Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sonic Temple

I finally dug the ol' pipe organ out of storage and mounted it on the wall of the garage. I decided against the MIDI card this time, as I don't feel like putting a computer out in the garage. I went old school and hooked up each valve to one of the keys from one of the keyboards from the dead tube organ. Anyway, it adds that homey touch to the garage, and with the speakers and amps, makes quite an imposing site.

More about the pipe organ, since there's no other information online about it - it's very small, 32 hand-built wooden pipes. I built it in 2002 or 2003, it used to have a nice case and it was hooked up to a computer so you could play tunes on it automatically. The blower is a salvage thing I got for $20, the valves are electromechanical, and the piping is PVC. It sounds more like a calliope than a proper pipe organ, and I guessed at a lot of the pipe widths, so it's somewhat uneven in sound. But it does make sound and you can play recognizable music on it, so I did what I set out to do. Impressively, there's only one jammed pipe after 2 years of the pipes sitting on the floor of the garage.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tubes! Boobs.

There are no boobs in this post. The title is from a lyric by the immortal Surf Punks. I was going to go into a digression on the formative effects of the Surf Punks on my musical tastes, but there is an entire wikipedia article on the subject. If you're looking for insightful commentary on early 80s California surfing culture, including the tense local-valley dynamic (My Beach. My Wave. Go Home!), property rights (Somebody Ripped My Stick) and sexual relations (Too Big for Her Top), you could do worse than to check them out. Not a lot worse, but somewhat.

Ok, moving on - the amp that I built out of tube organ parts is done, and it sounds wizard. Atfer I pulled the power amp section out, I kind of tried to figure out what the minimum connections I would need to make it work - input, volume, output and power. It had a hel of a lot more connections to the rest of the organ to accept input from all the stops, apply vibrato, and who knows what else. But, I got lucky and found the 4 wires I needed to make it work.

The power amp is a tried-and-true design from the early 60s - a pair of 6L6s in a "push-pull" configuration, which means each tube amplifies half the signal. It's efficient and clean, and is the basic circuit of venerable guitar amps like the Fender Bassman and Super Reverb, as well as plenty of hi-fi amps from the era. It has a preamp and phase splitter tube in front of the power tubes, and is good from anywhere from 25 to 40 watts, depending on configuration.

An amp built for guitar will have 2 or more gain stages in front of the power amp section to boost the weak signal from a guitar and put it through some tone controls before it hits the power amp section. Since this amp doesn't have that, you need to feed it a line-level signal, and do whatever processing you want before it hits the amp. Right now I have it running through my Roland Micro Cube, and out the headphone jack into the tube amp. I actually think this is a great combination. The Micro Cube has all kinds of digitally modeled amps, and by feeding that out into a real tube power stage and into vintage speakers, it really gives the amp modeling some life and lets it breathe. (I have a Behringer v-amp2 on the way to replace the micro cube).

So the cabinet is made from the original organ case, cut up and reassembled into a much smaller box. The speakers are the organ speakers, and are that early type that look incredibly fragile (paper cone, those weird rectangular magnets, thin stamped metal), but they are really rich sounding. I have an input jack, a volume knob, and a power switch (wired backwards). It sounds authentic. You can really hear the difference when you get it up loud enough to let the power tubes start breathing. I think I'm onto something with the digital front-end into the tube back-end. (And I think this is what Fender does with their CyberTwin series).

That last picture is of a smaller amp that I built from parts a few years ago. It's a single-EL84 practice amp that puts out 5 watts. That one is a lot of fun because it's so low-powered that you can make it distort nicely at volumes that won't split your head open. Interestingly, you can now buy that amp in 5 different guises at your local Guitar Center - (amp designs tend to be ripped off/copied across all the major manufacturers - there's only so many ways you can design a reasonable amplifier). When I built it, not so much - tubes have really enjoyed a comeback. The beautiful thing about them is the simplicity - look at the underside of a tube amp chassis and you really don't see that many parts - you can almost trace the schematic by hand if you want to.

Plus, the small one heats up and something shorts out inside. I have to set this small bottle of liqueur on top of it to clear the short and keep playing. You just don't get that kind of rock and roll character out of solid state.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My apologies to the fine people of Corinth, Mississippi

Well, it was bound to happen. After buying that Wurlitzer tube organ, I cleaned it up, played with it for a couple of months, and then... it sat, disused and lonely. Lonely and heavy, like a convenience store clerk in rural Georgia at 3 am.

