Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

Mike Yates Remembers 1974

November 17th, 2006

honda elsinore

My cousin Mike recently published this incredibly lucid account of his glory days racing a 1974 Honda Elsinore in Olympia, Washington.

32 years later, Mike has just finished a season of vintage motocross racing atop a 1974 Elsinore that he lovingly restored.

Here’s how Mike remembers the summer of ’74:

During the mid 1970′s in Washington State I and a fellow motocross racer found a teacher to sponsor a motocross club at Olympia High School my senior year. That club was about the only thing that motivated me to put in an occasional appearance at school that year. I don’t believe I missed one of the club meetings at school. With the help of my uncle I bought my 1974 CR250M Elsinore from our local dealer, and we asked him to sponsor us. He gave us everything we asked for and more. He gave the club a sponsorship and discount on parts and supplies for the entire school year. He even supplied every member of the club with custom racing jerseys with our club logo and colors.

It was quite a sight to see all the members show up at Straddleline for a Friday night scrambles with matching team jerseys. The club membership was spread out over different classes and skill levels. So there was at least one or two OHS team jerseys on the track at any given time. I can recall the pride of seeing one of our group doing well on the track with the rest of us at the edge of the track cheering him on. I think that having our friends at the track cheering each other on actually helped to improve our individual performances. When one of us would ride better than he had before, the rest of us were inspired to do the same in our classes.

I can clearly recall one Friday night. It was near the end of the school year and the last time the OHS motocross club would be racing as a team. The track conditions were as bad as I had ever seen at Straddleline. The mud was so deep and the racing surface so slippery that most of the riders were having to ride with their feet dragging on the ground like a pair of outriggers for large sections of the track. Needless to say this style did not make for good racing or fast lap times.

At the start of the event that night after the riders meeting most of the club members agreed that because of the poor track conditions this would be a night of caution and slow racing. Too bad because we all wanted our last event as a club to go well and it looked like it would be a discouraging event.

One of our club members was a small unimposing individual named Mike Cummins. Mike was usually quiet and composed. His style on the track often reflected his personality. He rode in the 100cc or 125cc class, as I remember he was a “C” (or novice) rider on a very clean yellow Yamaha MX. His finishes during the year were generally predictable, a very safe, conservative riding style usually finishing somewhere in the back half of the pack, but always finishing. He was one of the first club members to hit the track that night. About half way thru his first moto it was clear that this was not going to be just any Friday night on the track for Mike or the OHS MX club.

I was in the pits making sure that my Elsinore was ready for my first moto and trying to work thru the butterflies in my stomach. A couple of the club members came running by and yelled at me. They wanted me to look at the track. I ran over to the edge of the track with most the club and to our utter amazement Mike Cummins was tearing up the track! There he was in his OHS jersey standing up going sideways thru the corners in the deep mud passing two or three riders at a time! He was in the front half of the pack. I don’t recall how long it took him but at some point Mike had the lead and was sliding away from the pack! The team was so stoked that we were yelling and screaming at the top of our lungs.

Mikes performance in that early moto lit a fuse in the entire OHS MX club. One by one the team members hit the track and most were racing at a level of competition not seen during the entire season. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

By the time I made it to the starting gate for my first moto I was so pumped full of adrenalin I could taste it on the sides of my tongue. I knew the track conditions mandated caution but, I also Knew that I did not want to be the guy who stopped the winning motocross vibe that was by now coursing thru the veins of the entire OHS MX club.

My ’74 CR250M Elsinore had not let me down for the entire Friday night Scrambles season. It had a wicked power band and I had learned to ride it at speed with constant wheel spin. In fact, I found over the course of the season that if I ever did get the back end to hook up I would most likely bog down the engine and have to grab the next lower gear. I wanted to be in the highest gear possible coming out of the corners so I could use that addictive power band to my advantage down the straights.

So, that is how I rode all my races in the ’74 scrambles season in the 250 “B” class, constant wheel spin on all parts of the track except the last half of the straights. I did not know it at the time but it turns out that my squirrely constant wheel spin riding style was going to be very useful this night.

At the start of my moto I can remember putting the bike in second gear as was my usual technique, and placing the wheel just back from the gate. After the gate dropped everything is a blank. All I know is when I got to the first corner, there was no one in front of me! This was the first time in my life I had the hole shot! As I apexed that first corner I could literally feel the second and third place racers putting pressure on me from both sides. They were close, so close we were rubbing! At that moment something happened that has only happened to me a few times in my life: I became sure that I had the ability to win this race regardless of track conditions or the skill of my competitors. I was so full of confidence after watching Mike rip up the track that I knew I could do it too! I think this must be the feeling the terms “in the zone” or “on fire” are used to describe.

