RC31 Workshop stand

Made a workshop stand to get the most room in my workshop, bike takes up slightly less space as it is upright, but is easy to move around for flexible work areas too.

2pc, front and rear. While the rear only works ok by itself, there is more flex in the right hand side so the bike is on more of a lean than I am comfortable with, so I just use them paired together (which is a no brainer since I have the pair of them)

Were I doing another one (and I might for the RC36) I’d go thickwall bent ali tube, and try for twin pillars on the rear for better stability.

Mjölnir Time Capsule


This hammer was built for a viking themed party where we also put down a time capsule, to be dug up in 30 years.

Also made for the occasion were some bearded axes, a shield, and a sculpted hammer.

The center was hammer beaten to a dome shape using the hammer below.

The bearded axes were plasma cut then welded to some pipe with very large fillets, ground, blued, and sharpened.

Drawn up in CAD, the individual parts for Mjölnir were plasma cut from 4mm steel plate, then welded along the edges. CNC plasma is almost like cheating it makes things so easy…

The biggest part of this job was cleaning it all up, flap wheel on the grinder, then sanding discs took care of it though. A brushed finish was applied with a scotchbrite style wheel on a power buffer, then on to heat treatment…

Standard bluing technique, add a smidge of corrosion resistance, while making it a pretty blue color.

The handle was welded to the ‘cover’ plate, which is bolted to the bottom of the hammer’s head. Final weight is around 12kg, size is 200x200x400mm. The symbols on the side were bolted on, creating a nice contrast to the blued parts.

E36 Gearbox Table

Last summer I changed the transmission in my E36 328 BMW, the auto box had a jerky shift, and I prefer manual anyway. When it was out, naturally I had to take it apart, and found it way too cool to simply send to the scrapper.

After some tinkering I stretched out a few parts, cut up some other, so it offered better visibility into the internals, but the gears were still enmeshed and clutch packs still able to function (with a much reduced activation pressure). Also labelled the clutches and fluid routing to them, this thing is very mechanically complex and just some beautiful engineering.

This thing has to function in some form,so it can be best appreciated. Obviously this means oil, and this means leaks. A fishtank style coffee table makes perfect sense to house it, displaying the gearbox, while keeping in the oil!

Tripped over the other half of the toqure converter, made a thing by welding bits together, not sure what it is, it spins though.

More to come in future…



A Lithophane is a peice of translucent material into which is carved a 3d image. The deeper the carving (or machining), the thinner the material and more light gets through.


The same lithophane with no light passing through.

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With careful selection, the images used can look good when not lit as well, lighter background and darker main features let it ‘pop’ out in 3d.


In this case they are in wooden frames, backlit by a panel of 360leds each.

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This powered lightbox style brings out the detail just as much as sunlight, but in a slightly warmer tone.


The lithophanes were machined on my CNC mill, using a 0.5mm stepover and 2mm diameter ball end mill, running at 600mm/minute it takes a while. The material is soft enough, and cuts cool enough that almost no supervision is required.

Casting with Water Beads, Aluminium Coral


Saw this done on the TheBackyardScientist’s youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdpQo3tRPLY and gave it a go myself. Not having to worry about filming, I just just put the water beads in a plastic trash can (with a bit of aluminium plate at the bottom to stop it melting through).

Step one is get a little furnace going.


I made one from a steel bucket and a mixture of cement/sand/lime, with refractory cement applied around the inside.


Unfortunately I didn’t leave enough space for a self drawing burner, so I just stuck a hair dryer on it and force feed propane that way.


It doesn’t take too long to melt, once it gets warmed up. I have a 500ml and a 1500ml crucible, just simple steel ones since the furnace will not get hot enough to melt these.

Step two is set up the water beads (actually step one since they take a few days to swell from a 2mm ball to a 25mm one).


I found it worked a lot better when the water was drained out as it slowed the passage of the aluminium. However, this required the setup be hosed down straight after the pour so the beads don’t cook and smoke.


Reasonably quick pour seemed to work the best for longer pieces, while a slow pour made them more shallow.




Cleaning them couild be trick, might see how they weather for a bit. Possibly try and acid wash or beadblast.

Tawa Technologies gets WordPress!

After having an OpenCart webstore for a number of years, I’ve finally got around to putting up some webby stuff to show off some of the projects I’ve done, just for fun. Although I still expect to use this part of the site to show some clearance sales, or promoting some commercial projects.

It might take some time to get the major projects up, which will be put up as pages, rather than posts. Things like my electric bike, my cnc mill, my cylonbros are all here!