Uh... anyway. Since I've been playing a lot more guitar lately, I thought I might see if I could get a guitar amp out of it. It has a pretty sizeable tube power amp and speakers, and I thought I'd build a case out of all the nicely veneered wood. This of course entailed taking it all apart. As I did so I discovered just how much work had gone into the electronics of this thing. There is one printed circuit board. The rest is hand-wired, point-to-point. The tone generator (the huge rack of tubes on that original picture) wiring is a marvel. I can't imagine how long it must have taken.

There are numerous places where there are rollers or switches that contact dozens of finely sprung wires all at once. It's a bizarre combination of mechanical and electrical functionality that held up for 50 years until a doofus with a screwdriver showed up. (Actually, two doofi - Abby was quite helpful with her own little screwdriver and wrench). So, sorry if anyone who was at the Corinth factory in 1959 is reading. At least it makes the rest of them more valuable!

The organ had some kind of intrinsic heaviness to it - no matter how many parts I removed and carried away, it didn't seem to get any lighter. The last chunk I carried outside was still heavy.

So anyway, I guess I'll make a wall hanging out of the guts (unless someone wants a crapload of vintage caps and resistors, desoldering not included), and the amp and speakers are well on their way to becoming a bitchin' guitar amp. Now that I have my garage back, there should be more project goodness coming your way, including the Resurrection of the Pipe Organ.

I live by a river

Oh yeah... In response to my previous nonsense about dewcatchers, I realized that I live very near to a major river (which is flowing 3.2 billion gallons daily to feed sturgeons and mussels, and a power plant). So surely with a garden hose, an electric pump, pickup water tank and water purifier, I could form my own water utility. I wonder how many pickups with the same idea you'll find at Jones Bridge Park if this really does go as badly as it could. Or maybe we'll all just go down to the river to wash our clothes and bathe.

Or maybe Perdue will send the GA National Guard to secure Lake Lanier against the US Army Corps of Engineers. That's a graphic demonstration of state vs. federal rights for ya. (yes, I know the lake is a federally built reservoir, etc., etc.).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Water.... must have.... water

Due to massive population growth, unprecedented lack of rainfall and stunning lack of management foresight, Atlanta will run out of water in 3 months if nothing changes.

Read more about it.

Hmm.. Well, I'd been looking for a new project. What better project than the continued survival of one's own family! Now, it's a little strange, because bottled water will (presumably) continue to be available, so dying of thirst isn't really the problem. But we will start to smell pretty bad, and cooking would get to be a chore. So how can you get (not necessarily potable) water, assuming you don't want to dig a well (I don't)?

Here's what I've come up with so far:

* Dehumidifier. You can get 3-6 gallons a day if you run it continuously. Of course, you're burning coal to do so, but seeing as how we're partly in this fix because of a sturgeon and 2 endangered mussels... bugger the atmosphere.

* Solar still. Dig a shallow trench, cover it with plastic at an angle, sun hits the earth, water evaporates onto plastic, drains into basin. Output depends on the size of the still, but are modest - maybe a gallon or 2 a day, with a BIG trench.

* Dew collection. This involves simply constructing an inverted pyramid of a fabric with a large surface area. Yields are said to be more than a solar still. And I have a lot of PVC pipe with which to experiment.

* Conservation. Apparently 40 gallons/person/day is a good target to shoot for, which seemed high to me. We already don't wash the children as much as we should, so we can stop filling the bath as much when we do, switch to more sponge baths, and stop flushing the toilet so much. All things I recall from my own childhood.

The next few months should be interesting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

desktop tag

Okay, time to get back into the posting here. I've been tagged twice. First, the show-me-your-desktop tag, courtesy of Cate. I do have a Mac, but it's pretty boring. My dock is on the left, oooohhhh..... However, let me share with you the 3840x1200 goodness that is my dual-widescreen windows work environment:

Ba ha ha ha. It rules. The thing on the left is ObjectDock, which is a Mac dock emulator. It works pretty good, except that the icons aren't very pretty a lot of the time, but that's not the app's fault.

I'll tag Stan, because he has new desktops and operating systems every month.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Parade of Guitars

Inspired by Stan's research on his (really sweet) Epiphone, here is a parade of the electric guitars I've owned over the years. I haven't quite had the luck that Stan has had holding onto one guitar. I tend to buy guitars that are either a) crap or b) weird or c) both. What I really want is a Gibson SG, or at least that's what I think I want. I could go buy one or at least a decent Epiphone copy. But I'm afraid it wouldn't live up to my expectations. I hardly even take them down in guitar stores.

