Making my bike Unique

You may have seen that I started a project a year or so ago and I built myself a 1970 Schwinn Collegiate. Nearly immediately I started working on a rack for the back of it. However with the bug build going strong I have had too much going on to really commit much time to this one so I put the parts up on the top shelf at our shop and haven’t really had much time to pull it back down again. Today I was down at the shop and figured I would start doing a bit of tinkering again on the rack

I started by… cutting it all apart. Yeah, I decided to start over and I cut it down to size and started building it back up. I had a bit of a different idea in mind at this point and gave it a bit more style than it had. First, I cut the risers out and then chopped the back off both the top and bottom ring that I made originally. I had some extra tubing and made two half circles that I welded on the back end if the rack. With that work done I started fitting some wood panels on the sides. You may remember that I had an old explosives box to work with for the sides. I cut that and fit the panels.

Untitled

Since the boxes were a bit splintered I had to do a bit of extra work on the one side in order to fill out the length of the rack. I ended up fitting some wood joints in order to make one piece a bit longer.

Untitled

With the wood fitted and the rack taking shape I started looking at one of the ends that I had cut off and looking at the lines of the rack. I couldn’t help but tack it on to see how it looked, then I found myself welding it on and now it is part of the rack It gives the front a bit of style that the rack was needing.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Next up, I need to make a mold to make a bent ply base to the rack. I have the first template made and I need to locate some materials for this as well. Hopefully I can get my hands on this stuff in the next couple weeks. I’d love to get this on the bike ASAP.

Thanks for following along, I’ll have some more updates soon as I make the base, the mounting hardware and paint the rack as well.

Making a Rack

I built up a Schwinn a week or so ago and I just simply need something to carry my groceries on the back of it. There are lots of racks out there but… well I can’t leave well enough alone. So I had some extra steel at the shop and I also found a 1950’s High explosives box that John Grimberg gave me for this project as well.

Today I headed down to the shop to get started on this one. I don’t have all the parts that I need just yet but it is a great start. I started off with some 3 inch rings that I bought for this project. I could have bent the material, but it was definitely cheaper to buy rings and make corners out of those than it was to buy an Oxy-Ace torch!

Cruiser Rack

With the rings I just cut down some material and sanded it down to get a proper fit to my dimensions.

Cruiser Rack

In an effort to make this thing as square as possible I took my time and welded up each side using a template that I made in order to make sure they all end up at the same dimension. There is nothing quite as frustrating as getting some arbitrary pieces that aren’t square or matched in size. So these are all matched up and ready to go.

Cruiser Rack

With that done I measured out the dimensions on our welding table and tacked some ends down in order to make sure the dimensions stayed accurate then I cut the ends and tacked those in. I had the bike down there to keep an eye on things as well.

Cruiser Rack

Once the first ring was finished I clamped the sides of the second ring directly onto the finished first ring then tacked up the ends on that as well, it left me with two matched rings that will form the bottom and top of the rack.

Cruiser Rack

I called it a day after that. I need to get a 3 inch diameter tube soon in order to finish this project or I need to roll some sheet metal to a 3 inch diameter. Then I just need to weld up the top and bottom of the rack, set it up on the bike and fabricate the connections to the bike. I have some ideas for how that is going to work but I think I will cut a cardboard template in order to get it right the first time. Once all of that is done and welded I will then finish the steel and inset some wood on the sides. Hopefully it will finish up nicely and give some good character to the bike!

Cruiser Rack

Check back soon for the final product!

Carbon EVO Dash | Part 2

I don’t know why I forget this stuff, but I am remembering how much work making a mold is… Yeah. It is one of those things that I remember when I really think about it, but when I haven’t done it for a while I convince myself that it will just take a few hours.

If you haven’t seen part one of this build check it out here. This time I have been going layer after layer, working my way up and trying to get a nice smooth final product. There have been some tricky parts like the airbag area and the vent holes. In addition the portion that I have made with foam is a bit tricky as well, occasionally when you get beyond the bondo layer you find out what happened very quickly when you hit the soft foam! I reached a point where I needed a much better visual indicator of what was going on. So I had to put a coat of glossy paint on in order to see the lines better than I could with the flat primer. So I chose a red paint and painted it up. It gave away some issues immediately. There were some sanding marks that were a bit deeper than anticipated, some waves that I needed to sort out and basically it just did exactly what it needed to do.

