Category Archives: Balance in machines

I’ve hit bedrock

IMG_0113Another name for this post is: I’ve finally gotten to my garage!

In the never-ending workload of the house, my garage has never been too far from my mind.

Really, I feel exceptionally blessed to even have a dedicated space that is mine. It’s large enough to hold me, the motorcycles (for now anyway), tools, a lathe, other “stuff” that has my name on it with enough room left over for some of M’s and Our’s boxes that don’t need to be heated or otherwise protected. Christmas decorations for instance.  IMG_0115

In planning the space, storage is always at the front. When i work on a bike, it gets torn down to the last nut, bolt, screw, bearing…well, you get the point. All that disassembly separated from a motorcycle fills three huge tubs fully with the petrol tank, mufflers (the larger bits) needing their own real estate for storage. My dilemma is storage also takes up floor space needed for completed motorcycles!             IMG_0117

My solution was to design an overhead shelf system that starts at 6’ from the floor and extends out 2’ from the wall, thus keeping that 2’ free for motorcycles. Big grin here for a lot of storage and no loss of floor space!

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The pictures show bikes backed up to the wall, the overhead shelf system not yet built or installed.

Another issue: the floor is bare concrete. If you’ve worked with concrete, you can sweep and sweep and sweep and always have a pile of dust. And, dust is not a recommended lubricant and must therefore be controlled. Concrete on its surface is soft and easily erodes into dust. Walking, sweeping, looking at it (just kidding) will loosen that surface, and it is of exceptionally fine consistency, getting into everything.

I’ve painted the walls, sealing the cinder blocks but the floor got a layer of tile, isolating the porous concrete top surface and actually adding a layer of insulation for heat (non-existent at this time).   IMG_0116

More importantly, engines and other clean-room required-for-assembly mechanisms (such as suspension work too) can now be arguably achieved. I like it.

For you green folks, I’m using all reclaimed material: shelf and flooring materials coming from other parts of the house previously demolished, but saved. I boast I’m green, but one can argue I’m too cheap to buy new. Either way, works for me.

Stay tuned as my man cave, garage, safe haven–whatever you want to call it evolves into a useable, productive space.

Oh, and it’s painted white (not green) to keep alllllll the light in I can, deep inside the cave.

Further, harnessing wonderful electrons culminating into wall electric sockets will be added all around, even where I don’t foresee a need today.

Until next time, may your work space inspire you to be the inventor of great and marvelous things. I know mine is turning into a Miles Beyond Ordinary garage.


imagesAs in all things, balance is needed. You can insert your own “for…” here. I’m attempting a work-life balance that mostly works, too often not.

One of my struggles is life is organic, constantly changing, so keeping up is the challenge.

Another area for balance is in my engine–not so organic, but heavy metal. Once it’s in balance, it tends to stay that way. Kind of like Newton’s law of motion.

There is a rule of thumb, since pistons reciprocate, crankshafts rotate, and connecting rods connet the two (hence the name connecting rods).

The pistons/pins/rings are weighed and added to half of the connecting rods, multiplied by 75%, and that’s the weight added to each crankshaft journal (where the rod rotates on the crankshaft).

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images-1  The weighted crank is then spun to a closely held speed and sensitive load cells measure the imbalance. Holes are drilled to remove material or plugs are added and the process is repeated until balance is achieved.

All I can say is that a balanced engine is a happy engine.

Me too.