Dieselpunk bicycle fender

My daughter loves her new bike. My daughter loves wearing skirts over bicycle shorts. My daughter’s skirts touch the rear wheel and get dirty. I built a rear fender for her bike.

I used aluminum flashing, overlapping three sheets.

I attempted to spot weld them together, but this was too powerful. Mostly, I melted holes through the flashing.

This turned out to be a good way to “drill” holes.

Which I then bored out with an awl and used pop rivets to fasten.


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Custom Car Door Pull Strap

Sunny Los Angeles is hell on plastic car parts. Sure, nothing rusts, which is nice, but my fifteen year old VW Passat is crumbling, bit by bit. The latest piece to go was the interior front passenger door pull handle.

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Rather than hit the salvage yard or eBay for a proper part, I decided to replace it with a leather strap. I cut a scrap down to size, punched holes in the ends and screwed them in. I had lost one of the stock handle screws, and oddly enough the first proper sized screw I came across in my workshop was the quick-release wheel screw assembly from an old French bicycle. So, that’s why you’ll see a little aluminum cam handle peeking out.

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The longer I keep this car, the more it will look like a pirate ship.

Drill Roast coffee roaster

Here’s a bit of info on my previous coffee roasting rig from a few years ago. It started life as a steel popcorn popping pot, which is just like a stovetop cooking pot, but has a hinged lid and handle mounted hand crank mechanism to turn a paddle at the bottom of the pot and agitate the beans.

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I drilled a small hole in the lid and fed in a thermocouple probe from my multimeter to measure temperature. I used the gas side burner on my outdoor grill for roasting — there is simply too much smoke to roast this way indoors.

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This worked well, but I wanted to make the 15-20 minute process less physically taxing! So, I took apart the hand crank mechanism and I grafted a power drill directly onto the shaft of the pot’s paddle. By wiring down the trigger at a slow speed, I could sit back and enjoy watching the coffee roast itself.

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Ultimately, this method still produces quite a bit of unevenness in the roast, so I eventually abandoned it for a purpose-built home roasting machine, the Behmor 1600. But, it was a fun period in the evolution of my coffee roasting process that I wanted to share.

Dangerous power adapter

From the this-is-a-terrible-idea-but-I’m-going-to-do-it-anyway department:

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I’m in Zürich this week visiting the Disney Research lab and I forgot to bring plug adapters for my Macbook. No problem, this is why I carry thick vague copper wire in my bag and check a multitool in my luggage.

Please don’t try this at home. Or in a hotel.