Sunday, February 08, 2015

E-Cig Holder

E-Cig Holder

Made this model in the shop today.

It's an E-Cig holder, they are supposed to be stored upright when not in use.

Would look fine on an executives desk or yours so it won't tip over and great to use when recharging it too.
I know, it's not a motorcycle part but my wife wanted one and gave me a drawing to work from she did. I took designers license and changed a few things and this is the result. When I use to work a lot with wood, the wood at some point would dictate the final outcome of the piece as you worked it. Same with metal it seems, as I was working it, the metal turning process will materialize and my mind would go "Hey, you should do this and that.." and a picture of the finished product would enter my brain. Kinda cool how the metal works with you like that. Maybe it's because I'm happy and relaxed when I get in my shop to create something from a mundane piece of material, it's even better when it works out the first go-a-round.   

Saturday, February 07, 2015

My Smithy 1220 Lathe

At work I run a Haas ST 10 and further below an SL 20 Haas, sometimes I have to use an old Hardinge manual lathe. Both of the Haas lathes are CNC of course and are very tuff and reliable machines. It seems that in my memory the SL 20 has only had to have a tech work on it perhaps, maybe six times in almost ten years. The chip auger has always been a pain in the ass though as it clogs up all the time; the bar feeder attachment wants to mis-feed by either feeding out to much or mostly not enough resulting in dead parts unless I stand right there when using the bar feeder mode. Other than that it's pretty reliable still.
The ST 10 is pretty sweet, also pretty new, it has a chip conveyor so no clogging and the bar feeder on it is spot on every time. Other than keeping an eye on the tool wear it will run consistently all day long. I may have to get one for my shop.

Enough about those, let's take a look at my little Smithy lathe.

The Smithy 1220 lathe/mill combo below does have a powered carriage for the Z axis but everything else has to be moved by hand. Looking on the net there just doesn't seem to be much out there on these lathes. Not even more than four or five videos on you tube either and they are hard to find for sale. People either love them or hate them, me, I really like mine and while it could have a little more grunt for taking off heavier cuts I deal with it - a more powerful motor should be an easy upgrade for more power - plus you have to take more time to make good parts. The whole thing is just getting use to the machine and sneaking up on your final finish dimensions. A quick change tool post would speed up the process of tool changes and eliminate shimming tools plus give a wider range of tooling options. This one comes with a three jaw chuck although I'm ordering a 5C collet chuck for it as it will grip the bar stock firmly and parts when I need to flip them to finish the other side as well as not mark up parts as the three jaw chuck will do. As it is, when I have to chuck in the finished side of a part it's good practice to use masking or painters tape to avoid marking up the parts. This is true of any manual lathe with the three or four jaw setup. Another future item is another type of collet chuck that will fit in the tailstock end for greater range of tooling usage on that side of things.
To be honest, I had been looking at Atlas, Hardinge and Sears Craftsman lathes for my shop (note: Atlas made all the older craftsman lathes) as they can be found affordably. Purchase of the lathe is only the first cost, the tooling is almost always not there with it or is minimal. If you get into home machining you will soon find you have a ton more money invested in the tooling than the lathe ever cost you. A Plus for a Smithy is they have good customer support, plenty of accessories to enhance your modeling or parts experience and so far has been for me a pretty good little unit. Sure, some things may need adjustment to get the backlash to a minimum and the working range has it's short comings you need to allow for. Minuses are finding used tooling for it, power could be more and the tool post could be much better to allow for greater range of tooling types to be used. Shars tools has a host of tooling that are both good quality and affordable, Micromark also has some good items that can be used on the Smithy. If you've never used a lathe before always remember that every diameter measurement has to be half of what you want to take off the material. So if say, you have a one and a half rod you want to take half an inch off of you need to set your dials up to take off only a quarter inch. A piece of rod has two sides and if you set your dial to take off a whole half inch guess what, you'll take off an inch. Not at all like running my CNC lathes which will automatically adjust this for you. Remember with a hobby lathe, even with the Smithy lathe, you can get really good results with plain old practice. You yourself are what tells the machine what amount to take off the material your turning. I think many think the machine is the problem when actually it is the lack of the beginners experience that is the culprit. I don't see many of these machines for sale which leads me to think people actually like them and hang onto them but are afraid to admit it. Otherwise wouldn't you think they would be found for sale all over the place. It's like back in my day in high school, nobody admitted they liked the band KISS or country music but sometimes from under the seat would slide out a KISS tape or Hank Williams. Johnny Cash though, even we rockers liked Cash.         

I acquired my machine used from a friends family who's father we knew passed away ten years ago. He had worked at General Electric til he retired. He purchased this unit and used it from time to time at his own shop on his property. His shop had a host of different machines he used for making artificial limbs and other prototypes for the likes of Duke University and others, his hobby though was repairing old watches for one. The shop sat idle all these years and his Grandsons had no interest in any of the equipment, they all agreed that their Grandfather, Fred, would like me to have it so it would get some good use. They offered it to me and I asked how much and they told me they wanted me to have it for free if I could use it. Their mother, our good friend, would not take a dime for it even after I told her what it was probably worth. So I got this machine and around two or three thousand dollars worth of tooling and vices, drills, V Blocks, measuring tools (Starrett and Brown & Sharpe), end mills, reamers dead centers, live centers, half centers, chucks etc. etc.  
I'm pretty pleased with it and the more I use it the better the motorcycle parts, tools and more seem to come out.      

