Journey of the Cart

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This blog isn’t about making an ATV cart. It’s about a trampoline legs, a piece of ½” rebar, two 5/8” pieces of pipe, a plastic barrel, some washers, nuts and bolts, a black rubber bungee strap with one hook missing, two metal brackets, a metal bed frame, a can of primer, a can of red paint, two cotter pins, an used 1×12” pine board, two scraps of 2×2” fir and a rusty piece of 1x3x24” iron.

Our camping spot up in the woods is kind of river front property. River front if you don’t count the 200 yards of green way and the small creek you have to cross on the way to the river. The distance becomes somewhat of a journey if you want to spend the afternoon at the river and you have to carry all your stuff that distance. My oldest daughter, her husband and their friends like to camp at the place and have resorted to strapping as much as they can to their ATV and making a trip or two to the river with said stuff. When I saw what they were up to I thought it would be nice to have a cart to load up and haul their stuff to the river. Being a loving and caring father and probaby even more true, I do like to make things and if you have read any of my blogs, you will know I like to make things out of stuff I already have. Except the two tires, which I bought on Amazon for $11. each, I rounded up all the other items from around the farm and in my shop.

I think it’s called making things from scratch. The fun of making something from scratch is that you only know what your end product will be, but how you get there is a journey.

This journey, the Journey of the Cart, started with a frame made from two bottom supports for the legs of a 12’ trampoline. I love trampoline frames because the pipes are so versatile. There are pre-bent pipes, tapered ends of the pipe will slide into the other ends of pipe and some are both bent and have tapered ends. I started the frame with two bottom leg supports. Both ends of the supports are tapered, so I had to cut two 6” pieces of pipe to slide the two ends into to make a rectangular frame that was about 20” wide and 5’ long.

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I had decided that I was going to us a 55 gallon plastic barrel for the bed of the cart and the 20” wide frame would allow the barrel to lay in the frame and not fall through.

I wanted to give the cart a little more ground clearance so I needed to support the axel below the frame. I scrounged around and scratched my head and scrounged around some more. I finally found two heavy brackets that I had salvaged off some farm equipment and sometime in the past. They could be bolted onto the frame with the two holes already in each of the brackets and to better accommodate the axle I notched them, giving me a place to weld the axle solidly in place. DSCF7754

The barrel, when laid in the frame, sagged through a few inches and sat on and conflicted with the axle. I solved the conflict by bowing the axle down to conform with the barrel before I welded the axle in place. DSCF7757

The wheel barrel wheels had heavy-duty bearings and the hole for the axel was 5/8”. I didn’t have any 5/8” steel rod, but I did have two short pieces of thick wall pipe that were 5/8” and 12” long. The two pipes welded together was right length. To straighten the pipe I slid a ½” piece of rebar in the middle of the pipes before I welded them together.

The wheels were easy to install with a hole through both ends of the axles, a couple of washers and a pair of cotter pins

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My first attempt at a tongue for the cart was made from pipe with a cross support make from the angle iron cut from a metal bed frame, but after I got it bolted together I wasn’t convinced that the pipe would be strong enough when the cart was carrying a heavy load. I remembered that I had come across a piece of a rusty of 1x3x24” channel iron when I was scrounging around the metal pile. It was very strong and the right length so I pulled it out of the pile and swapped out the pipe with the iron piece.

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The tongue needed a post on the underside of the front end to slip down into the receiver hitch hole on the ATV, so I welded a large bolt on the tongue that would fit. To keep the post from popping out of the receiver hole, I drilled a hole through the bolt that a pin could be inserted through, act as a stop and to the keep the bolt from popping up and out of the hole every time the ATV hit a bump in the trail. To keep the pin from getting lost I attached it to a short chain and tack welded the chain to the tongue.

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A plastic 55 gallon barrel is about 3’ tall and the frame was 5’ long, so that left 2’ of frame unused. I decided that a wood platform for a cooler would be a perfect utilization of the space. I found a piece of 1x12x48” pine board that had been used for a shelf at sometime in the past. It even had a lacquer finish on one side. I cut the board in half and ripped the boards length ways into four 4-3/4” wide boards. I attached the four smaller boards to two 2x2x18” boards. The 2x2s were spaced 18” apart so they would slide down between the cart frame in front of the barrel.

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To make it possible to put stuff in the barrel I cut about a third of the side of the barrel away, leaving the two ends full round.

