Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eternal Optimists

I'm always amused by the condition reports at Hardwood Hills. I love skiiing there and the people are always great but to call the condition reports optimistic would be a gross understatement. I have a screen shot I grabbed from the live webcam this morning along with the report.

Now, it says that they did not groom last night due to warm weather and soft conditions, but they are open for classic and skate skiing today. This all makes sense but, the conditions are listed as wet snow while the picture on the cam shows full inches of standing water pretty much everywhere around the chalet.

I do believe that you might be better off with a snorkel and flippers than skiis and poles on a day like this. It looks like the season is done now as after a cold blip tomorrow, we are back up to double digit day time highs and positive night time lows. Bring on the bikes and boards - let the summer begin.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Well it has been a bit since I have posted anything but I recently took possession of the parts that I designed for 3D prototyping. The first is shot is of a line up of the three different mounts that I designed. Hopefully I can start testing them out soon. From left to right they are the bar mount, head mount, and helmet mount.

This next shot is of the head mount with the light attached. All of these pictures are quite crappy and out of focus. I'll get better ones sometime in the future. There will be a velcro and elastic harness that will go around your head.

This is the helmet mount which will also have a velcro attachment.

The next two are of the bar mount that will be fixed with a couple o-rings going around the bar and hooking on the saddle horn looking tabs. The second also shows the two ends of the connectors that I got from deal extreme. They close and separate with a nice sealing pop sound.

There are a few small changes that I will make to the mounts but overall I am super happy with how they came out. Time and testing will reveal what other changes if any will need to be made for reliability purposes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Helmet Mount v1.0

Here are a couple shots of the helmet mount so far. Again I'm not sure how the rigidity will be with these dim's until I see it for real. Now I just need to do the bar mount and then send away to get them. So far these are around $10 bucks a piece. Not too bad for 3D prototyping it seems to me.

I am hoping to be able to apply a silicone or urethane layer on the underside of the flattish area so that it won't slip in use. We'll see how well that works.

Head Mount v1.0

I am finding a bit of time to put into the light project and am working on various mounts for the lighting unit shown in the previous post. It is mostly just some time on Solidworks.

Here is a picture of the 3D model as it stands for now. The thin connecting parts are designed to flex and allow the mount to conform to the shape of ones cranium while still providing a solid and stable support for the light. We will see how well my guesses at thicknesses turn out and most likely need at least a version 2.0. I have uploaded it to Shapeways and will order once I have made a helmet and bar mount as well so I can save on shipping charges. The other mounts shouldn't take as much effort or time.

Here is another screen grab from the assembly model in Solidworks. All the detail has not been modelled on the light as it has so far not been necessary.

I will continue to post more as progress allows. I need to get out and ride my bike a bit more too before the snow flies.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Manufacturing Project

Here are a few shots of my current project where I get to exercise my brain. It is going to be a lighting system for biking and skiing. It will be completed in collaboration with brother Cam who is working on the electronics end.

The first shot shows the cooling area at the back and the LED cluster mounted in the recess without any optics other than just the clear acrylic cover for protection. All of the circumferential holes are just for lightening and hopefully they don't slow down heat transfer too much.

This next view shows the back with the lightening holes in the cooling fins and the front with the 18 deg. spread lens in place behind the acrylic cover. The screw sticking radially out the side will be for mounting the unit to a helmet or bar mount.

The overall dimensions are 30 mm in diameter and a little less than that in length. In operation so far it gets too hot to hold but not too hot to touch. I think that it is not yet working at full power as the voltage of my packs is a little less than ideal for the buck puck regulator that I am using. Anyway further updates will come as advances warrant...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lookout Bambi!

This is just to show a few photos of the mountain bike transporter (my car) after an early morning run in with a deer.

Tuesday morning last week under the growing glow in the eastern sky on a dark country road south of Barrie, I had a deer run out in front of the car from the left. I managed to slow before an unavoidable impact that sent the deer off to the right towards the ditch. It was a real surprise that initially left me wondering if it had indeed occurred. After a couple hundred metres, my buckled hood confirmed my suspicions and I pulled over in the darkness. While the damage was extensive, there was no rad fluid leaking so I carried on to school and then later drove the car back to Barrie to a local body shop. There was no sign of the deer other than the hair left on my license plate holder so it's fate remains unknown.

$5600 later I am due to get the car back tomorrow. That will be great as I surely miss the hatch back and bike rack. The Hyundai Sonata that I got as a rental was okay but not to my bike related tastes. The trunk would barely hold a fully dissambled hard tail. - Weak sauce...

Below are a couple pictures showing the front end damage.

At least it enabled nice easy access to fill the wiper fluid.

That there be deer hair...

Maybe through some miracle the deer made it out alright but I suspect otherwise. In any case my advice would be to avoid large mammals when piloting a motor vehicle as they can do some real damage.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One by Nine

This is just a short blurb to show my handy work from the summer when I converted my bike to a 1 x 9 setup. I had been thinking about it for a while and I had a worn out drive train and XT chainrings are expensive so it was the perfect opportunity.

The setup is based on an e-13 / mrp BB mount type with a guide like I saw on the Specialized website. It has a plate that clamps between the out board bearing cup of the bottom bracket and the bottom bracket shell of the frame. It allows for vertical adjustment of the actual guide to accommodate different size chainrings and a couple spacers to allow for different offsets of the chain line depending on the model of ring. Right now I am using either a 32 or 34 tooth Salsa ring for MTB and a 36 tooth Black Spire for 'cross. The whole thing weighs around 45 gms and allowed me to drop at least a pound of derailleur, shifter, and cable off my bike and I swear it is slightly noticeable.

It functions like a dream and I have never dropped my chain once so this would now definitely be my preferred setup. It cleans up the bar and simplifies shifting while still providing all the gearing range I need for 99% of my riding.

I made the whole thing with only a hack saw, drill, files, and a router. Not bad I dare say. I like to imagine what I could do with a milling machine. Actually I suppose I did use my lathe to get the spacers to an accurate size. Anyway there is not much I could think of changing other than to make it prettier and shorten the screws so they don't stick out the back so far.

The pictures below were taken at the end of my last bike race so there is a little mud but not too bad. The photos themselves are horrendously out of focus so I evidently need to learn how to manually focus my compact camera. The ground is in lovely sharp focus but the actual subject matter is at least 6 beers blurry. This was not identifiable on the camera's screen so I didn't realize when I took the shot. I will try to take another that looks better later.

One interesting thing to note about this setup is that now when I am on my road bike, I always forget to use my front shifter and regularly find myself cross chained from rings to cassette. This is of course not ideal but I imagine it is just an adjustment to ride two different ways.