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Tyrroneous
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« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2012, 11:02:12 AM »

Sucks that you had to learn the hard way, but better to have a couple small, 2nd degree burns on fingers than something truly nasty happen.  
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« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2012, 01:38:45 PM »

Burns suck.  I have never done TIG, but I'd love to learn.  I'll be curious to get your take on TIG compared to MIG.  I have a MIG welder- the TIG looks awesome though- yo can make VERY clean welds.   Thumbsup
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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2012, 10:49:27 AM »

Weekly update......

I continued / will continue lacing and truing wheels for a while. I'm getting a lot better at it now. After doing several "easy" ones, I tackled an "inside/inside" spoke wheel, which requires you to lace all of the spokes first (two different sizes) and then position the hub. It's pretty tricky and requires some brute force to do, and the spokes often don't want to go where you want/need them to. One false move and you have to remove a bunch of spokes to fix things. Not hard - just takes patience. Truing is also getting easier now that I know a lot of "tricks" for preparing the wheel and adjusting it.

A good truing stand costs about $230 and a good dial indicator costs about $200. I could see myself doing some wheels for my cafe project if it wasn't so expensive to set up. I guess I could start with a $50 HF stand and justify the dial indicator for other work. It's kinda fun once you get the hang of it, and it seems like few people know how to lace/true wheels anymore (my local dealers all farm out the work).

-----

Welding class was pretty good this week. We "officially" started GTAW (TIG). I did a lot of reading/homework over the week, so I was ready to set things up properly (it's nice to know what all of the dials and buttons on the welding machine do!) I started running some beads and got those checked off. I can see why everyone loves TIG so much (at least the finished product). It's amazing what you can do with it. Of course the price you pay for all that "control" is a requirement for coordination. You can quickly screw things up if you don't know what you're doing!

We are working with aluminum plate, which means you end up having re-grind the tungsten tip a LOT (and I mean a LOT) because of the need to use AC (more accurately, the + polarity waveform used to clean up the oxides that form). Other than that, I thought it went well, and I was happy with most of my beads. Unfortunately I didn't have perfect penetration on my basic welds (more specifically, only about 80-90% of each bead HAD proper penetration) so my instructor decided not to sign-off on them. My lap welds all sucked badly (I need a lot more practice there), and I didn't even attempt the dreaded T-weld. I have at least 2 more weeks to get TIG completed.

Does anyone else notice that melting/burning aluminum seems to smell a lot like peanut butter?!

As cool as TIG is, I sort of miss the simplicity and crazy heat/flame of oxy-acetylene welding. There something more satisfying about it somehow (although it's certainly vastly more limited in use and more dangerous). I'm holding out hope that GMAW (MIG) will give me the right combination of speed/flexibility/ease-of-use/cost I need for most of my personal projects.

NEXT WEEK IS SPRING BREAK AT THE COLLEGE, SO MY NEXT UPDATE WILL BE IN ABOUT 2 WEEKS.
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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 12:07:37 PM »

You could report about your spring break - complete with pictures...
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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2012, 04:21:47 PM »


You could report about your spring break - complete with pictures...


LOL. I wish the Spring Break where I teach corresponded with the Spring Break where I'm a student (they are a week apart).

No bikini-covered beaches for me this year.  Sad
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« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2012, 09:49:50 PM »

Back to class today!

Morning motorcycle class: We spent the class learning about frame geometry/design and measuring various aspects of different bikes. The emphasis was on learning how to evaluate how various modifications influence stability. It was pretty interesting and I'm sure I'll use it on my own projects.

We have a midterm on Wednesday and then we'll be in the shop some more.

---

Afternoon welding: After a FRUSTRATING intro to TIG welding a couple of weeks ago (the last class), my luck changed completely today. Right from the start I chose a different welder - a newer Miller unit with all the bells and whistles. Big difference. Having the ability to adjust more settings made it a lot easier for me to dial-in my welds (and save the tungsten tip). I also started to get better feeding rod with my left hand while coordinating the right, and the foot pedal. Within an hour I had a couple signed off on.

