Friday, November 11, 2011

Two steps forward, four steps back

I'm not quite ready to go Mike Ness on the whitehouse or anything, but these lousy A35 manifolds were a bit of a set back. In addition to taking way too much effort to make and costing me a ton to set up all the jigs and such, they have been somewhat problematic in that they are the first product I've made like this. There is a good reason nobody else makes these things!

Version 1
From Moped Factory Products

The first batch of 10 had some quality control issues first of all, the welds left something to be desired visually (they were airtight- tig welded inside) and the powdercoating was a bit spotty. Definitely not up to Moped Factory standards. I was in too much of a rush and sent them out anyway and right away one of my product crash testers got back to me and said that there was a placement error, on the A35 frame the old intake (ver 2) went right into the front side cover bracket. The bike I tested them on was an A3 and slightly different in that area.

Version 2
From Moped Factory Products

So last weekend, the forward progress was interrupted to re-make the offending manifolds, with what I hope will be a more universal and all-around better design. Version 3 of the manifold is less trick, bringing the carb out farther from the frame, and on the right side this time (starboard), instead of the port side. As much as I like designs that allow you to keep things tucked in neatly, the Tomos engine and frame layout doesn't give much of an option for that. Perhaps in version 4 I'll use an actual a35 frame and make it specific to that model, in the mean time I've got something that will get the job done and should be a bit more universal for all the hackers and wierdos out there putting these things on Puchs, Batavus (more regarding this soon!), etc.

Version 3
From Moped Factory Products

The new models are welded with some tricky machine shop magic to give much better looking welds. Mig, not tig, which has certain advantages to the manufacturing process. Mostly that its faster and doesn't heat up the plate as much, so it wont warp as badly, and it looks so nice.

From Moped Factory Products

And another pic to show clearance:
From Moped Factory Products

This is finals week coming up here, so I'm working on a pile of final reports and crap, but next week I'll be hard at it getting some more exciting new products out and I'll mock up a puch frame to make sure this intake clears... take some pictures.

If all goes well, hopefully I can get some work done on some of my own projects, might make for more interesting blogging.

Friday, November 4, 2011


All I can say is ... wow. If you have even the slightest bit of gasoline in your veins, these youtube videos are stunning to see.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Moar parts

Had a busy weekend, finally was able to finish up a couple products I've been developing during the last few weeks.
From Moped Factory Products

It sounds kinda silly saying that, because most of you (especially if you had a machine shop at hand) could have made any of these things in a couple hours, but its totally different when you are producing things to sell. Testing, quality control, all kinds of things have to be done. A big part of what this experiment with the moped business is teaching me is the concept of 'design for manufacturability'. It means altering your design to make a product easier to produce, or more consistent to mass produce. Its the missing link often between a good product and a great product, or making a profit/not making a profit.

If you're going to stake your reputation on a product, you better be darn sure its going out the door correctly made, a big part of that is consistency. When you make one intake you can mock it up on your bike, tack it in place, bend it to fit, finish weld... when you make 10 intakes you have to make a jig to cut the tube, a jig to bend the tube, a jig to hold it while you weld. By the time you're done with all that you've spent weeks engineering a process. The good news is, it pays off in time by ensuring a high quality product and making them cheaper to mass produce. Oh yeah, I'm learning a lot as well, and as my mom always says 'education is expensive'.

The first part i'm excited about i've been making for awhile, just for my own use and for friends. These 'E50' stands- which fit all puch engines, of course- are really handy for rebuilds and for starting your engine on the bench. The originals had goobery welds on the outside, and weren't always 100% perfectly square. I made some changes to my design and managed to hide the welds, make them stronger and more accurate, and shoot some pretty blue powder on them.
From Moped Factory Products

What do you think? The blue powder was a reccommendation of my brother who is always reminding me I should work harder at getting radical. Black would have been the safe choice, but I like this blue, and now when you start seeing all my stuff coming out in blue, maybe you'll recognize moped factory products when you see them on other people's cool mopeds, or something... I'm retarded when it comes to marketing, so y'all should know that MF stuff is less than 2% hype. Boring eh? Whatever, if you want hype go buy some Coke or a pair of Nikes.

The other part that i've put a ton of time into lately... and boy have i ever... is this A35 to 16SHA intake manifold. Ever since Handybikes ran out of Daelim manifolds sometime around 2008, there has been a lot of hair-pulling by the moped community about finding a good, well fitting, 16mm SHA manifold to fit the A35. You can use that straight shot one from treats, maybe, if you have just the right carb and the gods are smiling upon you. And dont even think about changing a jet or running an air filter.
From Moped Factory Products

A guy emailed me asking if I could make him one and it got my juices flowing about this part again. I'm literally going to bleed money on these things, but they are so cool and so badly needed, consider it community service or something. It required about 10 modifications to my plasma-cut flange, to get just the right angle on the pass-through of the tube. A jig had to be made to ensure the bender would bend the tube at just the right angle, a jig was made to hold the tube and cut it at just the right angle, and the tube itself requires a machining step to put the clamp-mount spigot on the end just perfect.

After about 10 prototypes moving the carb into different locations, it ended up here. I mocked it up on an A3 so hopefully it works on A35 frames just the same. I cant exactly remember how those frames are different (if at all) but it should clear side covers and everything, so you can keep sleeper status even with a kit.

This week I'm cleaning up the garage and getting ready to put together my ZA-50 finally. This stupid thing has taken me forever, basically because I want it to be perfect and run forever. Is that too much to ask? The last ZA-50 I rebuilt had at least 20k on it before the bearings got so sloppy that I finally had to retire it. Hopefully this one with improvements like relined clutches, roller bearing crank, and higher quality bearings (I've replaced almost every single bearing in the whole engine) will allow it to run hard with a Polini for many years to come as a daily blaster.