From that first corner on there was no holding back, mud or no mud I opened the Elsinore up and gave it everything I had and the bike returned in kind. I was riding with a style that the mud had very little effect on: CONSTANT WHEEL SPIN! That’s right the same squirrely style that I had some how managed to ride with thru the season with was now just the ticket for this most slippery of tracks. Sure I was going sideways thru most of the corners but I somehow managed to keep it together. The track was so slippery that I was sideways for the first 3/4 down the long straight but I did not let off on the throttle, in fact I opened it up and held on as tight as I could! It was as if everything slowed down. I knew I was going faster than my usual middle of the pack pace, but for some reason I was in control and had the ability to pick the perfect line and recover as needed when the track tried to throw me off balance. I almost felt as if I was in some kind of motocross daze, I knew I was going fast but it felt slow.

After the first lap I could not hear the second place rider. I knew that if I could just keep up this pace for the entire race I could hold on to first place! I also knew that the track was so muddy that I must be throwing a huge rooster tail off my rear tire with the super high speed wheel spin I was using to keep me up on top of the mud. There was no way a competitor could get any where near me with out his vision being completely obscured! Being in front there was no one to throw mud on my goggles. The rest of that race I ran as hard as I could. I was concentrating so hard on trying to stay upright I had no idea what lap it was, so I could not let up. I must have missed the white flag because before I knew what had happened I took the checkered flag for the first and only time in my life.

When I made it back to the pits some of the team were there waiting for me. It was Bill Mauerman who got to me first. I can still remember the first words out of his mouth: Hey, I though we were going to take it easy tonight because of the mud? I looked at him with big grin on my muddy face and said well, when I got to the first corner there was no one else there so I thought if Mike Cummins can do it than I better as well.

One by one the OHS MX club members made it clear that night. Right here, right now, WE ARE A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH. I can still remember hearing people in the stands asking who are those guys? I was never prouder to be a part of a team in my life.

Over the years I have forgotten most of the guys I raced with as a member of the OHS MX club one golden summer. But from time to time I wonder what path the lives of Dave Dunkelberger, Mike Schlender, Harold Lange, Dave Cleveland, Roy Clark, Bill Mauerman and Mike Cummins have taken. I also ponder if they ever wonder the same about Mike Yates after all these years.

Mike Yates

honda elsinore
Photo by Dorian Sleeper

Mike Yates currently competes in vintage motocross on a restored 1974 CR250M Elsinore in Washington State.

Fuel Injection Conversion Complete

October 24th, 2006

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electronic fuel injection

Project Megasquirt finally comes to a successful close. Last time, I got the computer installed, and interfaced it with a Ford Electronic Distributorless Ignintion Sytem. The final step in doing a complete programmable electronic engine management retrofit to my 1973 BMW 2002 was to install the fuel injection system.

Intake preparation

I used the intake manifold from a 1984 E30 318i, which ran a late derivative of the same M10 motor that is found in my ’73. I chucked the puny throttle body from the 1.8 litre engine, and bolted up a 58mm TB from a 325is using an adapter plate jointly developed by myself and Tom rafalski at 02 Again.

electronic fuel injection

I bent up a couple of throttle cable brackets from some 1/8th ” steel and bolted those to the bottom of the manifold, and hooked the cable to the throttle body. The throttle body also recieved a throttle position sensor, Intake Air Temp sensor, and an air intake boot from a 325is.

Idle control

For idle control, I plumbed in a VDO Idle control valve. Megasquirt sends a Pulse Width Modulated variable current to the valve to open and close it as needed during engine warmup (based on coolant temperature).

Update: The E30 type VDO idle valve does not really work very well with the PWM circuit modification as outlined in the MSIII manual. The circuit was designed to drive a Bosch or Ford type idle valve. I will be switching to a Bosch valve soon.

electronic fuel injection

Fuel supply

In its carburetted state, the 2002 uses a plastic (low pressure rated) fuel feed line. The fuel return line runs beneath the car, and for durability, is made of steel, so I did what others before me have done, and reversed the feed and supply lines using the steel as a high pressure feed, and the plastic line as a return to the tank. All flexible lines were replaced with proper high-pressure rated fuel injection hose.

electronic fuel injection

I removed the cylender head mounted mechanical fuel pump and blocked it off with another nice Tom Rafalski piece.

