This gorgeous little Mini stack was created by Jan Hemme Using the mylkamp circuit with and a 2 knob Baxendale Tone stack with mid boost.
Built using an old Fender Frontman cab and a cheap squire combo amp it looks amazing. My favourite bit is that the head has it's own in built speaker meaning you can use it as portable battery powered amp or stick it on top of the speaker cab, plug it into a wall socket, and you have got yourself a nice little low watt mini stack ..... you can read more about the build here on Jan's Tumblr.
Around the start of last year I got chatting to guy named Thom from DublinMusicHackspace who I found by accident while narcissistically searching mylkamp on twitter. Thom was running a class that was actually making my amp as a group. Up until that point I hadn't heard of anyone making my circuit other than me so to find a whole group of people making my amp design in a class was a really nice thing to stumble across. Since then we have been chatting quite a lot and if I am honest, I am an awe of Thom's drive and determination and general philanthropic attitude. If you are interested in D.I.Y electronics in any way you owe it to yourself to check out Maker.ie, Thom and Co's new Venture. They do far too many things for me to list here (the patch block look fantastic), but their most current project are these awesome B.I.Y (Boutique it yourself) pedal PCB's. Created to fit in an industry standard 1509B Hammond enclosure. These little beauties are designed to take the headache out of building your own guitar pedal and perhaps even more importantly increasing the long term reliability of your creations by getting rid of any off board wiring which is something which really appeals to me. Thom sent me a couple of these to play with just before Xmas and I am going to be doing some amp layouts for them over the next few weeks, so stay tuned. I may also be contributing some graphic design work for the layouts for these PCB kits but I'll keep you posted.... Read more here
Have Bought a video camera so I can some Demo Video's done for the mylkamp. Don't know a thing about video recording and editing so you may have to bear with me while I learn. Anyway I have cobbled a few shit video's together from my first experiments with the camera so you have some Idea what the amp circuit sounds like. Hopefully get some better sounding and edited video up soon.
First mylkamp with some proper etched graphics. Finish this time is brushed aluminium rather than polished . Used a new PCB layout in this one which is much smaller than previous versions which gives me a lot more room to maneuver inside. The control labels on this one are much clearer than previous attempts but still some room for improvement. This ones actually a leaving present for my friend from work. Next ones I build will be for sale
"Life moves pretty fast, and if you don't stop to look around once in a while.......you could miss it"! ...........Ferris Bueller
Managed to spend a little bit more time on the GBA SP Arcade project the other day, still wrestling with the L & R button problem although I think I have come up with a reasonable compromise solution ... Read more here
Ok... so after the last build my main priority was to shrink the circuit layout down a touch so it would fit in the box a little bit more comfortably and to optimize the pot values and tapers for best function. I managed to shrink the board down slightly by optimizing the stripboard layout (which I will publish as some point over the next week once I have double verified it) slightly by doing things such as running a couple of the jumper wires under the chips, I also reduce the height by swapping out the polyester Teardrop caps for polyester box caps which sound the same (to me at least) but take up a lot less space......Read more Here
Been hard at work building more prototypes for my  Amp Project. Am getting to the point where I am tantalisingly close to actually having a finished product that I can make and sell. The circuit design is done, the basic format for the boxes is sorted. Just a few minor tweaks to how it's all gonna fit together neatly and then all thats left is to play around with the graphics and detailing. To be honest if I was less mental I could start knocking amps out now, but I really want the finished product to have an air of quality and class and that takes patience and hard work. Anyway if you are remotely interested in what I have been getting up to you can see all my amp building exploits here on my - 386Amp [Project] Blog page
Actually did this ages ago but only got round to sorting the pictures out yesterday .......Fairly happy with the basic form and aesthetics now, just need to decide what to do about the controls. Ideally I would like some mechanical solutions to altering the buttons as I would like this to be something that could be made in the form of a kit. Not sure how possible/practical this is going to be at the moment It may be that to get something that really works as a proper usable mini arcade, soldering in external buttons (particularly the L/R buttons) might be the only practical solution........[Read more here]
Well it’s been a busy few months have been working hard on my mylkAmp Projects. Have tested and tweaked and test built till I am blue in the face but and I think I have finally found a circuit I am happy with. The basic template being an op-amp buffer/booster section mated to my take on a Ruby/Noisy cricket style 386 power amp section (I’ll explain all the details of the circuit in another post).
