Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

’78 International Harvester Scout II, Part 6 (I think, it’s been so long since the last one)

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2015 at 9:32 pm

I think it has been about 9 months since the last update.   I have in fact done some work on the truck.  I just didn’t finish anything until today.  Scratch that, I did get the reverse lights hooked up within a couple days of the last update.  I also did start to tear down the motor.  I got the accessories removed included all the stuff for the non-working air conditioning system.  At some point I might add AC back to the truck but the system that was on the truck didn’t work.  Considering I don’t own a roof for the Scout, air conditioning is probably not all that important right now.   I also got the radiator, radiator fan, pulleys, water pump housing, and the water pump pulled.   Finally I started to take the actual motor apart and discovered that the gaskets where just fine.  The vacuum leaks existed because none of the bolts where torqued down properly.   I never even thought to check that before ordering the gaskets and seals.   I probably could have just torqued everything down and been good.  At this point though I had the head covers and intake manifold removed so I decided I would clean up and paint what I removed already.  I replaced the gaskets for everything I had pulled off as well.   I took the parts and brackets in to work to use the sand blaster and get everything cleaned up nice.  I bought black and orange engine enamel to paint everything with.  As it turns out I really hate the orange and it doesn’t appear to be sticking very well on the cast parts either.

In the middle of this I got a full time job and tried to keep my part time job as well as going to school full time.  Needless to say, I ran out of time to work on the Scout and the gathering inertia was lost.  I ended up quiting the part time job fairly quickly but still spent about 65 hours a week (and almost all of my day time hours) at work and school.   Parts languished on my work bench waiting for me to get the time and energy back to continue working on the Scout.

Recently my schedule has changed enough that I have time off during the day and I started working on reassembly.  I got everything except the radiator and associated hoses reinstalled over the last few weeks. I wanted to finish everything up and start the truck last weekend but I got the flu.  Despite running a pretty good fever I still tried to get everything organized so that I would be ready to start putting everything together first thing this weekend.  Working while running a fever turns out to have been a mistake as I threw one of the new radiator hoses away and kept an old one.  A quick trip to NAPA this morning fixed that problem and I installed the radiator and hoses today.

Despite sitting for the last 9 months without head covers, intake manifold, water pump/housing, alternator, thermostat, radiator, and all the belts and hoses the Scout started up first time and sounded strong.   I do have some coolant leaks that need to be fixed but the truck is alive again.  Hopefully this time I can keep that inertia going.


Project Ruckus – Part 4 coke can tuning

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2015 at 11:06 pm

I needed a new air filter for the Ruckus.  The old one is pretty dirty.  I knew that eventually I was going to put a K&N intake/air cleaner on the bike. Rather than buy a regular air filter now and then buy another air filter (the K&N) in the near future I just bought the K&N now.  I was told that I would have to re-jet the carburetor if I added an intake with higher air flow.  (A carburetor has a number of fuel nozzles called jets, that can be changed to allow more fuel into the intake airstream.) Of course I ignored that.  I’m still not 100% sure that re-jetting is necessary.  At the very least though, adjusting the fuel/air mixture is necessary and it takes a special tool to do that on this carb.  I don’t have that tool. (yet.) So running the new K&N is problematic.  I spent my morning trying a tip I read on one of the Ruckus forums.  That tip was to use a strip of aluminum can and place it over the end of the intake pipe under the air filter.

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I tried a number of sizes between 10 and 20 mm wide.  I ultimately ended up with one that was about 15 mm wide.  It ran fine in the parking lot at that size.  I decided that I would ride home from work with it set up this way.  I kept the stock filter and airbox in my backpack as well as some hand tools as insurance.  The first couple of miles it went ok.  I lost a couple of mph as my top speed seemed to be about 34 (down from 37).  At around the 2 mile mark the aluminum strip started to tear apart under the stress from the incoming air.  For a couple of seconds the bike ran great and top speed jumped to about 38.  Then the aluminum tore threw the rest of the way and the bike leaned out and died.  This tells me that the strip was too wide and the mixture was a bit rich.  It also tells me that strips of a soda can will not handle the stress of being an air-dam in the intake.  I pulled the bike into an empty lot and swapped the stock airbox back onto the bike and rode the rest of the way home.  Oh well, no guts no glory.