A Bosch high pressure elctric pump was mounted to the subframe near the tank, using some split rubber hose, conduit clamps, and a couple of 1 penny washers.

I went with Bosch #24/hr high impedence injectors, which are driven straight from the Megasquirt relay board without the use of resistors.

electronic fuel injection

When you are at the yard getting your intake manifold, also grab the water distribution neck, fuel rail, pressure regulator, and the coolant bypass pipe.

Romove the old

Your stock intake manifold is water cooled (or is it water warmed, I’m not sure) so when you yank the carb and intake, you will need to route the coolant straight back to the heater. The 318i water pipe works great for this, so grab it. I had previously installed the smaller M3 starter motor, but if you have a stock starter, you will have to trim down the bracket to make room for the new intake manifold. You might as well take the opportunity to upgrade to the more powerful and smaller M3 starter now.

electronic fuel injection

Throttle Linkage

To transfer the up-and-down motion of my old throttle linkage rod, to the pull-a-cable action of my new setup, I made a simple bellcrank linkage out of aluminum ( inspired by the engineering work fellow bmw experimenter Mike Koch). The bellcrank mounts to the brake booster bracket. I cut about 3 inches as required off the end of the linkage rod and threaded it to accept a rod-end bearing, which bolts to one end of the bellcrank. The throttle cable hooks to the other end.

electronic fuel injection

electronic fuel injection

So, there it is, done. Of course, it is never really done, as there is an endless amount of tweaking to do. There are Volumetric Efficiency tables to tweak, Air fuel ratio maps to optimize, and accelleration enrichment settings to fine-tune. You never feel that it is quite perfect. But one thing’s for sure, it’s a huge improvement in performance and tuneability over the old weber downdraft.

electronic fuel injection

Finally, my once high-tech sports sedan can keep up with today’s econo-box hybrids.

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Kid’s Draw Bot

October 3rd, 2006

kid's robot project

As far as I’m concerned, you’re never too young to start mixing art with robotics.

So, next time you and your budding young tinkerers need something to do on a rainy day, you should have no trouble scraping up the parts to put together this crude, drawing robot project that we saw at the Seattle Robotics Society Robothon.


Cathy Writes:

Hi Steve.

Your blog shows the ArtBot that FIRST Robotics Team 1318 was selling at Robothon. You call it a “Kid’s Draw Bot.”

First of all, I’m not sure that it’s really ethically correct for you to take someone else’s idea and publish it. We originally saw the ArtBot at PDXbot in Portland, and asked for permission from them before using their design.

Secondly, it would be nice if you gave credit to our team for the idea. There is no mention on your blog that the kits and instructions were created by our team. Our student team members worked hard to create the kits, soldering battery pack leads to the motor, creating instructions, and putting the kits together. It is a shame that you chose not to recognize their efforts.


Thanks Cathy.

No harm meant. I wasn’t trying to own the design, just share it. I looked to see if I could find this project documented anywhere on the Web, but I couldn’t, so I just linked to the SRS Robothon site when I gave credit in my post.

Thank you for helping clear this up, and thanks to the FIRST Robotics Team 1318.

Also, please pass my thanks along to the Portland team that you originally got the idea from.

Supplies for the Draw Bot ArtBot:

  • A paper cup
  • Duct tape
  • 3 felt-tipped pens
  • 2 AAA batteries
  • 1 small toy motor
  • Small metal weight (nut)
  • Switched battery holder (optional)

You should be able to pirate the motor, wires, switch and battery holder from some toy that you’ve either broken, out-grown, or never really liked in the first place. If not, you may have to dash out to Radio Schack for those, or just tape the motor wires directly to the battery terminals and forget the switch and holder.

Put it together

Assemble the parts as shown in the above photo.

  1. Tape the motor to the battery/switch assembly.
  2. Duct tape a small weight to the shaft of the motor (offset to one side)
  3. Tape the motor assembly atop the inverted cup
  4. Attach the felt pen “legs”

Remove the pen caps, set the robot down on some paper and connect the power. The eccentric weight on the motor shaft will cause the whole thing to vibrate and “walk” around on the paper.

Harlan testing the draw bot.

You can adjust the line smoothness by trying different rotor weights and weight positions. The path that the bot takes can be adjusted by changing the angle of one or more of the pens. Once you get it dialed in, you can make some neat patterns.

