Posts in Category: engineering problems

Career advice 

Thursday, September 3, 2009 11:03:54 AM Categories: engineering problems
I have just read the following comment on the Internette:
I make my living as a consultant applying semantic technology to knowledge intensive enterprises to unlock and analyze dynamic data to transform into actionable information for better decision-making and to make knowledge workers more productive and organizations more profitable.
Fantastic. Just fantastic. I want to meet his school career advisor.
Meantime, anyone tell me where I left the Vernier? Can't find it. Put it down and now it's looooorrrrst.


Technical terms 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 11:59:29 PM Categories: engineering problems
Our German Girl has vanished, so there have been divers happenings relating to recumbency in the Southern Hemisphere over the weekend. Our German Girl is an exchange student who has appeared courtesy of the world's various Rotary Clubs; she isn't actually Ours; we sort of share her with various other families whom the Rotary Club deem unlikely to be child molesters. - We are not, ourselves, Rotarians, because we do not wear business suits nor feel the urge to meet every Tuesday evening with people who do wear business suits and I'd better go no further lest a Rotarian happen on this Blog and take offence. - Not that there's much chance of it. Rotarians are such folk as not, I find, greatly to interest themselves in recumbent bicycles, though if it so happens that one of them does I shall, on application, supply him with my brown paper bag. It must be jolly embarrassing to have the entire HPV world discover that you're a closet Rotarian. - Anyway I know for a fact that they don't because they wouldn't release a German Girl into the custody of someone who cycles up and down the valley with a bra on his head. (Actually our financial advisor reads this blog, though I happen to know that she's only a Rotarian in order to get the latest goss on which local lawyer is having an illicit affair with which other local lawyer but unfortunately she does not share the details with us or I would derive immense pleasure from revealing all here, though this would almost certainly terminate the entries because I don't suppose they have Internet facilities in New Zealand gaols.)(And of course our financial advisor wears a brown paper bag anyway, and has done ever since the sub-prime thingy.)

Our German Girl is the daughter of an actual Brain Surgeon. I mention it because it is so unlikely. How many brain surgeons d'you know? No, neither do we. But anyway further details about her can be skipped because she doesn't ride recumbents, which state of affairs you may depend will be remedied within the next few months.

With no German Girl to entertain the weekend was clear for Sam the Scotsman to pop over for some learned discussion on the topic of tandems and whatnot. Sam, Sam, pick up tha musket. (Obscure and irrelevant. Ed.) It will/won't be recalled that Sam has a broken trike and wishes to turn this into a recumbent tandem of sorts, using approx nil of the trike parts because approx nil of them are strong enough. Accordingly he has been busy popping in on the local bike shops assembling a collection of various 406 forks and wheels, and we now have a merry heap of components scattered about the workshop floor. And since our researches are of no avail to the world if we do not share them I advance the following info, some of which will be erroneous, some duplicate, and perhaps, just perhaps, some of it useful to someone in Afghanistania (1). Provided, of course, Afghanistanians' recreational interests do not centre on wearing a business suit of a Tuesday evening.

Imprimis. That Larrington man has a useful site full of recumbent tandems:
and if you can read Foreign, so has a Foreigner from Abroad:

Item. For $NZ87.50 you can buy a 48 spoke, 406 wheel on a 14mm axle, and you can winch the cones in and out respectively to make stub axles.

Item. The 14mm axles with sealed bearings have a shoulder on the axle itself, so you can't turn them into stub axles.

Item. You need whacking great big cone spanners for 14mm axles.

Item. I have lost my vernier calliper.

Item. I have found it. Why don't I put it back every time? Am I stupid? - Don't answer that one.

Item. Right, specifically you need 19.05mm cone spanners, 3mm thick. 19.05mm is 3/4 of an inch. Sit up at the back and pay attention.