The real struggle has been to keep it as simple as possible as I keep thinking of different tweaks and ideas to add to it (i.e if your gonna use an op amp, why not use a duel op-amp and get an extra channel, why not add mid scoop or buffered tone stack), but keep having to remind myself that the idea (at least in the 1st instance) is to build an improved, more versatile version of the Ruby/Noisy Cricket amps, that is still a simple build for the D.I.Yer and first time builder....................................[Read more Here]
Over the last month or 2 I have spent a lot of time reading, researching and testing ideas for my 386 Amp [project] and in a bid to save time and money soldering and wiring up the same power amp section over and over again or working on a messy breadboard with wires coming out left right and centre I have decided to just build everything in modules so I can play around with different boosters, buffers, tone controls etc. so I can find the perfect combination. The main thing I want accomplish with this project is to come up with my own circuit, something that really feels like my own work and not just a rehash or tweak of what someone else has done. I am not expecting to reinvent the wheel or anything (certainly not with my limited electronics knowledge) but I would like to feel like I have really put the work in. I had originally built the first module using just the power amp section of the 'Ruby' and 'Noisy cricket' which are almost identical but on my day off this week I decided to return back to 386 basics and play around with the basic circuit using the Datasheet information and examples and see what I could come up with.
386 amps can sound muddy / dull - therefore most of my component choices focus on adding as much brightness and clarity to the circuit as possible without using a buffer. This way I have a strong, clear base circuit which can be built as is or can be built upon with different boosters and preamps.....................[Read more here]
Ok........so might have to take back some of the things I said about the Orange micro crush circuit back. I breadboarded the power amp portion of the circuit up last night from the TDA7276a Datasheet and ran it through my blackheart 1x10 Eminence cab and it sounds great. I think the reason the Micro Crush actually sounds so dreadful is the speaker. When I ran the breadboarded circuit into the micro crush cab using the speaker in jack I added, it went back to sounding dreadful. They have obviously used a full range car speaker or something which sound awful with guitars unless you use some kind of cabinet/speaker emulation. Anyway the good news is the not only does the chip sound really good and has loads of clean headroom but the circuit was so easy to build it's ridiculous. Out of 16 pins you only really use 3.
Pin 1 is power ( datasheet recommends a 100uf power filter cap. Pin 2 is the output (through a 470uf cap). Pin 3 is for standby which isn't needed in a guitar amp so can be left unconnected and Pin 4 is input ( through a 10nf cap). Pins 5,7 & 8 are not connected and Pin 6 plus pins 9-16 all go to ground (datasheet recommends connecting pins 9-16 to a heat sink). Thats it, 1 chip 3 caps and you have a decent sounding working amplifier, even without adding a buffer or booster.
Been playing with the little Orange Micro Crush I bought last week and my initial impression still stands. It's a pretty little thing and it seems really well built. The clean sound is decent but the drive channel is dreadful. Shrill, buzzy and entirely un musical. I can only assume that people commenting on reviews of this amp about how 'Orange have really captured the sound of the bigger amps in this little micro crush' have been smoking some kind of space crack. The 386 Amps sound a million times better although they just can't muster that amount of pure clean headroom (even the higher powered 1w 386 D running at 12 volts ) so I was intrigued by the schematic. A quick search of the interwebs didn't bring up much except this post at diystompboxes.com but the hand drawn schematics were indecipherable so i decided to just take the back off and have a look for myself.
The power amp IC is a TDA7276a which a 3 watt chip designed for putting inside small TV's and as stated on the forum post it does seem to be wired up exactly as the Data sheet example right down to the 470uf output cap. This is buffered and boosted (when the overdrive is engaged) by a couple TL072 dual op-amps. While I had the back off I thought I might as well stick in a pair of speaker in/out jacks. As the little cab and it's 4 inch speaker might come in handy for testing my circuit designs. Also I can bypass the speaker and run the Orange amp out into a full size guitar speaker although I can't see that happening anytime soon.
This time it's of the pedal variety................It's got no gears, one break and a seat like a brown leather razor blade. It is, however a very fetching shade of olive green with classy yet understated brown and black trim. [Looks nice in the living room] Still not sure whether or not this is dafter than my other daft bike?
