Making the Gas Tank FIT!

Yesterday, I brought in my motorcycle gas tank and went to put it on the cycle. But IT DIDN’T FIT! The battery rack is exactly just a little too tall!

After talking with some of the other Makers at the space, it was decided the simple answer was just to trim a little off the bottom of the tank.

Since the gas tank is only really just a cover, mostly there for looks, no reason I can’t add dials and guages directly to the tank!┬áHere’s the video:

EV Cycle Battery Rack – Part 3

Yesterday, I finished the upper mounts on the motorcycle battery rack. I actually ended up running out of angle iron for the top hold-downs, but the Makerspace is full of great salvaged materials. I used some of those computer tower case holders as the top brackets. They are sturdy metal and already painted black to boot!

Here’s some video of what I did.

Electric Motorcycle

I’m currently doing some work on my electric motorcycle.

It’s always run just fine, but it’s always had that “freshly cobbled together” look as well. I’ve got my cycle at the Makerspace to repaint it, build a custom battery rack, and get it ready for shooting the “BUILD YOUR OWN ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE” instructional video.

Here’s a YouTube of what I was doing yesterday.

Simple Wood Tool Box

Here is a simple wood tool box. It’s easy to make one (or several of them) in an afternoon.

The vertical, open, design means you can easily see and access all your tools – no more digging to the bottom of a bag!

This is one my father made, based on a tool box he was given over 40 years ago. See more images of this tool box in the “misc” image gallery.

I also posted it at:

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Makerspace as video studio

A few days ago, I used the Makerspace as a video studio.

A while back, I made an instuctional video on building electric cars, but I have never really done enough promoting of it. I figured a good way to do it is simply to make a pitchman-style YouTube video.

I already had my seamless paper at the Makerspace for our movie night and the band at our opening. So, I set up the paper backdrop and a few of my lights. Instantly, the place went from looking like a metalshop to a video studio.

I WAS filming during the day, so there was a little noise from the neighboring business, but not too bad. It’s much quieter at nigh. There’s also a little echo there. For industrial videos, video blogging, and machine training this is no problem.

Here’s the video that I shot.

Just imagine the giant Makerspace logo right behind me.


DIY Plug-In Hybrid Car

Two summers ago, I built my own electric car. It’s a conversion of a ’96 Geo Metro from gas to electric. While I experimented with several different voltages, in the end I went with a simple 72V battery pack. Overall, it’s great, other than a rather short range.

Recently, I started finding that I was doing a lot of travel JUST A LITTLE FARTHER then I could go on a charge. One of the friends at the Makerspace had a propane generator kicking around, and said I could have it if I could fix it.

Hmmm…. Plug-In Serial Hybrid anyone?

Click the “read more” below for the rest of the story, including videos

Essentially, I fixed up the generator and mounted it, a fuel tank, and the battery charger in the cargo area of the car.
The generator makes electricity, and the charger pushes it to the batteries. The charger can NOT put out as much power as the car uses on cruising, so it’s NOT and “infinate range extender” the way the Chevy Volt is. Instead, it simply extends the range of the electric car by having the batteries deplete more slowly.

Here’s an overview video.

I made several videos as I was working on the project, and I think they explain everything better than I could explain by text.

Here are a few of those videos in chronological order.

And if those videos aren’t enough for you, check out my DIY instructions over at

Pot finally gets Gold!

 Tuesday night was time to paint the Pot O’ Gold!

The burlap covering soaked up the black paint. Brushes seemed to work better than rollers on the thick texture.

We also used some old pink foam insulation to cut into disks to make the coin shapes. Once that was done, we primed the coins to protect the foam, and then hit them with a coat of gold spray paint.


And here is a photo of the pot on the electric float base with the new gold coins on top!

It's a POT O' GOLD!

Keeping my EV batteries warm

As the colder weather approaches, us Electric Vehicle drivers tend to worry more about the climate control for our batteries than for ourselves.

Typical lead-acid batteries lose range as temps drop. One way to keep closer to your summer range is to warm the batteries to above ambient temperatures. Below are two videos for my home-brew EV battery warmer.


Mer-Chevy: Long-Haul Eco-Truck

While I have been tinkering with electric vehicles for some time now, I still have need for a vehicle that can go a long-distance, carry tools and equipment, but still get great fuel economy and ideally run on renewable fuel.

Diesel engines meet most of that. I already have a Chevy S-10 that I like. If only it were diesel…..

This past spring, I picked up an old Mercedes 240D. The engine is only .2L bigger than the one in the Chevy.

Time for an engine swap!

Here’s a video of what the guys and I got done this past Sunday.

Besides converting the engine, I plan to run the truck on bio-diesel, and improve its aerodynamics with a custom-made cap, smooth wheel covers, and rear wheel skirts. I am shooting for 40MPG, without using a drop of gasoline.