Item. You can screw a cheap derailleur block onto a 406 rear wheel with a 14mm axle ($NZ99.95), but only by removing the RH cone lock nut and using a slightly munted axle nut, the munting performed neatly on the lathe, of course, and a spacer to lock the cone. It then becomes a pig of a job to remove said block, because the hole in the middle of the block-removing tool (don't I know any technical terminology?) is smaller than 14mm, so the entire axle has to be dismantled and extracted out of the RH side, which requires final careful tapping with a hammer to dislodge the protective dustcap that sits on the RH cone by friction. What a rubbish sentence. We need more specific technical terms than just 'leg-suck'. Did you ever do Airfix kits when you were 12? 'Locate the locating peg in the locating hole' was never entirely informative, and you always ended up gluing the undercarriage of your Fieseler Storch the wrong way round. - And while we're about it, did you ever try to use a Haynes manual to find out where to look for the fuel pump on a Mini that was always going wrong? Those diddly photographs had me crawling about underneath on the wrong side and the wrong end of the car with a torch, jabbing myself occasionally in the eye with a bit of oily dangly plastic pipe the purpose of which I never discovered. My father-in-law had a sensible approach to our Mini van, hacksawing a chunk out of the radiator grille to get at the oil filter which you could only otherwise reach if you had a second elbow half-way up your forearm.

Item. Where were we? Ah - more technical terms. -

Item. If you happen to enjoy the same seat position that I do, then the optimum height of the bottom bracket is 9 inches above the sitzhohe. - Sitzhohe is now the correct technical term for the lowest point on your seat. It has been the correct technical term for the last thirty seconds when I nicked it from Germany, and it would have an umlaut somewhere to make it look even more correct and technical except my keyboard doesn't have umlauts to hand and sitzhoehe looks clumsy. It is a better technical term than 'bent', which I see is still persistently used by those who know no better. There needs to be a Royal Commission, like the Academie Francais (no accent or cedilla key, either), to which American Persons can make supplication for new words. - er - Where were we again? - yes, the BB needs to be 9 inches higher than the sitzhohe and then with a 170mm crank, heel-clip at 4 inches will equal knee-rise at 4 inches.

Item. I just invented heel-clip and knee-rise too. Heel-clip is how much your heel drops below the sitzhohe (I'm enjoying this) during the rotation of the cranks, and knee-rise is how much above your shoulder the knee goes, both of 'em messing up your frontal area. We'd better settle for BB even though it isn't a bracket and isn't at the bottom of the machine any more.

Item. However N=1 which means to say this experiment was conducted on the only legs available, viz., mine, so if you chance to differ in any anatomical way from me, then I may be talking gibberish. I often am.

Item. If your pelvic girdle is approx the same as mine, any large upright member such as (shut up, Carol) the front part of a Z-frame cannot be closer than 8.5 inches from the seat angle.

Item. Seat angle is a technical term, too. It's the bit - well, it's usually the sitzhohe, except where the seat has a webbing base when the sitzhohe may sink below the seat angle. And (by experiment) the seat angle is usu. the body's centre of balance, if you're lying back comfortably so that the BB is indeed 9 inches above the sitzhohe.

Item. Heel strike (someone else's term. Where your heel hits the front wheel) is guaranteed if the BB is within 17 inches of the front axle. This for a 'nornery Q-factor (Hurrah! 'nother tech. term) and 'ornery 170mm cranks and a 'nornery 406 wheel with the 1 3/8 Primo tyre that Sam gave me the other day and it was a Jolly Good Thing he did because my Stelvio had delaminated.

Item. The seat base needs to point at the centre of the BB.

Item. The steering head tube is 1.5 inches shorter than the pivot tube thing of the fork itself. Hey, what does Archibald Sharp call it? - Here we are, p 297 - the steering-tube. Mind, he also refers to the 'top adjustment cone of the ball-head' and we'd all like to know what a ball-head is. (Shut up, Carol.)

Item. The cantilever bosses on forks for a 26 inch MTB wheel are just 5mm too high for those funny cross-over U brakes that they fit to BMX bikes. Wonder if we can make them fit? The pivot appears to be 46mm from the centre of the lowest brake-block mount, and it really needs to be 50mm.