Bought myself a little Orange Micro crush this weekend to add my ever growing collection of headphone & mini amp's. I haven't had a lot of time to test it properly yet but it's a sturdy little thing I'll give it that. Initial impressions are that the clean channel is nice but the overdrive sound is fucking awful......like nails down a chalkboard. Would be interested to know what power amp chip is being used in this as there seems to be a lot more clean headroom available than there is in any  chip, amp such as the Ruby or Noisy Cricket, yet it's still just running off of a 9 volt battery, will investigate this afternoon
This is my latest breadboard creation in my unending quest to learn electronics and build my own amplifier circuits. My pedal breadboard is currently in constant booster testing service while my amp testing breadboard is all full of amplifier bits so to accommodate my new obsession with Cab sims and Tone filters I built this from a Domino box. First up will be the 'Condor Cab sim' by www.runoffgroove.com/ which I did try to build once all ready but couldn't get it to work so am gonna seperate all the elements out (Voltage divider, booster, first op-amp & filters, 2nd op-amp and filters) and test 'em separately then out them together on this board.
Right........suppose if I am gonna crack on with a modular approach to designing a guitar amplifier I best build some modules. First up will be the power amp or at least one of them. I do plan on testing some other power amp chips but for now at least I should probably stick with what I know, and thats the 386 chip.
Found these Fecking massive orange L.E.D's (along with some littler ones) on ebay. I didn't know you could get 10mm L.E.D's let alone big orange ones. I love these and will be using them in everything from now on.
Ok.....so this is an idea I have had kicking around for a month or 2 which I am really excited about. It has absolutely loads of potential when it comes to my 386 (mini) Amp [Projects] and travel guitar design ideas. The idea is to use a vibration speaker (which seemed to have flooded ebay lately) in a guitar amp instead of a speaker and cabinet. A vibration speaker sticks to any hard surface and makes the surface vibrate and act as the speaker diaphragm. Different surfaces yield different sounds, and sticking it to something hollow like a box gives you loads of base. I can see so much mileage in this.......obviously because the speaker is a full range speaker like a hi-fi speaker, the guitar amp powering it will need some kind of cabinet emulation to restrict the frequencies to those of a guitar speaker or it will sound dreadful. The Vox amplugs are perfect as they already have cabinet emulation built into their circuitry, and because Vibration speakers, or at least the 2 I have just ordered off of ebay anyway have a power amp built in they can be driven by anything meant to drive headphones.
In my quest to create the best sounding D.I.Y mini/practice amp possible, I have decided to go modular. I'm sick of faffing with circuits on the breadboard so I am just gonna build separate power amp and booste/buffer sections. I can also add in tone modules or distortion modules in a bid to find the perfect combination for my guitar amp [project]
National Semiconductors - Transistor Data sheet (mu amp/mini booster - origins)
Darlington pair (transistors linked)
Biasing a Transistor
Found this great drawing app on iPad called Paper53. It's genius lies in it's simplicity. It has very few options but everything is implemented beautifully. If you are looking for a sketchbook app for your iPad try this first, i have totally fallen in love with it (the water colour tool is particularly awesome). The developers deserve to win every award going for creating such joyous user experience.
With my pedal breadboard now free I wanted to do some testing with other boosters, particularly FET boosters which I am led to believe have much nicer overdrive characteristics when pushed to the max but have less overall gain. Have seen about a million different variations of booster schematics so wasn't really sure where to start but after spending a bit of time over at http://www.runoffgroove.com/salvo.html listening to sound samples I decided to just build the booster section from the Big Daddy schematic.
Due to an error in reading the schematic I used a 2.2nf cap rather than a 2.2uf cap which turned out to be a bit of happy accident. Playing with through my little 1w blackheart it sounded fucking great. The amount if boost wasn't earth shattering but it did add some sparkle and life to tone which I absolutely love. Trying it in front of the 386 amp was a bit disappointing, although it sounded really good the drive was nowhere near as much as I was expecting after listening to the sound samples at runoffgroove. It was at this point I realised my mistake with the cap selection and changed the 2.2nf part to the proper 2.2uf one indicated in the schematic. Much more like it, higher drive and much more distortion from the 386.
It was this that led me to start playing around with the cap selection by switching between different caps in the biasing network it is possible not only to vary the amount of boost but also the fullness of the boost. After much experimenting I settled on 2.2nf, 100nf and 2.2uf. The sound goes from mild boost with some extra sparkle, to a treble boost, to full fat full range boost. It's a really good range of sounds which I think could form the basis of a really nice booster pedal. Switching between a 47nf and 100nf output cap also has a really nice effect on the boost and could be used as a body switch on the pedal, cutting or boosting bass frequencies.
