I live in a camper van with a couple of West Highland Terriers for company.
My passion is photography but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN

Wednesday, 30 May 2018


This is short video explaining a much quicker way to make tubes. I know that the sound slowly gets behind the video. I will look into the matter. There is a way of synchronising my dulcet tones to the moving pictures in the Blender video whatsit, I'm a Luddite and my workflow is rather arcane . I'll get it sorted sooner rather than later.
I was once put in the thick class at school. My mum took me for an intelligence test where I disproved the teachers assessment; 140 I got just by pissing about with shapes and other malarkey. I then got a good clouting for being a lazy bugger and hence causing her such heartache. Never made that mistake again. Turned out I was blind and couldn't see what the retard was writing on the blackboard, got some specs and wished I hadn't, recycled garbage was the gist of her scrawl. I was far happier dreaming in ignorance.
Here is the thickness video.
Life is just mysterious fun. Haircut day tomorrow with the gorgeous Bev.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018


I have had a frustrating but reasonably constructive few days dreaming things steam bike. I had an hour of FreeCAD crashes whilst constructing a piston valve. I blame myself as I'd filleted and chamfered everything, there was just too much mesh in the job. I was gathering myself together when I realised the bloody engine I was contemplating would be over two feet long when the cross-slide and crank were included. I did consider an over square engine but then thought of using a car air conditioner pump as a steam engine. These pumps are a multi cylinder swash plate set up and are very compact and powerful. I googled them and found they wiz round at a fair rate of knots so a reduction box would be desirable. I remembered seeing an epicyclic gear box on a vintage lawnmower. These are great and also act as a clutch. If you drive the sun gear and take output from the planet gear carrier then have a brake band on the ring gear when the ring gear is arrested you trundle along and when it's free to rotate drive is disengaged. An open version would also be in keeping with the steam punk business. I can't describe it with any more clarity but here is an attractive animation of one doing what it does.
This chap enjoys colouring in......a man after my own heart.
I decided to do some of the bike frame work but could I get FreeCAD to join tubes to the headstock? No I couldn't, not a chance even when I resorted to using special words.
As is my want, when I get stuck I change tack, I found this gem, it's a spread sheet for calculating valve timing.
If anyone is interested then I can look the link up for you. I have saved it into EXCEL just in case I need it for a valve. Whilst trolling through Google I found a very compact square piston engine. It was invented by an American called Dake at the end of the 19th century. It is superb, cannot stop on dead centre, will reverse by switching inlet and exhaust and has only three moving parts. The chap may not have been able to spell but he certainly had all his ducks in a row. I'm going to 3D one. Here's a bit of an animation.
I have sorted the tube malarkey. I can't join anything but plain tubes but I can now start putting a frame together. The video is narrated by me. I am not a teacher so there are many Ums and pauses,the dogs add to the experience with panting and shaking; rattling their collars. It is all about pipes and cylinders so you may wish to give it a miss. I will have to start scripting these and learn the script.

The next instalment may be a week away as I'd like to show a rough concept of my dream.
Have fun.

Friday, 25 May 2018


It's been a busy few days, I've done a bit of FreeCAD, a little horseing and got the car tested.
Below is a schematic GIF file showing a uniflow steam engine. I pinched this from a chap called DAN GELBART. As you can see he uses a solenoid to hold open the inlet valve. It's worth investigating but I fancy a double acting engine so this little picture is here just because it's pretty.

I have created a top fork yoke mainly for practise.

I can also create working drawings and dimension them.....It's a smart bit of software. I am still struggling to get the clicks and drags in the correct order but I feel sure that one day I'll master the job. There are lots of YouTube tutorials some are fine others awful. The best I've found are here at CHRISTIAN The only slight problem is that they are all in Spanish, he's a clever chap and speaks it like a native. I can just about understand him as he clicks, types and drags whilst creating his projects.
I have done another video, here it is.