No, you’re not going to want to keep any of the crap that this thing draws, but the point here is engagement, and on that front the draw bot project is a keeper.

Reader Input:
More kid’s Art Bot links:

It turns out that this project dates back to at least the early 70′s, as part of a companion book to the old Zoom TV show. Make sure that you speak only in Ubbi Dubbi when running this contraption.

cup draw with lego rcx
Low tech cup draw
wobble painter
wave draw
roller paint


Olympia to Seattle in 2 Minutes

September 23rd, 2006

Sometime around 1988 I stuck my thrift store Bauer Super 8 camera out the sunroof of a VW Bug and squeezed the plunger of the shutter release cable, taking single frames all the way from Olympia to Seattle.

Music by IFOJ (Susan Robb, Chris Munford, and me on drums).


One of the things that I miss about the old super-8 days is the single-frame capability. Making stop-motion Planet of the Apes movies was such a fun way for a kid to burn a summer. They should reinstate that feature on todays cameras.

Now that I look at it agian, it looks as though I didn’t get the idea to stick the camera out through the sunroof until sometime around Tacoma. The first half is shaky and shot through the windsheild.

Vitamin R

If you pay close attention, you can catch the long-gone Rainier brewery R, on the left just before we get to town.

Update: Of course stop motion and time lapse photography are alive and well, and I just noticed over on the MAKE blog, that Phil Torrone has posted a link to a neat looking tool called iStopmotion that makes single frame capture easy.

Update 2: Kim Moser captured this cool film of a 1982 drive from Manhattan to Long Island along Route 25A.

1:3 Scale Ferrari 312

September 21st, 2006

ferarri 312

I‘m still trying to digest this one.

Master model builder Pierre Scerri spent 20,000 hours building this 1:3 scale replica of a Ferarri 312 race car. I don’t mean just a nice model car, but an exact functioning replica of the real thing, in miniature.

ferarri 312

ferarri 312

ferarri 312

From Fine Art Models:

This 1:3 scale marvel is the real thing in every sense, from its operating 12-cylinder engine to the exact scale operating Ferrari gauges which are calibrated precisely to indicate rpm, oil pressure, water temperature and oil temperature.

It took Pierre 15 years and more than 20,000 hours to build this car. He learned to make glass so he could make the exact pattern lens for the operating headlights. He learned to make rubber so he could mold his own tires. His computer mainframe design background with the French telecommunications system allowed him to duplicate the Ferrari electronics system in exact miniature. It also provided him with the understanding needed to make a 1/3 scale operating fuel injection system identical to that in the full-size Ferrari.

Ice Age Dig Toy Review

September 4th, 2006

Finally, a product that delivers the thrill and excitement of dissecting an owl pellet, but without all the anxiety about contracting bird flu, or picking up avian fecal lice.

Ice Age Dig Toy

The Perfect Formula

So many educational and science toys for 4-6 year olds (at least mine) fail to deliver on their advertised promise of making science learning fun and engaging, either because they are too complex, and kids lose interest before finishing the projects, or they simply don’t live up to their promises (think Sea Monkeys).

Ice Age Dig Toy

Well here’s one to keep in your arsenal of sure-hit birthday party offerings for the 6 year olds: The Ice Age Digs Archaeology / Paleontology sets from the Kidology Geo Safari line.

The kit consists of a block of sandy, plaster-mud aggregate into which a disassembled model skeleton has been cast, and a couple of small plastic excavation tools. I upgraded the toolkit with a 1 inch paintbrush for removing dust and debris, and a dental tool of some sort that I had lying around. You also get a little poster showing what the fossilized subject might have looked like in it’s natural habitat.

Dig This

My son Ivan was given this for his sixth birthday, and today we broke it out. Within minutes, he had exposed the Sabre-Toothed Cat’s scapula. He spent the next two hours fully engrossed in picking away at the subtrate and carefully brushing away the dust until each bone group came free, then cleaning the bones in water as they emerged from the block.

Be sure to do this outside, as it generates a huge mess.

Ice Age Dig Toy

When the 10 individual pieces are uncoverd and brushed clean, they snap together into a neat little display model. They are not quite Skullduggery quality, but they are pretty nice little models for their price point. We will deffinately be getting the other kits in the series.

Cast your own?

I noticed that the different skeletons are also sold as “models” only, for 1/3 the price of the “Dig” versions. There is a Mastadon and a Neanderthal in addition to the Sabre-Toothed Cat. I might just experiment with casting my own “fossil” versions of the model-only kits.

