Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Building the future using the past...

Building stuff is my passion...

Building stuff for the future is my goal...

Building fun stuff is my job...

When I was asked to join the Meka Robotics crew on a future changing project.... Hell yeah I said yes!

Remember this MLS blog post a few weeks back...

Making parts on the old Verson 1950s Press brake to change history...

Heres what I was making parts for -

Yep its only a few sheet metal parts but it doesn't matter to me, because I am proud to be part of an amazing project with a amazing team changing history as we speak.

Good work guys - its rad !

Sunday, March 25, 2012

SPD of fun

Matt Ducot the master behind the camera came to me and asked me...

" think you can help me make a camera mount that mounts to a pedal for a shoe company I am working with"

The shoe company DZR shoes based out San Francisco was working with Matt on a project and so he needed a cool way to make some custom shots for their shoe lines.

The idea was simple and the mount I designed had to work for all kinds of angles to get the shoe shot from the front, side, rear and angle its designed to do it all, all you need is to move the SPD mount.

45 minutes later we had a custom 4130 chromoly camera mount ready for testing. With some prototype DZR shoes in hand we did a quick test shot....
here is the overall layout
What do you think?

I am stoked and a bit dizzy

Heres the video kids...

Enjoy and thanks to Matt for filming it

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

getting the shop ready....

Maybe you know and maybe you don't know, but theres going to be some cameras running around MLS soon doing some filming for a pilot tv show....

So its time to make the shop look pretty...

I built my idea of a " Prototyper Material Rack " to look ultra cool on camera and just overall speed up building times in the shop.

think it turned out pretty good :)

 I am happy

Its all made out of 1.5" square mild steel tubing
to fit those kick ass milk crates

A story told by a master gunsmith machinist I worked with - 
"Every time a calipers was damaged in this aerospace shop I worked at, it was considered no good so they threw them at the wall covered in " bad " calipers... 
One day the owner was so pissed off he grabbed the good caliper off the bench and threw it so hard it went thru the dry wall and into the next door tendent's shop...

 Is it true? 
Who knows-
So I tried, and it was far from going thru the wall.......
Myth busted !

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Its been my dream to build things that fly for years and years......

I am addicted to Aerospace and its ways of thinking....

It always crosses my mind when I walk thru the Aerospace junk yards of Southern California, of a time when craftsman across the USA, looked at the part in their hand and with pride said - " that the best work I can do ".

I have seen these amazing parts ( now considered junk) that were built in record times in the 1960s with overnight learned skills and unknown material sciences,  to preform one task...

Get to the Moon first... !

The people didn't look at the big picture of the rocket ship, they looked at the small picture which was the part in their hand and making sure they put 100% of their skills in to that one part.

This is the way I try to think when building stuff at MLS and all the work I preform...

Yes, its fun to think of the big picture... Example - Boeing 787 dreamliner,  but stop for a second and look at that plane.....

Theres thousands of parts and I can't build them all and take all the credit ( I wish ),  but if theres a thousand people like me with pride, just making one part for the project .... well then we have one hell of an airplane..

Who cares if its just a seat bracket or a stair part, the fact still stands it takes pride in everyones work to make a project amazing..

The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge was built in months, start to finish  - 100% pride in an amazing project that still stands today.

This is what I am talking about....

Friday, March 9, 2012

The $21 dollar weekend

One mission .....

Spend the least amount of money possible going to the North American Handbuilt bicycle show (NAHBS ),without getting caught or looking like a cheap ass ....

The weekend started with me hitching a ride to Sacramento from Oakland ( about an hour or so drive )
Cost for a ride - $8.00

We rolled up to bicycle polo in one of the most radical places I have seen polo played in.... Think it was called the rats nest or something like that and it was right downtown Sac, like about 6 blocks from the state capital. Luckily I was able to throw in on a game and go back to my polo playing roots and hang with the big dogs for a game, I am really not bad at polo but damn the players are getting so good, I looked like a rookie out there really. The Polo was all indoors in an old warehouse... so sick !

cost to play polo - $0.00

I decided to walk around the streets by myself for a while and along the way I happend to run in to Mike Cleaver, Josh and the crew. Cleaver as you may not know can get in to trouble on a regular basis and this night it happened to be getting booted from the state capital for climbing the orange trees, or maybe it was everyone at the base thrown oranges at him while he was at the top. Either way he got security to kick him out.

 cost to raise hell - $ 0.00

 I was lucky again... Josh offered for me to crash at his hotel that was provided to him by Chrome Bags for building that cargo bike, so I crashed it and kicked it all night in the hot tub in the room. Plus food in the morning..
Cost of a super nice hotel room - $ 0.00

this is the outside of the hotel- The American Dream !

it was a nice place !

