Tuesday 21 May 2024

First Print

Flashed up the 3D printer over the weekend and had a go at printing a test piece.

It's a squishy-squashy thing and, because of the way it's articulated, I'm not even sure how it was accomplished. I suppose I could use it as a coaster.

I had some difficulty with the filament spooling in clumps, which is a factor of the nozzle's distance from the substrate. I'll get better with practice.

Monday 20 May 2024

Cat Theft Auto

 Is cat theft actually a thing?

No-one can be said to own a cat in the same manner one owns a dog. If a cat is pissed off with you, your house or your attitude, it will bugger off and find another home. At best it's a lodger and there's a contract between you and the cat - you provide a comfortable home and regular food, it will stay and give you some psychological benefit, or scratch you.

However, if a pissed off cat finds a new home, the person who offers that home (and a better contract) can be accused of cat theft. That isn't fair, yet the government is set to make cat theft a criminal offence.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Freedom of Movement

Something struck me this week about Brexit which I hadn't twigged before.

After the vote to leave the EU, many EU workers filling jobs in the UK left, either returning to their own countries or, using their Freedom of Movement, moving to another EU country that needs workers.

We ended up with a dearth of workers, exacerbated by a lot of people reasessing their lives after lockdown and opting to retire early.

This necessitated the UK taking in non-EU workers, mostly, but not exclusively, from former colonies, to fill the large number of vacancies - places where the inhabitants are hated by our far right, either because of their colour or their religion. It was, however, a necessity if the economy was to grow. A massive own goal.

Now this much we all know. The thought that hadn't struck me previously was that while the EU workers were highly mobile and would likely leave the UK during a downturn, those we've had to recruit from former colonies aren't highly mobile as they don't have access to FoM and, given their lives are probably a lot better in the UK than their country of origin, are here to stay, regardless of an economic downturn. 

Now who was one of the prime drivers behind Brexit over his concern about immigration? Yes, you guessed it, Nigel Fuhrage. If we're having a large influx of people Fuhrage doesn't like, it's the fault of people like Fuhrage and those who believed his populist nonsense.

Saturday 18 May 2024

Wood Butchery

Back to the GT6 dashboard and another tool. A rabetter - or rebate maker. Old hat to many, but not to me.

It really needs using in my drill press or plam router to ensure it's always vertical, but this was just a test. You get varying size bearings to put on the end, which control the depth of the rebate you want. 

I used it in a cordless drill and, because it was wobbling around a bit in my hand, it gouged a bit extra out on the left of the test instrument hole.

You can see from the image below that the bezel of the repro fuel gauge I bought from India fits perfectly into the rebate. 

I'm not actually sure I'll use rebates for the instruments, as I like the idea of the chrome bezel protruding more and hiding any possible gaps.

Friday 17 May 2024

I'm Psychic

A couple of nights ago I had a dream in which I accidentally smashed my Bangers & Cash mug that I bought from Matthewson's on our visit to Thornton-le-Dale last month. When I woke up I remembered the dream and told Hay.

Later that day I nudged a Workmate than my mug of tea was on and if fell to the floor, smashing on the garage floor.

Glad I told Hay about the dream, else I'd think it was post-hoc rationalisation.

Spooky, or what?

Thursday 16 May 2024

Uh-Oh - Yet Another Toy

For a while now I've been on the lookout for a classic moped to put on the back of the motorhome for shopping trips and the like when camped out; however, all the ones I've seen advertised are sheds that no-one has even bothered to check as to whether they run or not - and they cost well in excess of £800.

I managed to snap this near-perfect example of a 1972 Mobylette pedal-and-pop for £420 on Facebook Market last weekend.


I didn't even bother haggling. It's all totally original, with the V5. Yes, I could probably get one for half the price in France or the Netherlands, but to find one even near this price in the UK is very rare.

Had some trouble starting it when I got it home, but that was down to me ignoring the fact it's French. I initially thought O on the fuel tap stood for zero (and therefore shut) and F stood for Fuel. R wasn't a problem, as that's Reserve. I then realised (after much huffing a puffing and finally detaching the fuel pipe from the carburettor to see what's what) that O stands for Ouvrir - or Open - and F is Fermer.

Now I don't yet know the exact model (it's not on the V5), but at first glance it looked like a 50V by virtue of the shock absorbers on the back end. Some further research on a Facebook Nerd Group revealed that it's possibly a 51V. This was derived from the frame number; however, the frame number, while a stamped tag, is not strictly kosher, so someone may have put a 51V number on it to register it with the DVLA. In any case, the 51V wasn't manufactured till 1980.

It's a single seater, yet there are models with a pillion seat, but in order to put a dual seat on this I'd need to obtain some foot pegs, originals of which are apparently as rare as hens' teeth. Not only that, the ones with a dual seat generally have the rear shockers more vertical and attached further back on the frame to improve support of the passenger. As it is, I think there's too much of an overhang where the pillion passenger would sit and I believe modification would be necessary, such as moving the shocker top support, or welding on an additional stay. That said, I've seen images of Mobys with a dual seat and forward raked shocks, so I heaved my vast bulk on to the luggage rack and it supported me famously.