Item. No matter how carefully you measure seat angles and seat distances, it is impossible to draw them accurately to scale. Impossible. Totally impossible. Y'know those all-in-one carbon fibre frames incl. the seat? They use human sacrifice on a moonlit night with incantations round a cauldron to get it right. There is no other way.

Item. This list is now so boring I need either to Get a Life or to join Rotary. I shall draw a drawing full of technical terms instead.

1. Its new name, on no less an authority than the New Zealand Prime Minister. He said 'Afghanistanian Government' on the morning radio. He actually said it. I wrote it down at once. And since we're off-topic, why do New Zealand broadcasters refer to Her Majesty as 'Queen Elizabeth the Second'? Did New Zealand have a Queen Elizabeth the First that I haven't been told about?

Stub axles 

Thursday, July 23, 2009 11:37:30 AM Categories: engineering problems
One bad week for diamond-frames, one good week for recumbent builders. I have been to the Dump, and there must have been forty bike frames and their concomitant bits and pieces cast aside by the unworthy souls who once possessed them. I confiscated a tiny BMX frame which appeared to have relatively sound front forks, an Australian racing bike of ghastly mien with 27 inch wheels which I was delighted subsequently to find weighed in at 22.5 lbs, and eight wheels. The racing bike was branded Ricardo, of which I have never heard, but it has a frame sporting a seamless chromoly sticker and anyway with a name like that my ego was unable to resist it. Among the wheels was a crippled Campag 700c with an aero rim which reverence forced me to save, and which, duly straightened and fitted with a widened rear hub has the potential to become a stiff rear wheel for a trike or something that I haven't yet thought of. And I also found what I was really looking for, which was a rubbishy old MTB front wheel with a fat alloy hub.

If alloy hubs are big enough, and this sometimes applies to MTB hubs, you can unbuild them and knock the cups out and then machine 28mm recesses into the sides and fit 6001 bearings. If there's sufficient meat to bore at least a 16mm hole through the middle for a spacer it allows for 12mm stub axles, which are useful in so many applications from trikes to trailers that I need not rehearse them. Had I done my sums and measured everything beforehand I would have chickened out because when you've machined these recesses you find there's precious little metal inside of the flange, but one of my trikes, which has just such front wheels, has been around for 3,000 miles and this gives me confidence.

Elderly wheels from the Dump have to be dismantled with care in New Zealand. You'd be amazed at how many 700c 4-cross wheels there are until you sneak onto the WISIL site!.asp and discover that the spoke length is that of redundant 27 inch 3-cross wheels. At tenpence each (we cheapskates always used galvanized) and with  - erm - several machines then a stash of spare spokes is a sound investment.

Unfortunately it sometimes rains here - 'tis doing right now - and rain + wheels = chemical welding. When the spoke key really won't turn, a single drop of diesel oil on the outer end and then ten seconds of small propane flame applied to the nipple, is generally enough to make the oil bubble and seep into the thread whereupon the spoke concedes defeat.
Removing the axle and cups is straightforward but locating the hub in the 3-jaw isn't. It is an axiom of Clive Sleath and W.C.O. Pettingill and everyone else with a lathe that if you take something out of a chuck and reverse it, the other end is guaranteed to be out of true. Guaranteed. And if you just nip the flanges, which is all there is to nip in hubbery, then even the 4-jaw is useless because the bit you can clock won't resemble the bit that you're about to machine. The problem is alleviated with a steady, but even so the trick is to machine the other end's recess slightly over-sized, and glue the bearings in with Loctite 660. When nipped with the bolt, the theory is the bearings find one another's parallelism.

Oh, and Mr and Mrs Loctite, since I've just very generously given you a gratuitous advert, don't let me discourage you from sending any free samples you care to pass my way.

