October 27th, 2010 by peter
|While on vacation in Amsterdam, Vienna, Antalya (Turkey) and Istanbul, I was on the lookout for bicycles, electric and pedal only. Surprisingly, while Amsterdam was certainly pedal bicycle central, it was Antalya in southern Turkey that had the most “ebikes” in the form of electric scooters. It looked like about a third of the scooters on the road were electric, and almost all of these were this “Maxi-scooter” model. I haven’t been able to find it on line. Amsterdam also had a lot of cargo bikes and trikes, far more than the USA. Photos can be found below.||
May 25th, 2010 by peter
I researched the advertising of the 50s to try and convey the same feel, both visually and through diction, to the mock advertisements and product information sheets I made for the Maker Faire 2010. Two sources were immensely helpful.
The first is Charlie Allen’s blog. Mr. Allen was an artist and illustrated many of the beautiful GM ads of the time. He scans his work periodically and shares it on his blog.
Harley J. Earl was the Vice President of Design at GM during the 40s and 50s. He is the originator of the concept car and a list of modern automotive styling firsts. He applied art, science, and showmanship to mass produced automobiles. There are a lot of pictures to look at here and a more in-depth (but biased) biography can be found on the same site.
Of course, the product names of the 50s are also key to getting the feel right. Naming combined the optimism of the time, pseudo-scientific sounding prefixes and suffixes, and the space program all rolled into some of the best (and now funniest) sounding products. Dyna-this, that-a-matic. I never found a complete list, but perusing archived Fender and Harley product catalogs was sufficient.
Advertising also apparently needed to loudly and wordily tell the viewer what they should be thinking and feeling, rather than the more modern approach of trying to accomplish the same with far fewer words (or none at all– think, for example, of some Apple advertising). Anyone want a $1 gun?
April 29th, 2010 by peter
You might wonder what’s going on in the above photo.
Answer: the serial hybrid tandem is being upgraded! I wanted to lighten the generator apparatus and remove the chain drive.
First, to save weight, I decided to try a smaller motor. However, I found that very few motors actually fit in between a set of cranks. The original MY1018 and several brushless motors such as the Kollmorgen fit, but just about everything else doesn’t. The brushless motors require pretty hefty gear ratios. The MY1018 comes with a built in 9:1 gear reduction.
Many power tools also have built in reduction. Angle grinders have heavy duty transmissions which also contain a right angle gearbox, but they are almost all AC powered and AC motors do not make good generators.
Battery operated drills use DC motors and have transmissions. There are also right angle drills and attachments available. In fact, drills are often used in building robots for propulsion.
So if a 120lb combat robot can use a couple of drill motors in the ring, maybe a human can pedal one as a generator?
I picked up the Black and Decker drill off Craigslist for $10.
Now, to get rid of the chain, I took the belt drive off a go kart. The sprocket was too tall, so I chopped it up and then epoxied it back together again. I had to cut an adapter plate to attach the sprocket to a bicycle crank. The plate was brazed onto the crank.
Next up… time to mount it to the bike!
April 5th, 2010 by peter
Sheila pointed me to a good article on how braking works in a hybrid automobile at autobloggreen. It provides a high level overview of how friction and regenerative braking are blended to achieve the feel of a gas powered, automatic transmission automobile– and also the pitfalls which Toyota is now painfully aware of.
March 23rd, 2010 by peter
The Maker Faire Bay Area 2010 is exactly two months from today. Exhibitor applications opened up a couple of weeks ago but we wanted to get it done in style so it took a little while to put the entry together, but the submission went in today. Apparently, we’ll hear back April 7th whether we’re in– stay tuned. (UPDATE: the application was accepted!)
This year, it’s going to be a trip to the future with a retro twist. Check out the video!
March 13th, 2009 by peter
Right before I left for NAHBS I was rearranging some items in the shop and stumbled across a plastic grocery bag that had fallen behind a stack of lead acid batteries. I opened it up and found my welding coupons from my senior year at UC Davis. I had just gone through summer sessions and a rough fall quarter and decided that for winter quarter I would have some fun. That led me to the Wester Center for Agricultural Equipment, a tinkerer’s dream facility located off campus west of highway 113. I took a welding class and got to try my hand at every common form of welding with the support of instructor Jim Rumsey and a shop full of machines (wish I had a garage like that). The welding coupons were subjected to various forms of abuse and if your weld survived you passed the test. A pretty weld boosted your score.
Most of the coupons were pretty rusty; they spent 5 years in a bag behind my mom’s house before I discovered them during a clean up. The fluxcore coupon pictured above (two pieces of 1/4″ plate stuck together with a MIG welding wire that requires no sheilding gas) cleaned up well.
Jim Rumsey and the students from the Agricultural Engineering department were really cool and inclusive. I got to judge a high school welding competition, learned to drive a tractor, and attended the department’s graduation activities. I got a lot more out of that relationship than some college credit.
The WCAE was a great place to learn to weld but they also offered many other classes including small engines and plastics fabrication. For our final project in the former, my partners and I rehabilitated a 35hp 2 cylinder engine and a rusty old three wheeler and mated the two together. Unfortunately the TA thought the vehicle might be unsafe and we never actually got to ride it (the TA described the five fold increase in horsepower as “dangerous”, which to us meant “fun”). One of my other projects, a work hardened steel sword, also got squashed, so I spent the rest of my year on recumbent bikes instead.
With a past like that, I suppose it was inevitable I’d keep finding ways to motors onto bikes.
February 24th, 2009 by peter
Well the new HybridMojo.com site is up. Looking forward to expanding the site and business in the coming months.