Friday, March 25, 2016

DIY CNC MIlling Machine (on a budget under $100) PT 1


For years as a hobbyist that buys all kinds of add-ons and accessories for "mu millions of Hobbies" according to my wife.  I have thought how amazing it would be to have my own CNC mill and lathe equipment to make a lot of these items myself. It would also be really nice to have the ability to personalize them with my own logo and name or whatever catches my fancy. So I went out and started pricing small milling machines and compact metal lathes, and even combo mills with a built in lathe. It was then that I realized if I dropped the kind of dough needed to purchase this equipment, that I wouldn't be able to afford my hobbies anymore. So I set out on a quest to build my own CNC mill.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Repair the slide cutter on your Heat Sealer.

Standard 16" Heat Sealer
If you have ever used a Heat Sealer with a built in slide cutter to cut the bags, you know two things. One that the slider part will wear out over time, causing the tip of the blade to start scraping on the aluminum plate, prematurely ending the life of your $10 blade and Two even if you can get a replacement part for it , you will pay a fortune for it. So many companies end up purchasing a new heat sealer for several hundred dollars just to avoid the hassle. So what if I told you that you would be able to repair your heat sealer for under $20, how about $10 or less? Would you be interested?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Repair a loose Reel arm on an Elmo K100SM

I recently purchased a used Elmo K100SM Film Projector. These are one of the more sought after projectors for the amateur film enthusiast on a budget. I got a good deal on it at under $50 shipped to my door. For that reason I had pretty low expectations on the condition it would arrive in.

My concerns were founded upon arrival of the projector as it was less than clean for starters. I powered it up and then found the drive belt was non-existent. But those two things alone are pretty easy and inexpensive fixes. I ordered a new set of belts and then started to go over the projector with a fine toothed comb or Camel hair brush that is. Since I couldn't play any old movies I figured it was a good use of my time.

What I stumbled upon is a problem that could easily creep up on a regular user of this particular projector. The feed reel arm on the projector had a lot of back and forth play on the pivot shaft. It just felt really sloppy. The end of the arm when extended would move back and forth a good 1.5CM (1/2") I could see this being a problem with auto loading and while feeding film. Maybe even causing a film jamb situation.

I decided at this point it would have to come apart. So I start trying to figure out the process. After removing a few screws that didn't need to be removed, I found the right way it should be done. That is the procedure that follows. I am going to assume this procedure should be pretty similar on the K120 and maybe even the K200 series projectors as well. Please let me know in t eh comments if you find this otherwise.

Remove the covers
The first parts  we must get out of the way to do this repair are the front and back covers. The front
cover come off very easily by simply lifting up and out and then pushing down and out. It can be tricky but once you figure out the process it goes very easily. the rear cover however needs to be removed using a #2 Phillips Screw Driver. Remove the two screws and place it out of the way.

Remove the film inlet cover.
To be able to remove the film feed reel arm cover we must first remove the cover over the film inlet area. This cover is held on by two screws that come from the back, and the screw holding the feed wheel on. Remove the two screws on the rear first. I had already removed them in the picture here. You may or may not have to remove the drive belt for this procedure, and a magnetic tipped screwdriver comes in really handing for both removal and installation.

Next we need to remove the screw from the feed wheel. Be careful however, because there is a spring behind it that will fly off if you are not paying attention. Set the whole assembly aside and remove the spring and washer from the shaft. If you forget to do this they will fall off and disappear Into the then netherworld.

Remove the Feed Reel Collar
The feed reel collar is held on by four plastic tabs that grab upon the inside of the feed reel cover. You just pinch the sides in and wiggle it back and forth a bit and it will release.

Remove the Feed Reel Arm Cover
The cover on the arm is held on by two Phillips #2 Screws. Remove these and slide the cover straight off the arm. Be careful of the gears in here however, as they are just sitting on the shafts. They are only held on by the cover we just removed.

Problem found
Once we have that cover out of the way the solution to our problem is staring us right in the face. You will notice 3 little screws that surround the pivot shaft of the Feed reel arm mounting point. Tightened these 3 screws and you will once again have a nice firm and solid fitting feed reel arm. Placing a little blue Loctite® on these will prevent future problems as well.