Munted track rod ends 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 10:44:04 AM Categories: engineering problems
Munting is a verb. - Have we discussed this? - I munt, you munt, he she or it munts. Munto, muntas, muntat as Nellie would have it. Nellie stood in front of a blackboard when I was eleven and waved - well, flapped - her arms about and largely failed to teach me Latin. Latin was not my forte. Burning holes in Mitchell's satchell was my forte. Mitchell sat in front of me - Middleton, Mitchell - it was that sort of school - and a couple of minutes was all that was required with a modest lens such as you might find in your blazer pocket to get the pleasant fumes of burning leather into the atmosphere, and when that palled, it was even quicker to get Mitchell to jump off his chair when the lens was focussed on his ankle. (You had to burn through his sock to get at his ankle.) This wasn't Mitchell who became a judge. This was the other Mitchell, David Mitchell, whose fate (other than having a perforated ankle) remains unknown, at least to me. Mitchell who became a judge became a judge - we sort of deduced that - and forgets my birthday even though he ceaselessly reminds me that his is the 1st of May.

But munting is a New Zealand verb, and a jolly useful one too. I don't know how I managed all these years in a workshop without recourse to it. Yesterday I munted my hand, and it bled all over the place.

You can only do so much in rebuilding a munted trike frame without removing ucky oily bits with only your fingers and thumbs pincing together and all your other fingers sticking delicately out in the manner used when having tea with the Queen. (Of course I know about these things. Whenever Her Majesty phones me it is to ask when I'm coming back.) When I came to pull bits off Sam's trike, wondering why he hadn't cleaned all the ucky oily bits for me, a Horrid Revelation occurred. Lots of us have used track rod ends as the bearings for bicycle kingpins starting with faux Dursley Pedersens and ending with recumbent trikes. We normally put the thing together, ride, and forget about the bearings reassuring ourselves that any resultant floppiness is normal wear.
How wrong we are.

Off came the right wheel on its stub axle, and one of the track-rod-end-kingpin-bearings was all loose and rattly. I examined it. At once it was apparent that the bronze ring on one side was raised. Only on the top side, of course. If you twist the spherical bit you can see that within the bearing there is a division between the top retaining bronze ring and the bottom, so applying a constant jolting force, such as is provided by roads, is going to knock one of these bronze retaining rings out of where it's been mechanically peened in place. Here's a pretty drawing:

So what to do becomes a Big Problem, because replacing it with another track rod end is - well, you know what it is. Track rod ends need to be kept for track rods and not used for nefarious purposes like kingpins

And therefore Sam is going to have to wait for me to make totally new new kingpins and stub axles, dammit. And since Susie munted her window this morning, he's going to have to wait even longer.


Broken trike 

Saturday, June 20, 2009 12:05:43 PM Categories: engineering problems
A broken trike, yesterday

Came a phone call this morning. It was Sam. I knew it was Sam because I could only understand one in twenty of the words uttered: Sam is a Scotsman, Scottish, from Scotlnad and very probably wears the McEachern Tartan but very probably doesn't wear it sitting next to the Queen and you very probably can't google Images of him sitting there. - Not that I am in any way suggesting anyone should google Images and try to find pictures of kilted Sctosmen sitting next to the Queen. Why can't I spell Scotlnad? Or Sctosmen?
Sam's trike had broken. We need a discussion of aluminium and whether it is ever a suitable material for making recumbent trikes out of, and I imagine this discussion will become very heated because it's a bit like being able to spell Scotsmen. There are people who can spell Aluminium. There are also Americans. - And in passing, there is a worrying tendency for the smart young journalists who people the airwaves here to adopt Americanisms and I have heard 'nine through five' as if there were sentient beings who might tolerate such a phrase, and I have also heard 'A through Zee' and if I hear it again I will actually kill myself. My American friends sometimes ask me why the Arab world hates them and in fact it is because they say Missile as if it were a Catholic devotional service book and the Arabs - well, the devout ones - are all worried lest that is what America is aiming at them. If they knew it was only Missiles they wouldn't be nearly so bothered. Arabs are accustomed to Missiles. - D'you know, I think I ought to get back On Topic lest someone sidle up to me with a rucksac on and someone else blow an entirely innocent bus queue to bits in a deeply committed act of incomprehensible self-sacrifice.