I may struggle to get it on the motorhome bike carrier, but there's plenty of scope for lightening it - for example I could get rid of the luggage carrier, remove the weighty mudguards, lightweight shock absorbers, racing seat, ensure the tank is empty for transport, etc.. I wouldn't want to remove the chain guards, as my 1970s flares might get caught up in the chain. I guess I could 3D print some plastic mudguards and other bits to lighten it. It would also be nice to design a small, collapsible trailer on which I can put the kayaks when we're camped a mile or so from water.

The bike carrier is more than capable of taking the weight, which is 36kg unladen, but what will be more of a battle is lifting it onto the bike carrier, which will be a 2 person job. 

The fuel tank capacity is 3.6L, which should give a range of about 75 miles, if the specs are anything to go by, plus road tax is zero and insurance for Hay and me is only £66 a year.

I'm not going to renovate it as it's got natural patina and the areas of rust are so small they can be eliminated with touch-up paint. I think I've found a match and have ordered a 400ml spray can.

Even if I don't use it, No.2 Son can use it when he comes home from Uni after graduation and until he learns to drive and takes his test. It will extend his range for jobs, which he'll need in order to pay the rent on his room.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There

This Scorpion bloke - the international people smuggler - how come the bloody BBC can find him but the combined the might of the British law enforcement and intelligence agencies (not to mention the Belgians) couldn't find hide nor hair of him?

Could it be that they weren't looking that hard?

Sirkar Starmer's idea of a new anti-smuggling Command to battle him and his ilk sounds like a good idea, as what's taking place presently ain't working.

Or just give the job to the BBC....

Talking of Starmer, I never realised, but his wife is Jewish. She's not strictly Jewish according to Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, as her mother converted and wasn't born Jewish - the purists believe being Jewish passes down the female line and if your mother wasn't born of a Jewish mother, then you're not really Jewish. Reform Jews are a bit more relaxed on this.

His kids are apparently brought up in the faith, despite him being more sensibly described as atheist. Nevertheless, it's bound to be a factor in his thinking on Gaza. Also, you hardly ever see her and I didn't know either her name or what she looked like before Googling her. Sunak's wife, however, was the subject of a puff-piece in The Times over the weekend - Sunak's preparing for a GE and wants to use his Mrs to his advantage, not that I think having a millionaire wife who was a non-dom is an advantage at the current time.

Tuesday 14 May 2024


I asked Google Bard in which areas of the economy the UK is a leader. Here's the result:

The UK is a global leader in a wide range of industries, including: 

  • Financial services:London is a major center for international finance, home to many of the world's largest banks and insurance companies. The UK is also a leader in fintech, or financial technology, which is the use of technology to innovate and improve financial services. 
  • The UK has a thriving creative industries sector, which includes film, television, music, fashion, and design. The UK is home to Hollywood on the Thames, a nickname for several major film studios outside of the United States, and is a global leader in fashion, with London Fashion Week being one of the four major fashion weeks in the world. 
  • The UK is a world leader in life sciences, which includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices. The UK has a strong track record of developing new drugs and medical technologies.
  • Aerospace:The UK has a long and successful history in aerospace, and is a major player in the global aerospace industry. The UK is home to a number of world-leading aerospace companies, such as Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems. 
  • Professional and business services: The UK is a major center for professional and business services, such as accounting, law, and consulting. The UK is home to a number of world-leading professional services firms, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. 

These are just a few of the many areas in which the UK excels. The UK's strong economy, skilled workforce, and world-class universities all contribute to its success in a wide range of industries. 

These are the areas where government should be focussing investment to maintain leadership; however, these are all areas of the economy that require reasonably high levels of educational attainment and are thus open mainly to the middle classes.

I then asked what areas of the UK economy are open to those with low academic attainment: 

  • Trades and Construction: This includes electricians, plumbers, carpenters, welders, and other skilled workers who build, maintain, and repair structures. Many of these roles involve apprenticeships or on-the-job training, allowing you to learn and earn simultaneously. 
  • Manufacturing and Production: Factories often require assembly line workers, machine operators, and other positions that focus on specific tasks. These roles can provide stability and a chance to develop technical skills. 
  • Logistics and Transportation: Truck drivers, delivery personnel, warehouse workers, and logistics coordinators are all in high demand. These jobs often involve getting a commercial driver's license (CDL) and offer opportunities for advancement. 
  • Customer Service: Retail stores, restaurants, call centers, and hospitality businesses all need employees to interact with customers. These roles can provide valuable communication and interpersonal skills training. 
  • Healthcare Support: Nursing assistants, home health aides, and other paraprofessionals play a vital role in patient care. While some require certifications, many offer on-the-job training.

Notice the mismatch? Not only is there a mismatch between what we're good at and what's open to those with low academic achievement, but the areas open to those of low academic achievement are not, in the main, growth industries. 

