Machine in action.


We recreated the iso images for each switch on the laptop, then used that to program the gcode for the machine. Having seen the process a few times it’s definitely the future. I think Bob’s Chester mill is a likely candidate for conversion to CNC, but I want to keep the manual option.

Almost a project in it’s own right, but definitely worth doing sometime. Looking at what we achieved on Nick’s machine, it simply wouldn’t have been possible manually.

New Switch Backing Plates.


Couple of car related posts to follow, but still making things and learning all the time 🙂 Back round Nick’s place to design and make a couple of carbon fibre plates, to go behind some new switches in the Scimitar.

The headlights aren’t wired through a relay so all the current goes through the switches. The original lucas switches were good for a few years, but they burn out eventually. The chinese copies on ebay last a few hours if you’re lucky!! Most owners fit relays to solve the problem, but I never liked the original switches so I sought an alternative.

Here’s Nicks machine and laptop where we (we being mostly Nick!) Designed and built the backing plates.

Vale Fred White


A bit of sad news to report with the passing of Fred White. Fred was Bob’s ‘partner in crime’ and the master of the Southbend lathe. He worked with Bob professionally and in retirement, taking a major part in the creation of many home built engines. The article from Classic Bike Magazine gives a much better idea of their record than I can, so I’ll leave the details up to them. I only met Fred once but we got on right away and I was really pleased to have him on board for project Hercules. I guess he’ll just have to watch on from above now.

RIP Chap.

Patterns Mk. I


It’s been a while since I updated the blog, with the Christmas and New Year slow down. I also too a break while watching my friends Chip and Ken ride from Virginia to the southern tip of Chile on their excellent blog. I wanted to join them but couldn’t get the time away from work and home, but I digress. Back to business!

I had a quote to 3D print a pattern in plastic at £240 + VAT. Quite reasonable I thought, except that if the pattern was wrong it would need to be altered and re-printed. Right first time would save around £180 on the quote for making a traditional pattern in wood. Right second time would cost and extra £60, and after that it gets expensive. Trouble is I’m not a pattern maker so a lot of it is study from the Internet and, er, guesswork!

But wait, weren’t we going to 3D print the cases in stainless steel? Well yes, until I have a quote at over £5000! Sod that! I won’t name the company as they were very helpful to be fair, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad price, it’s just not the right process for an object of this size – or my budget for that matter. So it’s back to pattern making and casting in LM25 Aluminium Alloy, with the dilemma of printing vs paying a traditional pattern maker. I mentioned this to Nick, who promptly said…

"Oh, I can make one in wood. Just not in metal". Really? Oh ok, well that makes perfect sense. I’ll ask my drawing office (Gary at work) to do me a favour and modify the drawing to what I think the pattern should look like. A cup of tea with Bob and quick chat later, I had a set of marked up printouts ready to forget to take to work for a few weeks. I safely delivered them today and wait patiently for the amended CAD files.

Onward and Upward! Oh and Happy New Year!!

P.S. In case you were wondering, Chip and Ken they made it safely back home. You can read more about it here ->

Big wheels keep on turning.


With work on the conrod finished for now, attention turns to the flywheels. The slices of big bar fit into the 4 jaw chuck on Bob’s lathe, which is handling the job nicely so far. Getting the tough outer ‘crust’ off the steel is hard going, light cuts are needed and plenty of cutting oil.

It might not be too healthy, but it smells great!

There’s a fair weight to each wheel so it’ll be a weighty engine, maybe a 2 man lift. Then again so is a GPZ900 so I’m not too concerned.

We can’t swing the conrod though, even on the big lathe. It’s 14 Inches and the lathe will spin 12, so some thinking is required to finish the eyes.

Anyway, small progress is still progress:-)