Let the show begin...

The first one is (I think) a Mattel Synsonic black Explorer. I could be totally making this up, but I swear I have a memory of this guitar. It had a 9 volt battery to power the built-in speaker. It took me 30 minutes to tune. I have no idea what happened to it, or even if I had the Explorer or the Strat copy.


Next up was the Applause "power-strat" copy. It was 200 bucks literally from an ad in the back of Guitar World. No pickguard, 2 single coil, 1 hb, bad floyd-rose knockoff tremolo, impossible action. This guitar got heavily modded - I cut the lower horn off and glued it back on backwards (I don't know...), put LEDs in the middle single-coil position, dumped tempera paint on it, and most importantly, drilled a hole by the back strap holder to accept a model rocket engine and fitted an igniter switch to it. Did not actually set it off during battle of the bands, but did rock it outside in the parking lot. Probably destroyed in some fashion or another, but I don't remember.

Now I got serious, so Stan, Dylan and I went to Daddy's Junky Music in Manchester, and out of all the guitars there, I decided that the best one would be a black Peavey Vandenberg. Reverse headstock, "dinky strat" styling, real floyd rose - what a shred machine. Except that I was not, am not, and will never be a shredder. So I played my usual pentatonic noodlings and "25 or 6 to 4" with the jazz band. It was possibly the most inappropriate guitar imaginable for these purposes. This picture from eBay captures it exactly as I remember it - for all I know this could be the exact guitar. I can even smell the synthetic fur in the case. Must have sold it before going to college at some point.


At this point I got more into bass, but who the hell wants to look at basses. So we'll just move on to my first pawn shop purchase in Houston - a godawful flying v copy. It met its end by being tossed repeatedly into the air and left to fall on the concrete at one of our house parties. I don't think I played a single gig or anything else with it.

A little later I got involved with The Freshmakers, and we actually played some outside gigs for (no) money, so I needed a real guitar and real amp. I bought a Yamaha Weddington Special, which is a really obscure guitar. I actually went to the financial aid office and got a small loan out for it. The only picture I could find of it is in this ad, beside an equally obscure guitarist. It was pretty nice, really - a Les Paul Special rip with a slightly different shape. I thought I would have it for good, but I needed to pay the rent one day... If you ever come across one, it's probably worth a look.

After leaving college I really had no other electric guitars for quite a while. It was only in California when I accepted a black Squier Strat instead of rent from my roommate that I got back into them. I'm not even going to put a picture up of this. I think if you've ever played guitar, you've played or owned a Squier Strat. They are depressingly mediocre guitars.

Fast forward again to Atlanta, just a couple of years ago, I got a yen to own a decent electric. So I went to Guitar Center, and was really thinking I was going to buy that Epiphone SG. But, I saw this thing called a Blueshawk in the used section and couldn't resist the allure of the weird. Real Gibson, made in the USA, semi-hollow, tiny body, sort-of-P90 pickups, and most bizarrely, 25 inch scale length (Gibsons are usually 24, fenders are 25). I bought it and took it home, but even though you had 15 separate tone options available with the weird switches on it, eventually I deduced that none of them sounded very good. And the fit and finish was pretty awful. And I think I just like maple fretboards better. So I took it back. But, I did write the last song that I have written on it. So there is that.

And now, I am the proud owner of a heavily modified Reverend Hitman guitar. I was lusting after one of these - they're (weird), semi-hollow bodies with like a Formica top and really nice, meaty baseball bat necks. There was a 6 month waiting list for a new one, so I bought one off of eBay, with a "Fat Tele" pickup config. I can't stand Teles, so I made a new pickguard and put in a crapload of pickups so I could select the minihumbucker for jazz, single front coil for Hendrix, single and middle out of phase for Mark Knopfler, and rear hb for ZZ Top. It also has a piezo bridge for nasty, 70s sounding acoustic guitar. That was a mistake. The rest is pretty ok - I don't like the color. I think I'm going to take all the pickups out except the front hb and refinish it or something. Or just buy a new body from Warmoth and have the frets redressed - the neck is the best thing about it.