Been doing some experimenting with the LPB-1 booster circuit for my 386 Amp [Project] and in order to clear some space on my pedal breadboard for other booster testing I thought I should build myself one. It sounds great in the front end of my little 1w blackheart tube amp. I decided to build it as a booster box rather than a pedal as I do most of my guitar playing just sat noodling on the sofa am not really interested in foot switching and changing sounds, I just want a decent tone I can tweak and jam with. Never one to make life easy for myself I decided to build in the smallest box possible rather than a standard MXR size hammond enclosure (which it would have fit in easily). I don't know what they call these little aluminium boxes with plastic ends but they come from maplin and cost about 4 quid.
The circuit is just a standard LPB-1 with the addition of a 500k pot as a variable resistor between the 9v + and the circuit to vary the voltage. Reducing the voltage reduces the headroom making the circuit get all lo-fi and spitty which I quite like. Reminds me a lot of the black keys sort of tone. The big knob is volume, the small one is the voltage, and the switch is on or (true) bypass.
Ok...so now I have got a better idea of what to try and what to change it's back to the breadboard. I have same circuit on the breadboard as is in the amp plus I have a the original NoisyCricket MPF102 buffer on black breadboard no. 2 for comparison.So things I would like to try now are -
- Clipping diodes for more distortion compression
- Changing cap values to sort bass
- MPF102 into LPB-1 and LPB-1 into MPF102 buffer
- Fet Transistor Booster (softer less fizzy overdirve)
- Op amp Booster
- Any other pre amps I can find e.g. Pedals, headphone amps etc. to find a target sound
...................................[Read more Here]
Retro guitar amp CAD designs - renaissancemonkey.blogspot.co.uk
Stumbled across these great retro 50's inspired CAD designs for a mini guitar amp. Exactly the kind of thing I have been imagining for my 386 amp project
Done a Lot of reading this week on electronics, really want to understand how it all works. The most useful resource I have discovered ( or rediscovered it - not of it made any sense the first time I cam across it) is www.muzique.com by Jack Ormen which I can't recommend highly enough. Have read so much this week it's hard to link everything I have absorbed but below is a collection of links to some of the things I am most interested in exploring. Also did on awful lot of reading about how transistors and op-amps work which was incredibly enlightening.
- AMZ - LAB BOOK http://www.muzique.com/lab/main.htm
- Why booster pedals do not all sound alike - Booster/Gain/Distortion http://www.muzique.com/lab/boost.htm
- Impedance of LPB-1 booster circuit quite low - High signal loss - Raise Impedance ?? http://www.muzique.com/lab/imp.htm
- Could try AMZ Mosfet Booster http://www.muzique.com/schem/mosfet.htm
LOW POWER LPB-1 Booster Article http://www.muzique.com/lab/lowvolt.htm
- LBB-1 Driving Jfet
......the next logical step is using the bipolar booster to drive the jfet circuit. The bipolar can produce plenty of gain that will overdrive the jfet and produce smooth distortion with musically pleasing harmonics... a 3 volt screamer!
The two stages generate a mild overdrive with rounded edges as the signal clips. The low gain and lack of bypass capacitor on the jfet contribute to the production of tube-like harmonics. Its simplicity is part of its attraction.
- Leaky Germanium Transistor CLIPPING / BUFFER (have a few leaky germaniums - left over from fuzz face) http://www.muzique.com/news/leaky-transistor-buffer/
- Stupidly Wonderful Tone Control http://www.muzique.com/news/stupidly-wonderful-tone-control-3/
- Big Muff Pi - Tone Control http://www.muzique.com/lab/tone3.htm
Bought my first ever stratocaster the other day on a whim from Cash Converters. A tobacco sunburst Squier Affinity.Can't believe in 15+ years of playing guitar I have never owned a Strat before, WTF? Anyway best £60 I ever spent, am absolutely loving it. Gave it a fret level and finish and it plays like a dream. Solid alder, really nice C shape maple neck with rosewood board and Jumbo frets... and my favourite bit, the 1970's big headstock ( ala Jimi Hendrix). I know it's only a cheap Squier but I love it, sounds great.
Just got back from a few very pleasant but very cold days in Amsterdam. Took these photos while I was there. Always loads of good street art in Amsterdam. Tried to get some pics inside 'Hill street Blues' which is just wall to wall scrawl from ceiling to floor and even on the furnature (you should definitely call in if your there, one of the best coffee shops and super cheap for drinks) but it's just too dingey in there.