Mike Yates Remembers 74

September 2nd, 2006

mike yates's honda elsinore

When I was 7 years old, my cousin Mike came to live with us in Olympia, Washington.

Mike was 15 at the time, and in my 7 year old eyes, the coolest guy in the world. Mike became my surrogate older brother. Mike is a very talented tinkerer, maker, and inventor, and I remember always being in awe of his projects (and hijinks) as a kid. He was always making some amazing thing.


You know, this kind of minibike.

One time I bought a delapidated, old-school Briggs and Stratton powered minibike from Duffy Baldwin in the neighboring cul-de-sac for $10.00. The thing was a chopper with a rear brake that “worked” buy rubbing a metal plate against the rear tire.

Shortly threafter, Mike took the minibike away. A few weeks later he brought it back to the house totally transformed. He had cut and welded the dangerously raked forks down to something safe, sanblasted and repainted the frame, fitted a new throttle cable and replaced various other worn parts. A full restoration.

An Elsinore Restored

Well, Mike has never let up on his tinkering and inventing, and has recently completed another motorcycle restoration, this time on a 1974 Honda Elsinore, the same model that he had ridden and raced back when we were kids. Mike totally stripped the bike down, powder coated the frame and tricked it out with a period performance exhaust, and all NOS parts as needed.

Here’s how mike remembers the summer of ’74:


I had prematurely published remarkably lucid account of Mike’s glory days racing motorcycles in Olympia, Washington during the early 1970′s. Mike wrote this story for publication in the AHRMA newsletter, so I have pulled the story, as not to scoop mike on his own piece. Sorry about that, Mike.

Laser tag Hopups

So, I will hijack this motorcycle racing post to display a few of Mike’s recent projects from another of his current obsessions, laser tag.

Mike is at the center of a group of hardcore laser tag enthusiasts who play their games not in Family Fun Centers, but in abandoned military bases. These players are not satisfied with the standard toy store gear, but opt to build their own.


Mike’s latest project is based on an pre-release version of Hasbro’s new TMB lazer missle launcher. The Hasbro version has you using a hand pump to lauch a single IR emitting grenade. In typical Yates style, Mike has devised an improved version of the tagger.

Mike’s Scorpion launcher has a four round removable magazine and an on board 3000 psi high pressure air supply. In addition to the upgraded missile system, he has increased the lens for the main infrared emitter to a full four inch unit with adjustable focal length to allow the user to alter the infrared light pattern to suit the tactical requirements of each area.


Mike has a decade or so of lasertag experiments under his belt, and will be launching his own website soon. I will keep you posted when he does.


One of Mike’s early sniper rifles.

ECU and Distributorless Ignition

July 29th, 2006

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BMW 2002 crank pulley

After months on the bench, the Megasquirt ECU is now officially in use in the car. For ease of access and simplicity, I decided to mount both the computer and the relay board inside the glove compartment. I almost never wear gloves in my car anyway.


The Megasquirt II is capable of handling both fuel and spark. After reading about the Ford EDIS (Electronic Distributorless Ignition System) on the web sites of some BMW 2002 EFI pioneers like Tim Skwiot and on the Megasquirt site, I decided to go for it and ditch the distributor.

Most people seem to do the fuel injection first, then upgrade later to computerized ignition. I decided to do it the other way around, since I wanted to trigger the Megasquirt from a VR or Hall-effect sensor rather than a coil signal, and once I had the trigger wheel installed, it was a simple matter to install the rest of the EDIS. Once I have the EDIS/Megasquirt dialed in, I will move on to the fuel.

EDIS uses a toothed crank pulley trigger wheel and variable reluctor sensor to read engine position, which it passes on to the Megasquirt, where the ignition advance table is stored. The megasquirt then shouts back to the EDIS module how much to advance the spark for a given RPM/load/temperature, and the module fires off the coils accordingly.

BMW 2002 crank pulley

I ditched my heavy, cast-iron smog pump crank pulley in favor of the Euro-spec stamped steel, single groove pulley, which I sent off to my old standby 2oo2 machinist Tom Rafalski over at 02Again. Tom machined up a steel shim to adapt the trigger wheel to my pulley. All I had to do was bake the trigger wheel in the oven and slip it onto the pulley. Shrink-to-fit!

EDIS trigger wheel

I mounted the VR sensor to the motor with a simple aluminum bracket which was attached by 2 of the water pump bolts.