Carbon EVO dash project

Carbon EVO dash project

Carbon EVO dash project

So I did a full wet sand on the part and really smoothed it out. some spots got all the way back to bondo again through the paint layer and the primer layer. Once I got it all smoothed out another layer of glossy red and WOW! what a difference! It looks very good right now. There are a few little imperfections, they are all pits and will actually be easier to fix in the mold itself so I am going to leave them and sand them out of the final mold.

After the mold was fully prepped we took aluminum tape to create the rest of the part. Basically the part needs draft, so using the tape is much faster and easier to shape for portions of the mold that we don’t care about. Plus it doesn’t really stick to the fiberglass, so that helps as well.

Carbon EVO dash

Carbon EVO dash

Carbon EVO dash

I believe that there will be two more parts to this project, one more for the mold making and one more part for the final part that we pull off the mold. Check back soon!

Carbon EVO Dash… Part 1

Well, I always find my way into various projects. It is funny, the more things you say yes too the more that you can learn. So with that in mind I set off to make a new dash for the Kern Racing Pikes Peak EVO.

For those of you not familiar with this car, I have built a few parts for the Kerns already. Last year I worked on their Aero Package and in the last few years the Kerns, piloting this car, have held the record for the Time Attack 4wd class at Pikes Peak. This team is unstoppable with the proper equipment and I am happy to be able to help them with their quest.

This year they are switching to Pikes Peak Open. This allows them a few more options in lightening the vehicle. Weight is a huge advantage in racing. Lotus has a saying “performance through light weigh” this saying just means that you don’t need as much power if you have less to move. So with the new possibilities every option needs to be considered. So Dave has been working on ideas. Remove brackets, replace windows with lexan, remove lights, remove dash…. wait. We can’t remove the dash, we need that to block reflections from the windshield. we need it to hold critical components like the speedometer and switches that we need. So instead it needs to be a composite dash of some sort. Now to give you an idea, the current dash weighs in at 38lbs. That is a lot of weight! Why does it weight that much you ask? Well, glovebox, vent plumbing, plastic bits, tabs, mounting brackets and more stuff that isn’t needed in a race car all add up pretty fast. With a carbon dash, we should be able to get that down to about 2 lbs! 36lbs of weight savings!

So to start I began with the original dash. This is to provide the form of the dash that we will end up with rather than try to duplicate it out of foam. The first steps were to mount this to a board, and begin creating the form of the underside of the dash. This dash will have a slightly different shape than the original in order to minimize material and make it very stiff and light.

Carbon Dash Project

I started shaping the foam and coating it with bondo in order to create a nice solid surface to create the mold from. Any factory dash is going to have texture to it and I needed to eliminate that texture. So coating it with bondo while starting to fill in the holes was pretty crucial. We are eliminating all of the vents on this dash except for the defrost vent. This one we will still need!

Carbon Dash Project

Carbon Dash Project

After the first layers of bondo a lot of sanding goes on, I kept smoothing this thing down so that the dash shape stays the same. I don’t want to lose the form of the dash while slathering it with all this bondo, so I figure work my way up slowly. Once I got to a point that I felt comfortable I started filling in gaps. Vents on the sides were the first stop.

Carbon Dash Project

The vent holes on the front needed to be filled next, so a piece of foam went in and bondo was applied over top. This is a bit complicated because we really want to make sure the shape holds true to the shape that the dash gives us already. The last thing I’d want is for someone to be able to identify where the vents were at one point.

IMG_5994

Slowly I built up layers and sanded them back to get the shape correct. Over a few attempts I got this thing pretty close.

IMG_5995

I am sure you can see that there are a lot of colors going on now. Primer grey, bondo (grey), glazing putty (white) and the actual dash (black). All these colors start taking away the visual cues of the lines that you are looking for when you are trying to make a part. So the best plan is always to coat it again every once and a while. get a good idea what it looks like in one color and start working hard at the areas that need improvement. I knew that I wasn’t ready to be done, but I really wanted to see where I needed to work the hardest so I did a quick coat of primer. Nice and heavy and this time I did black so it would give a good visual indicator.

IMG_5997

IMG_5998

IMG_5999

I am sure you can see that there are some inconsistencies in this thing. It isn’t perfect by any means and it isn’t perfectly straight or anything. But this is getting very close. I have a bit more sanding to do, I have a bit more bondo to do and hopefully in the next day or two I will be able to finish up this part of the project so I can start waxing it and pulling a mold off this buck. Check back for the next part. If you have any questions, post them up! I’ll try to answer them.