Pay attention to your screw driver size on this one. Using the wrong one will strip the screws out. These are a #1 Philips head Screw and should use that size screwdriver only.

While we have this open, it would be a good time to put a few dabs of grease on the gears to assure their long life and smooth quiet operation. Just don't go overboard here or you will have grease everywhere later on.

Assembly is just the reverse of disassembly. Happy Film watching.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Install A Gold Wing Shock on a Yamaha Roadstar creating a Roadwing. Part 1

After buying my Yamaha Roadstar XV1600 motorcycle. I stumbled across a great group of guys at the They enlightened me to some great modifications you can make to this bike to make it an even better ride than the already amazing cruiser is right from the factory.

The best one in my opinion was the modification referred to as the Roadwing. Which is basically taking the hydraulically adjustable preload shock from the rear of a Honda Goldwing, modifying it and installing it in place of the stock Roadwing shock. In essence giving you pre-load that is adjustable at the touch of a switch, or a manual RAP (more later on that). This is instead of the factory way of setting the preload with wrench's and adjusting nuts. Doing this every time you switch from 1-up to 2 up riding and vise-a-verse is ridiculous. With this mod you can switch the pre-load in seconds with the press of a button.

Before you are going to be able to install the shock you need to collect a few things and do a few modifications to the Goldwing  shock to make it fit correctly in place of the stock shock.

Stuff your going to need.

1. Goldwing shock with pump if you want the electric option. Without the pump for a RAP version.

2. Wiring harness (info on where to get a pre-made one later in the article.)

3. Gauge (to show preload level, More info later as well.)

4. 2 brass flanged bushings from McMaster-Carr part  #6659K36.

5. 2 large washers for spacers outside the bushings.

6. 5w Hydraulic Fluid

7. Zip Ties.

What Shock do I need?
The Honda Goldwing came with the hydraulically adjustable preload rear shock in them across a lot of years. The design did not change much at all. Newer shocks have the blue labels on them with the earlier  years black and red. If it looks like the shock above it will probably work. One recommendation is that it be from a larger bike to ensure the spring is heavy enough. A GL1500 to GL1800 would be a good sure bet size if you can find one.

How much is this going to cost me?
Believe it or not, not a fortune for the results you get. A few years ago Gold wing shocks were going to $300 plus. A lot of the time that was without the pump assembly. As of late prices have begun to get more reasonable, even dropping below $100 for the stock unit with the pump. I found mine for $50 plus shipping. The bushings run you $10 shipped to your door. Wiring harness is $50-60 if you don't make your own. So at the outside $150.00 and even less if your do everything yourself.

If you would like to get a roadwing that is ready to bolt in, either because you are not able to or just don't want to do the mods, then drop into and ask for Smokes. he will send you a ready to bolt in shock that works right out of the box.  Several other people there can help you with technical info as well. Your going to pay more, but your getting a ready to go plug and play shock.

Remove the Hydraulic Hose

The first step is to remove the hydraulic hose, if there is one, that runs from the pump to the shock. This makes it a lot easier to maneuver the shock around during the upcoming modifications. Make sure you plug the hole in in the shock and taps up the end of the hose to prevent getting oil everywhere and keep from getting contamination in the hydraulic system. I found a simple yellow electrical wire nut works great on the shock. Turn it over and screw it into the hole.

Remove the Honda Bushing
The bolt hole that is in the Honda shock bushing is way to small for the Yamaha bolt to fit through, so we must remove it to make way for the correct bushing. This in itself can be a challenge. There are numerous ways on the web that I found to accomplish this for those of us that do not happen to have a handy dandy press laying around. If you do have a press, just find the right size round object such as a socket and press it right out. Then skip this section. If you do not however own a press, keep reading.

I have read stories of people using a Vise to press the bushing out of the shock. While a select few may get by with this, I can tell you from experience that this is a bad idea. My vice no longer has any threads inside the sucker. Cast Iron vices are not meant to apply that kind of pressure to anything. The internal threads will strip out leaving you with a wonderful door stop and a kewl story to tell it the garage when you buddies ask you why your holding the door open with a bench vice.