My wife bought me one of these years ago..the AC30 one and I fuckin hated it, it sounded awefull, despite being the one everybody recommends. I later realised it wasn't really the amplugs fault, I just don't like the sound of AC30. After discovering this fact, and given that I have a bit of fetish headphone amps and mini amps (I have loads) I decided to give the amplugs another go and I am really glad I did. Although they sound great as headphone amps, particularly the new ones with an extra effect such as delay or chorus to wet the sound up a bit, they have for more uses than just with headphones. The sound awesome used as pre-amp into another amp. My main amp is a little single channel 1w Blackheart tube amp with one control....volume. I hate wires and pedals everywere when I just want to sit down and Jam so these little amplugs are a perfect way to control and alter your sound from the sofa. The also sound excellent run into shitty little novelty amps like the marshal MS-2. Also because the have a built in speaker/cabinet emulator you can use them for direct recording or even run them into your stereo or a pair of powered laptop speakers.
Found this in the back porch under a pile of stuff. Think I bought it from cash converters or somewhere. It is (or was ) just a little shitty 5w practice amp with a 6 inch speaker that I stripped all the internals out of to maybe put a Ruby or Noisy Cricket  amp in and never got round to it. Stumbled across it at just the right time as I am working on my own amp circuit at the minute. Can't decide whether to stick am amp in and make a little combo as originally intended or to just make it into a little speaker cab for my Orange 'Micro terror'.......or I could do both...mmm. Wonder what colour tolex I should buy?
Created this cool little boss pedal graphic to make page/article dividers for my guitar [stuff] page
This is my little Fernades - Zo (or "Nomad" if you live across the pond). I have wanted one of these since I was about 12 and I saw Dweezil Zappa advertising them in an American guitar magazine. You couldn't actually buy them in the UK at the time and I don't think I could have afforded one if they did sell them here. Eventually Found this one on eBay a couple of years ago from Japanese seller. My wife bought it for me as a Birthday present and it's one of my most treasured possessions. It is one of the limited number if "Art Rock" series guitars that were available only in Japan and are now long since discontinued.
If anyone has one of the "Led Zeppelin" versions or the reverse headstock, Jimi Hendrix "Little Wing" Zo and you're wanting to sell, let me know and i'll snatch your hand off.
See a Review Here
First thing I need to do is build myself another Ruby. The white Noisy cricket mkII amp I have at home, but the Ruby was a present for my brother in law so I don't have that anymore. Although the Circuits are very similar they do sound quite different. The Noisy Cricket is more vintage sounding and the Ruby has more drive, so the first thing to do is build another Ruby so I can do some comparison tests to see which on I prefer and work out which direction to take my own circuit. I will also be building a Big Daddy which is another runoffgroove.com circuit using the 386 chip, very similar to the Ruby, but this one has a booster rather than a buffer at the front end so should drive harder still than the ruby. Have never built a big daddy before so am interested to see how this sounds.
I don't want to waste too much time building or thinking about the layouts for these 2 Circuits so will be using this Vero board layout I found at the excellent Guitar FX Layouts blog for the Big Daddy. (please check out their excellent site full of easy to build Vero Board layouts of literally 100's of pedal and amp schematics, thanks guys) They didn't actually have one for the Ruby which is a shocker (I may do one if I get a chance), So i was just gonna freestyle from the Schematic but then I found this one here on my mac (No idea where i found it and cant find it again so if this is your hard work let me know and I'll add a link )
Absolutely love this, stumbled across it while searching for wood grain patterns for the GBA Mini arcade [project]. Elegant and simple.
Just found this great little blog called Guitar FX Layouts which is just full of Veroboard (strip board) Layouts for 100's of different guitar pedal schematics.
Robots are our friends mug - designed by me using zazzle.co.uk. Thought i would order one to check what the design looks like in the flesh.Am really impressed but very expensive through zazzle. Am seriously considering getting a mug press so I can make these at home.
386 Amp [Project]
I've been meaning to get round to this for a while, and the time has finally come. Time to work on my own 386 amp circuit. I, along with many other people who have built themselves a Ruby or Noisy Cricket, have been totally bowled over by how good a simple 396 Chip guitar amplifier circuit can sound. Have loads of ideas centering around the use of internal speakers and mechanical solutions to amplification but I need my own circuit so to build a proper saleable product around. You can follow my inept adventures in Circuit building here
"How to front light your Gameboy Colour in a way that doesn't make you want to tear your eyes out every time you play it".