Sam's trike was built locally by a friend of both of us and it handled superbly. But it was made of aluminium. And it sort of - well - snapped. It would not be the first aluminium frame I have seen that snapped. I imagine it is not an entirely unfamiliar theme to anyone in the BHPC. But there is this myth about aluminium and light weight which since aluminium is about three times as light as steel is understandable, but it is also three times less stiff than steel and sometimes basic arithmetic tells us stuff that - well anyway I'm not here to do a sermon because someone might sidle up to me with a rucksac on.

Sam's trike had broken with Sam's companion on board and she hadn't enjoyed it and I have a MIG welder. You can weld aluminium with a mig welder (clue: argon) but only if it's powerful enough and mine isn't - I've tried - so the conversation revolved around using all the trike's expensive components on a steel replacement frame; or building a back-to-back tandem trike; or building a tandem Periscope idea thing that I've nicked off Marec Hase. (We saw two of these when first we came to New Zealand, each being ridden by a German, each with a baby German on the front.) We all like the idea of being able to talk to one another on rides, and a disadvantage here on long empty roads is that if you ride side-by-side, there are people who feel compelled to drive an inch from your handlebars and hoot furiously because they aren't aware that this is legal. Something tells them it isn't. And simultaneously tells them that they are temporarily appointed Guardians of the Highway with especial responsibility for Cyclist Discipline (Single File Only).

Marec Hase's Periscope. Pino, probably, this one.

Either idea - back-to-back or Periscope - allows for conversation. A 'conventional' recumbent tandem couple encountered in Murwillumbah (there is such a place, but it is in Australia) declared that they needed headphones to be heard. I cannot go into whether or not there was any benefit in their hearing one another because I already have Scotland America and the entire Middle East after my blood - oh, okay then - nothing ever said by an Australian was ever worth hearing. But you already knew that. It's why Sherri's voice is so enormous. - er - where were we? -

Sam had also brought with him his Rebel trike, a machine built here and a whisker under a metre wide which is probably to do with New Zealand laws about what does and doesn't constitute a 'bicycle'. (You aren't allowed a sidecar on a bicycle. I would love to research the rationale for such a law.) But we tried putting two small child's chairs next to one another in front of it and found that a recumbent sociable trike a metre wide would be very sociable indeed, and should Her Majesty come over and choose to ride with Sam in his native garb, he would need to keep a very careful eye on the wind direction.

Sam has some experience of sitting on tandems, though not yet with the Queen, and said we'd need strong wheels and strong bottom bracket axles. And I, by inference, started to get all worried about whether 12mm stub axles and 36-spoke 406 wheels are up to a recumbent back-to-back tandem. I fancy they might not be, but in my case N = 0 and I fancy statistically one might with advantage require a greater sample to make a decision.


Friday, June 5, 2009 11:39:11 AM Categories: engineering problems
This morning it was Very Cold which I'm aware is a difficult concept on a hot June morning in Coalbrookdale and Ruislip, but icicles stood as stalagmites under the dripping garden taps in Riwaka and our kettle stood in a flood of water on the kitchen bench. Our kettle is a Breville Platinum Model SK50S, Engineered in Australia by Breville Manufactured in China to Our Exact Specifications, all of which I'm sure Breville are happy and contented for you to know because they stamped it on its base. The puddle of water it stood in had leaked out from a small crack which I am equally sure Breville do not want you to know, though they don't need to write it on the base because after a while you'll spot it for yourself. Are Breville a bunch of marketing idiots? Are they in fact some kind of subdivision of the Black and Decker Stupid Design Dept.? What goes through the corporate executive's mind of when its Board of Directors decides to employ an Engineer to Exactly Specify how to make a kettle? Have kettles not been made, with some success, in the past? What exactly is lacking in prior kettle design that requires Australian Engineers to add their tuppeny ha'p'orth of Specification to be dictated to a kettle factory somewhere in China? Is the Modern Kitchen Occupant no longer able to function a kettle without a transparent section at the side to facilitate the assessment of how full it might be? Can't we just take the *ucking lid off? And given the likely differential expansion of plastic and stainless steel, what kind of engineer would specify their juxtaposition in a container that has - let us remind Breville - as its primary aims both to be water-tight and to vary its temperature from 0 degrees to 100 degrees? Note to the Membership: do not buy a Breville kettle. They're crap.

