05 April, 2010

Happy Easter! And Sanity Maintenance

Happy Easter to one and all! We had a 4 day weekend here, which was nice. Funny thing though, today I went down to the shop to work on one of my own projects and found all of the volunteer guys I work with all down there working on various projects of their own, except John, who is a welder and who is here for only a few weeks. He was bored and so came into the shop to work on stuff he would normally work on during normal work hours.

Anyway. I've been working on an electric fence to keep the dog from escaping. We picked up a really old Guardian electric fencer a while back that I had intended to hook up to our window bars as an added deterrent to anyone who might try to pry the bars apart to get into the house, but now we've decided that we really need to contain the dog more than we need to electrify the security bars. Right now I'm thinking that there's really no reason why one fencer unit couldn't do both the dog fence and the window bars, but for now I'll jut concentrate on the dog fence.

But that's NOT what I worked on this weekend. Well, okay, I did a little bit of work on it, making up some brackets to weld to our steel fenceposts to mount the insulators on, but that was all I did on it. I spent a little time on Friday and a little on Saturday and a little today, (Monday) working on building a motorcycle frame for my latest sanity-maintenance project.

"Sanity maintenance?" you ask. Yes, even I sometimes feel the stress of working on the same kinds of things all the time. I love my job, and there really is LOTS of variety in it, but sometimes I just get the urge to do something really different. Something that is probably really impractical for use here, but nevertheless is fun to build and causes me to have to use my mind to solve unusual problems. This time I am building a motorcycle frame from scratch around a 1978 Kawasaki KZ750 twin engine. For those who understand the lingo, it's a hardtailed bobber frame made out of i-beams that I am building up myself. This is a great chance for me to continue to improve my welding and fabrication skills, which is sort of what this kind of project is all about. Just sharpening skills that I don't have to use that often.

So yeah, it's completely impractical for use here in PNG, but that doesn't mean that I won't use it, oh no, I plan to ride the wheels off of it, learning how my design holds up, what should have been done differently, what works well, etc. It's all part of my professional development, further developing my skills and adding to my abilities and experience.

Here's what it looks like so far, and I warn you that it doesn't look like much yet:

Don't be fooled by those short exhaust pipes--I only put those on there so that I could see if the engine would run (it does).

Most of this bike is going to be made up of used parts that I have accumulated over the years, parts that are currently laying around the shop looking for homes. Parts that are no longer useful for most of the stuff I normally work on. Take the wheels for instance--I'm going with 23" rims front and back just because I have a couple of 23" front rims off of early '80's Hondas that I converted to 21" rims because the 21's are so much easier to get tires for. I also just happen to have a couple of old stock 23" tires that I got for free from somebody who was cleaning out his shed. They should be just fine on this bike, although they would be virtually useless on a bike that got used on trails or in mud, (like most of the stuff I work on).

So! Sanity Maintenance. I do it by stretching my mind.

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