Below is the other HAAS CNC like the one I run. Big difference between this and a Smithy, the programming on the CNC will do all the tool changes and calculations mostly for you, on any manual lathe you are the operating program and system.  

So look for more motorcycle stuff coming off my little Smithy on here, I also guess I'll be the only one on the whole net showing the usage of a 1220 Smithy Lathe.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kawasaki Cam Chain Extenders

Kawasaki Vulcan/Nomad Cam Chain Extenders

After getting some miles on your Kawasaki 1500/1600 you may experience some clatter, this is from the came chain hitting after all the slack being taken up by the stock units are no longer doing the job. I can supply you with a pair of the extenders if you need them. If you don't take care of the problem it will only get worse and cause more damage.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Motorcycle Oil Plug Tool

Kawasaki Oil Plug Tool©

Made this tool for Kawasaki Nomad & Vulcan.
Probably other motorcycles can use it too such as my Ironhead Sportster.

The oil plug for the rear hub is a bear to get at on these bikes and hard to loosen if it has never been taken out to check oil level in the hub. Can be used for the engine oil filler plug as well.

You can use a 14mm socket, a 9/16 SAE socket or a 1/2 inch wrench . There is also a through drilled hole for an Allen wrench to slide in for leverage in turning the tool.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Musket V-Twin update

I posted the article below back in January 2011, been keeping tabs every now and again on the progress of the Musket V-Twin. Now I am excited to say that the over at there is an update again on a most positive level because Aniket's engine are now actually available. You must check them out, the beauty of form and music to the ears sound is the most wonderful design for motorcycle engines in years.                               

This is a link to the kneeslider about Aniket's new 1000ccV-twin Enfield engine kit. I've had contact with him when he did his first engine and we had some nice discussions back and forth. One was his concern for passing emissions and what the research and cost would be but then he mentioned maybe use for offroad or something like that. He has an infectious attitude and if you go to his site and watch his videos on the motorcycle engine he built from scratch then to see him ride it, well , you can't help but find a huge grin come upon your face. And that was his 700cc model, now he's working on a 1000cc kit you can purchase and build yourself.
Anyway, check the update above and then skid on over to and see what this enthusiastic spirited man is up to. It'll sure put a smile on your face.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Fuel Tank Leak

Fuel Tank Leak

Large FXR Tank above that has been on the bike for several years now. I like the added ride range.
 The above picture is my bike with the FXR gas tank. This tank has been on my bike for several years now and gave me good comfortable mileage range. A couple of years ago I detected a leak, it began with a hint of fuel aroma then some obvious signs of a leak on my primary cover just below the petcock. Nothing major it seemed. The petcock that was on it had the seal disintegrating from ethanol fuel right at the valve. There would be a steady drip when the fuel lever was in the on position. Instead of repairing the petcock my wife bought me a much better Pingle brand unit. Problem solved...for awhile. I rode the bike most the year and didn't notice a leak, except in the garage there would be a hint of fuel vapors; I assumed these were coming from my sons 1974 Nova project as it to, when sitting, would smell like this.
 Well one day when getting ready for a ride, the bike had sat for two weeks with a full tank, it was almost empty and there was this nasty yellowish green stain all over the primary side and a dark spot on the dirt part of the garage floor where the bike sits. I pull off the tank and it looks to be leaking around the cross over tube nipples, JB weld to the rescue. I had no way at the time to pressurize the tank to check for leaks and calling a couple shops was no help. There looked to be maybe, possibly, kind of sort of a pin hole leak at the rear mount; so we JB Weld that as well. The only reason I used the JB weld was for not being able to find any shop that would test it and re-weld to seal it for sure. 
 Peanut tank mounted in above picture looks very small after the large tank being on it so long.
On to a few weeks ago as the JB seemed to be holding pretty well after most of the year, one of my brothers and I were setting out to ride the Blueridge Parkway. All was going well as we neared the upper part of North Carolina towards Virginia, then I kept smelling gas. I'd look down and not see anything but the smell was getting stronger. Finally I look down between the seat and the rear of the tank as we ride and see the seat front is all wet. I quickly pull off into a vacant buildings lot and get off as my brother rides up behind me asking what's wrong. As I get off I say I have gas on my seat, as I turn I see a water fall of fuel cascading along the frame and all along down the side of my battery. It's leaking like a sieve. We get it back home, pull off the tank, put on the low riding range Peanut tank and then inspect the FXR tank. It looks like it's leaking at the petcock area (Picture below) and there is a stain. We hook up the air compressor with a short bit of fuel line to the petcock, put on the fuel cap, spray on soapy water all over the bottom of tank and it turns out to be the rear mount weld is the culprit.  
 In the picture below you can see the JB Weld along the weld seam that held for so long. The mount actually didn't leak around where we JB'd it but rather the rest of the mount that looks more like the factory brazed on area. Note that the bracket piece with the bolt is the fabricated mount to make it fit the Ironhead. This worked for many years. Again I could not find anyone to weld this up because they are afraid of ruining the tank and burning through the light gauge metal. These tanks are found for around $300 in okay shape and up to over $800 for great shape.
 I went looking around the net to places I have had luck finding deals before, logging onto I looked around and then went to read some of the articles. I read one about a guy from my old neck of the woods in Georgia, he's a one man shop who builds custom motorcycles and works on motorcycles and I see that he does all kinds of motorcycle related work. So I send Chad at an email in hopes he would tackle this job and I send along pictures. He replies that he can do it. I'm going to chance it and send him the tank in hopes he can fix my tank to be leak proof again. I'll post up the job when he's finished with it. I told him that this was a secret of how to adapt and mount these tanks to old Ironheads, guess the secret is out now.  

