Idea Dilemma

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by 2door, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    All of you custom builders have probably run into this.
    You have a project, for example, designing a seat or a fuel tank, maybe engine mounts, and you sit back and 'engineer' on the task and eventually you find that you've come up with more than one way to do the job. Each method will work, will look as good and perform as you want it to but............which one do you choose and what do you base your decision on?

    Do you consider cost? Amount of labor necessary? Maybe what material you already have laying around that you can use? Do you consider what happens if the idea you go for doesn't pan out and the other plans need something that you might have cut off and discarded already? (that's sort of where I'm at right now)

    I'm currently in the design phase for the seat on my newest chopper build. I know I want it as low as I can get it and it will curve up over the rear wheel and I have most of the materials I'll need but I have at least four different ideas for a seat frame and how it will mount to the bike. One of my ideas will incorporate springs from an old Schwinn saddle. If I go that route I'll have to cut the seat tube off almost flush with the seat stays which will negate going back to one of my other ideas unless I weld it back together.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions. Maybe I spend way too much time 'engineering' and should just go with my first impulse.

    How do you face these situations?

    Tom
     
    #1 2door, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  2. jimmymc2286

    jimmymc2286 New Member

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    I'm new to MB building but not building thing. You are right about there is more then one way to do something. One thing I have learned is one of the ways is always more attractive either in design or appearance, but is a little harder. If I don't go that route I always go back and change it.
     
  3. Ilikeabikea

    Ilikeabikea Moderator
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    Tom, I usually go with my first idea and when that goes awry I go back and do it the second way. And sometimes I have to do it a 3rd time. So probably best not to follow my procedure. I'm too much of a shoot from the hip kinda guy....
     
  4. Russell

    Russell Well-Known Member

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    Two heads are better than one.
    Sometimes even if we do things wrong it is still fun and part of the learning process. But I hate it when I keep making the same mistake over and over.(now I jut blame it on old age).
    I put about 4 hrs into the tank I'm building and changed my mind. Wish I had talked the design over with a fresh mind and saved the 4hrs.
     
    #4 Russell, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  5. racie35

    racie35 Active Member

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    I like things that are easy on the eye when done, so not confusing to look at......serviceable, simple things that work.....I like to use the best components I can afford......and when possible fab as much as I can myself or have my son tackle it....he's meticulous and skilled.
    If you look at that culver city cruiser build.....it screams it......truly gifted builder
     
  6. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

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    I concur... I always like a clean simple 'factory' look. ;)

    Also... I will often sit & stare at a bike & go through all the different options for days before jumping into it... just to get a feel of what I really want it to look like.
    I've also sat & stared at totally finished bikes & decided I wanted to change something because it just didn't look right to me. :rolleyes:
     
    #6 Venice Motor Bikes, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  7. sportscarpat

    sportscarpat Bonneville Bomber the Salt Flat record breaker

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    I always think it through, draw it up, print it, cut it out in poster board and mount it to the bike. From there I stand back and look at it. I ALWAYS second guess my work, make subtle changes, and cut out a second mock-up. Once I am comfortable that it looks cool and I can build it then I cut steel. You should see all the paper patterns and discarded cardboard mock-ups laying around my shop! From gas tanks to seats and engine mounts, it's all there. Heck, sometimes I even paint them with a rattle can. Painted cardboard from five feet away looks just like steel!
     
  8. azbill

    azbill Active Member

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    I am always working with a negative balance budget
    (being a live-in Grampa doesn't pay much, but the benefits are priceless (^))
    so, I use a lot of boxboard templates to get the look and function correct, I also try to make stuff bolt-on so, it can easily be changed or replicated

    I also use silverbear's approach of much 'creative staring' ;)
     
  9. Maxvision

    Maxvision New Member

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    That's an excellent question about doing custom builds.

    When I come to a dilema like you've described I'll stop and sleep on it for a day or two or three until that little light bulb comes on over my head.

    I can't remember who it was that did this, but when they'd go to bed at night, they'd hold their arm straight off the side of the bed with a cannon ball in it. When the cannon ball started to drop as they began to fall asleep, that state just between fully awake and fully asleep was when their best ideas would come.

    I don't do the cannon ball thing but it's true for me that my best ideas come while in bed.
     
  10. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Cardboard templates? Where would we be without them? They're the most useful thing when it comes to fabrication. Much cheaper than metal and easier to work with :)

    Tom
     

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  11. Russell

    Russell Well-Known Member

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    Good idea, where are they selling cannon balls these day?

    However I do believe that it was Ben Fanklin who said "When you have a problem, sleep on it". I have always used that advice and has had positave results!
     