I then decided to ask a TA for some pointers before attempting my last two welds (lap and T). He gave me a lot of good ideas about torch position, working the filler rod, and controlling amperage. Watching him TIG was impressive - he's been doing it for 15 years and it shows.

Anyway, I finished off the day with some lap welds and the dreaded T-weld. Unlike oxy-acetylene welding, T-welds seem verryyy easy with TIG because of the greater control. You do have to watch for over-heating of the aluminum. By the end of the lab I had completed my final required welds successfully! Woot! My instructor was TIG specialist for many years, so getting these done felt great.

Here are some smaller samples. Left to right = T-weld, butt weld, lap weld

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/563e18b1.jpg

I've been working ahead on the written assignments, so I have only stick and MIG left to learn. I think we're doing stick first. Depending on how other students are progressing I might also have another week to practice TIG too (which I could use). Overall, the welding class is really fun even though it's a mix of frustration and accomplishment. What I enjoy most is talking with other students in various phases of their welding careers. I have tremendous respect for what pipefitters and welders must endure. As my instructor put it....."try doing that weld through dirty plate, inside a pipe, in the dark, upside down, 110 degrees, swinging 17 stories off the ground, and with no foot control (live torch that's running all the time)." Hmmmmm....no thanks!

-----

I'll be registering for summer classes in a couple of weeks. I've hit a bit of a problem in that I had planned to complete the "basic program" in the fall by first taking the motorcycle electrical course and general machine shop class over the summer (both are required before I can take the final motorcycle class). Unfortunately, both the electrical and machining courses are only offered in one section this summer - AT THE SAME TIME! D'oh! I'm hoping they'll change the time of one of them or add a second section. Barring that, I'm going to try and beg them into letting me complete both of the remaining motorcycle classes this summer and I'll do the machine shop class in the fall (it's only a once a week class). At worst, I'll take one class in the summer, the short-course in the fall, and the final course next spring.
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« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2012, 07:50:23 PM »

OK. Another week is underway, so I'll stick to the Monday updates.

Motorcycle class: Last week we had our midterm and then measured more frames with an eye at looking at geometry. We continued today. Good stuff to know and it's easy enough that we've had a lot of time to BS with the instructors. We dug out a few old frames from 70s bobbers/choppers/cafe bikes and looked them over too. Very cool. Although I had to guess a little on my midterm last week, I did well (my 100% average in the program is still intact  Bigsmile). We're doing alignments on Wednesday. After that we have more on clutches, transmissions, and rear suspensions.

I spoke with the program Chair and they've agreed to let me take the machine shop class this summer AND the fourth (last) of the "basic" motorcycle courses at the same time (emphasis is on damage estimates and stripping/measuring/re-assembling bikes from the crank up). This means I will be skipping over the electrical course, which I will take in the fall instead (a little bummer since I could really use that course for my project bike). It's a big help to me though since you might recall that normally I was supposed to take the electrical and machine shop classes first, but they conflict with each other this summer.

-----------

In welding class this afternoon my shop partner from the motorcycle course (who is also in my welding class) and I talked the instructor into letting us start "stick" welding a week early (we both finished TIG last week and "stick" is next on the list). We sat through an hour-long lecture and then watched a video for 45-minutes.

Finally, we hit the shop. We started off with 1/4" steel and standard electrodes (6010 and 6011 if I remember right). The "stick" (=SMAW) welding booths are pretty dirty compared with the TIG and oxy booths. No wonder! Stick is CRAZY. I started with some basic beads and weaves. My early efforts were especially nasty - damn this stuff spatters EVERYWHERE. I managed to waste a lot of electrodes by "sticking"them accidentally. I gradually got better and gained more control over keeping a better (closer) distance between the electrode and metal. I got the most basic welds completed by the end of the afternoon. I still have butt, lap, and t-welds left (and the butt weld is pretty complicated with metal this thick). At the end of the day I dialed up the "arc force" to the max on the welding machine, which made things much easier - at least for welding in the flat position. I also spent some time watching more experienced students welding large pipe.

