Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Boat Notes

Boats are interesting beasts.  I've lived around them (and sometimes on them) for most of my life.  I'm a "chicagoian" so my body of water is Lake Michigan.  Though I've put a lot of time in on the Chain of Lakes, and Lake Geneva. 

Most of my boating experience has been with medium size fast cruising boats.  Sedan-Bridge models mostly.  The first, my dad owned, was a Sea Ray 270 Sedan Bridge. 

I had some experience before that, my grandfather got out of airplanes, and moved to houseboats. 

My dad moved up, and over the years I got to drive, live on, and enjoy life around some really nice midsized boats.  I'm happy for this....  But it also has skewed my idea of what a boat should be.  And I kinda want a boat.  (I am looking ahead beyond the airplane...)

There are little boats, things between 14-20' that are definitely boats.  But rarely are they anything I'd like to spend the weekend on.  And the idea of having to rent a hotel room, when I own a boat, just seems silly. 

You can guess where that leads....  Boat plans.  I'm not exactly fixated on any particular style of boat.  But what really catches my eye, are displacement cruisers, and houseboats. has a lot of plans available.  And they have a series of houseboats that are quite neat.  Starting, at get this, sixteen feet! They do have some hilariously uninspiring names; "Houseboat 16", "Houseboat 20." Has a huge list of free plans, a few of which we'll revisit..  Including this 1970's monstrosity.  While I think it would work for what I want, it doesn't seem like it would be long lived.  It's the usual mechanix illustrated tradeoff of form over function.  ... it's pretty... but it's clunky.

Another builder we will come back to sells plans to the Aqua Casa:   Which is a 16 or 20' boat, which also can double as a travel trailer.  It's proportions are cute, and it seems like it would be a great getaway, and a place to go swimming from. has several houseboat plans for sale.  And they even have a pictures section so you can see some of them.  The houseboat of theirs I like best is:  It's an outboard powered 30' boat, which seems like it would be a relaxing place to be. 

However, their houseboats, which are good looking, seem to be very, very old designs.  And the boats of theirs that really catch my eyes are "floating cabins" more than houseboats.  Designs where I'd need to find someone with a private lake that would let me leave my shanty boat.  For the most part, I've dismissed these as potential boats.  Retreat seems like it might convert to a motor houseboat without any real pain... 

Speaking of shanty boats, has the full plans to the coolwater.  Which seems to be a decent barge design. 
Back to houseboats though.  Glen-L has a small houseboat that catches my eye as well.  And it seems to be one that can get up and move.  Thankfully there's several pictures of completed boats, so I can have a really good idea of what the boat will end up like. 

Glen-L also sells the designs to the boats I really drool over.  But I think I'll post about cruisers next time.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Building a µGP racer. Day 3..

After the depressing evening that came from build day 2, I took a bit of a break.

The new motor was ordered.  I decided not to return the materials I bought.  And went back at it.

Speaking of materials, how's this for a start:

Tonight I mocked up the new motor, and found that it will work!  I need to buy a lot more #25 chain though.

I think it looks like a good fit.  The chain actually clears the BB, so can run roughly whatever size sprocket I want.  ... Though that will likely need to be specified at some point.  But hey, we're still in development right?  

So what's a motorcycle with a bicycle seat?  A moped.  This isn't a moped.  Tonight I started fixing that.  

The rule I'm going with for now, is that all saddles must clear the tire by at least half an inch, and the back of the saddle, or tail-section, must be within 1" of a vertical line drawn from the rearmost point of the tire.  AKA, you saddle needs to be long enough to cover the rear tire.  

The build began with a 6" wide plank of 3/8" plywood.  It's 24" long, but i'm sure it'll lose an inch or so off the front end eventually.  

You can see the layout lines I made so I could be sure that my hole for the seatpost is centered.  For the record, most BMX bikes have a roughly 1" seatpost.  So a 1" spade bit does a heck of a job.  

Mmmm power tools.  That drill press was the first "serious" bit of metalworking gear I bought.  I needed something vaguely precision so I could mutilate peoples expensive paintball guns.  It's amazing that it's still around after all these years.  

I drilled the hole from both sides.  So that there was no tear out of the exit side.  

The back end of the seat is going to be supported on a metal bridge.  The bridge will also provide the lateral support on the seat.  To find out where that bridge would go on the seat, I used a level, and measured from the seatpost to the back axle.
I had initially planned on using the axle bolts to hold that on. Seeing how big my track ends are on the bike, I'm just going to drill mounting holes into track ends.  

I don't have any pictures of the bridge construction.  I'll get those later.  But here's the saddle on the bridge.

Next time?  We'll be finishing the saddle, and bridge.  That means getting it trimmed to shape, and covered.

Building a µGP racer. Day 2..

I'm sorry about the lack of pictures here.  but there' really not much to show.  I found out that the chain and sprocket setup from the bike motor just won't work with my frame.  and they seem like they'd have a lot of problems with other frames.

I did find an answer.

49cc, slightly more power, centrifugal clutch.  Here's a preview: