Archive for July, 2021

Distracted. Again…

Every few weeks the workshop at work receives a large delivery of “scrap” bikes. These are quickly sorted into two piles; the quick and the dead. The “quick” are refurbished and cleaned up for sale, and the “dead” are cannibalised with the frames sold as scrap and parts reused to refurbish other bikes.

I need a new project like I need a hole in the head, so naturally myself and a colleague always go hunting through the “dead” pile to find any lost causes that may be repairable. I’ve been looking for a potential new commuting/touring bike to restore in the same way as the one I worked on with Elder Son a few years ago, which is now my main transport for the approximately 150k (90 miles) of riding to work and back each week.

Elder Son has been known to make the occasional hint about ownership of the bike, and Beautiful Daughter, who is about 1m (3′) tall but never lacking ambition, is also eyeing it up for future cycle tours. Also, in an entirely novel experience for your correspondent, I’ve found the rebuilt bike a little small compared to the other bikes I ride.

So when I found this rather dishevelled looking frame in the Scrap pile, I marshalled my excuses and rescued it to see if I could make it work.

So far it looks likely: the frame seems to be the essential Chromoly, a steel alloy which allows frame makers to use less material and make the frame lighter, and it has most of the fittings I want on a touring/commuter bike, so now the slow gradual search for parts will begin, along with much dithering about the really important question: what colour should it be?

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Exciting investigations into cellulose based model making continue, partly because I have a habit of not being able to put a job down until it’s finished.

It isn’t bad from a distance; at least it doesn’t shout “cereal packet” as loudly as I thought it would. unfortunately seen close up it is a bit more obvious: cheap card will only react one way to moisture or glue and where it didn’t separate like a fan it still has a pretty dodgy surface. On the other hand I really underestimated the stability of layers of card, and the sides and ends look like they should be fitted to a tank. This skip isn’t going to warp or anything similar, but this meant I couldn’t make any of the “dents” and wrinkles I was planning to add; believe me I tried, with a variety of tools.

Also, if it existed in real life it would require half a steelworks output to make one and the finished skip would bend cranes. Overall, it seems better card and lighter construction is the way to go.

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Long and the short…

While I continue to get used to the new work schedule and cycling three times the distance to work and back, here’s another drawing for possible carriages on the Körschtalbahn.

For long distance passenger services German railways have used a bewildering number of very similar designs and sub-designs based on the same general theme, which is repeated all over Europe, so I made a general generic “shrunk” version including some of the features I liked.

Once again I wasn’t sure whether a long or short version would be better, so I drew both. There’s about enough length in the proposed model station to fit three of each in the platforms, so it’s a question of appearances rather than a practical decision.

I will now spend ages making a decision on what to use and maybe, just maybe, actually get something built at some point…

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Test box

I’m still waiting for the money tree to recover from a gap between previous and current job, and in an effort to do something interesting while not being too taxing on brain capacity or finances I decided to try to make a new container model from card, because card is free, especially when it’s essentially old cereal packets, and as a card carrying (ahem) Luddite I have a strange fascination for making things out of low tech or discarded materials.

Besides, if I can get this to work, I could try making card carriages and print the colour scheme on the outside, which opens up possibilities for interesting colour schemes.

This qualifies as “really quite exciting” for someone like me.

After a bit of googling I decided that the Körschtalbahn could reasonably have a contract carrying scrap; inward as raw materials, outwards as processed/shredded metal. This also meant a good excuse for some seriously battered containers, so I could see how the card reacted to being weathered, and also hide all the inevitable mistakes quite handily.

I’m not sold on the idea as yet: I have to use a lot of superglue to make the car behave, and it still needs a coat of primer, as seen above, which rather diminishes the smug eco-friendly glow from using recycling materials. Maybe it would work better if I use better quality card? I’m sure I ‘recycled’ a sheet or two from somewhere, possibly even with the owners permission.

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Catching up.

Work is getting busy at the moment, and combined with the new commute over the last month, energy levels are dipping and I’m getting behind on things like blogging. I’ll catch up soon, just bear with me for a bit.

An example of a project at work. We have a group of Syrian refugees, and the day includes about 3 hours of practical work. This week we are making a “honeycomb” display for the local tourist information centre to sell local products, notably honey and beeswax candles.

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