Compared with TIG, stick feels like "caveman welding." Still, it's fast, fun, and highly effective, if not a little messy and frustrating at times (chipping off the slag is a hoot though). I never thought I'd miss TIG, but there is simply no comparison. I doubt I'll be using stick much in my future.....unless I decide I want to build a bridge, quickly fix a hunk of rusty metal, or weld something outdoors.
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2012, 08:29:34 PM »

Another week in the shop has gone by.

Last Wednesday I started checking alignments on various motorcycles. It's amazing how many have a significant offset (i.e., front and rear wheels are not lined up). It's often 20-50mm difference. Sportbikes/sport-tourers seem to be the worst at "dog tracking" - likely because the manufacturers are especially interested in compensating for uneven weight distribution via alignment.  As long as the wheels are in the same plane, you'll never notice. Anyway, the procedure to check alignment and the frame itself can be done with all sorts of lasers, but string, tape, a level, a smart-phone (with level app) and patience also work fine. Basically, I can check any bike in about 15 minutes and know if anything is significantly tweaked. Good to know.

Today we did more alignments. They really beat things into you in this course with repetition. It's fun though and it gives me a lot of time to talk with other students. Beginning this Wednesday we start on clutches and really get into transmissions. Can't wait!

-----

Welding class was fun today. I did more stick welding. Other than my motorcycle shop partner, the rest of my class was just starting "stick" so the two of us had a couple of free hours to work on it since we'd already started it last week.

I opened up with a bunch of butt welds, lap welds, and T-welds on 1/4" steel. Man it was HOT in the shop today (110 degrees + welding jacket + lots of hot steel + splatter burning holes in everything). As nasty as it is, I really like stick. It's easy and a little crazy. There's something cool about hammering slag that's fun too, and you really can't beat the penetration of the welds either. Nothing I've done yet is as effective on thick plate.

When the instructor finally arrived in the shop (from teaching the other students) it was after 3pm. She immediately rejected all of my welds for excessive splatter and a little undercut here and there. She's a pretty amazing instructor though, so with her suggestions I was able to adjust the "arc force" and alter my technique to the point where the next several welds were much better. She signed off on my butt weld (that's the toughest one for thick steel I think - at least for me) and my lap welds quickly met the standard. I just have the dreaded "T" left and nearly three weeks to do it. I'm now one weld ahead of my shop partner too, and I let him know about it (I've been a weld behind him pretty much since the second week - usually I start "getting serious" when he gets ahead of me so that I can catch him). The kid is less than half my age and he's got some natural talent. About the only advantage I have on him is patience. Our friendly rivalry makes class fun and keeps us moving along.

After wrapping up stick next week I might return and practice TIG. I have some welding to do on my project bike, so I might do that. Then I'll probably get to start MIG the following week. I can't wait to do MIG. If it goes well I'm gonna look into setting myself up at home. It just looks sooooo easy and fun. The possibilities seem limitless too. I'm selling my wife on the possibility by promising to make all sorts of "metal art" crap for her garden.  Lol Of course I'll need a plasma cutter too........

-----

I got some good news about registration for the summer. I got permission to waive the machine shop and motorcycle electrical pre-requesites so I can jump into the advanced motorcycle class next. I will be taking the machine shop class as well, and then take the electrical course in the fall. I'm registered, so hopefully it'll work out. It just means I won't be taking any long trips this summer.
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« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2012, 06:05:29 PM »

Nearly forgot my weekly update.

In the motorcycle class we're working on clutches. We have to take apart a bunch, do some measurements, answer a bunch of questions, and then replace them. I did a couple of metric bikes on Monday and I'll probably do a Harley or two tomorrow. After that it's on to transmissions. It's fun and not hard at all. I've done a few before the course, but it's useful to know how everything works.

