The Contraption 2009

Postby Elliot » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:24 pm

karine wrote:Man, they could have had a LOT more fun with that exhaust...

Stand by while I hunt thru my slides.... I know it's in here som...

(a few minutes later)

Hmmm.... The slide is AWOL, but the magazine is right here:
Image

More fun with pipes? There you go! The car was called The Tubester. Everything was... uh... very tubular.
:D
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Postby karine » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:32 pm

"Redd meg! La meg fa bevege meg igjen!"

:D
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Postby Elliot » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:03 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:Awesome! Who else besides me can identify the engine in that '28 - '29 Model A?


That's a tall order, Captain. Most people are not long-time car buffs. But we'll let the contest run a while. Meanwhile, I'd say you have probably hit the nail on the head. :wink:
:D
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Postby fciron » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:01 pm

Elliot wrote:Image

More fun with pipes? There you go! The car was called The Tubester. Everything was... uh... very tubular.
:D


Like, totally tubular, man! Totally!
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Postby Elliot » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:36 pm

:D
What... not "tubular, Dude"? But yes, that was the idea. By chance, "tubular" sort'a translated into a decent Norwegian pun also.


All right, I have translated the article. Since I wrote it originally in Norwegian, for a Norwegian audience, and as entertainment rather than scientific document, there may be minor inaccuracies. Also, the translation was done a bit on the quick side.

I must make clear that Le Chat Noir wrote much of this himself, here on ePlaya, and I merely adapted it.

The second half of the story is scheduled to come out next month.


Here we go:



("California Fax" is the name of my regular monthly column -- my two page playground.)


The Contraption
by Elliot Naess

[Published in AMCAR Magazine, Norway, issue 9/2008.]

Contraption = (several Norwegian approximations)



There is a movement afoot in America. Men in thick aprons of brown leather, with black burn marks. Welding goggles of brass with small round lenses. Men whose right hand is more comfortable with hammer and anvil than with a computer mouse. Men with scorched eyebrows. And they have a knowing grin on their face that tell all other men that they are missing out on something important, no matter how many Corvettes they may have in their garage. Contraptionists. Or Contraptioneers. Makers -- Those Who Make Things.

Matthew Maynard grew up with agriculture and practical mechanical things in the Kentucky countryside, before he became a tool and die maker in a large East Coast city. Soon he mastered computerized machine work as well. But the big city hustle wasn’t Matt’s natural pace, and he always had this gnawing inside him of his artistic talent wanting out. So in the year 2000 he returned to Kentucky and took over an old farm. That’s when the fun began, for on that farm -- which harbored several buildings of varying age and condition, including the former general store in the village of Fox Creek -- sat countless dilapidated agricultural machines, slowly but surely sinking into the ground. Matt liked to stroll around and study these, and today he swears that he could hear them talk to him. “Save me! Let me move around again!â€
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:24 am

Well, the cat is out of the bag…

Paraphrased and approximated through translation, yes… but a fun story none-the-less. And romantic, too!!

Ah, there he stands on the front steps of the old village store with leather apron billowing in the wind; determined look on his face as he turns into the working area that is meant for work and defiantly stares into the eyes of rust and fire. The only thing he loves more that old rusty metal is the taste of Lutefisk.

I’m picturing something out of Mystery Men and somehow, after having met The Herrings, it seems something they’d enjoy reading as much as I did.

I Love it, Elliot. You've made my day with that. Embarrassed me a bit as well, but made me laugh and smile.



Save Me!! Let Me Move Around again!!!

Heh Heh Heh.

Sounds just like what I say to Frau Karine as I try to get out of bed each morning.
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Postby MozyBonz » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:53 am

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Postby Elliot » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:00 pm

:D
...after having met The Herrings, it seems something they’d enjoy reading as much as I did.


Matter of fact, one of the Herring Huggers subscribes to AMCAR, so they will no doubt embarrass you some more when they return to the Playa in 2010.

But for the most serious embarrassment of 2008... did you see the pedal-powered Herring Bar? I built that. :oops:
:lol:
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:51 pm

It was cool.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:02 pm

I'm pretty sure I saw it. The Herrings stopped by the Star Tent and made Mozy earn a "No Nudity" sign.

You got a picture to post?

Of the pedal bar that is.
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Postby Elliot » Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:08 pm

:D
Here's the Herring Bar inside an other, better known, bar.

Image

It's just three bicycles minus their front wheels, attached to a plywood platform with two wheels and two casters. And a bar counter with umbrella. But from what I hear, they had a lot of fun with it.

Riding it is tricky. In 2006, when the Playa surface was firmer, they finally mastered it by the end of the week, and they were able to really make it go then.
The riders need to coordinate their movements quite precicely, as the bikes are connected only at the front. And the actual steering input is not made with the hands, but with the... uh... cheeks. Subtle weight transfer, and then the steering head rake does the rest. After a few spectacular test crashes, I put limiting straps on it, so the center bike can only turn so far. In my defense, I did not design it. The Herring Huggers designed it, and I built it after their sketch.