I wanted to make it easy to remove and install the barrel on the cart. To secure the barrel to the frame I put two large pan head bolts through the bottom of the barrel just below the angle iron that secured the back of the tongue to the frame. The two bolts will keep the front from popping out of the frame. To secure the back, I attached a 12” long black heavy duty rubber bungee to the frame with a bolt. One of the hooks on the ends of the bungee was missing so I pushed a bolt through the hook hole and bolted the bungee to the frame. With a hole drilled in the end of the barrel, the bungee can be stretched up and hooked through the hole securing the back of the barrel down..

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After I was sure everything was going to work, I wire brushed the frame, cleaned it, primed it and painted it. I was going paint the frame black, but black metal is boring and red is a lot more fun. With the red frame, the white wheels and the blue barrel the cart is quite patriotic.

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I will admit that it takes longer to build a cart, or anything for that matter, without a well thought out plan, but for me, as I get older and have a several hundred projects under my belt, it’s much more fun, challenging and rewarding to just start with an idea and a shop full of stuff.

So back to my statement at the beginning; This blog isn’t about a ATV cart. It’s about a trampoline legs, a piece of ½” rebar, two 5/8” pieces of pipe… It’s about taking what you have and making what you want.

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Anyway…for what it’s worth.

 

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MAKING ROOM FOR THE WIFE

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When my wife committed to joining me on our riding groups’ annual adventure to Baker City Oregon, I realized that our bike was not set up or rated to carry us and all the personal items that would be required to keep us in clean clothes and beautified for a week.

Our Suzuki Volusia 800cc has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, GVWR, of about 950 lbs. The bike alone weights 590lbs. This means that my wife and our luggage, tools and miscellaneous items would have to weight 90 lbs. My wife alone weighs close to 90lbs. (You’re welcome babe). I weigh…do the math. Well you get the idea, we would be way over the GVWR. We got out our “Motorcycle Trip Packing List” (see my blog, “Motorcycle Packing List”) and started crossing things off the list that we could live without. When all was said and done we got our stack of essentials to fit into two small pieces of luggage, airplane carry-on style, and our biggest motorcycle trunk. In the past, when I used the Volusia for a trip I would just strap a bag on the passenger seat, cram a bunch of stuff in the hard shell saddlebags and be off. The problem now was that our Volusia was not set up to carry two pieces of luggage, my wife, and I. My V-strom is setup for exactly that scenario, (see my blog, “Panniers Made From Scratch”) but the V-strom isn’t nearly as comfortable as the Volusia to ride, it has Corbin seats.

For the next couple of days I scratched my head and tried to figure out how I was going remove the hard shell saddlebags and replace them with two pieces of carry-on luggage. I finally concluded that I would have to make another set of plastic panniers for the Volusia, exactly like those I made for my V-strom. That’s right, I said “exactly” like those for the V-strom. The panniers for the V-strom attach to the bike using a metal frame work that I designed and made. The Volusia didn’t have that same frame work, but it did have the saddlebag supports and the mounting studs that attach the saddlebags to the bike. Retro-fitting the panniers to the Volusia was as easy as drilling two holes in the back of the plastic panniers so they would slip onto the studs and clip in place just like the saddlebags. To make them extra secure and for added support I added a couple of straps. Now granted, it didn’t look “Harley Cool,” but it worked great.

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Showing plastic panniers on Volusia with studs showing and extra straps for support.

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Showing luggage in place in plastic panniers and covered with bright rain proof bags.

I knew that once we got to Baker City we would be removing the plastic panniers and luggage, which presented two more issues. First, with them removed, the bike is left with two large and ugly, metal ell brackets sticking out on both sides of the bike where the bags mount.

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Showing ugly metal support brackets for saddlebags

And second, the trunk wouldn’t be large enough to pack all the stuff we would need for the long day trips we would be taking from Baker City. My first thought was to pack the saddlebags full of clothes and pack the packed saddlebags in the luggage, but they were too big and too heavy.

When I first started riding dual sport I wanted some small saddle bags I could attach to my Honda XR650L to carry essentials, like tools, rain gear, water and power bars. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on brand named soft saddlebags, so I would stop by Goodwill every now and then to see if I could find pairs of backpacks, duffel bags or small soft sided luggage bags that were identical or very similar in size and appearance. Lucky enough, I was able to collect a few pairs of bags that looked alike or were exactly alike. I found two identical Goodwill bags in our motorcycle stall storage cabinet that would be a good size for day ride purposes. I could have just strapped them on the bike like saddlebags, but after modifying my plastic panniers the idea of making simple plastic supports that would attach just like the saddlebags and panniers seemed like the best plan.