We had another exam last week. Toughest and longest one we've had yet, and lots of questions about frame geometry. I wasn't sure of a couple of short-answer questions, so I put down what I knew. I must have bluffed my way through it because my 100% average is still intact.  Cool

------

I welding class I finished off my final stick weld (the dreaded T-weld). It took me a while to get the undercut down, and since we have another two weeks to finish it, I spent a while trying to get the bead a little better too. I got it signed off about 90 minutes into class. Stick welding is really fun, but I can't see using it on anything other than thicker steel where penetration is critical and the finish isn't terribly important.

Rather than leave early, I asked a TA to show me a little MIG welding (our final process, which we "officially start in two weeks). All of the booths were full, so I had to set up on a table in the shop.  He ran through a bunch of processes and settings and banged out a few demos for me. He's so good that you'd be hard-pressed to tell his MIG from TIG.

For MIG, we have to show proficiency with a bunch of welds on 14-gauge steel and 1/4" steel. I banged out the basic beads and managed to get nice butt-welds done on the 14-gauge. It's pretty fool-proof. The instructor didn't like my lap and other welds quite enough (she said they were fine, but to work more on technique). I've got about a month to get them done, along with various t-welds. Compared to EVERY other welding process I've learned, MIG is EXTREMELY EASY. I can see why it's so popular. Hell, you could watch a video and go straight to the shop and produce nice welds in under an hour.

I can't wait until next week. I have tons of time to work on my MIG skills, and I'm hoping to get good enough to weld up my frame components in a month or so (I'll how a better welder TIG the exposed parts and MIG everything else myself).

Although most you probably know this stuff already, here's my take on various welding processes.

GAS (OXY ACETYLENE): I really like it but it sure is slow. Tough on thinner metals because the heat builds up and it wants to warp the metal. Steel only. Cutting process is fun and cheap and it works surprisingly well. A must for any good shop I think.

TIG: Love the control and finish. Tough to master though (I've only done aluminum and really want to see if steel is any easier). Probably the best process for nearly all motorcycle work if you can do it and afford a good setup. I love the fact that you can weld pretty much anything with it too - a big deal if you have to weld aluminum (think of how much of our bikes are aluminum these days). If I do the advanced motorcycle course I will be required to take a full course on TIG. Probably a good idea.

Stick: I love it for welding thick steel or crappy metal that's covered in rust/slag/etc. Pretty quick too. Super cheap, not hard to learn, but the results look nasty.

MIG: Definitely the best process for new welders due to ease-of-use. In about 20 minutes you can weld something that would take a LOT longer to learn to do well with TIG/OXY. I haven't welded with flux core (only wire/gas), but the bead builds up nicely and it looks pretty good. I think of MIG as a nice "compromise" technique - mid-priced, decent quality, good speed, mediocre flexibility, decent penetration. Not the best at anything, but pretty good on steel.

I'm going to start with a MIG setup as soon as I can afford one - likely a Miller/Hobart/Lincoln unit for 110v that can weld 1/8" steel. I definitely want a wire/gas setup for clean welds. I'll hold off on a bigger unit until I can afford something that can TIG as well (by that time I'll hopefully have more TIG experience).
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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2012, 07:37:37 PM »

Weekly update....

Motorcycle class: We started working on transmissions today. Very cool and remarkably easy. Most of the morning was spent taking apart some Ultima transmissions for Harleys (they make a 6-speed replacement kit for the older 5-speed big twins). I'm not the quickest wrench in the shop by any means, but it amazes me at how "math-phobic" most of the students are, so I usually catch up when they get stuck on calculations. There are a couple more classes on transmissions and then we're on to shocks I think.

It must have been my lucky day because everything went smoothly in the shop and we were done early. Then when I went to buy coffee, the candy machine next to it spontaneously malfunctioned and started spitting out Twix bars! Sweet!

-----

Welding class: Although we don't "officially" start MIG for another week, the instructor decided to go over the MIG material since most of us were close to ready or already started last week.   After a 30-minute lecture, we watched a 45-minute video. Then we had a demo in the shop (similar to the demo I watched last week, although with the instructor instead of a TA). Between the two demos, I left armed with a lot of tips and info on setting the controls.