It's scorchio here. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018


I have had a frustrating couple of days with FreeCAD. 
One starts with a 2D sketch like this.
When it turns green it is fully constrained and one can rotate or extrude into a 3D object. The last one or two constraints are best found by using special words and pulling ones hair out. As is always the case the more I get into the software the more I want it to do. I got a little side tracked and started investigating converting the 3D objects to 2D drawings.
You do this in the Drawing workbench and it works fine once one has fused all the bits of a component together. Dimensions are in an Add-On and I get totally discombobulated loading Add-Ons. This is the white background. It's easier to see stuff against it, why the default is a blue fade out I don't know. The FEM workbench highlighted stands for Finite Element Method and can calculate all sorts of wonderful things like mechanical and thermal stress..........Bloody frightening it is. For CNC manufacture and G-Code generation the Path Workbench purportedly does the trick though I've yet to give it a whirl.
This one is for Trevor as it is all bevelled and chamfered. If you look at the tree on the left the last operation says Fusion. You have to use another Boolean operation to stick all the bevels together along with the component and then the computer knows what it's doing. I'm glad it knows because I'm finding it very hard to remember what I'm doing.
This video has sound so is self explanetary. I tried using the computer microphone but it all goes belly up when the processor fan kicks in. It also sounds as if I'm narrating from the depths of an oil drum so I did the talking separately using a Zoom Handy Recorder. 
I think that's about it for today. I'll get back to creating more stuff and see you soon.

Sunday, 20 May 2018


I got in a real tangle yesterday, I suspect I was over excited with the big wedding. 
I started drawing a spring. What a job, Bezier curves are always a bit of a problem so I switched to B-Spline which in theory ought to be easier. There is very little difference as I was drawing in 2D. I tried lots of control points and just a few but it looked a right dogs breakfast no matter what I did. Two hours of this nonsense and I gave up and just used arcs and joined them up.
I then had a bit of bother cutting the four holes for the mounting bolts. I assumed in my ignorance that if I popped cylinders through all three springs then asked Mr Boolean nicely to subtract the former from the latter then all would be perfect.   Master Boolean was having non of it, I guess the wedding was affecting him. Eventually I did them one at a time and I'm very happy with a truly wonderful spring.
Here is a bit of video showing the rough attempt and the final result when, about the time of the grand wedding consummation, I eventually got my Booleans all in a row.
I am pleased with this, never thought I'd get there but by magic I did. You will notice if you watch full screen and pause the video that all the edges are sharp. It is easy to either fillet or chamfer them but it adds loads of geometry and slows the job down; though how much slower it could get is difficult to imagine. I'll just write on the drawings "Break Edges". All self respecting engineers would unless instructed otherwise, they value their digits.
On with the forks now and a friction damper to go with the spring.
Have fun.

Friday, 18 May 2018


I am still playing with FreeCAD and have completed the first front wheel draft. The hub is not final as it is just a cylinder with a few bits and not aesthetically pleasing. I am having the very devil of a job positioning the spokes. The obvious answer was to create a polar array but the computer said no. I ended up using the transform tool which is a real pain in the bum. 
I have found more free software. This is Active Presenter. More free stuff than I can shake a stick at. I'm beginning to sound like Corbyn on his soap box. This is what it does.  It also records sound but I deleted the audio as it consisted of key board clicks and some rather special words.
The steam bike front wheel. I was thinking traction engine wheels for a steam punk theme. The colours are there because it's possible, having studied the result perhaps it shouldn't be. I get a bit carried away.
I may have found the solution to some of the operations. This box with the yellow scribble in appears when one selects a body. it has lots of control parameters that can be entered and also True or False choices. I'll give it a whirl when all else fails.
Today I intend making a start on the front forks, not the four candles as they are handle bars.
Have fun.

Thursday, 17 May 2018


It's a long time since I've posted. I have been busy with a new project which even I consider slightly eccentric. I'm in the early stages of designing a steam motorbike.
I have started to learn a free computer aided design programme called FreeCAD. It is far from intuitive, it is in English but oft times I am driven to the conclusion that English it may be but not English as I know it. Like Blender, before I can enjoy using it I have to become competent and fastish. I am hoping to have the front wheel drawn up by the weekend, a water tube boiler will follow and then the real test will be a small compound double acting engine or possibly a uniflow to start with.
I have been using a standard model to learn which keys to press for what. This Turners Cube was constructed by creating sketches on a cube extruding or padding them then using the little blighters to create pockets..........all eighteen of them. It would be much faster to create a stepped cylinder then position it on the cube and perform a Boolean operation. I can do one face but not the other five.
 This is it in FreeCAD. I can add materials this is supposed to be aluminium. I decided to export it to Blender, that took an hour of messing till I found a file format that worked. (obj.) extensions do the trick.
After importing it to Blender I gave it a quick plastic looking material then animated it. The ten second animation was a bit large for YouTube so I popped it into Handbrake and compressed it from 1.5GB to 1.3MB. All this software is free. Here is the result.

I think that's all for today.