I decided to just bite the bullet and order the rest of the planned power adders and a re-jet kit so that I can put everything on and just re-jet the carburetor one time.  I will put the parts that don’t require any carb work on first so that we will be able to see what effect they will have on the bike’s performance on their own.  This includes a variator kit and new kevlar belt.  The variator is a type of continuously variable transmission that is used on the Ruckus.  I also ordered some stronger clutch springs to compliment the variator upgrade.  After getting some data on how that works I will install the new exhaust and reinstall the K&N.  I will then do the carburetor tuning (I ordered the fuel/air mixture adjustment tool) and hopefully get the jetting figured out.  Finally I have a new computer (CDI) that will get installed.  It will remap some of the timing curve and raise the rev limiter.  Because I have a used 2003 ECU in my bike the rev limiter is at 8000 rpm.  The CDI will get rid of that and set it too 10800.  I believe that is what the limiter is set at on 2006 and newer ECU’s already.  And that will be the end of the power upgrades.  I will still need to extend the chasis frame so there is a bit more leg room and change the handle bars to some drag style bars.  I also plan on upgrading the front drum brake to a disc brake and upgrading the suspension.  So that’s the road map for the future.  See ya next time.

Project Ruckus – Part 2 Putting it all together

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2015 at 10:05 pm

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This is what my Ruckus looked like when I began the day.  In theory I had a working ECU to plug in and the rest of the parts and their associated bolts and screws where included in the pile of stuff the motorcycle shop had given me.  Plugging in the ECU and connecting the rest of the wiring harness was pretty easy.  As it turns out I’ve either missed one though or have a bulb that is burned out as the turn signal indicator on the dash doesn’t blink to let me know I have the blinkers on.  I will have to sort that out at some point.  The trickiest bit was just figuring out what order parts needed to be assembled.  Honda used a minimum of fasteners and so parts build on top of each other and get assembled with the just a few bolts that are common to a number of parts.  I only had about 8 bolts to and a couple of screws but they were all installed and removed 2 or 3 times each until I got it all figured out.

The front body panels started out life orange.  Apparently the previous owner didn’t like the orange that much as they had painted one of the panels black, badly.  Then they put stickers on it.  The stickers were removed but none of the residue was.


I gave it a quick sanding and hit it with some more black paint and a satin clear coat.  It probably should have been gloss to go with the rest of the paint but I was using what I already had.  At some point the bike frame will be powder coated black and the body panels and some add on stuff will be olive drab.  But for now black and orange is fine.


While the paint was drying I went to the local gas station and got some fresh gas to use.  Once I returned I reassembled the last body panel and filled up the tank.  It took a few minutes of trying to get the engine to run and about 10 minutes of running on idle before it would keep running if you gave it any throttle.  Finally it got everything cleared out and ran without issues.  It does need a new air filter as the old one is very dirty.  I am assuming it will need an oil change and a new fuel filter as well.  I will get all of those done in the next week or so.  I tried to do them today but none of the motorcycle shops near by are open on Sundays.

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The top end with me on the it is about 37 mph right now.  It accelerates ok up to about 25-27 and then takes a little while to get up to 35ish.  If you start out with 100% throttle from a stop it bogs a bit on launch but if you use a little patience it takes off just fine.  I think a basic tune up will help with this a bit.  It will never be fast.  I do plan on doing some performance work to it but 45-50 is probably the best case top speed in my plans.  If I can reliably hit 45 then I will be happy.

One of the things that needs more immediate attention is some mods to make the Ruckus more comfortable to me.  I will try making some spacers this week to fit between the front and back halves of the frame.  This will give me another 1.5 inches of room.  Also new handle bars are a must.   I will be replacing the stock plastic floor pan with one made from metal tubing that include foot pegs in the front.  In the mean time I bought some bicycle foot pegs today and installed them in the stock frame holes in back.  You can see them in this photo.


I also want to get a kick stand.  The center mounted stand is a bit of a pain to have to use every time.  A front disc brake kit is also going to be installed sooner rather than later.  The brakes work eventually but they are anything but strong right now.  I guess that is about it for now.  I have enjoyed driving it around town today.  You have to embrace slow when you ride it, but if you can do that it is a lot of fun.

Project Ruckus – Part 1 The Buying Experience

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2015 at 6:30 pm

I have been looking at buying a scooter or small motorcycle for use as a commuter bike for the last year or so.  For most of the last year I had been working one town over and had to traverse either 65 or 55 mph roads depending on the route taken.  This meant that my favorite looking scooter, the Honda Ruckus was out of the picture.  I looked and looked and even went and sat on some bikes and scooters and didn’t really find anything in my price range that I fit on and liked (I am 6’2″ and around 195 lbs.)  So I didn’t get anything.

Situations change, my new job has a commute of 3 miles and is just across town with speed limits maxing out at 35 mph.  I realized this a few days ago and started thinking seriously about getting a Ruckus.   While perusing Craigslist I ran across a Ruckus with a lot of work done and a note at the bottom saying that the work was performed at a shop in Sunnyvale called Battle Scooter.   (Turns out this a pretty well know shop nationally within the Ruckus scene.)  One of my coworkers is a huge scooter fan.  He owns a couple of scooters and a noped (a moped without peddles).  He also lives in San Jose.  I asked him if he had heard of Battle Scooter.  His reply “That is a good friend of mine.  We rode Ruckuses to Colorado together, including about 500 miles of interstate.”

