Author Archives: Sophie Whiptank - aka Bart

About Sophie Whiptank - aka Bart

I'm just a bloke doing some stuff, the more interesting bits I post on my blog. Scroll down far enough and you'll see me riding from Melbourne Australia to Birmingham, England in 2014. But now I'm working on another project, a single cylinder motorbike engine at 2750cc!



Here’s a little something I’ve started to do, supporting the Warwick and Solihull blood bikers. It’s an out of hours service provided to the NHS as a charity, delivering emergency blood and other products to hospitals that need them.

It’s taken a while to get qualified, certified and checked out. I also had to learn the routes between hospitals – a big ask for my useless sense of direction! But I’m cleared to go and have a couple of shifts under my belt now.

It’s nice to be able to give something back doing what I enjoy. Next time I’ll try one of the other bikes, an FJR1300! Just wish it would stop raining. 😦

Dappr Aviation


Finally, after 2 years of trawling round aircraft museums, breakers yards, ebay and gumtree! I located a piston at a very unique business called Dappr Aviation. They make quality bespoke furniture and art out of old aircraft and helicopter components.

Check out their website here

They also make really cool outdoor garden pods out of slices of aircraft. They’re called Aeropods and are ideal for my secret garden, for when I’m working from home. As soon as funds allow I’ll be giving them a call.

I met with Dave who really looked after me, showing me around all the cool stuff they make. I could have spent all day there (and nearly did!). Thanks for all your help Dave, great to meet you. I’ll no doubt see you again.

Project wise this is the last original engine component I need. The rest is being made. The conrod needs boring for the main bearing and the little end bush. After that it’ll be ready to press together.

Just for fun


I inherited a Kayak from a friend who’s moved out to Sydney. It’s an old thing, pretty mucky but fully serviceable. In fact it’s a bit of a classic talking to other paddlers. An Eskimo Topolino (spud), seems to have a cult following.

Just a mock up for the time being, but I’ve been toying with the idea of making a sidecar for the KLR for some time. The spud would make an epic body, and I have a spare front wheel – so why not?? I do intend to use the Kayak properly, so it will need to be easily detachable for paddling.

I’ve a birthday coming up so I might ask for a hydraulic tube bender 🙂 Well it beats a cardigan!

New Cool vs Old School


In parallel to the electronic shenanigans for CNC, Bob has been applying the Mk.I grey matter to the problem of calculating the pressure required to force the crankshafts into the flywheels. For those of you who went to the old school, details are in the picture.

For those who didn’t, the upshot is that the hydraulic press we have is up to the job. We need 9.35 Tons to force fit the crankshaft. We tested the press to 11.2 Tons with some way to go. Always a tense moment though with the odd creak going on!!

CNC 1-01 Tiny steps


It might not look much, but on the table is the start of getting the Bridgeport converted to CNC operation. Nick brought his new motor and encoder round, fitted to a neat housing he made. I’d picked up an ODrive and old power supply, which we coupled to a Raspberry Pi. Igor kindly donated memory card and we were on our way!

By the time the evening was out, we’d managed to get the motor to turn through a fixed angle in either direction, run continuously at a fixed rpm, and apply a holding torque. Three critical operations for CNC. A great start, although there’s no doubting we’ve still got a long way to go.

Next steps are getting some beefier motors, fitting the odrive into a better housing and upgrading the power supply.

Oilways away.


Setting up to start drilling the oilway through the flywheel, now that the bores are final sized. It’s quite a challenge getting a flat started in the right place, on an acute angle into toughened steel. Luckily the spot cutters managed it, ready for drilling next.

There isn’t room for a centre drill, so it’ll be a delicate job drilling the pilot hole. But with a following wind the final part of the wheel will be completed ready for pressing together.

Big machines commissioned!


It’s taken a while, but the Bridgeport mill and Myford lathe are now operational with inverters providing 3-phase power and the added bonus of variable control.

First job up is to use the power feed on the quill to get a good finish and final size the bores in the flywheels. That’s going well, which is a good sign as we’ll use the same method for boring the big end for the bearings.

Long term I plan to convert the Bridgeport to CNC, but for now it’s working just fine as a manual mill – and I’m loving it!!