All right, adding the bar this year was my idea. 8)

There is a new "Herring Bike" in the works. They made elaborate computer drawings and I was supposed to have it ready for 2008. Alas, I did not get it ridable in time. Wound up being too tall and tippy. Next year.

Edit:
I do have a backup plan. I can always bring The Two Ton Tricycle, which has not been to the Playa yet. And it is perfectly suitable for herring fishing! :twisted:
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:D
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Postby Dusza Beben » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:01 pm

Elliot wrote:
Captain Goddammit wrote:Awesome! Who else besides me can identify the engine in that '28 - '29 Model A?


That's a tall order, Captain. Most people are not long-time car buffs. But we'll let the contest run a while. Meanwhile, I'd say you have probably hit the nail on the head. :wink:
:D


LOL, Yep. Hit that nail right on the head he did...
Damn I miss my Buick some days.

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Postby Elliot » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:40 pm

:D
Final answer: The engine is a "Nail Head" Buick -- so nicknamed (derisively) because the valves are on the small side, resembling nails. The one example I'm familiar with was a 322 CID from 1956, but there were other Nail Heads over many years. Easily recognized by the valve covers which are completely horizontal.
:D
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:03 pm

And later popular in 401 c.i.d.
Yep, you guys know your motors!
You can also pick out a 322 - 401 Nailhead immediately at a glance by the distinctive exhaust port spacing; two close together toward front, two at rear.
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Postby Elliot » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:29 pm

:D
And now for something ... less mass produced:

Image

Oh, it’s a model A Ford engine all right, but with a twist...

Image

...a twist provided by one Joe Gemsa who hand whittled a few overhead cam heads for the model A engine.

Bonneville Salt Flats, 1997.
:D
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Postby Elliot » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:05 pm

:D
More hand built Stuff from Bonneville.
This is a V-8 Ford flathead (valves in block) -- the one universally referred to (reverently) as The Flathead. And it is still a flathead, but....
A big problem with the Flathead was the routing of the exhaust ports between the cylinders. Restricted flow and too much heat in one place. One solution was to plug the old ports and cut new openings on the inboard side of the block. But that aimed the exhaust pipes straight at the carbonator. So...

Image


Yep, more fun with pipes!
:D
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Postby Dusza Beben » Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:12 pm

You guys really need to stop taunting me with all these great power plants! I brought up the straight eight a ways back. I'd love to put one in a project but the only thing I've seen them in around here are vehicles that I
A: Can't afford or
B: Would never hack or
C: Both.
I may have mentioned that I want to build something with the design aesthetic of the british cyclecar I posted but have it be capable of highway travel and have ready parts availability for mechanicals.
I want it to have an old timey sound as well so I think that I may have settled on a 1985 or older ford two wheel drive pickup with a 4.9L inline six. Oh yeah, and I need to learn how to weld. :D

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Postby Elliot » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:18 pm

:D
Well, a model A Ford might fit that bill, although it is larger than those tiny British cars. Every part of it is available brand new, and lots of used parts at swap meets. You lower it, and build a simple speedster body out of conduit and canvas.

About the engine, I have this idea that somebody ought to try. The model A engine was around 3 liters -- larger than most four-bangers today. But Porsche/Audi made a 3 liter inline four in the Porsche 924. (Not 100% sure about the number 924. Resembled an overinflated Mazda RX-7.) That four was tilted to the side for under-hood clearance, but I bet it could be set upright with some work on the oil pickup and such. Lower the compression and have the cam reground with shorter duration. That is, duplicate the model A engine with modern hardware. Ought to run like a model A with an overhead valve conversion, and those are easily good for 80 HP. Might sound like it too!
:D
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Postby Toolmaker » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:51 pm

Dusza Beben wrote:You guys really need to stop taunting me with all these great power plants! I brought up the straight eight a ways back. I'd love to put one in a project but the only thing I've seen them in around here are vehicles that I
A: Can't afford or
B: Would never hack or
C: Both.
I may have mentioned that I want to build something with the design aesthetic of the british cyclecar I posted but have it be capable of highway travel and have ready parts availability for mechanicals.
I want it to have an old timey sound as well so I think that I may have settled on a 1985 or older ford two wheel drive pickup with a 4.9L inline six. Oh yeah, and I need to learn how to weld. :D

DB


I'm using a 90 Chevy 4.3 V6 for my build mainly because I know the engine pretty good and can get parts for fair prices. I got the engine running strong and got rid of the 2 1/2 inch exhaust and cat converter and put in a 3 inch. I used a W/T (work truck) model because of the gear ratio on the rear, good for towing and whatnot. Another plus is the heavy duty brakes.. I also swapped out the rear suspension in favor of a 4 over 1 spring. The factory springs were only 2 over 1.. I don't want my platform on top to collapse from participant weight. Right now I'm working on getting the brake system sorted.

The vendor I have been using for parts is lmctruck.com they have stuff for older vehicles so Elliot et al may want to take a peek. They cover Fords as well if memory serves.. If anyone knows of anyone cheaper with an equally large amount of available parts I'd like to know so I can check em out. I also get alot of stuff from junkyards but that can be sorta risky since you don't know when your part will fail.