The NAHBS show Saturday was super rad and happening. Got to see all these really rad bicycles and see everyone I always like to see at the shows. Ran in to Chris D. from QBP Problem Solvers, Chris King, Ross Shafer founder of Salsa, Bruce Gordon, Kyle from Chris King, some fellow aerospace welders and so many others.

Found this photo on the Chris King website

It was a really great time, Josh and I went in the morning to get dry ice for his booth and upon arrival we noticed a blue neck laniard laying on the ground so I put it on and walked in to the show. Kinda cool it was laying there, figured Don wouldn't mind if I was at his show, think its way more fun cruzin around BSin with everyone then if I would have had a booth there anyways because I don't really sell stuff.

Wasn't really expecting so many people to say hi to me and chat about MLS, so thanks to everyone that did that, it made my day getting recognized, I felt cool.

Cost of the show - $0.00

I happened to run in to Jim from  Cranky's bicycles in Santa Barbara, CA. You might remember I built his bicycle shop racking years back on one of my MLS blog post. But either way he thinks its a great idea to sponsor my lunch since its a contest to see if I can make it the weekend under 20 bucks. But the deal is he wants logo hits..... I felt like a sell out eating and drinking at the show.... But I was hungry......

Cost of lunch $0.00 + loss in dignity
The sticker tasted as bad as the coffee
Thanks Cranky's Bike shop for the lunch

Sell out...

During the day I was handed a card.... Almost like a drug dealer hip transfer, I look at it and it happens to be a special invitation to a special party thrown by the crew, such crew as All Hail The Black Market, Blue Collar bicycles and Soulcraft bicycles, later Saturday evening.
the front of the card
The back 

 The party was rad.... It was all the people you all want to see at a party. Paul and Kate from Paul Comp. were there, wearing a coat that I wanted so bad, I used my free beer wrist stamp to try to get him free beers until I noticed he had the same stamp ( I just wanted him to get so drunk I could steal his coat )
Paul from Paul had the most rad coat 
K&T Milwaukee Milling machines jacket
I have a K&T machine in my shop, its my baby....
That patch was NOS on ebay and was like 40 years old.

 Chris King and his crew were at the party enjoying the night ( Spent a bunch of time talking to Chris during the afternoon, hes really a rad dude ),  Mo from Rebolledo Cycles was there and he won best track bike of the year so Stevil bought him a big drink called a SEX KITTEN for winning the award.

Cost of the night of getting so drunk I couldn't see straight -  like $8.00 in tips, drink were on the house.
A photo I saw on All Hail the Black Markets site

That night I crashed at a friends place down the street who had a bunch of dogs.... I had a dog that looked like Todo at my feet, a lab at my side and a herding dog on top of me.... Talk about a night !

Cost of smelling like a dog - $0.00

Grabbing a ride back to Oakland Sunday morning was not hard, the polo crew in Mikes truck was expecting my drunk ass anyways I think, what was hardest part of the ride, was not barfing in the truck because I was still drunk which I blame on All Hail the Black Market.

Mt. Dew and skittles did the trick!

Cost of getting home and sobering up -  $5.00

Over all the show was great, the people were great and the bikes looked great.

Had a blast - Party on Wayne !

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The keys to the shop

I am blessed with an amazing shop and somewhat of an ability to build fun stuff. I have worked hard to get there, from one Tig welder I bought with the little money I had (that taught me what I needed to start welding ) to a full shop of rad tools that teach me even more everyday and make it easier to rip thru projects.

But there was that day where I was given a key to someones shop when I was just starting out and had no tools. The first thing I was told " don't fuck up my tools, and don't forget to clean up ".

I still have those days where I ask to use peoples shop to learn new tools, such as Daryl's shop with all the rad tools like the Pullmax sheet metal machines, but now that I have a shop of my own, with a key.... My day has come where I get to call the shots ( kinda cool )

Anyone that knows me knows I have 2 goals in life.

1. Build Rad stuff to impress hot girls
2. Teach my trade and progress in my trade

Thats MLS in a nut shell - its all about progression in all ages

Anything from working on projects for kids at the science museum for learning simple things, to working on a project for DLR ( the German version of NASA ) for the leading scientist to learn more then they already know, I love to share my trade and help people learn thru my craft or just straight up teaching people my craft is my true love.

When Josh Boisclair came to me... He was already holding the blueprints of his exact design, he had some experience of what he was doing and had built 2 cargo bicycles before this one. I told him he can use the tools, the reason I said this was because he had the blueprints in his hands and he had the right mindset to get the project done and the most important thing was the passion to build it right.