I took one of the plastic barrels that I had and cut off two rectangles that were the same width as the small bags, 11.5”, and that were the same length in height + depth as the bags, 17”. Using a propane torch I heated and bent the plastic rectangles into two large ell shaped brackets. I drilled holes in the brackets to match the mounting studs on the bike so they too would slip onto the studs and clip in place.

Both bags had large open pockets on the back of them. I cut the pockets open along the bottom and reinforced the cut material with Gorilla Duct Tape, love the stuff. Next I slipped the bracket up through the open bottom of the pocket. The modified pocket held the bag to the bracket, the bag was supported by the bottom of the plastic ell and the bracket clipped easily to the motorcycle saddlebag studs.

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Showing plastic ell bracket and small bag.

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Showing ell bracket inserted through cut open back pocket.

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showing small bag mounted on the bike

The small bags were lightweight, could easily be packed with clothes and packed nicely into our luggage. They were large enough to carry what we needed for day trips and were even rain resistant. They did look a little redneck and defiantly not “Harley Cool”, but I’m not what you would call “cool.”

Anyway…for what it’s worth.

ATV: From ugly duckling to swan.

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Last year I had three grandchildren. This year that number will double. That’s a lot of pressure on this grand dad because it’s three more grandchildren that I have to try and buy their love by providing them with ATVs as they reach the “appropriate age”. Out growing an ATV is like outgrowing clothes, when a child out grows something, they get a bigger size and their smaller size is handed down to a smaller child.

A few months a go I found a good deal, $120, on an ATV that I thought would be a good size for my oldest grandson. His little brother was showing interest in riding, so I wanted to be prepared to…, buy his love. The guy that sold it to me thought it was a 70cc, but after I got it home I discovered that it was actually a 90cc. A little larger than I wanted, but, you know, gift horse.

The ATV ran, but it had the wrong size air mixture screw in the carburetor. There were other things wrong with the bike; there was no seat, no foot platforms, no hood/battery cover, the back fender was cracked in a couple of places, the plastics were very oxidized, the air filter was missing and it was ugly.

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I started by making a seat platform out of a piece of a plastic barrel from a paper pattern I cut and fitted. The platform had to have two small tabs at the front and one larger one at the back that would clip into the frame brackets to hold the seat in place. IMAG0404

I next made the hood/battery cover and two foot platforms out of plastic from a barrel.

After the seat blank was finished I started with the cosmetics. The oxidation on the plastic had to come off, so I attached a circular wire brush to my drill and went to work. It took some time, but the spinning wire brush took the loose plastic off and I was happy how much better the plastic looked. IMAG0410

For years my boys and I have experimented with different ways to repair cracked plastic fenders and other plastic parts of bikes and ATVs. Nothing we tried really worked. I knew that had to be something that would work so I scratched my head and looked around the shop for a better idea. My youngest son had left a can of plastic dip in the shop several months earlier. Plastic dip is liquid plastic that you dip handles of tools in, like a pair of pliers, to coat the handles. The can was half empty and when I opened it and found that the plastic dip had started to stiffen, but was still useable. I felt like I would need something to reinforce the repair before applying the plastic dip and remembered that I had a roll of fiberglass tape used for taping drywall joints. The tape is 1-1/2” wide, woven so there is 1/8” gaps between the strands of fiberglass and is sticky on one side. Perfect. I taped the cracks in the plastic from the underside and slathered the plastic dip over the tape. On the topside I filled the cracks with paintable silicone caulk and smoothed it out.  After it dried it was very strong and flexible. So far, after a summer of riding, the repair has held with no evidence of failure.

Have I ever mentioned that I love spray on bed liner in a rattle can? I do, so I sprayed all the plastics with it. The stuff is so great for sticking to everything and offering a good base for paint. IMAG0414

The next step was to cover the seat with foam and black vinyl and to paint the plastics.

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Many years ago I learned the importance of having an air filter on motor. I bought a Fiat when I was seventeen that had no air filter. I tried to retro-fit different filters onto the carburetor, but nothing really worked. I finally gave up and ran it without an air filter. It wasn’t long before the motor loss power and started to burn oil. So lesson learned and the last item of business was to make an air filter for the ATV. I discovered, after much trial and error, that an 1-1/4” PVC coupling fit snugly over the carburetor’s throat. Then all I needed was some foam, something to hold the foam in and to epoxy it to the coupling. I used a sippy cup to hold the filter foam. I cut slots in the cup to allow for air-flow and assembled it. IMAG0412

I put it all back together and the end product turned out pretty sweet. Someday I’m going to have to get the proper air mixture screw because the motor loads up with gas if it’s ran at full throttle, but for now the throttle governor is set at the slowest setting possible and will stay there for a few more years

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Motorcycle tool compartment

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A place to carry tools and essentials on a motorcycle.