As far as that old timey sound.. exhaust.. you would be surprised at how many different sounds you can make just by playin with the pipes.
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Postby gyre » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:56 pm

I don't think you need more than 2 and 1/2 on such a small engine.

The ford 4 cylinder is worth considering.
Endless options and it bolts to a T5.
It was available in an aluminum block and many heads.
Built from around 2 litres to 3 litres.

If you want to get crazy, there is an american 12 cylinder with ohc.
I can't locate it online but it is around 7 litres and has a foreign sounding name.
Last I heard it was available fully polished.
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Postby Elliot » Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:45 pm

:D
If you want to get crazy, there is an american 12 cylinder with ohc.
I can't locate it online but it is around 7 litres and has a foreign sounding name.


Not very foreign sounding, but perhaps you are thinking of Falconer? Based on a domestic V-8 and used in boats and aircraft, last I read about it some years ago. Rather out of my budget range, I'm afraid! http://www.falconerengines.com/main.html
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Postby gyre » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:52 pm

Image
It must be the Falconer.
Beautiful engine.
Much more expensive than I remember, but cheap for a 1500 hp aero engine.
It uses a splayed rocker arm design and I thought it was an earlier design with cams.

I know someone running one in a 1200 pound car with 1200 horsepower.
He says it scares him more every time he drives it, instead of less.
I wouldn't mind swapping out my little 408 for this one.

It was designed for racing but was probably too good to use.

Someone came up with a twincam 4 valve per cylinder head for american V-8s but I haven't seen them for awhile.
I guess the high rpm valvetrains like the Jesel made them mostly unnecessary.

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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:03 pm

I think we are reaching the point where I can no longer participate in the thread.
Best of luck, LeChat.
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Postby Elliot » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:15 pm

:D
A bit of thread drift, yes. But all to keep bouncing all kinds of ideas around.

Found a shot that shows the layout of the Herring Bar better.

Image

An abomination, yes! :lol:

:D
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Postby gyre » Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:36 am

A highly entertaining vehicle.
Does it play three stooges theme music?


Drift is kind of integral to all this.
How else does anyone think of things like this?
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Postby Elliot » Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:18 am

:D
Yes, it was very much a Three Stooges / slapstick cartoons kind of vehicle. When testing it at home, we had the three bikes -- and their riders -- all folded over in a pile more than once! The original design from the Herring Huggers in 2006 had no bar, just a platform with a chair where the fourth man sat with a super soaker. I added the bar in 2008, and it appears to have been a success. Very high Fun-To-Cost ratio! :lol:

The new "herring cycle" for 2010 (possible sneak preview in 2009) is different. Essentially four unicycles mounted in rotating gimbals or turrets in a large circular frame. The trick is to coordinate the travel directions of all four wheels. I already built a crude three wheeled version, but it tipped over too easily. Wider and lower and with four wheels, it should work fine. Of course, I'm including latches, controlled with bicycle brake levers, that can hold the wheels parallell to make sure the silly thing is ridable at all!
Also, the design entails a very high risk of "taco'ing" the wheels, so I'm now looking for four sturdy alloy motorcycle wheels, rather than the wire-spoked ones.
Sorry, nothing worth photograhing yet, and I already dismantled the three-wheeled version.

But I will soon have a picture or two of my efforts to invent a chain gang transmission, which might even apply to Le Chat Noir's Contraption.
:D
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:44 am

This is by nature a technical thread.

Hey Elliot, how about some of those BMX bike mag wheels? I had a set on a bike that we ran over with a '68 Chevy C20 Longhorn. The bike was wrecked but those wheels were fine. That was in 1982. I still have them on one of my bikes today.
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Postby Elliot » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:02 am

:D
Sounds like those were quite sturdy! Plastic ones? I have some of those here. But I think we ought to have bigger tires on this thing. There must be lots of "Ninja" style bikes in the wrecking yards with fat rear tires and the front fork underneath the engine.
:D
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Postby LeChatNoir » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:51 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:I think we are reaching the point where I can no longer participate in the thread.
Best of luck, LeChat.


When they start talking engine specifics and types, it's over my head too Fishy. Don’t feel bad. I just sit back and try to figure out what the hell they’re talkin’ about and enjoy the show.

I saw some giant, rusty steel wheeled thing heading down the road today, riding on a trailer being towed by a junky looking truck. I ‘bout broke my neck to catch a glimpse. From the looks of the set up, I figure it was headed to the scrap yard. *sigh*

Saw several 60' high vertical steam engines on the Farnsworth tonight too. In the Sloss Furnacesin Birmingham, Alabama. At one time they powered blowers for the furnaces. 20' diameter flywheels that, when running, whirled at about 35 rpm (so the guy on the show said).

I think I gotta head south sometime soon.
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Postby bigbluedoggy » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:02 am

Hey LCN! Just browsed thru the Sloss site and it looks like a cool way to spend a few hours! Haven't been to Birmingham in about 25+ years though. Maybe I'm due for a trip...
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