All of which could be a perfectly innocent rant but for the fact that it reminds us of one of the sadly late Steve Donaldson's favourite principles: Keep It Simple, Stupid. And this leads me back to the subject in hand. Some years ago a chap called Rob Wallace built a machine called Red October, still extant and owned by Paul Dunlop, but finding that it was (in the pithy words, I think, of gNick) 'like wrestling with a gorilla in a sauna' and not conducive to mild commuting, it sort of got retired.

One of these is Red October

Therefore I am now going to focus on wheel discs which can be had for free and which provide a small advantage over spokes if you get um design right. This fairings game is all very well while you're making one, but, face-a-fact (as my Hungarian father-in-law merrily said), a wheel disc is altogether less stressful. And wheeldiscs, too, can be made of corriboard.

Tomorrow, cried Toad.

Foam nosecone 2 

I have two Black and Decker angle grinders. - I feel the Membership should know these things. - One is ancient and has now had the lead replaced because the wobbly plastick rubbishy bit that plugs into the back because Health-and-Safety can't countenance a person using a tool without there being fourteen levels of plug-in-ness to ensure maximum frustration (soldered, now, with lead-based solder which I gather can no longer be bought in Health-and-Safetyland) and minimum chance of electrocution because you can't cut through a live wire if the damned thing won't work. This has a wire brush on it because I am quite remarkably stupid and put the locking nut for discs down somewhere safe and cannot now find it.

The new one is a KG85 and I have just discovered this: that the front locking button bit thingy has been moved to the top of the instrument by some Stylemeister in the Marketing Dept. and you now need three hands to change a disc. Congratulations, Mr Black and Mr Decker. You may now step up onto the Rostrum next to me as Stupid Person Medal Winner.

(And while we're about it, why the *uck have you taken to calling your handtools 'Fire Storm'? Are the Buying Public that infantile? They're *ucking electric drills, for *uck'ssake. If you're into weapons manufacture for the American armed services then I can assure you that hopping about Afghanistan 3.7 metres from the nearest plug-in mains supply with a rotating 8mm drill bit is not going to have the Taliban heading for their caves, however sensuously you've created the bright orange plastic bodyshell. Which, for the record, is a considerable unimprovement because there are now no flat surfaces you can grip in a vice, you stupid, stupid dolt-heads.)

Anyway, back to the subject in hand. I am in receipt of further photos and it now appears Mr Knight has modified his concept of a foam bumper bar.


Gladwrap, if you spot the tell-tale yellow box under the new nose, is the Australasian equivalent of Cling-film. The final nose is of papier-mache, and I shall actually be seeing it tomorrow because Mr Knight is rather bravely going to set off before dawn and get here, we hope, in time to try it out on the track before the Rugby Football players take over Trafalgar Park for their afternoon's game. I shall then try to find out whether the Gladwrap is still in situ, and whether some waterproofing of the papier mache has taken place because if it hasn't we may be back to the bath sponge, since there is 'light rain' forecast for tomorrow in Nelson.  

Members who know Mr Knight will be concerned to see that the Ratracer has displaced the two penny farthings he normally keeps in his living room along with a pair of 28 inch wood-rimmed wheels. I have been in said living room and can assure you that the penny farthings are in the opposite corner. What this says about the saintliness of Mrs Bob Knight I leave to conjecture. 