IMG_6000

IMG_6002

Oh, notice as well, all the seams are filled, all the switch locations are filled and everything is pretty close to smooth. Details are next!

Check out Part 2 of this project here

In the Kitchen

I don’t know how I find my way into these projects, but I manage too. This one started with a coworker. He knew that I have made molds for fiberglass before so naturally I am the best choice for helping to make a counter for his kitchen! Of course I started coming up with grandiose ideas and designs but they all simplified into a relatively simple form. I can’t take credit for the majority of the labor, but I helped with the forms. I helped with the finish and most importantly, I helped with the installation… WOW!

These counters came out great and now make me think that I need some for my own place… maybe that is crazy, but wow they are really nice, very unique and definitely set the tone for the house. Here are a couple more photos. I will be taking more when the wax sealer is put on later this week.

After

After1

Sculpture? Art? Ice Cubes?

I have always been a fan of urban art. I do have this small issue with things like “breaking the law” and “vandalizing property.” Yeah, call me snotty or whatever but I guess I have this sense that maybe I can participate without any permanent alteration of a current location. How could I create something that people could enjoy and maybe even catch people off guard without creating a permanent mark on the area?

IMG_5388

That question boggled my mind for a while. I spend time on http://www.woostercollective.com/ looking at peoples art. some of it doesn’t provide a permanent mark, but may blow away becoming another piece of litter in the street. Some of it leaves behind a permanent mark that, though beautiful, may not be welcomed by the owner of the location. So finally the idea was born. What material could become this urban art. What material could both serve the purpose of stimulating ideas and trigger emotions in people but would also completely disappear without any sign in the future. Water.

My project began with molding processes. Creating molds of my hand and my friend Matt’s hand. We created Ice hands.

These have incredible detail. Every wrinkle and every detail in my hand was transferred to the mold.
IMG_5757

Last year I created many of these hands but they stayed local. I never was able to transport them effectively and therefore I could never really get them out beyond my neighborhood. So this year i decided that I needed something that was smaller, more portable and easier to assemble. I looked high and low and created gears. Gears! How simple and how nice to be able to create dynamic assemblies! Maybe one day I can make the function as well.

IMG_6677

The beautiful thing about these gears is their simplicity. Individually they are interesting, they have nice detail and they are clearly precise parts, but together they take on an organic shape, they contour to the landscape and they interact with the other gears to create a chain or even an organism of some sort that is able to traverse the contours that it is crossing.

IMG_5390

As they melt they begin to take on their own life as well. They sink and fall and they separate and find their own way to dissolve into nothing.

IMG_5386

It is difficult dealing with ice however, it sticks together, it melts and it basically does everything very quickly. Transportation isn’t easy. Coolers aren’t good enough usually, but I am working on a plan. Hopefully there will be some new sculptures out in time for the Art Walk in Denver. Hopefully the weather cooperates… I guess you never know but more pictures will surely follow.

IMG_5384

Anthem Branding

I have been doing some tinkering in the shop! Last year I had the opportunity to help with the design of Anthems new space. Jeremiah and I had the chance to measure, analyze and design a new space. We got to be creative and we got to make some cool stuff. In the end I had the chance to put a lot of input into the front receptionist desk and some other elements of the space. It was a great opportunity and I really enjoyed working with him on the project.

Anthem Offices

This year however Anthem Branding has expanded, their space has stayed the same and they are trying to figure out how to get more people into their space! Jeremiah has been working in New York so I stepped up to help out. We talked about a lot of options and we ended up with the simplest options. Two very large library tables. With two tables each with three 40 inch sections we could house 12 people in the same space that seven people were occupying now.

I sent over some final drawings of the space and they were sold. so construction began!
AnthemDeskv3

This is the largest project that has come out of the “creation station” so far, at least in physical size! 4ftx10ft tables! With minimal flat surfaces to work with around the shop it was an interesting experience getting everything squared up.

Anthem Table

Anthem Table

Anthem Table

The design is intended to be raw, very simple materials, exposing the materials for what they are. Exposed welds and nice wood grain. I spent a bit of time getting things straight, square and sturdy. I choose 16g 2 inch square tubing. It came out nicely with some nice heat coloration from the MiG welds.