Background check done, I decided that I would drive up to Battle Scooter and pick their brains about how realistic a Ruckus is for somebody my size and what sort of work I should think about doing on to one on the performance side of things.  Unfortunately when I got to Sunnyvale the shop was closed as Jason was out helping a customer so I ran over to my coworkers house to check out his noped.  He let me drive it around the hills above San Jose for a while and enjoy the great weather while I waited on Jason to get back to his shop.


Turns out it is pretty easy to make the necessary changes to a Ruckus to accommodate my height.  While we were talking about my budget Jason suggested that I run over to a local motorcycle shop as they had a Ruckus that was running that I could probably pick up cheap.  He said that he had been called over to diagnose the problem and it was a bad ECU.  He thought that I could probably pick it up for a lot less if it wasn’t running than if I waited on them to fix it.

I ran over the motorcycle shop and looked at the Ruckus, it looked like it was in decent shape (despite being in a few pieces) and looked to be completely stock.  It had about 2500 miles on it and was 2011 model.  I asked what they wanted for it.  They hemmed and hawed for a while saying they really wanted to fix it themselves and they would probably be asking about $2200 for it.  I pushed a little more and was told that if I was willing to pay what they had into it I could walk out the door with it that day.   They paid $1250 for it auction and had replaced the key and ignition for another $250.  That was what they had originally guessed was the problem.  They had also put a new battery on it.  I offered $1500 and they took it.  We got it loaded it in the back of the truck and I headed back over to Battle Scooter.  While I was off buying the Ruckus he had a customer come in to get a tire mounted.  The customer had done a motor swap on his Ruckus recently and had the original ECU for sale if I was interested.  It was for an earlier model but Jason thought it should work with mine without problems.  He called the customer and was told to send me over tho his shop (a t-shirt and sticker printing business in Fremont.)

When I got to the t-shirt shop they had the back door open and I could see they had a barber chair (with a guy getting his hair cut), one ruckus getting a disc break upgrade and about 5 others that had been heavily modified.  After comparing the old wiring harness to mine we settled on a price of $40 for his old ecu.  I loaded everything up and headed home.  If I had waited one more day to get run up to San Jose my Ruckus would have fixed and the price would have gone up $700 dollars.  I spent $1500 plus $40 for the ecu.   Next update will be putting it all together and seeing if it runs.  Fingers crossed.


Death of a Salesman (by which I mean my 3d printer)

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2015 at 2:22 am

My Prusa i3 3d printer is finally dead.  I had ordered a new RAMPS card and motor controllers for it.  When I got everything assembled the motors didn’t want to move.  Occasionally they would move one step but mostly they just made noise without any movement.  My cousin and I flashed the firmware on the card and adjusted the POTS to the correct voltage (the POTS are on the motor controllers and control the voltage that goes to the individual motors.)  We tried the new RAMPS on the old Arduino Mega.  We tried the old RAMPS on a new Arduino Mega.  We tried the new RAMPS on the new Arduino Mega.  We tried both sets of motor controllers.  In the end we got a loud snap and let some of the blue smoke out.  We couldn’t see what fried but the printer wouldn’t even show the LCD display anymore.  It would light up but none of the display options would appear.  The new Arduino board still appears to be functioning so it is probably the new RAMPS board that is dead.  The old RAMPS and the old Arduino were also toast as was apparent early in our testing.  As of 3 PM on the Ides of March I called it.  The printer was dead.  I have had nothing but trouble with it for over a year now.  I’ve replaced pretty much everything except the wooden frame.  I am done throwing money at this one.  If I get a new one, it will probably be a delta style printer.  I’ve started looking but probably won’t pull the trigger for a couple of weeks at the earliest.  Depending on what comes up in the next couple of weeks I might not buy one again then either.

’78 International Harvester Scout 2, part 6A

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2015 at 1:10 am

I’m not sure this is really worthy of calling part 6 but it is the beginning of the next stage of work so I guess we will jump there rather than keep updating 5.  Having said that….   let’s update the part 5 projects first.  I got the reverse lights hooked up.20150115_171241 20150115_172539

The photo on the left shows the plug for the reverse light switch on the transmission.  The other photo shows the lights on.  Brilliant!  🙂  I do need to route the wires from the plug a little bit better.  They need to be tucked up in the dash or tidied up some in the engine bay.  Right now they just run through the firewall and droop down in the engine bay before running under the firewall to the transmission.  I haven’t decided where they will end up yet so for now, they will just have to stay where they are.