By the way, this is the brother I was riding with who use to be known as Preacher or Preach for short. Ironic that these days he lives by and lives up to the moniker.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

R.I.P Pop: A Rough Year for The Sons of The Black Cat Squadron

Lt.JG Phillip K. Resh, United States Navy, Naval Aviator.
Reunited with his Squadron on 9-01-14

("Don't call me a pilot. I'm an Aviator. Pilots only land on land, Aviators have to be able to also land on a postage stamp in the middle of the ocean.") Lt. P. K. Resh USN.

Pop with two of his boys swapping veterans stories. Mark (on right) and Pop especially enjoyed talking about their flying experiences. 

 Pop's last fathers day. He told us he was honored ALL of us made it. Even brother in the black vest made it all the way on two wheels from Washington State. We all always thought Pop would always be around. I'm lucky I guess, I have a picture my wife took at fathers day when he opened my card, in it I wrote; Happy Fathers day Pop. I'm proud to be your son. With a twinkle in his eye he had told me when I called him Pop, "Mark always calls me that...I like it."

Mom and Pop's dogs, Pop asked our oldest brother from Washington if he would take the dogs because he wanted to be sure they had a good life. They are Lucy on the left and Evie on the right. My wife and I kept them for a month until flying them out to Seattle. My wife kept telling me the whole time to not get attached. She cried all day when we headed to the airport with them.

Pop's uniform, I have them all and his ribbons and wings. We found out he is still owed his Korean Conflict Medal after all these years. I just have to find out how to obtain it for our mother.

Pop's wings he so proudly wore.
Black Cat Squadron Patch
Pop's final resting place.

On his last day, I was back home in NC planning to go back the next weekend, one of my brothers was on his way back later after being there several days. My oldest brother called me a little after 4 p.m and gave me the news...I was devastated even though I knew the time was near. Our brother on the road, half way home, was notified Pop had taken a turn for the worse, he turned around and hauled back. People were at home with our mother, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews and one of our other brothers. Our mother had been watching the kids toss a Frisbee around in the yard and told my sister that it was the first day in a long time she had felt calm and relaxed. The sky was clear and blue with no clouds, they all said. Suddenly there was a large cracking, booming bolt of lightening that shook the whole house, the kitchen light over the table our mother was watching out the window from surrounded by family, turned very bright then burned out just as the phone rang. Pop had passed the nurse said.

Pop was a fighter all to the end. He told my son once "I never fired one shot in anger," he said holding up his index finger while leaning in close to my son, "I did my duty, but never a shot fired in anger."
Mother gave me a huge file my father had kept, reading it made me proud to know how hard he fought not only for his country but for his whole family.

We all still have to take care of everything with the house, only one of us still lives in the state, the rest of us are scattered about from one coast to the other. My wife and I went down in October to get a few items mom wanted us to go ahead and get, - Mom is in Maine now with one of our sisters and her family. -  but being in the house it just feels like, I don't know, very empty. No Pop, no mom, no dogs, it's just a shell of what use to be, the love, the laughter, the reassurances, the encouraging words, the warmth that congregated there is not there anymore. The home that was always home and felt like home no matter how long you had been gone, it's no longer. No more Fathers days , no more mothers days or birthdays, thanksgivings or mother and Pops favorite time of year, Christmas. They loved Christmas season, they planned on it all year. Not because of presents to receive, but everything else. They loved this wooden tree I made them for the yard years ago that had a gazillion lights on it, Pop put it out every year. Kids and adults alike looked for it each year, the little ones said they new Christmas was coming when Pop would put out the tree. He would stand outside with them or go out if somebody stopped while walking and chit chat. Kids loved him and his tree.
The house now, I can't explain it. It's cold and sad and lonely. The house yearns for some new kids, a new family to raise and shelter.

I guess you can see why I have not been around here much. The whole year has been touch and go, back and forth to Georgia. I don't regret any of the travel, it gave me time with Pop and mom.