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Bicycle Build for 4

Origin of concept, two rusty motorcycle type wheels purchased at a garage sale.

Design Tasks:

  1. Fabricate clutch device to allow free wheeling (coasting without the peddles turning)  
    Solution: Altered a sprag over ride clutch taken from a diesel engine starter motor and applied to the drive sprocket on bike.
  2. Develop braking means to stop 1000 pounds of "cargo" rolling down a steep hill.
    Solution: Altered motorcycle brake shoes to fit a custom fabricated brake backing plate to match existing wheel hubs. The driver controls the hand levers for both front and rear brakes.
  3. Design frame to function properly but still have style.
    Solution: Use of rectangular and seamless steel tubing.
  4. Transporting something that was eleven feet long.
    Solution:  Make a rack system that could be easily attached to the side of a vehicle.


It is heavier than anticipated but was appropriate for parts available at the time.  And, the brakes... Unexpected braking that cause the cargo to "shift" is not appreciated by the other riders on the bike!

Always a smile grabber and still in operating condition used by the next generation of McMurray boys.

Automated Composting Machine

The Problem With Composting:

Compost material is continually generated but requires aging to breakdown organic materials before it can be re-used.   Mixing fresh greens to an existing pile restricts the usage of this compost material until it has aged.


The Solution:

Develop a rotating horizontal tube that has internal helical vanes, when rotated, mix and transfer the material toward the opposite end of the tube. (Similar to a drum on a cement truck)

The user can continually add fresh green weeds (with dirt and all) into the loading hopper and be assured the material being expelled has been allowed to compost properly and not contain active weed seeds.  

This design worked great!

The tube was made from recycled truck tires, cross tread cut and bolted together to make a spiral.  Laid on two roller pipes, one being live attached to an electric motor with a reduction gearbox. This motor was controlled by a simple irrigation lawn control timer teamed up with a standard 120 VAC relay switch. The unit could be programmed to rotate at intermittent times during the week, on at the hottest time of the day, and stop with the cool shady side exposed to daily sun.

Other options evolved:

  An electric shredding device was added at the intake.   (It was required to reduce trimming into compost size pieces.)

An extension of the tube fitted with an open mesh material. (This allowed the compost to be sorted for two piles, ready sifted and the other for another recycle.)

A water cycle to automatically spray the contents while mixing.   (It was required to obtain proper moisture for the composting process.)

It is called, "The Rhino"!  It eats massive quantities of dirt & greens and weighs over 1100 pounds!


Vacuum Forming Machine

Used to make safety signs on ozone equipment.

  1. Design frame to hold a thin sheet of plastic, have an air tight seal and to be positioned to a matching mold with a vacuum plate.
    Solution: Fabricated a three part frame system with independent seals between each frame that would hinge open like pages in a book.
  2. Design a heating source for uniform heating of the plastic sheet.
    Solution: Fabricated a light box with the use of infrared light bulbs positioned at the proper "focus" distance to assure even heating.
  3. Vacuum pressure control method.
    Solution: Utilized a spring loaded valve to be activated only when the frame had been depressed to create the proper seal.

The raised lettering and artwork were very obvious.

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