There you have it - my life in guitars.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

2 Blue Beans

My vunderful vife Trisha is sewing little girls' clothes for sale on Etsy. If your plans call for the purchase of such items, check it out:


If you've read my earlier diatribe (too lazy to link it for you! ha!) you know of my history with radio controlled aircraft. I'm happy to say that I've built one that I think will survive me. It's a kit I got last Christmas from my folks, completely carbon fiber and ripstop nylon. I finally finished it up last night and flew it today. Very floaty, kind of like flying a powered leaf. Lots 'o fun. When it hits the dirt the tubing joints pop, and you just press it back togeteher. Brilliant!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

46 MPG

Ok, that is the last post I will make about gas mileage, because it is an incredibly wanky-ass subject to be writing about. You want to see some people in need of a real hobby, go to and read a forum or two.

BUT 46 MPG!!!! The EPA for the car is only 32. In real terms, that means I can go 140 more miles per tank, or almost 4 round trips to work.

Yes, I do eat meat, fly on jet planes, and my gas savings could be wiped out merely by having lunch somewhere decent. So it ultimately means nothing in terms of environment and finance.

46 MPG!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Because "driving like a granny" just doesn't sound as cool. So after a few months of commuting, I've found that no matter how fast you book it on the highway, it's going to take about 35 minutes each way if you're lucky. Since my wonderful wife got me an iPod for my birthday, I now have a reliable source of This American Lives and cell biology lectures from Berkeley.

So, why not take it to the other extreme and try to get the best gas mileage you can? The prerequisites are:
1) A stick shift.
2) A willingness to let it all go

I have the first, it took a while to attain the second, but last week I managed 38 MPG in my 2000 Civic with 106,000 miles. Not too shabby, I thought, especially since my drive is 7 miles of highway bookended by 6 miles of surface street on each end.

Like everything else, there are nutcases out there who give my newfound extreme sport a bad name - people who hit the offramp doing 50, shut the engine off, and don't touch the brakes until they hit the curb with their front tires at their destination. And people who refuse to accelerate at any more than a snail's pace - those lights don't last forever, and more than 3 cars would like to get through.

But, even being relatively courteous and relatively safe, you can do a lot. The biggest thing is the most boring - get on the highway, set the cruise control for 55 (if you're feeling mellow) or 60 (if you're in a frisky mood), and sit in the right hand lane. It's incredibly relaxing. In Atlanta, with 5 lanes of traffic to your left, it's like you're not even moving. I almost never have to touch anything from the time I get on the highway to the time I get off. For most cars, fuel economy tops out in 5th gear at 45 or so, remains pretty steady until about 60, then tails off badly - 20% lower at 70, 30% lower at 80, etc. And over 7 miles, the difference between 60 and 80 is nothing - especially since you end up braking and weaving trying to do 80.

Second - don't use your brakes. This just means, brake with the engine as much as possible, which forces you to drive with plenty of space in between you and the car in front of you. The ideal is that you never stop, you're always creeping up to lights until they change. In practice, this only works for me sometimes - like I said, the volume of traffic is usually such that if you creep too much, you're pissing people off who are trying to get through the same light you are. But, this morning, I made it through 4 lights without touching the brakes. This one leads to dangerous behavior - like cornering too fast to keep up your momentum. But hey - giving up speeding has to have some benefits...

Third - gentle on the accelerator. Duh. It takes real, Newton's-law kind of energy to accelerate a body at rest. In ideal world, it takes no energy to maintain the same velocity - in our world, you have to overcome friction and air resistance - but that's a lot less than accelerating. I try to shift at 2000 rpm now, and get into 5th gear as soon as possible (but without depressing the accelerator any more than necessary).

Fourth - maintain the car. I'm trying to do more of this on the Civic. (The van is big and scary, and I happily leave that to my Honda Dude). I look forward to changing or cleaning the plugs, air filter, and putting in lightweight oil.

Side benefits are, the car should last a lot longer, the drive is a lot more relaxing, and when you actually do have to accelerate, brake or maneuver, it's much more thrilling.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Thought I'd post a short bit on the software I'm working on. Basically, it's a glorified Notepad with big fonts! Sounds exciting, doesn't it? It's to support my incredibly weak memory. I enjoy playing the guitar and singing. Except that I can't remember chords. Or lyrics. So, unless I have something in front of me, my hot jams usually go something like, "ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER! Princess, somethin, something, outside in the cold, umm... GUITAR SOLO!!!!"

Guitaraoke is a simple program to display chords and lyrics. There's a list of artists, a list of songs, and a big text area so the laptop can be across the room. I have a foot control that I'm building from an old USB keyboard so I can switch songs and scroll through the lyrics without stopping the rock. Zac and I tried it out the other week, and it works great - we got through a lot more songs, a lot more easily, than with printing everything out.