Anyway on to pulling everything out of the engine bay to replace gaskets.  Up to this point I have not opened up the motor.  I have just removed accessories.  The radiator, radiator fan and the rest of the AC equipment have been taken out.  The alternator and associated brackets have been removed and the water pump, housing, and pulleys have been taken out as well as the thermostat and it’s housing.  Everything has been cleaned up and painted.  The radiator needs to be replaced and the water pump housing needs a repair.

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As you can see on the last photo I found where the coolant leak was coming from.  Luckily that connection is threaded so I can just unscrew it and replace it with a new part.  The housing itself is next to impossible to find so I’m very happy that I don’t need to replace the whole thing.   I still need to figure out how to remove the water pipes on the housing so that I can replace the o-rings and gaskets on them.  One of the water pipes is a little bit worn on the end that connects into the block.  I think that I can live with it as the bit that is worn down is past the flange and o-ring and is essentially just the bit that hangs out past them in the hole on the block.  But I might need to replace the water pipe or figure out some way to repair it.  That’s it for now.  Work does continue slowly.  Between class, my new job, some rain, and some extracurricular activities the last few weekends I haven’t had much time for the Scout but I work on it as I find time in between everything else.  The head covers and intake manifold are next.  Depending on what I find I might not open up the motor anymore than that.  I do need to replace the oil pan gasket and the differential gaskets as well though.

Electroplating Copper and Silver onto 3D Prints

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2015 at 11:28 pm

I have been slowly working on a 3d printed chess set. I probably won’t try this with that set, but it is nice to know the option is there.


While researching copper plating graphite for a project, [Dave] stumbled upon a blog post illustrating a brilliant approach to metal plating 3D printed parts.

Our pioneers in this new technique are [Aaron], who runs a jewelry business, and [Bryan], a professor of Digital Media. By mixing graphite powder into an acetone solution, it is possible to make a kind of graphite paint that sticks extremely well to ABS plastic.

Using the graphite painted part as the cathode, and a chunk of copper as the anode, it becomes possible to electroplate the part with a variety of electro-forming solutions. In the first test (seen above), [Bryan] uses a Midas Bright Electro-forming Copper Solution (copper sulfate solution).

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Hacking Education; Project-Based Learning Trumps the Ivory Tower

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2015 at 1:36 am

As somebody who learns best by actually doing, rather than reading about, this makes perfect sense to me.


Project-based learning, hackathons, and final projects for college courses are fulfilling a demand for hands-on technical learning that had previously fallen by the wayside during the internet/multi-media computer euphoria of the late 90’s. By getting back to building actual hardware yourself, Hackers are influencing the direction of education. In this post we will review some of this progress and seek your input for where we go next.

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Lux: A 100% Open Source Camera

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I’m a bit of photographer so this really appeals to me. I might try this.



[Kevin Kadooka] recently finished his open source camera. The Lux Camera is 100% open source. Lux uses no parts from other cameras – not even a lens! To date we’ve only seen this with achieved with pinhole cameras. [Kevin] isn’t new to camera hacking. He was the man behind the Duo camera, which had a successful Kickstarter campaign in February of 2013. Duo is a DIY camera, but it still required lenses from Mamiya-Sekor, and a shutter from Seiko. Lux is a different animal. It has a manual focus 65mm f/5.6 Single Element lens. The shutter is [Kevin’s] own solenoid based leaf shutter design. Just as in the original shutter, an Arduino controls shutter operation and timing.

The main camera body and many of its parts are 3D printed. [Kevin] got some very nice quality parts from Shapeways 3D printing service. We have to say that some of…

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Chasing the Fog

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm

A problem with living somewhere that is always beautiful is that it makes it easy to procrastinate photographing it. “ya, it’s great out there. but it will be exactly the same tomorrow so i’ll take the camera out then instead. i’m just going to watch tv today.” Now that I will be moving at the end of the month my days here are numbered and I know that I have to be out with the camera everyday. Yesterday I was walking back from the laundry room and a bank of fog rolled in out of nowhere. I went and grabbed my camera thinking I could get some cool photos of palm trees in the mist. As I started towards the beach the fog bank receded such that I was always just outside of it. I would see a cool shot and by the time I got the camera up the fog would be gone and the scene would be bathed in sunlight. As I was headed towards the beach everyone else was leaving it. I started seeing people coming out of the fog. All of the joggers where out as well. They were running in and out of the mist. I saw a parallel between me literally chasing the fog and the joggers running towards the fog. My focus shifted and these are the shots I got that I liked. There are 3 shots that turned out more or less as I wanted and one happy accident caused the by the autofocus getting lost in the fog.