Once the two bases were built I cut down the wood to six 40inch sections and put a coat of finish on the bottom of each board. Everything mounted up square and nice so I routed a nice 1/8inch round over on the edges that met between each board and bolted them all in place on the tables. Once they were all attached I did a 3/8 roundover around the entire outside edge of the tables. This provides a friendly feel for the end users when they are at the table, rather than just a sharp machined edge. After a bunch of sanding and a bit of masking they all got 4 coats of finish. They all came out nice and smooth. Perfect finish and I think that they will hold up for quite a while.

IMG_6645

IMG_6646

You can see my nice cardboard cot under the one table, at one point it was easier to just stay at the shop…

I was able to borrow a friends Sprinter Van to deliver the tables, the delivery went smoothly, everyone involved realized how much steel and baltic birch weighs very quickly. Now that it is installed it looks perfect in the space. Anthem is still working out a few finishing touches for their new space, but overall I am very satisfied with their new tables and they seemed to be enjoying them as well.

Anthem Offices

Anthem Detail

Anthem Details

Anthem Offices

Anthem Offices

Another fun project in the works. I do enjoy designing and building these spaces! It is really fun to see it all come to life.

Pikes Peak Hill Climb Aero Package

I have been a huge fan of the Pikes Peak Hill climb for a long time. I have been attending it for the last 7 years and it is pretty addicting. The procession to the top of the hill by all the fans, the sound of engines miles away firing up and the distinct roar of a V8 as it is bouncing off the rev limiter on a road that you just negotiated at 25mph.

The Kern's Family Truckster, its a bit faster than the original family truckster.

Over the years I have met more and more people who participate in this event. I have shot for publications such as Autoweek and even worked with companies like Suzuki to provide photos to their marketing. A few years ago I had the opportunity to provide video on Autoweek’s site. We ran a car on the record breaking Time Attack 4wd vehicle that year piloted by Dave Kern with his wife Allison in the passenger seat calling the shots. I was pretty impressed with the duo. It isn’t every day that you have athletes who not only are the top of their class, but also are willing to go talk to their fans. If someone approaches them, they will talk to that fan about any part of the car, course or preparation that they went through to get to where they are.

As I continue learning more and shifting more to building and creating things I have had the opportunity to help them out in another way. I talked to Dave not long ago and we talked about the wing that he runs on the back of his car. He has had two wings and both broke in one way or another. He had some remaining parts from the two wings but no way to put them together. So I volunteered to take on the challenge. Between the composite skills that I have acquired over the last couple years and the problem solving skills that I have always been cultivating I felt pretty confident that I could come up with something. So I picked up the wing from Dave and started looking at it.

I was given side plates and a wing that were made for different applications, so I slid them together in the most obvious way that I could and started working on an appropriate way to mount these together. My goals were to provide a clean flow of air around the mounting points, provide adjustability for the wing, so he could tune it for his future needs and also (because I could see the wing shaking when he was racing) I wanted to stiffen the whole assembly up.

Kern PPIHC Wing

Kern PPIHC Wing

I cut off the old mounting tabs, and designed a new mounting system. It consisted of custom machined aluminum attachments that would epoxy through the wings sides. The goal of these parts was to allow the user to tighten the wing to the sideplates without crushing the interior foam of the wing. The attachment points flush mounted on the outside of the wing and bulged out in the inside surface. They provide enough threads to live up to aerospace standards, though I wouldn’t say that they are aerospace quality…I mean..I made them!

Kern PPIHC Wing

Kern PPIHC Wing

Once the inserts set I needed to figure out the guy wire setup. Guy wires were the best way to add lateral stiffness to the wing without causing to much aerodynamic drag. I wanted it to be clean and simple, but reliable and stiff. Dave wanted it to be easily interchangeable from trunklid to trunklid in case they needed to move it at some point in the future. So I started brainstorming and came up with a stainless pill design that was able to find its perfect angle in an aluminum cradle. This, of course, is probably overkill, but you know what. It is a great solution! It works incredibly well and I couldn’t be happier with it.

Kern PPIHC Wing

Dave_wing_sideplate_back

I designed the part in solidworks and revised it a couple times. In the end I had a bit of assistance from John Grimberg to come up with this.