I'm working on polishing it up a little bit and then I'll post it on the web for all to enjoy. I had some spare time in my meetings this week so I added the ability to play an mp3 for each song, and a little bit of an easier way to load songs in (they're just text files in folders, usually copy/pasted off the stellar

Monday, July 02, 2007

Indoor project

When a 1959 all-tube Wurlitzer organ presents itself on the List of Craig for merely $100, one must respond. One must throw out one's own back, and two of thine friends backs in the process.

Actually, I had no idea that it was all tube, or 1959. We picked it up, and it is a HEAVY sumbitch, let me tell you. Got it back home, doodled around with it (it actually sounds pretty dang nice), then I googled the model number - 1959! Hey, cool.

That night, I opened up the back to reveal the glory you see here. You see, I have a fetish for vacuum tubes. I thought my 3-tube guitar amp was pretty cool. I just about soiled my pants when I took the cover off. The label proclaiming "28 12FQ8 Tubes". The fact that those are all individual tube oscillators to produce the tones. The rows of ganged capacitors. The 6L6 power amp tubes. The fact that the stop switches just have a few tubes thrown in for good measure.

And in a global economy that provides us with so much for so little, the isolationist protectionist in me wept a little bit inside, to read, on each and every tube, "Made in the USA for Wurlitzer by General Electric".

...What so proudly we hailed, in the twilight's last gleaming...

Saturday, June 30, 2007




Monday, June 25, 2007

th-th-th-that's all folks!

Thanks to everyone who's been following the story. Here she is, in more-or-less final form. Couldn't resist the call of green. I have to find the right place to add the mandatory touch of red. It's even got a cupholder.

Just in case anyone's searching for this in the future: quadricycle, velomobile, homebuilt, diy, recumbent. That ought to cover it. I'll try to get some videos uploaded soon.

Monday, June 18, 2007

It holds children!

When I said feature complete, I didn't mean it. After a rousing game of minigolf in the morning, I got a whole afternoon in the sweltering heat of the garage to complete the rumble seat.

Here are the results. I had to move the seat up to the higher rails to get enough room for the children's feet.

OK, that's going to be it for pictures until I get it all rebuilt and shiny. My neighbors are threatening to enter it in a 4th of July parade if I don't first.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Feature complete.

Which means, it may not be pretty, it may have bugs, but it does everything it was designed to do. I rode it all around the neighborhood in the dusk, scaring the dogs. No mishaps, no scary surprises. Note the children, simulated here by a bundle of shingles. Next steps will be some solo shakedown runs to Simpsonwood, then, just like American Chopper, it'll be off to paint and chrome.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Hey all -

Thanks for your comments! I had the jackshaft idea too, but thought it was a little too complex for this round. Let me put it this way - I might turn out to be a passable fabricator at some point, but a mechanic I ain't. Even the oil on brand new bike chain kinda makes it not my favorite part of the whole process.

My personal wuss issues aside, I went through and rewelded all the joints on the crank. I was able to fill in the 3 or 4 holes that I made the first time around, and basically extended and completed the rest of them.

With the crank brace, rewelded crank, and electric assist, it works like a charm. I took it up and down the street, down the cul-del-sac, and back. I haven't decided yet on the gears or not - for a vehicle with no long distance requirements, it seems like too much. So far, the best strategy seems to be to keep it in the second-lowest gear and use just enough electric assist to keep light pressure on the pedals. Uphill, that's almost full throttle. On the flats, you can stop pedaling and the motor will propel you much faster, but then it starts to feel illegal.

1 brake was enough to get me safely down the hill, so 2 ought to be just fine - I really have a single destination in mind (Simpsonwood), so as long as I take the long, flat way, should be no problem.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Grr. Arrgh.

The bike part of the bike car is turning out to be significantly harder than anticipated. After the electric runs, I got the crank installed and the chain on, and took it up the driveway. Chain falls off. Tried again. Chain falls off. It was really hard to pedal (turns out I bought a too big big chainring for the front). Oh, and don't weld 6 dollar chainrings. They fold up like a taco.

So I got a smaller chainring off one of the junk bikes and bolted it on. Easier to pedal, chain falls off. By this time I notice that the shaft outside of the bike is really bent. Ok, it's going to need some support outside of the chainring. Order another bearing, wait a few days.

