April 21, 2009

Claim to Fame

For me, one of the big difficulties of sticking to a regular exercise routine is the time you have to commit to it: apart from the time in the gym there's the travel time to & from, time cooking healthy, and time planning your menus & workout routines. It's nice when I can incorporate physical activity into something I need to do anyways, like commuting. There have been a few times when I was able to commute by bicycle to school & that was so great for my legs! Plus what took 20 minutes by car only took 30 minutes by bike, so round trip I got 1 hour of exercise for the low cost of only 20 minutes out of my day!

I sometimes entertain the idea of building a recumbent bike with the full aerodynamic fairings to use as a short range, occasional commuter. I was searching on line for such bikes & came across a guy who built one for a 24 hour distance record that he set. Greg Kolodziejzyk of Calgary, Alberta, Canada & his team built this bike named Critical Power that he went 650 miles in a 24 hour period. Greg keeps a great blog (adventuresofgreg.com) that talks about past, current & future projects, plus has some inspirational/motivational messages about fitness & achieving goals. Check out his motivational speaker site & get yourself a free copy of his book Bold.

I like what Greg's doing so I made him an oval sprocket for his record attempt boat. According to him the deal with oval (elliptical) sprocket rings is he can rotate the ring such that the widest diameter of the oval coincides with his optimal pedal torque position.

The concept:
10% oval, 64 teeth.

The Creation:

I also threw in a 55 tooth sprocket for his training bike.

The great results:

No pit stops he pedaled through the night and received hand offs of water & food.

Final result a world record: 245 kilometers (152 miles) in 24 hours!

Best Date Ever!

As Happy Birthday presents for a couple friends (Monica & Angel), my friend Ben & I took them out to dinner and made them some jewelry out of 1 oz. silver coins.

The ladies came up with these nice designs themselves. Angel's pendant is on the left; it's an A on a treble clef. Monica made the M on the right. The coin in the middle is the "before" picture.  I got their designs into the computer, then cut out the real thing on the CNC mill.


What would I have been if I'd lived 500 or a few thousand years ago--I mean what would I do for a living? What would my life's work be? You ever think about that? I do. I expect I do because I feel so lucky to do what I do for my work; I don't really consider it work. Creating things is fun to me, I have a passion for designing & building things & that's why I chose engineering & manufacturing as my field of pursuit.
So what if I'd lived before computers & electronics, what would I have done then without my beloved CAD & CAM & CNCs? Would I have still built things or would I have been a farmer, or a doctor, or maybe a writer? ...Well assuming I had the choice and chances afforded me to find & follow my passion like I've had in this life, in this country, I probably would have been some kind of creator: a carpenter, or a leather craftsman, or a stone mason, or maybe a tailor; but probably some kind of a smith: blacksmith, coppersmith, silversmith.
I've been toying around with jewelry making lately...

I designed this necklace pendant as a birthday gift for a friend of mine. It's the first piece of jewelry that I ever made so I found a local jeweler who was willing to help me out. He cast & acid antiqued it for me and then helped pick out a pretty chain for it and antiqued the chain to match. What I liked about this jeweler is he's a real gold and silversmith, not just a guy with a jewelry store. If you're ever looking for a mom & pop shop that'll treat you right here's his contact info: Gold 'n Silver Jewelry. 18850 Brookhurst St Fountain Valley, CA 92708 (714) 963-9594 ask for Ron.

Here's The Concept.
Actually I sketched the concept all out on paper before I started modeling, but I threw the paper away after I finished the SolidWorks file.

Here's The Creation

And here's Some of the stuff in Between.

I cut out a machinable wax version of the pendant. It was the same pattern machined on the top and bottom of the pendant with a 3rd set up holding it sideways to drill the hole the necklace goes through.

Ron suggested I make 2 pendants so I could practice on one - as usual I just took my time and worked cautiously so I didn't have any scrapped parts. I gave my sister the extra one.

Acid antiqed and then a final polish.

The final product.

Check this!

Dec, 2006
I like making the gifts I give. I'm sure that when most people think of gifts not bought from some store they think "home-made" & the images that conjures for them are pieces of jewelry made out of pasta, or beautiful cards adorned with something that has a human hand as it's base shape, or they think of the cheap skate/forgetful shopper who gives out coupons for a free back rub.
When I make gifts it's nothing like that! Not since elementary school. I may have gifted free back rubs as late as junior high.

Now that my family is all grown up & moved away from each other, and now that a $5 action figure does not impress like it used to, we draw names and give a gift to 1 person. December 2006 was my favorite Christmas since the Christmas that I got the Ultra Magnus transformer when I was 9. - December 2006 I drew my Dad's name. Here is the gift I made him:

Here's The Concept

Here's The Creation

And here's Everything in Between:

AutoCAD is Great! It works so well & so fast to turn paper sketch into digital sketch. I moved into the 3rd dimension of CAD with SolidWorks, but the quickness & ease of AutoCAD's 2D world is still so very useful. So I drew the chess pieces in AutoCAD & used the ordinate dimensions as my X & Z co-ordinates on the super user friendly Mazak conversational controller. If you like my design email me & I'll send you a copy of the CAD file.

The pawns, bishops (shown here), and queens were all done on the lathe. The knights, rooks, and kings had a lathe operation and then some mill work.

Amassing a small army.

Rooks and Kings got their castle & crown shapes on the mill.

The Knight was probably the fanciest using the indexing head.

2 Knights, both with their feet pointing in, the lower one has the lathe operation done, the upper one has the lathe and the mill operations done.

The finished brushed team, that is to say "the completed team with the brushed finish." The Queen is my favorite.

I couldn't have been happier with the results.

A guy named Jason asked for a copy of my chess CAD file, & made himself a set.