Feeling cocky, I managed to push my first weld a little hard and close, and I clogged up the tip. oops! I caught it before the wire started "bird nesting" in the feeder, so it was a quick fix. I then banged out six welds of various types on various thicknesses of metal (t-welds, butts, and laps). MIG is soooo easy!

Since the instructor was nowhere to be found, I used the remaining time to work on my project bike (more details will be in that thread soon). Basically, we welded a bead around the lower steering race that was stuck in the frame since it's hard to catch an edge to drive it out. As I'd hoped, the race got very loose after one bead, and the weld gave me plenty of lip to drive it out after that. Damn.....welding is cool.

After finishing my project, I showed my half-dozen welds to the instructor. She signed off on all of them! So basically, I have only one weld left (T-weld on 1/4" steel), which I think will be pretty easy. After that I just have to do my "final welds" and take the exam at the end of April. I plan to use my extra time to practice more MIG and TIG welding - maybe try some tube and do some outside corners.

I'm planning to buy a small (110v) MIG welder within the next few weeks. I have it narrowed down to the Hobart 140 and the Lincoln 140c. The Hobart is quite a bit cheaper but it only has 4 "tap" settings for voltage. The Lincoln model (not the one from Lowe's, but the "professional" version) allows you to set the voltage to anything you want within its capability - better for fine-tuning. My welding instructor told me to get the Lincoln, so I'll probably do that. I plan to go with wire/gas from the start for cleaner welds.
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« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2012, 08:28:24 AM »


 Of course I'll need a plasma cutter too........



   I have been lusting for one for a long time!  
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« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2012, 07:29:16 PM »

Update.....

Motorcycle class: Transmission and more transmissions. I've pulled apart a bunch at this point (most down to the crank). It's really not hard, although an engine stand certainly helps. Gotta get one of those. If I was doing it on a "real" engine, the gasket scraping would probably take more time than anything else. Contrary to what almost every service manual states, you rarely have to pull the top end to work on the tranny. Explains why book time is so high for transmission work though.

On Wednesday our Snap On guy is coming to class. I'll be looking for a few things......

-------

Welding: I FINISHED my last MIG weld today. It was a T-weld, flat position, on 1/4" steel plate. Here it is.....
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/a91bfa3f.jpg

Here's a butt-weld on 1/4" steel. The metal is cut in a v-groove and spaced 1/16" apart. The root weld is run on the bottom, and a weave bead covers it.

Back side showing penetration
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/99a35a13.jpg

Front side
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/bc7dd150.jpg

Here's a lap weld on 1/4" steel. I directed the heat downwards and blended in the top edge for a smooth finish. The camera doesn't do it justice - I'm actually pretty proud of this one.
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/bf6d5b83.jpg

After finishing the required MIG welds, I decided to do my "final welds." For this we get to choose anything other than thin-gauge+MIG and we must complete a butt, lap, and t-weld. I opted for 1/4" steel and MIG since I'd just finished that process and I love it. All of my welds passed on the first try, so I am DONE with the welding requirements (4 weeks early). I can use the rest of the month to work on my own projects, get more proficient at basic welding, or even start another course.

RECAP: Here are just a few of the required welds I handed in over the course of the semester.......

Oxy-acetylene on 14-gauge steel (bottom to top): Bead, butt, T
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/96540621.jpg

TIG on 14-gauge aluminum: Bead, butt, lap, T
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/5cb6a163.jpg

Stick on 1/4" steel: Stringer bead, weave bead, butt, lap
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/0b6ff460.jpg

MIG on steel: Left (1/4" steel)=bead, butt, lap, T; Right (14-gauge steel)=bead, butt, lap, T).
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh178/D-Mac2008/e72c8fe4.jpg
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« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2012, 07:56:21 PM »

Congrats!  Nice work!
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« Reply #33 on: April 16, 2012, 05:27:07 PM »

The semester is winding down.....