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For me you can never have enough tools, parts, cleaners, first aid items, snacks and water with me when I’m out on a ride. I’m little like a boy scout in that way, always be prepared. When I bought my Suzuki 650 V-strom adventure bike I wanted more space to store stuff. I searched the web for add-on tool boxes. I found some good ideas, but I knew I could do better. I wanted something that would have plenty of room, be nearly indestructible and blend into the bike. The Vee 650 has one exhaust pipe right side, which makes it appear to be a little unbalanced.  I had made and installed a rack for panniers on the Vee, watch for that blog, and on the left side there was a gap were the exhaust was on the other side. My first thought was to find a matching exhaust, convert it to a storage tube and no one would even know it was storage because it would look like the other exhaust. I couldn’t find a used exhaust, so I went to plan B.

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I decided to use a 6″ black stovepipe instead of a 4″ ABS pipe like I had seen on the web. A 6″ stovepipe had more storage room, was the same size as the exhaust and would fit perfectly in the space behind my luggage rake. You can use the silver six-inch pipe, but the black is of heavier gauge and is already black. They also make other diameter pipe and even square pipe. The smaller diameters and square will be in the silver, lighter gauge.

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I first cut the pipe to the length I needed to fit behind my rack and so it would stick out equal distance to my muffler. I kept the crimped end because I wanted to use a six-inch cooking pot lid for the cover and the lid was the same diameter as the pipe so the end had to be crimped so the lid would fit over the pipe. I would suggest finding a lid before you cut the pipe. Some lids will fit nicely over the full six inches. I made a rubber strap to secure the lid to the pipe just in case. The strap is made out of inner-tube. I attached to the underside with a rivet and made a latch out of plastic and a screw at the top. I drilled a hole to insert the screw into.

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At some point you have to snap-lock the pipe together. I snapped mine together first and used my table saw to cut the excess end off.

I always have some 55 gal. plastic barrels around to make fenders and side covers for my dirt bikes. I like the plastic because you can heat it up and shape it into anything you want. I actually made my panniers out of the plastic, but that’s another posting sometime. I used the top of one of the barrels to cut a six-inch circle to use as the bottom plug at the lower end of my pipe. I made some adjustments with my grinder so the plug would fit snugly. I pushed the plug in so there was a ¼” lip of the pipe sticking past the plug. Using my hot glue gun, I reached in and glued the inside perimeter of the plug to the pipe and then I glued the exterior using the ¼” lip as additional surface for the glue. If you want, you can drill a few small holes through the side of the pipe into the edge of the plastic plug and insert some small screws or brads for extra holding power.DSCF6790

I dressed up the lid by adding a PVC pipe coupling over the lid handle. I had to grind the handle a little to get the coupling over it. I glued it on with hot glue. The lid fit really tight and doesn’t fall off, but I decided to add the rubber strap just in case. It’s made out of rubber inner tube. I riveted it to the under side of the pipe, cut it so it would fit around the PVC handle and added a plastic latch with a screw through it. The screw fits into a small hole in the top of the pipe. The threads on the screw and a little tension on the rubber strap keeps the strap in place.

After loading the toolbox up with my essentials, I realized how inconvenient it was going to be to find stuff in the pipe toolbox. I solved that by making a plastic insert tube that would slide in and out like a drawer and keep my stuff handy and organized. I cut two slightly smaller than six-inch end pieces and a piece of plastic from the side of the barrel that I could heat and form around the end pieces. I hot glued it all together and added four small screws through the sides into the end pieces for extra holding power. I drilled a finger hole in the top end of the insert so I had something to get hold of to pull the insert out.Photo383

The last step was to use spray-in bed liner in a rattle can to make it all black. The spray-in is great stuff and will stick to most anything. The plastic should be clean and roughed up with 50-80 grit sand paper to give the spray-in something to grip to.

That is it. It’s been on the bike three years now and has seen thousands of road miles and a few hundred miles over some pretty rough logging roads. It has held up to the miles and has given me lots of storage room.