IMG_1155

The system works perfectly. Once attached the guy wire increased the stiffness of the wing by what I can only estimate as a 100% gain. It is incredibly stiff now, this is going to provide the carbon part of the wing a lot less load in the corners and allow it to focus on its job of keeping the car on the ground!

IMG_1161

IMG_1159

We will be mounting this thing up and hopefully heading to the track tomorrow to test it out. With easily adjustable increments for the wing it is now tunable so dave will be able to decide on 16, 19, 22 and 25 degrees for the back wing which means that he can decide how he wants it set up in order to serve his driving style the best.

The wing will be mounted up by tomorrow and on the track for testing the same day. It will be nice to have the opportunity to test it out, try out the different angles and be sure that it is all functioning as it should be before the event!

Old News/Projects

I realized the by starting this blog fairly late I didn’t get to show some of my biggest projects. So here are a few projects that I have done over the years that I think are pretty cool.

IZ7Q7861

IZ7Q7861Table Project
A long time ago…or maybe not so long ago, but it seems that way. I started going back to school again and the first project that I started with was a coffee table. Actually, my feet are resting on it as I type this entry! The goal of the table was to make something that I thought was pretty cool, professional looking quality and utilized processes that I had never done before. Machining, welding, powdercoating and specing parts with a company were all part of it and the experience led to more and more projects in the future.

I was fortunate to have a good friend of mine named John Grimberg. John was nice enough to take me under his wing. he taught me a lot about machining aluminum and it really helped move the project along. The table utilizes a welded steel base with a baltic birch top. Above that floats a 1/2″ piece of glass that sits on 6 risers that are all made of 3 sections. Everything was hand made and the glass is the only part I didn’t actually cut. I was the only person in my class to have a finished project and I can assure you that it was a lot of work to get done, but it is one of my favorite pieces of furniture!
Table Riser detail
Sideview of the risers
Table overview

Red Bull Soap Box 2008: Team Save Ferris

3D5R9586
One day I set out an email to my friends. Hey guys, who wants to compete in the Red Bull Flugtag event? Well turns out that they all wanted to! However we changed our tune when we realized that Red Bull was having a soapbox race in our town! So we sat down and we came up with a new plan. Red Bull Soapbox in Denver. We sat down one evening around a table at Matt Fishers house and came up with the plan. Team Save Ferris. We would construct our version of the Ferrari 250GT from Ferris Buellers day off. We spent a LOT of time on this vehicle. I mean days turned to nights nights turned to weeks and weeks turned into a 1st place finish! We were incredibly excited about our winning finish, but I have to tell you, sharing how we built it is almost more exciting! So cruise on over to teamsaveferris.com and check out all the info on how we built this thing. We did a very extensive writeup.

Red Bull Soapbox 2009: Team Speed Racer

After a successful race the year before we had to try again! How do you follow up not only a very cool looking car but a very successful trick that surprised all of our fans as well as the judges? Well we decided to focus on the car. Lets make the coolest car that has ever been created! We decided the Mach 5 from Speed Racer was the best way to go. We also decided that we were going to take this to the next level. This time we planned on making a female mold and doing this “the right way.” Again, I don’t feel the need to tell you all about it since we did a very extensive writeup so check out www.goteamspeedracer.com for more info on this build.

Both the Ferrari and the Mach 5 are being displayed in the Forney Museum in Denver. If you have a chance stop on by to check them out!

AXYS Vehicle concept

I was fortunate enough to be selected to be part of the AXYS vehicle concept design and build team. This is a hand selected program at Metro State College of Denver. The premise of this project is to build an entire composite vehicle, design all the elements of the vehicle (except the body shape) and present the vehicle to the public by the spring of 2010.

Side Rendering

The presentation portion of this will be a soft presentation, the vehicle will not be fully functional at that time and the interior will not be completed, but most of the design should be finished and the vehicle should be presentable enough to show off what it is going to be in the end.

Overall this is quite the process there is an incredible amount of work to do including sanding, finishing and forming this whole thing by hand. The vehicle is going to be a two seat vehicle that leans in corners. Here is a quick rendering of the vehicle from its initial design.

Side Rendering

We are working on a website for the project right now as well. The URL is www.carbonarts.com and I invite you to check it out. Once the site is up and running we should have updates regularly to keep you informed!

In the mean time, we will be laying up fiberglass and sanding down bondo more frequently than you can imagine!

IMG_6152