Motorcycle course: For the past week we've been examining shocks (we already covered forks in the first course). It's verrrrry math-oriented (lots of measurements and graphs), so I've been in my element. The instructors were amused with my suggestions for using higher-order polynomial functions to examine spring rates for progressive springs. I can't help it though - I've taken about 15 math courses at the college-level and I use this stuff in my "regular" job every day. We each got a full (and I mean FULL) Racetech manual full of various functions and curves, which is extremely well done. We aren't responsible for much of it, but it's cool to have this stuff (I keep everything in a binder).

Today I took apart a couple of rear shocks, measured the shims, and put them back together. All I can say is WOW. The higher-end stuff (like the Ohlins I did this morning) are sooooo much better than stock crap it's unreal. If people knew how much variability in quality there was out there, they'd all be upgrading their suspension systems instead of obsessing with HP. I honestly had no idea that you could "tune" a suspension to such an impressive degree. There are so many possibilities that it makes your head spin. We have several machines for measuring compression on shocks, but we don't have a shock dyno. We'll be doing more shocks on Wednesday and next week. Other than that, this course is almost over.

Almost forgot. I brought in a set of stock shocks from my 1981 Suzuki and a set of Ohlins "knock offs' I got on eBay for $80. It turns out that the Chinese knock offs are actually GOOD QUALITY and completely rebuildable. They are also light years ahead of anything available 30 years ago. Cool.

--------

In welding class today we did a final exam review. After that, the instructor offered to let us write the final! We all took her up on it, so I got it done. Since I'm already done in the shop, I just need to show up for attendance for the next two weeks. Today I did a bunch more MIG welds and I'm feeling good about the basic stuff at this point. Next week I think I'll go back and do some oxy-acetylene cutting for the hell of it, and maybe tackle a little more TIG to see if I can get any better at it.
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« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2012, 04:16:44 PM »

One week to go.

This morning we started our first "review" class. Basically, we can work on whatever we feel like we need help with. Most people took off right away, or practiced lacing/truing wheels (half of the final is lacing and truing a wheel). I opted to change some tires for a friend instead (he had 30 year old tires on the bike - so cracked they had partially come off the wheel and you could see light through the side walls!) It turned into a bit of an ordeal as the new front tire bead refused to seat. After trying a bunch of techniques (bouncing the tire, using a ratchet strap to force it down into the wheel a little), I took it back off and gave the wheel a more thorough cleaning. Turned out that made all the difference.

In welding I got back my final exam and the instructor entered my final grade. I got my A+ after all. Rather than taking off right away, I did a few MIG welds and then tried my hand at brazing. It's fun and a little tricky, but I love the look. I can't imagine trying to use it to secure anything structural (although it can be done, brazing is classified as an adhesion process, unlike welding which is a fusion process).

On Wednesday I plan to lace a wheel for practice and change one of the tires on my project bike.
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IBA#443 ('11 IBR finisher)
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Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: '10 BMW R1200RT
GPS: Mid-Michigan
Miles Typed: 1128

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« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2012, 05:17:52 PM »

This post brings this thread to an end (don't worry.....part III will be starting in a few minutes  Lol)

I took my final exam in the motorcycle class today. The first half was a lengthy written part, which actually had some pretty tricky questions on it. I had to make a few educated guesses here and there. I finished it pretty quickly (I was the first one done) and started the "practical" part, which was disassembling a spoked wheel, re-lacing it, and truing it. The lacing was worth 25% of the exam, and the radial and lateral truing (had to be within 40 thousandths of an inch) were worth 12.5% each.

My wheel rim turned out to be pretty warped, so truing it was a bit of a challenge. Whoever had the wheel for the exam in the other section must have struggled because some of the spoke nipples were waaaaay too tight, and there was a ton of paint marker on the rim.

Anyway, I got the wheel done in about 90 minutes and got my final back on the way out. 99% on the exam. 104% for the semester.  Bigsmile I spent the rest of the morning changing yet another tire (project bike) and using their tool collection to finish installing a steering stem (again, project bike).

I skipped welding since I finished the course last week.

CHECK OUT THE NEW THREAD FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENTS......MY NEXT CLASSES START A WEEK FROM TODAY.
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IBA#443 ('11 IBR finisher)
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