Mike Cleaver of Cleaver bikes and I helped him get the tubes for the main frame tacked up right away, if you build things, you can agree theres never anything more frustrating then not being able to have 4 hands to hold all the tubes in place while you tack weld everything.

The Best fabricator in the world may look like this guy.
2 hand for holding the tubes and 2 for welding.

With the main frame tacked up and most of the tubes notched by Josh and some burnt holesaws later on my horizontal mill. Jost retreated back to his little shop not far away from the MLS skunkworks shop to keep adding tubes and starting to braze it up. 
Spinning dropout was one of the projects
These little 4130 chromoly thru axle tubes
20mm front axle and 15 mm rear

The next project was using these blue prints to bend up 1/4 chromoly plate to make the fork crown
As you know, I love to use the press brake for everything so I decided to " bump" the plate a little bit at a time ( moving back 1/4 inch at a time ) until I got the desired curve.
Josh doesn't have CAD but his 1 to 1 prints were right on

He arrive at my house to do all the milling on my ExCello vertical mill
That machine is so easy to move the head, we put the 5 deg angle in the legs and everything.
The secret was we tack welded the curved plates laying on the blueprints together with the correct spacing then we put all 3 of them in the mill welded together and drilled the steer and leg holes. 
Then the spacing is dead on to your prints - Theres your MLS tip of the day
These were a pain to get the curve right.
This is the toptube of the bike and they link the frame for strength above the kegs. 

A day before the show Josh wanted to make a chain guard
So we cut it all out and I showed him how to roll a bead around the guard to add extra strength to the body of thin aluminum guard. It turned out great, even got some welding lessons in. 

This was a shot of his bike sitting on the ground without the rear end fully welded
Looks great, I can imagine he was so stoked taking this photo, I would be. 

Chrome built this rad bag for him to keep the kegs cold
Look at that MLS T-shirt Josh is wearing

This was Saturday before the HandBuilt bicycle show in Sacramento
I think it should be a requirement for people at the handbuilt show to go to a welding shop before the show, thanks to the crew at Praxair in Sacramento we got a lot of dry ice. They hooked us up. 

Heres a shot from BikeRumor with the dry ice chillin the kegs.

Check out more shots over at Bike Rumor - Josh's Keg Bike
Still have my Handbuilt show report coming in a blog post so stay tuned.

Good work Josh - it turned out great
Enjoy - MLS

Sunday, March 4, 2012

DI ACRO !!!!!!!!


Between everyone buying a ton of T-shirts and getting a huge robotic concept project the other day,  I had to hand over the cash and add to the fun at MLS....

I have dreamed of having a Di Acro press brake for about 4 years now, and with new crazy jobs coming in, I got a random phone call asking if I was still looking for a press brake.

" there is an aerospace company not far from your shop looking to get out of sheet metal and they have your machine fully tooled and ready, your the right person for the machine, you deserve it, bring some money and we will make it right! "

I showed up a day later to take a tour of the company selling the machine, I needed to look it over and run the machine, it was in near perfect condition for a 1967 machine, my eyes were in disbelief, this was all my money I have been saving so it had to be perfect !!
Nate from All Power Labs came over to help unload

The old CalTrans GMC truck was the perfect truck use

Enjoy the post and Thanks to everyone for helping out who have bought shirts, and to those who are going to be buying T-shirts if you haven't already, theres still a lot of stuff to get for it before the magic starts.. Thanks to Kane Lynch and Matt Ducot for the photos, I was to excited to take photos.

The crazy MLS concept Titanium SheetMetal Fuel Cell Race bike is coming up and this little machine will be making it happen at the MLS skunkworks.


                   1958                                                    2012

                         I will give you a quick test drive
I had to make a quick video of the machine because I was so excited.
I will teach you to run it in posts down the road but for now, I will just show you the 18 tons of Hydra-Mechanical power built in good old Minnesota.

Each T-shirt has a small machine or tool on the arm sleeve indicating where the profits from the T-shirts sales went to, this shirt I am holding was part of making the Di Acro Press Brake happen this last week. 


If your ordering from overseas extra shipping will be required.

International Order

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My brother

My brother designs a lot of stuff and that is a true fact.

Every once and a while he gets an award for something cool he makes and so I throw some props on the blog for doing good work.

This year he got the motorcycle wheel of the year design for his design the Paramount wheel that is manufactured by Performance Machine.

If you know machining and how to make stuff then you will understand 
how hard this wheel is to make, but the industry demands it so it must be made!

My brother Jason Tiedeken and President of PM Mark Finnie
with the award for the wheel of the year

I don't know if you remember when my brother and I were working on this thing
Jun and my brother had most of it dialed in and I just did the finish welding on the pipes and everything.
Turned out great, and the girls not bad either !