Got that bearing on tonight, take the back derailleur off (it so does not need any gears other than "low"). Take it up the driveway. Chain does not fall off! Crank breaks at a weld. Arrgh. Now I need to go through and solidify the crank. And probably get a yet-smaller chainring.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Yes, yes, hell yes

Mad progress. Crank is all welded up and pretty straight. It's mounted in the bearings and on the bike. Seat position is pretty set, it's nice and low in the frame, but I did weld on 2 more rails in case I want it higher in the future.

The steering works great, which is just awesome. It involves a 90 degree transfer of motion via an angle bracket, which is an idea I got from tracker organs (although I'm sure it's used anywhere you need to transfer motion from one direction to another). A rare example of an old hobby coming in handy in a new one. It's via a lever - forward for right, back for left.

And, as soon as I had the steering set up, I couldn't help but take it out into the night for a test drive with just the electric wheel. It. is. the. bomb. The wheel pushes it along just great, and even up a little incline. It stops on hills, but that's what the pedals are for. It's a blast already. I can't wait to get the chain and brakes on it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Since I have no tubing bender with which to make the crank, and since budgetary constraints prohibit the purchase of one at this time, I had to go ahead and make up a jig to weld the crank together. Here it is with the parts attached. The microphone stand gave its life for this crank. Tomorrow I should be able to weld it up and mount it on the bike. That'll clear the bottleneck to fit the seat and steering, and then, it will roll.

Measure twice, order once

It turns out that 3/4" electrical conduit does not in fact have a 7/8 " outside diameter. I know this because it completely does not fit in the nice new 7/8" bearings that I received yesterday. Fortunately I scoured the house and found a mic stand that has 7/8" outside diameter tubing as its base, so I am now down one mic stand but up one set of crank raw materials. At the end of this week I hope to have a crank welded together.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


It stands on all 4 wheels now, and I've started on the steering linkage. The electric wheel pushes it along just fine, and I'm deciding on a place for the seat. Here we see Abby holding aloft the traditional Steel Branch symbolizing the completion of major frame construction. 2 of my neighbors have come in to see what all the arcing is about. Interestingly, both of them said they had done some welding earlier in their lives. Must be a rite of passage.

The garage is getting to the point where I really should do a major cleanup before continuing construction, but I doubt I'll follow through with that.

Chinese Electric Wheel

So I found the cheapest electric hub wheel I could possibly find. It came yesterday, with 1 photocopied sheet of English instructions and plenty of Chinese. It uses 2 12 V batteries, which weigh as much as the whole frame, so I hope it works well.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I went to the Norcross Open Car Show today. They had everything there you could want, from 30s hot rods to a completely original 1970 Dodge Challenger. What I was looking at were the T-buckets, though, because the bikecar is heading in that direction. I liked one in particular, with the leather couch interior and coach taillights (they look like little lanterns). As I went passed I hummed Dragula by Rob Zombie and have been humming it ever since. So the bikecar will have a gothic T bucket theme going for it.

By the way, the car in the Rob Zombie Dragula video is actually the Munster Koach. The Dragula was Grandpa Munsters, and was in fact a coffin with a V8. Sweeeeeet..

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Quadbike Wheel

More progress on the quadbike - one of the back wheels is attached. I'm loosely following the plans found at, except mine's made of metal instead of PVC pipe. Same basic idea - chain outside the body, one electric rear wheel. Welding's getting to be no big thing, I think I've got the hang of it. Always a shame that you can't go back and fix all the things you did when you were learning. Oh well, next one.

Gas looks set to go above 4 dollars a gallon. Time to start a moped/golf cart/bicycle shop.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Well, it's been a while. I've always wanted to weld. It seemed like such a useful skill, but somehow I never got around to it, probably because it's also an inconvenient skill, what with the fire, sparks and melting metal.

A couple of months ago Dad was down fixing my porch roof with me, and he convinced me to go to the Harbor Freight store and pick up a flux welder. I was not aware of the advancements in welding technology. This welder plugs into a 120 volt house line, doesn't use gas, and doesn't use sticks. You just hold the pointy end close to the pieces you want to join and pull the trigger.

Actually there's more to it than that - I still only get a nice-looking weld about 1 out of 5 times, but the rest seem to hold too. It's a strange feeling, since you can't see what's going on too well from behind the mask, and you have to go on feel and trying to watch the puddle of molten metal behind the arc.

Which brings me to the best thing about welding; you're MELTING METAL. With ELECTRICITY. Yes, please.

So anyway, my first project is a 4 wheeled pedal and electric powered vehicle. So far the frame is done and all the parts are on order. It's heavy, but so far not as bad as I thought it would be. I'll try to stay more up to date on my progress here.