Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The payment - A race to a race

Over the last months, MLS has become so busy doing all kinds of crazy projects for the Government DARPA stuff, U of Minnesota and other big companies, I haven't even got a second to stop and enjoy why I truly do this stuff.

I get in these work trances that make me forget sometimes, I love every second of doing metal crafting but its crazy when I get the opportunity to take a step back in the past and show someone what I have learned over the years. 

18 year old Gabe is my new helper/ apprentice around the shop, he gets to do all the fun jobs like making sure the shop is getting ready for the TV show pilot and all the layout is kept clean. All his hard work can't just go unnoticed so every once in a while its good to have some fun building a fun project. 

The project we decided to tackel in days notice of the Maker Fair event was a concept we had created after some spinning around in a parking lot....

We found one of those Green Machines and decided to have some fun that day.....

After looking at the MLS 36x29er shop runner.....

We decided it needed to be a Green Machine on steroids using the 36" Coker front wheel.....

Luckily we found this blueprint on the internet with all the main details to build this thing.

So I did a concept sketch with Gabe and made him set it all up and dial in a building area. 

Using a classic real Ames chair and the 36 front, Gabe started figuring out the points and measurements

The basic layout with the 20mm MTB 26" inch wheels on the rear

Gabe is still working on his Tig skills 
you learn by mistakes and lots of burned holes......

We decided to go classic hotrod style with a square frame 

We wanted to add some style so we put a 1 inch tube slip fit into the 1.25 tube

Check it.... Style....
Those Stronghand clamps and magnets work so well for this stuff to get it mocked up

We quick slid this in to the work load,
a custom wet work station for Performance Machine Research and Development

Being my apprentice means you have to travel and hammer out the jobs with me.
I had to go to LA for a day and weld Harley swingarms
Lucky I get to use that BuildPro welding table, makes life easy for fixturing so I can get done quick.
Gabe can't hang after a 36 hour work day including the 6 hour drive to LA.

Next stop for the weekend was Exile cycles to finish hammering out some welding
on some projects going out. 

We bent up some tubing for the rear end of the race machine

Back at MLS World HQ
I did a sketch on the welding table for young Gabe so he knew what we needed to build

With the rear end in hand, notching is made easy on the 1940s K&T horz. mill and some Starrett holesaws.

Part of building at MLS is knowing and getting to run all the machines
Gabe bending up the brackets for the shocks on the rear. 

A day before the event ....
World Champ Mountain biker Greg Minnaar decided he needed to lend a hand before jetting out to the world cup races that next day so we put him to work.....
I don't want to add any more details about his measuring and the metric conversion and the errors that happened that night due to my American tape measures......

He got us all fired up and brought the energy to the last day that it was lacking, so it was well worth it. 

Gabe got to give some pointers to Greg about welding
Really cool time seeing everyone having a good time.

We had a roller by about 4 AM
All smiles from Gabe....

I had to check his work......
My new Pepples Donut sponsor will love that logo hit.....
You can also see the Rock Shox sid shocks on the rear of the cart. 

Well that stance is on point....
We ended up not getting the steering linkage done for the race....
But the machine did go to the race and even if it didn't race it was kinda a wake up call to eveyone there.... that they should be ready for when this thing hits the figure 8 track. 

Trust me...

This bad boy will get done with a great green paint job and you will see some videos coming.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sheet metal pleasing to the eye

Thru the grapevine I ran in to a dude named Ernest Doty, who asked a question about help working on sheet metal that would be used for canvases.

It was a style he had been doing for some time, really simple square " pans " as we call them in the sheet metal world, with welded corners and such.

His work is very On Point and I like the guy, so why not add some MLS flavor and make it even more rad and join in on the fun.

Since I started working with Ernest about 8 months ago, think I have done 40+ metal canvases ranging from 8 x 8 foot giants to little 3x3 inch babies.

So when the phone call came in for a custom giant canvas during the craziest time of the year for me, some major things got thrown off to the side in order to slide this one in to the work que.

This is still my favorite
A 18 gauge mild steel canvas beat to piss with dents and rust all over it.
All the work he does has hidden messages in it 

Ernest always wanted to be a leg model so heres his chance....
Thats 2 giant sheets of 20g mild steel 

After some cutting and bending we came up with 2 - 4x4 foot
2 - 3x3 and some little 1x1 foot panels, all with different depths on the return to give the canvases an uneven surface, each canvas is about 1/2 inch different in hight from each other.

I was at my laser cutter Seaport Stainless and spotted some
little letters left in the bed of the laser cutter 

So I welded them on....

with grinding under them.

One week later - So rad
That man can do some crazy detailed work in a short period of time.
This was just one of the pieces he finished that week.
The over all is about 11 feet wide by 7 feet 
but can break down and nest in to a 4x4 foot box if you want to buy this piece from him, he can ship it to your door.
Also look for the hidden laser cut letters all over the canvas - the extra touch....

As a tip, I was given a big 18 gauge 4x4 foot piece...
So stoked to hang it in my shop.
So stoked

Each month I make a ton of these little 1 foot by 8 inch pieces for him.
He has so many cool little ones, check out his site or hit him up if your interested.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The work overload.....

Anyone that has talked to me in the last weeks has realized one thing....

I am overworked....

Its an amazing feeling to be in demand on such a crazy project, but can be very stressful when it comes down to it.

Sheet metal is one of my most enjoyed metal crafting adventures, but when the expectations and tolerances become very high, thats when it gets fun.

The 1967 DiAcro press brake has made over 4000 hits now since I got it about 3 or so months ago and every hit has been on a crazy project.

I think this is the perfect Ad for Starrett Tape measures.


Take two- Photos by Kane Lynch

I can't thank everyone enough for making the press brake happen with the T-shirt sales and such, trust me when you see what I have been building in a few months you will be stoked too..

The next few months things I have a feeling will slow down and I can jump back on some personal projects, until then the DiAcro will keep on pressing...

Maybe you have seen the new ad for New Belgium Brewery with some MLS love in it?

The DiAcro Press and some of my skip tooth chainring collection on the wall.

I had some time to kill the other day so I made Jen from New Belgium a fun little
flower vase using a mini drill press base and some lab clamps

On Friday night World Champ Downhiller Greg Minnaar stopped by the shop and convinced me to 
come out drinking for the evening,  midway thru the night and 35 beers later ( maybe ), we decided that he would be my world champ mechanic for a trials competition the next morning and I would enter the comp as pro. 

Problem is - I haven't built my sheet metal trials bike yet or own a trials bike

Solution - Greg decided to call every professional trials rider he knew at 1:30 AM from the bar

Outcome - we both we to hungover to make it to the start of the trials comp, but we made it to the end of it to see a friend Aaron rip it up. 
So it was a success
Aaron riding and Greg watching 
Berkeley, CA with San Francisco in the background

I kept score for Aaron 

Back to the fun of building stuff....
There is some madness being created in the shop and its got a deadline closing in for the MAKER Fair
and it involves a pedal car for the figure 8 race....
Stay tuned