So I needed an alternative way to remove this bushing. Working in factory maintenance I had in the past used hydraulic rams to pull out bushings in machines that were to big to take to the press. This gave me the idea to pull the bushing out rather than push it through. I have used this same procedure to swap out A-arm bushings on many cars.

Making a Receiver device.
To pull the bushing through you must have a place for it to go. So you must build a receiver for it to slide into. This is simply a Wood or plastic block with a 3/4" hole drilled into it. It needs to be thin enough to receive the bushing as well. Mine is about 1 1/4", which seems to be thick enough for the job. I chose the Plastic because it is durable and I had it laying around. a hardwood block will work just as well.

Modify a carriage bolt.
Next we need to modify a carriage bolt to work as our puller. I chose a 1/2" x 3" carriage bolt as my tool of choice. The only problem with this is the head is too big to fit through the shock, so it will need to be ground down. Grind off the outer edge of the head (shown in red in the picture) until it is just under 3/4" of an inch in diameter. This allows it to slide right though the shock, but still contact the entire outer sleeve of the bushing to pull it through. I could have tried using a 3/8" bolt but the head wasn't large enough to cover the entire outer sleeve, and I figured it could break under the pressure need to pull the bushing out.

Drill out the Honda Bushing
Next you will find the 1/2" carriage bolt does not fit through the center of the stock Honda bushing. This is easily remedied by drilling the center of the bushing out with a 1/2" drill bit. The busing drills very easily, so it should be a quick fix.

Bolt the homemade puller onto the shock
The next and obvious step is to bolt the puller to the shock. put the bolt through the bushing, then put the block you made earlier on the other side. Taking care to align the 3/4" hole with the bushing. I used a couple of large washers stacked on the nut side to cover the 3/4" hole and add a little strength.

From here you just apply the nut to the carriage bolt and again check your alignment and snug everything up to make sure everything pulls straight out. Using a larger wrench here is beneficial, since it take a bit of pressure to get the job done. An air impact would make this a breeze.

Start cranking on the nut until the pull block pulls away from the shock and Wallah! you have removed the bushing from the shock in one piece. If this is pretty new bike you now have a replacement Honda Goldwing shock bushing and the tools to replace it with.

Using Washers for spacing on the inside.
Pic courtesy of Tykes place.
Install Yamaha Roadstar sized bushings.
In a few other places I found on the web that do this, I see where they show the width of the Honda shock bung is narrower by a small amount  compared to the Yamaha shock. They remedied the problem by grinding out the center of two large washers and placing them behind the bushings. While this has appeared to work for several people I looked at it and did not like the idea of the bushing not being supported 100% by the shock bung. The bushings are made of a very soft materials, i.e. brass, that when supported properly is extremely strong, but if it is not it will crack and break very easily under impact. So I opted to narrow up my bushing so they fit in tight against the bung and are supported better. I will then be able to add the spacing washers on the outside and in a couple of locations to boot.

Fitting the Bushings
First I measured the width of the shock bung with a digital caliper, and then measured inside lip of  the bushings while I held them together. I determined how mush I needed to remove from each bushing to get the split in the center of the bung. I marked a line on each bushing and headed to the belt sander. I sanded the first on e down and tapped it in place using a wooden block to prevent damage to the bushing. I then sanded on the second one and double checked my measurements until I knew it would fit in flush with the outside and meet up nicely in the middle. You only get one shot at the second bushing so check and recheck.

What you end up with is a nice flush mounted bushing set that should be stronger that the stock setup. I think the setup with out
the washers looks cleaner and should last the lifetime of the shock.

PART 2 Coming Soon
This will entail modifying the shock housing, and installation of the shock and pump.
Part 3 will come later with the installation of the controls and readouts.

