It's been too long since I have posted anything here. My conscience aches with guilt -in spite the low number of people who can even be bothered to read past the first page. I thought that I really should relieve my discomfort by giving a brief summary of some of the things I have been doing.
  • Motorcycle lift...The ongoing saga! How many hours I have spent, the abundant help from my mate Marcus in providing advice and machining some parts to tweak the ram which failed to slow its descent back to earth. We found the sub standard engineering work of the (now obsolete) lift. Its closest cousin is made by Clarke (the CM1 model), although mind was not branded when I bought it over 14 years ago... So, we found that the pin that releases the oil gallery to drain down was offset from the centre by 1mm. Marcus kindly machine a new thrust rod with a new tapered pin that now is threaded into the end of the rod 1mm from the centre. It has a pin at the side which has to be carefully rotated at 12 O'clock to align it correctly. This made the release action a little smoother, it was rubbing against the side of the port where the pin moves in and out. The lift (in American 'the table') still drops like a stone. I was impatient to get my 1994 R1100RS onto it to begin preparation for its sale so I slid the smaller bike lift underneath and used that to raise the front end - better than nothing. In the meantime, I raised the problem on a forum and a kind samaritan contacted me because he had a CM1 lift like mine, had the same issue. He suggested I unscrew and remove the lowering adjuster 'bolt/throttle' (I tried adjusting it already to no avail)... and drop a ball bearing in. I have been unable to do this to date as the BMW is in the way. We were not sure what size bearing but I have a set of multiple sized ball bearings to try. I dread not being able to get a mis-sized bearing out if required, they are not very magnetic as they are hardened steel, probably any magnet would get stuck on the sides before grabbing the bearing to get it out and try another. I envisage having to dismantle the lift again to get the ram out (for the 5th time...)and turn it upside down... perhaps with an assistant I could turn the whole thing over - might be easier. Enough rambling - I will post the outcome! Hopefully this would help any other poor soul with the same problem. A YouTube  might be best to do this....
  • I still have the Yamaha Téneré XT660z as my everyday transport, last summer, we travelled up to John O'Groats together without any problems. It is 1000 miles from the north cape to central London where I live, the return journey was exhausting, the last leg was 600 miles from Loch Ness where I stayed overnight. Its a great bike - a real all-rounder but not a high speed motorway cruiser. On a large bike it is absolutely fine to hold it at 85 if you really need t get a move on but the Ten struggles over 75 and you feel quite vulnerable. Some owners push the the single pot engine to top 100 but I don't, I want to look after her (and me)., so 65MPH is more realistic. I have a Kahedo seat(manufacturer for Touratech) - it was recovered and padded to a flat profile, so much more comfortable. My legs are long enough to reach the ground. It's a tall bike. I will just say one thing about the beautiful dry trip, do not travel up round the eastern coastal route... it has too many caravans and cars annoying the locals. Travel up though the middle! It is one of the few places in the British Isles that comes close to a wilderness. 40 miles of heather along a thin strip of road - an 'A' road! Please try it - you will not regret it.
So, some more of the projects I have been engaged in; yes, multiple 'research' do projects pile up, some more finished than others, I say research because they are ventures that are mainly to teach myself, push myself and perhaps get fun into the mix.
  • CNC Conversion of Sieg mini milling machine powered by O-Drives. Huge learning curve, including learning how to operate the mill properly first to machine the parts to build out the CNC. Massive thanks to Neil Devonshire who I am supporting on Patreon. 
  • Snagged a little 1920's lathe at a car boot sale in Hexham. (Fitted a new chuck backplate, industrial sewing machine motor and 3" chuck, quick change tool post etc. fitted.) It is a solid little worker, loads of gears, I think they may be from other lathe(s). I identified it as a RandA Lathe rebadged from a shop in Newcastle were a great source of information.
  • Set up and am optimising a Helium LORA miner, making antennas, learning to use Nano VNA V2 investigating amplifiers as well, assembling a rooftop solar panel powered installation... it is a Bobcat and took 7 months to arrive, It has generated £70 in the last month!
  • Venturing into more AI research using a Nvidia K80 Tesla graphics card. 3D printed a 10cm fan to cool it down.
  • Improvements to various incarnations of War driving devices, moving on from my Pwnagotchis to a more efficient and portable version with real-time clock and GPS to upload to WiGLE...
  • Building a NAS from a NanoPi M4 (not Raspberry) - Its a great little computer, I have set up 3.5 Tb of backup storage with RAID2.
  • I Failed miserably early on in the lockdown, trying to grow psilocybin mushrooms, it's really too difficult without an expensive and huge Hepa filter setup. Many days wasted and I gave up on that one...
On the domestic front, an ongoing purge of useless and unwanted junk from all parts of the house. I am a terrible hoarder but I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Constant maintenance issues, fixing RCD tripping (2 visits from electrician who didn't do his job and find the solution), I did. Customising bookshelves for my wife's office, using remaining parts to add more storage in my workshop, building enclosures around pipework in back of garage, redecorating and refinishing damaged floors post flood on ground floor, on and on...


I might do a write-up one some of the projects above if the mood takes me… Thank goodness the ADHD meds help me focus (obsessively) but I do get relentless tempting ideas that keep popping up! 

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