Building is in the doldrums, being driven by money available for housing. We're no longer a world class manufacturing nation, having shifted to services. Yes, transport and logistics is booming with the shift to on-line purchasing; however, retail is moving to on-line platforms. Having isolated ourselves from the EU has also impacted transport and logistics. Healthcare suffers from very poor wages and most care homes are foreign owned.

Monday 13 May 2024

The Colour Problem

I have a conundrum with the colour of the GT6. Not exactly a change of heart, more the fact I've spotted a colour closer to the one I want.

Below is the colour I want the car:

I had thought Jaguar Opalescent Golden Sand was the nearest colour; however, I spotted the exact colour on a VW Golf GTi cabriolet on Bangers & Cash. I looked up the VW colours for the year and, hey presto - VW Burnished Gold Metallic.

The Jaguar Opalescent Golden Sand, while nice, is a touch too light.

Here's another VW Golf in Burnished Gold Metallic.

It's a bit difficult seeing the difference in these photos, but there is one. However, the GT6 was called the poor man's E-Type Jag when it came out. That's because the blokes who bought a GT6 really wanted an E-Type but couldn't afford it, so perhaps it should be a Jaguar colour so that whoever buys it after I've finished with it gets as near to an E-Type without the cost. 

However, to get a poor man's E-Type, then the interior has to be the same colour as the interior of an opalescent golden sand E-Type for the full effect - like below.

It also means chrome wires, rather than the Minilites it currently has. The original pressed wheels aren't bad, but they were also used on the Spitfire, and I want something far better than a Spit.

The interior of the VWs was black with 'orrible wheels, which lack opulence.

Thoughts and opinions welcome?

After Much Buggering About in the Garage (that quaint, Cotswold village), I managed to get the bonnet support tube fitted into the bonnet, which pulled the lower wings in nicely.

Gaps are nowhere near correct, but that's because the bonnet isn't yet supported at the front, but raise the front and the gappage is near perfect.

I turned my attention to the engine yesterday and preparing it for removal. Try as I might, I just couldn't free the exhaust manifold from the exhaust. I think I'm going to have to cut the exhaust downpipe, but the intention is to replace it with a stainless one with a modded manifold, so it's no great shakes to cut the downpipe.

The UJ holding the gearbox to the propshaft is proving difficult too - I managed to push one side of the UJ through and remove the opposite roller cap, but pushing it back the other way to remove the other roller cap isn't proving easy and needs some thinking about. Access isn't easy either, which isn't helping. 

Sunday 12 May 2024

Uh-oh - New Toy

For a while now I've been contemplating getting a 3D printer. Having a 1973 Triumph GT6 to rebuild has jogged me into action, as there are many plastic parts that are either unavailable or cost an arm and a leg due to their rarity.

It's a 2nd hand Creality Ender 5, which I bought for £95 from a young chap in Tockington who has a print farm business where he 3D prints terrain items for World of Warcraft and similar games, such as the ones below.

He has rows and rows of printers in a unit on a farm that has a number of small industrial units. He occasionally upgrades his printers and sells off the older models.

I know about as much as the next person about 3D printing, but I'm prepared to learn. Thus far I've learned that there are 3 critical elements:

  1. A 3D printer, believe it or not.
  2. A CAD software package for designing objects you want to print - I'm using Blender, which is Open Source and free.
  3. Slicer software that converts the CAD image into slices for the printer to print - I'm using Cura, which is again free.
You can additionally get a software package that will photograph an original object from multiple angles and recreate it as a CAD image. Some of these come as Android Apps, but you have to subscribe to a cloud service that performs the action and the monthly subscriptions can be quite high. Probably worth it if you're very keen or have a number of objects ready to transform into CAD files.

One obvious limitation of 3D printing is that you can't print objects with overhangs that suddenly appear part way up the object, as there's nothing to support the overhang. Overhangs that slowly build up are from the main structure are OK, as they are supported by the matrix below.  Also overhangs that extend to the base, as they can be built up and eventually connect with the main structure.

Take, for example, the object above. While the tail of the bird on the left can be 3D printed, that of the bird on the right can't, as it's not supported by anything underneath. Had the tail extended to the table top, then it could be printed, as it's supported from the bottom.

I'm going to set myself the task of printing one of the resin lamps I made a couple of years ago (in the image below), but can no longer make due to having developed an allergy to the resin.

After a couple of days mucking about with the Blender software and watching YouTube tutorials, I've managed to come up with this, but it needs a lot more practice.

It's created by draping a rectangular plane over a solid sphere, giving the plane the attributes of cloth, deleting the sphere and turning the result upside down for printing, leaving a fluted shell - much in the same manner I made the resin shape.

The seller has kindly offered to perform a one or two hour printing tutorial for me on Monday for £20 an hour, which I think is very good value. He won't go into design, just the basics of printing, common faults and parts that could go wrong (and how to replace them). Looking forward to it.