Thanks for reading. Ride Safe and keep the rubber on the road. Roadstar that is.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Google Chrome Messing with Brad Keslowski

Anyone familiar with Brad Keslowski knows he has a rep as sort of a Bad boy, bad driver and bad whiner. Apparently whoever oversees the Spell Check in Google Chrome is not a real fan of him either. When ever his named is type in Google Chrome it is marked as a misspelled word and when you right click it you get the word slowpoke as a replacement.
If you mess up and leave off the w in the last name kesloski you get an even more appropriate word. SnakeSkin. Good to see the fine people at Google have  sense of humor.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yamaha Road Star 1600

I picked up a used bike the other day and decided to share some info about with everyone. It is a 2003 Yamaha Road Star 1600 Silverado, Model # XV16ATR-C. It has 62,000 miles and has been upgraded with a few extras.

Cobra Full Slash Cut Exhaust

Kuryakyn Hypercharger Cold Air Intake kit

Baron Jet Kit

Custom paint job

I have added a trunk so the wife feels more comfortable. Still have to add the luggage rack to the top though.

Just picked up Some luggage from an auction for $10.89. It was pretty rough when I got it.

But with a little cleaning and reshaping I got it looking better.

New Shock I plan on installing from an old Gold Wing.


After a lot of hours, a little Money, Here is the completed project bike.

Roadwing installed, Baffles removed from the Cobra Slashcut headers. Factory Hard Bags Painted and installed, E-bay Trunk, Kury Armrests designed for a gold wing. 10" Mini Apes. Chrome one Piece Risers. ISO Grips. Cobra Crash Bar with Fury Highway pegs. Custom homemade lowers (by Me.) Though they are not in this pic. I was working on them at the time. Rockford Stereo.

Things I had to upgrade or fix.
Replaced rear wheel. Had 18 Broken Spokes. 
Front Wheel Bearings and Seals.
Rebuild Front Forks.
Read Wheels Bearings.
New Head Set Bearings and Seals.
Jet Carb. \
Removed AIS
Removed Pinstriping
Installed Gold WIng Hyraulic Preload SHock.
New Shinko 777HD tires front and rear.
10" Mini Ape Handle Bars
Chrome ISO Grips
Rockford 100W Speakers system.
Chrome Headlight and turn Signal Hoods
Factory Chrome Passing Light bar.
Replaced Shifter and mounting bracket
EBC Heavy Duty Clutch Spring and new Clutch at 74,000 Miles

This is After installing the FLH trunk I rehabbed from Ebay. $125 for the beat up trunk, $25 for a little lacquer paint and a lot of hand Rubbing. $90 for a factory Harley pillow backrest for the wife. It also now shows the 82nd Airborne graphics I cut and applied to the tank.
Shinko 777HD rear made it about 8000 miles, swapped out for a new one.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Do authors write their own books anymore?

For years I have followed several authors that I called my favorites. Tom Clancy and Dale Brown are a couple of them. I do read just about everything I can get my hands on, but like everyone else, I have my favorites that I am always looking for. But then I started noticing a trend, and not a good one in my opinion. I started seeing Tom Clancy with some unknown writer. Dale Brown and so and so. I also started noticing a trend with the writing of these books. Yes the characters were the same, the storylines were there, but the quality of the work was not.

You get comfortable with an author because they lead you down a path and tell you a story that keeps you heading in the right direction. They guide you to an ending that either surprises or baffles you. So the more you read of a particular author the more you look forward to the next twist and turn in the path and seeing how they are going to mentally challenge you next. As a result you also look forward to that next tome in a series that follows a particular lines of characters. You get familiar with them, comfortable with them. You laugh, cry and root for them in the end. So when they change, you notice! When a new author writes about them you can tell, feel and see the differences. Even when the name on the cover is that same (at least one of them), you can tell something isn't right.

Why are they doing this?
Well the obvious answer is money! Do not get me wrong I am not claiming the authors are money grubbing villains here, though I am sure some are. I think it is more a testament to the publishers being a bunch of money grubbing thieves that are providing us with a deception ridden pile of novels that are no more written by the authors represented on the cover than Elvis is alive and well in Las Vegas doing Thursday night double headers at Caesars Palace.

