Building an electric motor for Candy Cane, part 3: Assembly and installation


Although I trusted my measurements (and machining) enough to have cleaned and painted the frame before test-fitting any of the associated components (which also were on the boat, rather than in the machine shop), once the frame was on the boat, it seemed like that had gone on for long enough.

First I tested the fit of the motor (since that’s really what bit me on the prototype):
test fit of motor on frame
Read more…

Building an electric motor for Candy Cane, part 2: Machining a new frame


So because of the space constraints inside the old frame (and also because availability of suitably sized pieces of metal is sometimes a factor in what I build with), I opted to make the new frame out of 3×8″ rectangular tubing with a 3/16″ wall (instead of the 3×6″ — same wall thickness — that the old frame had been made out of). Even if I’d stuck with the smaller box, the new frame would still have started with a reminder of why I was reluctant to start over until the old frame was truly unworkable: facing is a slow and tedious operation.

A fresh piece of rectangular tubing like this:
a raw piece of steel, unclamped on a milling machine
needs to be shimmed on the first side (so it won’t bend when clamped or rock on the table when it’s being machined), loosely aligned (I was facing with a fly cutter that had an effective diameter just large enough to cover the face of the tube in 2 passes — but only if the workpiece was reasonably well-aligned) and clamped down.
Read more…

Building an electric motor for Candy Cane, part 1: Background


So a while back Candy Cane’s Atomic 4 started belching oil-burning smoke, and eventually failed to start. Given the timeline of that failure, it’s a pretty safe bet that the piston rings and the cylinder wall were no longer properly isolating the cylinder from the crankcase, and that the scope of work involved in fixing it would be close enough to a rebuild (also there were enough leaks, loose-fitting couplings, etc.) that it may as well get rebuilt.

I figured that for the cost to order all the parts I’d need for a rebuild, I could probably just get a Moyer rebuild and save myself a lot of time, but that was pretty expensive, and I’d had a hankering to repower to electric for over a decade. As luck would have it, I was soon to learn that I could probably get an Electric Yacht motor for about the cost of a Moyer rebuild — but I could also possibly put something together myself for a few thousand less (assuming that my time is worth nothing — more more accurately, that I’d enjoy the work enough for its value not to be an issue). On top of all this, I’d had an opportunity to take a look at an Electric Yacht motor, and found it to be a remarkably simple piece of machinery: just an electric motor driving a shaft via a belt.
Read more…

End of LJ


If this post successfully crossposts to LJ, it will be the last one. Crossposting from my WP blog ( to LJ has been getting increasingly broken and clunky. With the current ToS related departures, I don’t think I have enough readers there to justify continuing with the crossposting. All of my old entries (though not all the comments) were copied over from LJ to via some backup tools back when I started making my posts as crossposts from Locked posts are still locked on kiwano, and can be accessed by logging in ( accepts OpenID credentials, so you LJ/DW/etc. credentials should still work if you don’t want to create a new account).

Anyhow, time to see if the crosspost succeeds and this is my last LJ post, or if my entry a few days ago was is…

Optimizing for Conviviality: Gifts (Part One: Cultivating Generosity)


Over Christmas, the topic of gifts naturally came to my mind as something that there’s quite a bit to say about. Of course it’s taken me a while to set aside enough time to write these thoughts up (in fits and spurts, here and there — further complicated by the that this topic has proven large enough to need to be split into two posts). An upside to this is that the thought of gifts should once again have divorced itself from anxieties around the sense of obligation that seems to be attached to Christmas gifts. That’s not really the sort of gift I’d like to focus on, preferring to look at day-to-day gifts that may be small, intangible, and further removed from the scope of commerce.
Read more…

Some optimizations for conviviality (and a little more “why”)


I’m pretty sure that I had intended to write this post in August. I got about half of it done then, but didn’t finish it. I could come up with many reasons why I didn’t finish posting it then, but can’t imagine any of them being particularly meaningful. The only thing I can really think of to say on that topic is obvious: I didn’t make this post in August; I am making it now. Also a point that may not be obvious now, but should be soon (and may serve as something of an excuse, though I intend it more as a caution): this post is long.
Read more…

Why Optimize for Conviviality?


Having boldly claimed in my last post that I believe optimizing for conviviality to be a good thing, I clearly have a duty to back that claim up. The evidence that I find most convincing is that I generally tend to feel very content with the parts of my life that have developed from this optimization — but since that might simply be a quirk of my personality or my circumstances, I’m going to make an attempt at an argument that such a quirk is relatively widely shared (and maybe even more than a quirk).

Read more…

Optimizing for Conviviality


A few months ago, while chatting with my friend Steven about the heuristics and algorithms people apply to our lives, it occured to me that a heuristic that I’d been applying (not necessarily strictly or perfectly) to my own life for the past several years could be summarized as “optimize for conviviality.” Working from the idea that this is a pretty good heuristic to be applying in one’s life, I started toying with the idea of maybe writing about it a bit on the internet.

Read more…

Installation art.


Back in the winter, I finally put in an application to have the 5 cubes project at this year’s Nuit Blanche. Since it was accepted as an independent submission, and since Nuit Blanche barely more than 2 months away, I launched a kickstarter yesterday to raise money for the last of the materials.

Please visit it, share it with anyone you think might be interested (and encourage them to share it too!), and hopefully even contribute.




I have once again made the migration from my winter mooring to my summer mooring, and made sure that my address on my website is up-to-date.