about. It’s tied up in this example. While drawing up a tool I was thinking of making, I chose to give it a knurl as it was a handle and that is what you do. Knurls provide grip. We see them all around … Read more

On mentors

It was Thanksgiving a few days ago. Thanksgiving is one of only a few real holidays in the United States and it’s probably the most important. Important, as it’s not about turkey or shopping or even your crazy aunt and uncle.  It’s about gratitude and that’s some good shit. I always try to focus on … Read more

Making an impact

I recently needed to remove a fussy T25 drive screw from a SRAM XX1 crank. Despite both the screw and tool looking in good shape, the tool kept camming out of play, rounding edges, and was turning into a terrible situation. I didn’t understand why this was happening but it was time for evasive action. … Read more

PVD-JD2-32 Bender Cart

This may not seem like much but it’s pretty exciting for me. Bending tubes is an important part of making things out of metal. Everyone that works with metal needs a bender of some sort or is looking to find one. I’ve had one for a long time, an old DiAcro #4 but because of … Read more

I should have got this tool 10 years ago

I’ve needed this tool for a long time. I knew I did but never really went down the road to it. Moving a nice Kurt D688 vise to my shop from another had me looking at my setup. Much of this late winter has been devoted to improving my CAD models and tooling. Much of … Read more

Scott Parsley vs the World

I know folks all over and going way back. Social media lets me see some of the cool stuff they do. Every now and then I see something they think up and I’m force to face palm myself. Obvious simple solutions that nobody sees until someone does. A month or so ago, Scott Parsley from … Read more