Engineering tribulations 

Friday, May 15, 2009 11:37:45 PM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing engineering problems
Today le chausseure est sur l'autre foot, as a Frenchman would very probably say if he knew what it meant and also couldn't remember how to say pied, because I am very reluctantly forced to seek Mr Knight's engineering opinion. Mr Knight's father was an engineer as was mine, but Mr Knight Snr has the advantage over Mr Middleton Snr in that he's alive. (Axshually I generally contact my brother who's yet another engineer and who gave me 'zackly the same information only quicker, but this blog is currently dedicated to the Daring Exploits of Mr Knight.)(Persons wishing to see what my brother gets up to in his spare moments have to Google 'Arthur Middleton FF' where they will be dismayed to find that he uses large engines in his recumbents.)


Immediately tell me how to fix my micrometer which I am disconcerted to see is whicked (1). It's a Starrett, and as far as I know was always fine. It measures 0 at the 0 setting, but 9.99 on a 10mm Guering drill shank, and 3.97 on a 4mm drill shank. This mis-measurement seems consistent on all the drills I put through it including brand new ones. - R

That's because drills are not accurate. My father chided me for doing exactly that, measuring drill shanks - even really expensive ones aren't. I suspect that your micrometer is fine, but to properly test it you need to get hold of some test pieces to compare. Some micrometers have them included; most don't however. Alternatively measure some silver steel which is ground to fairly precise tolerances. Lots of progress on the fairing this weekend, pictures later after I had me tea. - Bob

We assume 'e 'ad 'is tea because later in t'evening came the following:

I tested the hot glue on the corriboard and if I leave the glue gun for a full 5 minutes, I'm then unable to break the glued joint. It is very strong. - Bob

There followed some gluing, resulting in an encouraging development and if I could be bothered to go and consult my book on aeroplane fuselage construction I would use the Correct Term. As it is the photo will have to do:

Next young Mr Knight learns something about seats, which I being just Wonderful had already told him but he being Stupid had dismissed as irrelevant:

I extended the top temporary fairing to cover my knees and discovered that I needed an extra 5 mm for comfort. So that was handy. I also discoverd that I will need to put in a lumbar and a neck support to maintain the correct position, since slipping just a little makes a difference to the clearances. - Bob

In fact it was a Foreigner who told me about the neck support and I wish I could remember his name but it was at least ten years ago and my Brane is week and feeble with age. Anyway what this is is this. If you support your head then your brains get jiggled and eventually fall to pieces inside your skull. If you can somehow support the base of your neck to keep it upright, then the head balances nicely on top of the neck and less brain jiggling takes place.

However more tribulations were on the way:

Whatever possessed my wife to light a fire in Maud without putting a four-inch piece of industrial hacksaw blade in it? So now just before bed I have had to sacrifice a large handful of twigs in order to get it red hot and allow it to cool overnight. Sometimes I really wonder if she has a brain at all. - R

OK, I'll bite. So why do you need an annealed 4" peice of high carbon steel? What zackly are you making?- Had a fuck up last night, I cracked one of Gavin's welds on the Ratracer steering. I'll put a frankenbolt through for now and get him to reweld before the race. Other than that, just panicking that I don't have enough time left to finish the thing. - Bob

I never did tell him why I wanted a piece of annealed high carbon steel, and I don't propose to tell you either, mostly because it adds an air of mystery to the proceedings. I'm not going to tell you what Maud might be either for the same reason. (Axshually Maud is the name of one of our sheds. We have sheds, in New Zealand, and a good deal of scenery, and an awful lot of weather, and quite a few earthquakes - there was a little one last night - but not many people.)

1. Whicked. A New Zealand spelling. The Wh is pronounced F, as in Whakarewa Street (pr. Fucker-reewer Street. - No, that's true, and it's where the children's High School is). The i is pronounced u, as (famously) in Fush and Chups.

Another useful New Zealand word is 'munted.' I very much doubt if I will be able to complete this account without using it.


Page 2 of 2 << < 1 2
Copyright 2006 Blog Author