These publishers are deceiving you into believing that your getting a true blue Tom Clancy novel, when in fact you are getting a Tom Clancy 'CONCEPT' that is written by some other two bit hack that the publisher was able to hire for pennies on the dollar. Ok, two bit hack might be a bit strong, but when I am deceived I get upset about it, and I want you to get upset too. There are obviously some good Co-authors out there or the novels wouldn't sell at all. But lets read their novels with their names only on the cover, not the duplicitous drivel the publishers are ramming down our throats as genuine top grade novels.

Pure Deceptions from the get go.
Take this novel 'Threat Vector' Sold as a Tom Clancy novel and co-authored with Mark Greaney. Right on the front cover in Gigantic letters, "Tom Clancy". Leading you to believe that Tom in fact wrote this novel. Underneath this prominent header in a font one tenth the size are the words "With Mark Greaney". Ok so now we are led to believe it was co-authored with Mark and Tom.

Here is where you picture Tom and Mark sitting at a table talking about plot lines and sharing ideas. Happily deciding which way to go with the next twist and double checking each others work. Which is a load of crap. These guys didn't sit down and co-author these books. Tom Clancy wrote down a page or two concept on an idea form. The publisher hired Greaney to WRITE the novel following the concept written by Tom. Tom checked off on it after the editors made it sound more like Tom's writing and the publisher cleaned up from it. You then paid Tom Clancy Prices for a new novel written by a new novelist no one had heard of at the time. There may very well be some of Toms writing somewhere in the book to make it legally legitimate, but the best guess out there would be it is a LOT less than the 50% that the term Co-Author infers is written by him.

Are the co-authors any good?
The Short answer is yes the co-authors are good or at the very least passable authors. Mark Breaney is a decent author in his own right as represented by his best selling novel 'Dead Eye' . But when he was relegated to writing what Tom Clancy and the publisher said he should write, the story lines were overly complex and fraught with errors. Reviews to this effect can be found everywhere on the web. The reason authors like Tom Clancy are so renowned is that they rarely make mistakes in story lines and plots. Names are not messed up between novels, you never find a story line that just end in the middle of no where, or never develops at all after being introduces.

Publishers also used to take their time and make sure their were no major errors in a novel. Oft time delaying the release of a book because of a last minute error that is found.

Other authors do not gain this talent, it is something you must have to start with. You can improve upon it by telling simpler story lines or having an amazing editor that catches such things. But in todays cookie cutter literary publishing system, it seems to be that more and more errors and lack of continuity are being allowed in return for speed in publishing. An author who doesn't 'publish' 3 - 5 books a year is not a good investment in the publishers eyes.

Realistic publishing numbers.
 I did a little research, that showed me some things. I looked at Tom Clancy's publishing history. At the time of this writing I counted Tom released novels at 102 different items published from 1984 to 2014. Of those, more than half, 53 to be exact were published within an 8 year period, with a peak of 11 tomes in one year in 2000. The years before and after that era average 2 to 3 books a year on average being published. So are we to believe that in 2011 Tom gained super human writing ability and wrote more than every other novelist on the planet, or that he had this many novels stashed away waiting to be released?  No, the fact of the matter is that the majority of those were written by Co-Authors. Steve Pieczenik wrote the majority of those 2000 released books. Jerome Preisler another. The only Novel I can find penned by Tom that year was "The Bear and the Dragon", and reviews of it were less than stellar.

Why buy into it?
The biggest problem in this situation is you and me, the readers. We keep buying this snake oil packaged as a miracle cure and keep shelling out our hard earned dollars, for in my opinion an illegal marketing technique that obviously confuses and deceives the readers.

So I call for a boycott of all Co-authored novels that are not equally billed on the cover. Start supporting the authors that actually come up with their own story lines, write their  own words and do not try to deceive us. There are so many up and coming authors that tell amazing stories and they deserve your money much more than the ones who deceive us. Stop supporting the hypocrisy and read some good novels.

I also call for the Authors to stand up and stop the deception. We want books written by your hand, or typed by your fingers. we want the story told as it comes out your twisted, brilliant, strange or just wonderful minds. We do not want to or will we stand for being deceived by the practice of Co-Authoring. There is no such thing. I have yet to meet two creative minds that could ever agree on releasing the same thing, written word or otherwise.

Happy Reading