  12. CTripps

    CTripps Active Member

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    For me it quite often depends on the materials available. If I have to get materials, then the approach may change based on that. If I'm putting money in, I usually want a better looking end result. If I need to buy tools or something else to do it, likewise I want the investment to show that I spent money on it. If I'm working with freecycled or repurposed material, I want it to look good but I also want the 'alternative thinking' to show through. For example, if I was thinking of recovering a seat, I'd probably go up the road to one of the local thrift stores and look for an old leather jacket for the material.
     
  13. chainmaker

    chainmaker New Member

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    Ive also come quite fond of SBs approach of creative staring or imagineering. Hours and hours contemplating. On the Panther im working on now I went back and forth for days about cutting the post flush with the top bar to make room for a boardie seat- even sat there with the hack saw pressed against it for awhile like i was torturing the poor bike. So I cut it made a nice cap and clutch hanger(for a whizzer clutch) that hung inside the post out and over the remaining tube. Then I happened upon this 3.5 hp kawasaki flathead- no need for the clutch hanger.. sometimes you cant help changing even the most well thought out plan-
     
  14. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Really interesting thread.

    Personally, I like the sit and stare method. Have never tried the cardboard cut out thing yet. There was a WWII aircraft engineer who would cut out pieces in scrap, fit them to a plane and then tell workers to "do that"

    I use this almost daily with a twist;

    "POWER NAP. What is it about genius and a disdain for sleep? Thomas Edison was another who believed most people sleep far too much and are unproductive as a result. Thomas Edison was a fan of the power nap. He gave it a good twist, though, which he claimed was integral to some of his best ideas. Edison would sleep sitting upright in his chair, elbow propped on the arm with a handful of marbles. He would think about his problem until he fell asleep, and soon enough he would drop the marbles on the floor. When the racket woke him up, Edison wrote down whatever was in his head, regardless of what it was—creative solutions, new ideas, a reminder to pick up milk on the way home."
    http://creativethinking.net/articles/2012/12/19/10-odd-facts-about-famous-creative-geniuses/

    Instead of sitting in a chair, when I first wake up in the morning or becoming fully awake, I try to think about what ever puzzle I am working on. The mind is most creative when some where between asleep and awake. I keep a notepad and very often parts near by.

    But, say with MBs. I find the best way to get those little "ah-ha!" moments is to just stop, relax and enjoy pondering them. Just sitting by a bike and staring at it with a cup of coffee or what ever leads to those moments.

    Recently I was shingling the roof on the shop. Stopped for a moment and had one of those moments. That set into motion about 6 months of work and large expenditure. Might end up being a really cool endeavor.
     
  15. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    I just coined a phrase that sounds like it belongs in this thread.

    Recently I was sitting, 'engineering' on the latest build when my wife came out to the shop and asked me to help her move some furniture. We had taken the Christmas tree down and she decided to rearrange the living room. I tried not to show it but her request came at a most inopportune time. I had a concept in my mind, was mentally working out the details then had to stop and leave the project to go do her bidding.

    I decided that she had broken my 'Mental Momentum'. By the time I got back to the shop I'd lost my train of thought and had to start over. I retrieved the thought thread but it took a while. My 'Mental Momentum' had been interrupted. :)

    Tom
     
  16. chainmaker

    chainmaker New Member

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    Oooooooooo thats a good one.Ive been at a loss for tbat word a bunch of times. What is it about the tree coming down and tbe "NEED" to re-arrange things. I dread taking down the tree-which usually is.followed by tbe post xmas re arrangement
     
  17. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    LoL Tom! Same thing happens at our some times happy homestead.

    My reply is always; "I was on break! Now you have interrupted and I gotta start all over"

    Always gets an "eye roll" but buys me an extra hr or so later.
     
  18. Greg58

    Greg58 Well-Known Member

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    Tom you did the right thing, I've always heard that if "mama" is not happy no one in the house is!
     
  19. Trey

    Trey $50 Cruiser

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    2door- I always err on the side of usability/servicability. What it does is more important than how it looks- but like with the seat springs you mentioned, you can have both. Have design ideas and try em, but make it right, right? When someone asks "What factory produced that thing?" I feel like I got it right. With that said, to **** with it all- it's your bike, build what you like and enjoy! Good luck!
     
  20. NunyaBidness

    NunyaBidness Active Member

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    I am in the "planning things out in my head" stage for a future build. Because of the Rheumatoid Arthritis, in a few years or less, I will probably need some kind of mobility scooter/wheelchair. I would probably also have a hard time riding a 2-wheeled bike and would also need a trike. And here comes the Dan thinking. Why not combine the 2 things needed into 1?

    My thinking is a recumbent tadpole trike that has an electric hub motor in the back. This trike would convert, via hydraulics, into a mobility scooter/wheelchair at the flick of a switch. It is, after all, electric, right? The wheelbase would shorten while raising the seat, which would be more like a chair and way. It would also switch to indoor power.

    By the way Dan, thanks for the inspiration, I never woulda thought of it without ya.
     

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