27 Jun 2012

Still here, just not much to report. There was Father’s Day, then this last Sunday we helped the kids pack up as they prepare to move far away šŸ™ Hopefully they’ll be back in a few years.

Anyhow, the plan is to borrow the hoist this weekend because next week is short due to the holiday. The “plan” between now and July 8 is to add the rest of the tidbits, strip the car down, finish-weld the chassis, and have it off to the powdercoater the week of July 9. It has been rightly pointed out that the safest thing to do is drive the car before painting it, and I understand that. The thing is, if I’m honest with myself, I’m just tired of building it. It’s to the point that if I stare at it for three more months I may find something else, but I want to get on with things. That, and needing to rivet on the floor temporarily if it’s driven before paint, then drill them out and hear them rattle for all eternity. And then there’s just being lazy. So over the next two weeks things will be happening, if not perfectly.

10 Jun 2012

While walking Midi we found a baby duckling, apparently left behind because he couldn’t jump up over a curb and was walking along the street. After seeing a crow nearby eyeing his potential lunch, and being unable to find the mom, I took him home. We noticed that he seemed to have some trouble walking like there was something wrong with his foot. After thinking about it we decided to let him go at a local lake, thinking that maybe a female duck would adapt him. So I did that and watched him paddle around, coming up to various female ducks who all chased him away. So he headed toward shore and about that time I saw a Blue Heron (a giant bird about 5′ tall) taking an interest in him. I wasn’t too concerned since they only eat fish…

Wrong – “whack”, and the poor little duckling became lunch just like that. Right at that moment I wanted to do bad things to that Heron and was mad at myself for assuming he’d leave it along. But then I realized that it’s just nature disposing of weak, sick, and slow animals while at the same time feeding other animals. Still, it was hard to watch, seeing a harmless little guy I’d just been holding be killed in an instant. It’s hard to cheat nature; if an animal is sick or weak we sometimes get the idea that we can fix things, yet nature often sets things back the way it intended when given the chance.

To more happy news about the car… it’s about done – really! Of course even as I type this I realize that I forgot to add mounts at the rear for wheel-alignment strings. With Kimini, it was a pain to set up parallel strings when setting front and rear toe; this time there’ll be hard-points for a quick consistent setup. The plan is to really look the car over to make sure nothing’s missing before starting the big teardown for paint!

7 Jun 2012

The two babies from last night were dead which was odd because it wasn’t cold. Maybe they were sick and mom booted them out knowing something was wrong. Or maybe they got injured when they hit the ground, but regardless, nature sure is efficient. The 2-3 remaining in the nest are chirping away as I type this so hopefully they’ll fair better.

More odds and ends on the car. Added notches to the main rails where the push-rods could touch. Added gussets at the top corners of the windscreen, where they may double as mounts for visors (yeah whatever.) Picked up fuel filler hose, though the Miata filler pipe, being metric, will have to be “up-sized” to match the 2″ ID of the filler neck. Fabricated the fuel tank hold-down brackets.

One thing left to decide is if and how to add stainless shielding around the exhaust header. Without it, it’s fairly likely that the radiant heat will bake and discolor the painted engine cover above if nothing is done. As mentioned earlier, a stainless louvered panel is one approach. Another is a heat panel riveted to the inside surface of the engine cover. Yet another option is welding on some brackets now to the crosstube above the header (which will also get baked) and mount a stainless shield to it. This has to be decided now in case welding is decided on. If not, the final choice can be put off until later.

The to-do list is very very short. Really.

6 Jun 2012

Took the dog for his morning walk, cleaned the garage and house, picked up the wife from the airport, then went shopping and ate out, and the day was done.

I said I wouldn’t “do” any more bird pictures… oh well. I heard Midi messing with something outside my window and when I realized what it was, went out to check and sure enough, one of the babies had taking the “Step of Faith” out of the nest, dropping about 15 feet to the ground (definitely unlike hummingbirds!) I’ve learned the hard way that trying to help birds mostly fails, but figured that he was a goner if I did nothing. So back into the nest he went which, like the hummingbird nest, is now way too small, but it’s apparently nature’s way of making them leave home… It was hard to tell if he was stunned from the fall, if something was wrong with him, or that’s just how they are.Ā  The returned bird is holding on for now but who knows about tonight or tomorrow. In general this is how nature is, making them plummet one by one to the ground and from then they’re on their own…
Update: Checked on them before dark and there were now two of them on the ground! Ugh, okay, but what ticks me off is how ruthless ants are. They were already crawling all over the babies. Nope, sorry, not today, so the babies were picked up, cleaned off, then I took the makeshift styrafoam hummingbird nest out of the tree and put both in it under some boards for protection, still near their nest so mom can find them. Both seemed to think that I was a tree because neather wanted to let go of my hand! Hopefully they’ll keep each other company until morning, then they’re off into their Brave New World.

5 Jun 2012

Checked out the transition of Venus through the welding mask. It’s hard not to be philosophical, viewing something that will next be viewed by our our great-great-grand kids. All of us will be long gone, as an Agnostic bumper sticker said, “off to the Great Perhaps.” What kind of world will they inherit? What will the earth’s population be by then? What energy source will the world be running on? What will computers be like by then? Will we be living peacefully, or will we have done ourselves in through religious warw, or will the earth have done us in with disease in order to protect itself? Deep thoughts.

3 Jun 2012

Been busy, just haven’t been posting. Finished the wiper system, having relocated the pivots and bent the arms to tuck out of the way. Also plumbed the push/pull cable that actuates them (through aluminum tubing that you can see if you look closely. The drive motor was placed in the storage compartment as far forward and to the right as possible.

Removed most of the panels and drilled the chassis holes in anticipation of rivnuts. Doing it now means not risking tearing the plastic-like powdercoat later on. There’s a lot of stuff running down the center “tunnel”, called thatĀ  so everyone knows what it is, not because there’s any driveshaft involved – and not having a driveshaft saved a ton of space.

The fourth picture with the vertical yard stick, is where an additional tube may be placed to stiffen the chassis, cut down on wind buffeting, and lessen the chance of getting struck directly be rocks kicked up by the front tires. My only hesitation is that it really changes the look of the car. Have to think about it.

Something not on the to-do list was how my shoe kept catching on the throttle cable bracket (first footwell picture is “before.”) The more I played with it the more evident it became that it would drive me nuts, so there went about four hours, fabricating a proper bracket that recesses the throttle cable end into the center “tunnel.” Should have done it this way right from the start. Yes I could have driven the car as it was, and yes those are hiking shoes, but it’s nice to know that (now) I can just hop in the car and drive it – like a real car – instead of having to change shoes or worse, having to drive barefoot.

Having the roll cage is very handy for lifting yourself up and out of the car. The only catch is that it’s all too easy to put all your weight directly on the aluminum floor panel – not good. Two additional tubes were added right where my foot always wanted to go when getting out.

Picked up a louvered panel that may be used to vent off hot air rising up off the header. I kind of like it but it does make the rear of the car a bit more busy. I need to decide whether to go this route or instead make a stainless heat-shield that’ll mount below the cover – being invisible. Doing that would allow a clean engine cover, but it may be a bit too clean, as in a huge expansive panel. Louvers could break that up visually. Still time to decide. What do you think?

Turns out that there’s yet another nest (I think we’re up to five this year), a gnat-catcher/swallow sort of bird that built a mud nest up under the eves. Lucky for her I didn’t see it under construction or I’d have hosed it off. Insistent chirping alerted us that there’s now a big family up there and sure enough there’s about about 4-5 big babies crammed in the nest.

Work continues on the car this week, hopefully checking off some remaining itemsĀ on the to-do list.