BMW 2002 crank pulley

Once I had the trigger-equipped crank pulley installed, I set the sensor gap to about .5 mm.

EDIS trigger wheel

I slapped in the rest of the ignition components (module, coil, and wiring) and gave the old key a turn.

Much to my amazement, the car started right up on the first crank. Look Ma! No distributor! Even without a signal connection to the megasquirt, the EDIS will function in “Limp Home Mode” at a fixed advance of 10 deg. BTDC.

I installed Tim’s configuration file to get me started (my car reads XML, how cool is that?). Now the tweaking can begin.

Update: No ignition table tweaking needed. Tim’s advance map is fantastic. I had a slight mis-understanding about where to set the baseline timing for “limp home mode”. I essentially had the VR sensor 1 tooth off. To correct this in software, I set the “Trigger Offset” parameter in MegaTune to -10. At some point, I need to physically reposition the VR sensor so that “limp home” will be optimal. Once that confusion was cleared up, I was off to the races.

BMW 2002


So how do I like it?

It’s amazing .

I knew that ignition timing was an important variable in engine performance, but I honestly didn’t expect this much improvement. The motor runs so smoothly throughout the RPM range, it just climbs and climbs. I can’t keep my foot out of it. Totally programmable, solid-state ignition with vacuum (MAP sensor) advance works really well.

Distributors are kind of garbage.

I can’t wait to install the fuel injection.

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The Fast Approaching Future of 1953

July 27th, 2006

robotic worker

Robot Workman Assembled in 90 Days

To the astute futurists of 1953 it had already become clear that the future of manufacturing would soon involve highly automated mechanized assembly plants. These plants would be populated by robotic workers who would arrive at the factory right on schedule every day, without hangovers, place their robotic lunchboxes in their lockers in the break room, punch the clock and walk over to the tool rack, grab their soldering irons and get right to work.

At 5:00, they would get in their cars and return to the suburbs, where they would spend the evening with their robotic families.

space helmets

The near future was also going to involve a whole lot of space travel. Space play was a fun and essential part of preparing the young for their careers as astronauts, and there were plenty of cool youth helmets to choose from.

EFI Conversion Parts Stash

June 23rd, 2006

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Here it is. Weeks of reckless ebay bidding has pretty much brought me an entire electronic fuel injection and spark control sytem. Now all I have to do is stitch it all together. In addition to the stuff pictured above I also have some steel fuel line, and miscelaneous wiring and connectors that I will use to build the engine wiring harness.

Hand carved auto parts

The 325 throttle body that I am using, unfortunately doesn’t share a bolt pattern with the 318i intake manifold, so I thought that I’d make this adapter plate:


Easier said than done.


Coop once told me that the parts of which to be most proud are the ones that you make yourself.

I couldn’t agree more, but when Tom made this CNC machined throttle body adapter based on my prototype, and sent it to me gratis, I just had to swallow my pride and bolt that sucker up. After all, it does show a little bit, and well, Geez, how could I not use it.


3 hours and a jigsaw

There was quite a bit of bolt pattern “overlap” between the 2 throttles, so to avoid a collision of fasteners, I had to rotate the new throttle body by about 15 degrees. This resulted in a very strange looking adapter plate. Add to that, the fact that I have no skills as a machinist, and no mill or lathe, and you end up with one nasty looking hand-carved hobo piece. Hey, it works.


Some pro parts

Well, making that adapter nearly broke my spirit. To recover, I decided to treat myself to a couple of professionally machined parts. Tom Rafalski is a helpfull fella’ who recently started selling parts specifically for the 2002 tinkerer through his website 02Again.com. Tom makes a slick little distrubutor plug that will fill the hole left behind once I remove the distributor and install the Ford EDIS (Electronic Distributorless Ignition System). My plan is to do ignition first, then fuel.

I also hit up 02Again for one of Tom’s fuel pump block-off plates. I will need this when I convert the fuel sytem to a high pressure sytem as is required by EFI. I also see one of these in my future.


The 325is throttle body came with a 2-position throttle switch that would only indicate Wide-open throttle, or fully-closed throttle. Megasquirt does its acceleration enrichment calculations based on how fast you are depressing the pedal, so I needed to use a variable resistor (potentiometer) type TPS. I made this simple adapter plate to fit the brown mystery TPS to the throttle body before bolting it up to the manifold.

Next up: Installing the Megasquirt ECU, relay board, trigger wheel, and EDIS ignition.

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