Moving down here, of course, was a pretty major disruption to all sorts of projects. Moped Factory went into hiatus for a few months while I restructured into a more 'hands-off' and hopefully more sustainable format. My brother Noel is now facilitating manufacturing in Milwaukee where my friends, the machinists who were letting me make parts in their shop, are making the machined heads. Its been a little difficult for me to give up the reins, partially because I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to Q.C. and partially because so much of what I was doing was just stuff I knew but couldn't really teach someone. The other thing I realized pretty quickly is that the last two years I've basically been working for next to nothing, and oddly enough, nobody else wants to work that hard for no money.
The bad news is so much stuff is out of stock and its been really hard to get it made, but the good news is that we're moving towards a more sustainable and hopefully predictable manufacturing strategy. A lot of parts are going up in price because the people making them have to get paid more than I was, but thats just the way it works, if you don't like it, buy your custom engineered high performance moped parts from someone else who is willing to work for free. I still don't make any profit and loose a lot of money compared to my real job, which is now a lot more lucrative, but I do it all for the twisty-spitties, so whatever.
In other moped business news, I bought out a moped/scooter dealership barely a month after moving down here. I ended up with a huge storage unit full of scooter junk and take-off/used moped parts. The high dollar scooter stuff is going through ebay, its nothing anybody in mopeds is interested in and I need the money to fund some mopedfactory R+D so I'm gonna try to get top dollar. Plus its a pain in the butt to store and get rid of this crap, so I gots'ta get paid.
|Liquid cooled Kymco Super 9 cylinder... who wants to put this on something cool?|
The best thing to come of all this is the huge stash of 'on hand' scooter parts i have for modding, hacking, and adapting to mopeds. I have about 20 stators and 50 cdi boxes that i'm testing for moped applications. One of the first projects, that will probably end up as a marketable product, is a modern scooter flywheel and stator adapted to moped use. These seem to be pretty reliable, dirt cheap, and they will get you mega power 12v lights and CDI. Some of the DC boxes I'm hoping to adapt for total-loss racing ignitions.
It took me about 2 seconds to realize that a very cheap, very common stator brand is a direct fit to a bosch flywheel, so i plan to have the first one of these sparking- if not running- in a couple weeks.
Speaking of running things, the biggest impediment to that lately has been my terrible garage situation. When we moved down here we quickly found garages are slim pickin's in this part of the country. Everyone has car ports except for crappy townhomes, and i don't get along very well with the kind of people who usually live around me in town homes.
We found a really nice little house in the college neighborhood, but the garage is in a pretty sorry state. It doesn't have a door yet, has a dirt floor, and no power/lights/anything. When I went to hang a door I realized the whole thing was literally one sturdy shove from falling over. The foundation was disintegrated and the wood around the base was heavily termite damaged. The footer boards along about 1/3 of the base of the garage are completely gone.
I've begun the frustrating (especially considering everything else going on right now) task of re-building the brick foundation in small pieces. Jacking the garage up with a floor jack, butressing it with boards, rebuilding the foundation in situ, and setting it back down on the replaced part of foundation. When i'm done with that I'll be hanging doors, putting down a 'floor' probably made out of craigslist used paving blocks, and building out my workbenches... gosh that's gonna be a lot of work.
So that, more or less, brings us up to speed. All my mopeds are in storage, half my tools, all my parts and a whole second storage unit full of dumb scooter parts are scattered within a 1 hour radius of my house. Nonetheless, I've managed to get some projects worked on here and a fairly useful little engine building lab set up in my office. I'll put up posts in the next few days/weeks/months with updates on individual projects and some of the cool non-moped stuff I've been busy with.