Cargo bikes can haul an impressive amount of stuff and serve as a car replacement for many folks around the world. While there are more models every year from bike manufacturers, the siren song of a custom build has led [Phil Vandelay] to build his own dream cargo bike.
The latest in a number of experiments in hand-built cargo bike frames, this electrified front-loader is an impressive machine. With a dual suspension and frame-integrated cargo area, this bike can haul in style and comfort. It uses a cable steering system to circumvent the boat-like handling of steering arm long john bikes and includes a number of nice touches like (mostly) internal cable routing.
The video below the break mostly covers welding the frame with [Vandelay]’s drool-worthy frame jig, so be sure to watch Part 2 of the video for how he outfits the bike including the internal cable routing and turning some parts for the cable steering system on the lathe. If you get an urge to build your own cargo bike after following along, he offers plans of this and some of his other cargo bike designs. [Vandelay] says this particular bike is not for the beginner, unlike his previous version built with square tubing.
We mentioned last week how robotaxi provider Cruise was having a no-good, very bad week, after one of their driverless taxis picked a fight with a semi, and it was revealed that amorous San Franciscans were taking advantage of the privacy afforded by not having a driver in the front seat. It appears that we weren’t the only ones to notice all the bad news, since California’s Department of Motor Vehicles issued an order to the company to cut its robotaxi fleet in half. The regulatory move comes after a recent Cruise collision with a fire truck, which injured a passenger in the taxi. Curiously, the DMV order stipulates that Cruise can only operate 50 vehicles during the day, while allowing 150 vehicles at night. We’d have thought the opposite would make more sense, since driving at night is generally more difficult than during daylight hours. But perhaps the logic is that the streets are less crowded at night, whereas daytime is a more target-rich environment.
Measure twice, cut once is excellent advice when building anything, from carpentry to metalworking. While this adage will certainly save a lot of headache, mistakes, and wasted material, it will only get you part of the way to constructing something that is true and square, whether that’s building a shelf, a piece of furniture, or an entire house. [PliskinAJ] demonstrates a few techniques to making things like this as square as possible, in all three dimensions.
The first method for squaring a workpiece is one most of us are familiar with, which is measuring the diagonals. This can be done with measuring tape or string and ensures that if the diagonals are equal lengths, the workpiece is square. That only gets it situated in two dimensions, though. To ensure it’s not saddle-shaped or twisted, a little more effort is required. [PliskinAJ] is focused more on welding so his solutions involve making sure the welding tables are perfectly flat and level. For larger workpieces it’s also not good enough to assume the floor is flat, either, and the solution here is to minimize the amount of contact it has with the surface by using something like jack stands or other adjustable supports.
There are a few other tips in this guide, including the use of strategic tack welds to act as pivot points and, of course, selecting good stock to build from in the first place, whether that’s lumber or metal. Good design is a factor as well. We’ve also featured a few other articles on accuracy and precision,
Rocket stoves are an interesting, if often overlooked, method for cooking or for generating heat. Designed to use biomass that might otherwise be wasted, such as wood, twigs, or other agricultural byproducts, they are remarkably efficient and perform relatively complete combustion due to their design, meaning that there are fewer air quality issues caused when using these stoves than other methods. When integrated with a little bit of plumbing, they can also be used to provide a large amount of hot water to something like an off-grid home as well.
[Little Aussie Rockets] starts off the build by fabricating the feed point for the fuel out of steel, and attaching it to a chimney section. This is the fundamental part of a rocket stove, which sucks air in past the fuel, burns it, and exhausts it up the chimney. A few sections of pipe are welded into the chimney section to heat the water as it passes through, and then an enclosure is made for the stove to provide insulation and improve its efficiency. The rocket stove was able to effortlessly heat 80 liters of water to 70°C in a little over an hour using a few scraps of wood.
If you’ve been on the Internet long enough to know about Hackaday, we’ll wager you’re familiar with the concept of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) — a tingling sensation in the scalp that’s said to be triggered by certain auditory stimuli. There are countless videos on YouTube that promise to give you “the tingles” using everything from feather dusters to overly starched shirts, but for us, the tool of choice is apparently a Lincoln Electric Magnum PRO 100SG spool gun in the hands of [Bob].
Admittedly we can’t promise the latest Making Stuff video will induce a euphoric physical sensation for all viewers, but at the very least, we think you’ll agree that watching [Bob] and his brother methodically welding together the twelve foot hull of what will eventually be a custom jet boat is strangely relaxing.
While we usually associate [Bob] with scratch builds, this time he’s actually working his way through a commercial kit. Sold by Jet Stream Adventure Boats, the kit includes the pre-cut aluminum panels that make up the hull, stringers, and top deck — niceties like a windshield and seats are offered as extras. The engine and jet drive need to be salvaged from an existing personal watercraft (PWC), but that will have to wait for a future video. For now, there’s a boat-load (get it?) of tack welding to be done.
The build process looks to go pretty smoothly, except for when they attempt to put the bow of the boat together. Unable to get the two side panels to meet properly, [Bob] eventually has to contact the manufacturer. After some back and forth, it turns out that a bit must have broken on the CNC when the hull panel went through, as a key cut was made nearly 8 inches (20 cm) too short. He was able to complete the cut with a jigsaw and continue on with the build, but we’re still scratching our heads at how this wasn’t caught before it got shipped out.
It won’t be the first homemade boat we’ve covered, but given [Bob]’s attention to detail, we’re particularly excited to see how this one develops in future videos. Especially since he’s foolishly bravely asked the commenters to come up with a name for his new craft.
Despite all the progress in cooking methods over the past millennia, nothing can ever replace the primeval sensation of staring into the embers as your food slowly gets ready. Barbecues are the obvious choice to satisfy this cave nostalgia, and while size might matter in some cases, sometimes you just want the convenience of being able to take your grilling device to the beach, park, or just really anywhere but home. Other times you’re [Laura Kampf] and don’t want to use an old toolbox for storing tools.
It all started with one of those typical three-layer folded cantilever toolboxes that [Laura] really likes for their mechanical construction, but not so much from a usability point of view. Being someone with a knack for turning random stuff into barbecues, this was an intriguing enough device to take apart. After plenty of time spent grinding bolts and paint off, she cut out the tray bottoms to weld metal mesh pieces as grill grates in their place — but you can watch the whole progress in the video below then.
The folding mechanics play out really nicely here. Not only can you access the grill goods by moving them away from the burning coals that are placed in the center bottom part of the box, it also provides you with two different heat layers. The individual lids on each side add even more variety, and this might even work as portable little smoker.
Welding is often a hot and noisy process. It generally involves some fancy chemistry and proper knowledge to achieve good results. Whether you’re talking about arc, TIG, or MIG, these statements all apply.
The same is true for explosion welding, though it’s entirely unlike any traditional hand welding methods you’ve ever seen before. Today, we’ll explore how this technique works and the applications it’s useful for. Fire in the hole!
Don’t Blow Them Apart, Blow Them Together!
The technique of explosion welding is relatively new compared to other metal-joining techniques. In the two World Wars of the 20th century, pieces of shrapnel were often found stuck to armor plating. Close observation showed that shrapnel was in fact welding on to metal armor, rather than simply being embedded in such. Given that collisions between shrapnel and armor often occur without the extreme heat of typical welding operations, it indicated that it was instead great velocity of the impact between shrapnel and armor that was melding the metals together.
The same results were later recreated in the lab, and explosoin welding was developed into a refined technique after World War II. 1962 saw DuPont patent a process for explosion welding later to be known under the “Detaclad” trademark.