Tag Archives: if you are going to the trouble of making it make it look nice

It’s just a dinky piece of brass that’s keeping me off the bike now

All I need to ride my bike now is to pump up the tires. All I need to pump up the tires is a small brass adapter that lets a Schrader pump fit a presta valve stem. All I need to get the presta adapter is to be able to walk the two miles to get to and from DART.

That’s it. All that is keeping me off my bike is the two miles separating origin from destination before/after using transit. And that I can barely get from the front door to the mailbox at the moment. Just walking to the kitchen from my office is A Pain. I’m not doing a “poor, pitiful me” here. I’m angry. What I’m angry about is the fact that a trip to the store is a 2 mile walk or more pretty much wherever I’m going, because this entire town is built around everyone driving everywhere in a car, for everything, and transit is kinda stuck wherever it will fit, not where it’s needed.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is some retail about 0.6 miles (1 km) from the house as the worm flies. There’s a Dollar General at that distance and also a C-Store slash gas station going a different route right next to a laundromat and donut shop, and about 0.8 miles to 2 more C-Stores/Gas Stations, a Family Dollar, and a couple of restaurants. But the round trip is still over a mile to anything. And that’s bad. Especially if the trip was to buy something heavy or bulky. That’s one reason why I have kept my ALICE ruck in good condition in case I need to grocery shopping and there’s nobody available to haul the stuff back while I can’t use Francis/es.

On to the Other Subject, the hot rod and talking to the computer after I do a Dr. Frankenstein and swap it out of the minivan and into the hot rod, where it will lose its mind. I did some googling and found there are many devices that will connect a cell phone to the computer to read and clear the codes and software that I can load to change the fuel/spark maps. I will need to add the SD card to my phone to load the software because it is a monster app, but that’s tons cheaper than the dedicated reader/writer hardware at the parts store. This part of the project just started looking a lot more do-able than it did at the beginning of the week. Now whether I’m going to be able to tell the computer just once that it is in a 1500 pound hot rod instead of a 3900 pound minivan, or if I will have to do that every time I have to start the car is a question yet to be answered. But the existence of the hardware and software at a price in my budget makes me feel better about the project.

I mean, 15 years ago whodathunkit? Connecting your phone to your car to fix the car? It would have been science fiction. But today it’s just hooking one computer to another computer to fix things that are controlled by the one computer. The facts that one computer is sometimes your phone and the other computer runs your car are incidental.

So, a rant about walkability and transit, and looking at the DIY wonder of diagnosing and repairing your car by using your cell phone. Lot of ground between those two subjects.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Almost done with the extended stem on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I wore out three dremel cutting bits but I finally got the donor stem and the raw stock fitted together. Now I just have to find my brazing wire out somewhere in the garage (or run by the welding supply store to get some more) and apply some heat with the torch to get the metal parts joined together. Getting everything matched up was a long process, because this was a “sneak up on it” operation. I only had one donor stem and one chunk of raw stock to work with, so I had to not make the hole too big or ruin the donor stem trying to get it inside the raw stock. Plus there was the whole “pride in workmanship” thing. I wanted something that looked as good or better than the bike it was going on, so as to not distract from the beauty of the bike with an ugly stem extension.

Anyway, this was where we left off last time I had a chance to work on the extension.

And this is what I have now.

And this shows how the cap from the donor stem is flush to the top of the raw stock.

Now the plan is to heat the raw stock until braze fed in at the edge of the opening flows into the tiny space between the donor stem and the raw stock to make them a solid piece capable of withstanding ferocious forces, or at least that won’t fall apart when I ride exuberantly. Seriously this thing is fitted so tight that I doubt it will take more than a couple of grams of braze to completely fill the gaps. The rest will be used to make a smooth fillet between the raw stock and the donor stem, that will have to be filed smooth after it gets applied.

Something I have been thinking about is cutting a filler piece to cover the gap at the top of the donor stem, so the donor stem looks like it grew through the raw stock, or out of it. I also want to grind down the weld where the clamp joined the donor stem, because that MIG weld looks like a worm crawling around the clamp. You can see the weld (but not clearly) in the “before” picture at the top of the post. That’s the “pride in workmanship” thing again. If I’m going to put all this work into making it I will go ahead and do the little bit more work required to make it “not ugly”. I don’t see the point in just making something ugly.

I watched the Sprint Cup race from Richmond last night, at least the parts I could stay awake for. Yes, I fell asleep (several times) watching that race, it was that exciting. I’m glad Matt Kenseth had such a good race, but dang, what has happened to short track racing in the Sprint Cup? Now we go to the first race on the Chase for the Cup in Chicago.

Now I have to get ready for evening service at church, so I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

PSA, Opus the Poet