Ok, so I don't really know how and why I ended up wasting days of my life doing this but I did, so I thought I might as well share it. Actually when I say I don't know how and why that's only partially true. The why, is because I bought a Gameboy colour from a car boot sale for £2 because.....[Read more here]
For many religious people, the popular question "What would Jesus do?" is essentially the same as "What would I do?" That's the message from an intriguing and controversial new study by Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago. Through a combination of surveys, psychological manipulation and brain-scanning, he has found that when religious Americans try to infer the will of God, they mainly draw on their own personal beliefs.
Psychological studies have found that people are always a tad egocentric when considering other people's mindsets. They use their own beliefs as a starting point, which colours their final conclusions. Epley found that the same process happens, and then some, when people try and divine the mind of God. Their opinions on God's attitudes on important social issues closely mirror their own beliefs. If their own attitudes change, so do their perceptions of what God thinks.......................read rest of article
This is a map of the divided up by religion.
.................who doesn't like the strangely melancholy Mr T Sock monkey my wife made for me [!]
Role models was on Tv the other night. If you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth a watch, very funny. I've liked Paul Rudd since he played Phoebe's boyfriend in friends, but its Jayne Lynch's character and the whole Sturdy Wings set up that really made me laugh. My wife Faye asked me to make her a sturdy wings Tshirt so obviously I had no choice but to oblige.
Welcome to mylk I believe stuff
If i had to describe myself i would say first and foremost I am a humanist, secondly a skeptic, and thirdly a nobhead.
Basically the way I see it, at this moment right here, right now you and I are 2 of just under 7 billion little pink or brown squishy sentient sacks of water propped up by calcium sticks, spinning at 1,038 miles an hour on a massive ball of rock which is hurtling through space at 67,000 mph in an orbit around our sun. One rather average star in a galaxy of approximately 100 billion other stars in a universe with more than 200 billion galaxies each with about a 100 billions stars (give or take). And to all intents and purposes, this universe doesn't seem to give a fuck about us.
The chance that there is magic man in the sky who orchestrated it's creation are, to be polite, fucking slim at best. If you wanna believe that, then fine, whatever floats your boat. As far as I can see that's an unfalsifiable hypothesis and no more worthy of any more consideration than Bertrand Russel's - Invisible Celestial Teapot or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But if you wanna go a step further and say there is a magic man in the sky who wrote or inspired a book, watches you while you sleep, gives you advice and guidance and has an bizarre and unhealthy obsession with what you do with you clothes off, and who you do it with. You are at best deluded and at worst insane. But still, whatever helps you get through the day. Doesn't really bother me too much if you wanna believe impossible nonsense for no good reason, fill your boots. Some people care whether stuffs true, some people would rather look at pictures of kittens, c'est la vie. But if you wanna start telling other people how they should live their lives based on what's written in a bronze age story book or because a magic man in the sky talks to you inside your head, well I'm sorry but you can shove your holy book up your arse and fuck off while you're doing it.
This was just a quick t shirt I made for myself from my skulls surface pattern design. Was painting a picture frame with the same pattern cut from paint mask so thought I may as well run one off with Tshirt Vinyl. Actually looks much better than I thought it would. Wasn't really sure how to use this design on a Tshirt print, who new all you had to do was draw a box around it. Will have to do one as a pile o' skulls without the bounding box.
Really nice day to day...............time for a recreational blast on the little Dax.
So the good news is the new exhaust pipe is mint. Looks (despite the scuffs from me falling off) and sounds great......... the bad news is it keeps setting fire to my trousers. I've now ruined 3 pairs of Jeans and burned my leg quite badly. Why the don't come with or even offer a little heat shield is beyond me. There is nothing off the shelf I could find so decided I would have to make or adapt one or get some pipe wrapping. Am not really set up for doing metal work so decided just to buy some exhaust wrap. It's still fucking red hot but the wrapping has taken the temperature down a notch or 2 so at least now my trousers will stop bursting into flames while am tramming round leeds inner ring road.
My new monkey bike exhaust arrived the other day....only took me about 8 months to get round to buying one. Found a bit of time this morning to fit it before work. Installation was pretty quick and easy although it looks like I might have to re locate the indicators as the right one is rubbing on the silencer. Not sure what I think at the minute. Really wanted something more standard looking but couldn't get one to fit a 125 engine which is a bugger. Also fitted a new air filter as the other one went a.w.o.l about the same time as the exhaust brackets disintegrated on the way back from Scarborough Scooter rally.
Quick test of cut vinyl on denim, actually turned reasonably well. There is some smudging of the vinyl because it's hard to get an even pressure with an iron on such an uneven surface (must get a heat press soon) and also didn't help that the jeans were worn and not new, but overall not bad. I like the way the vinyl sits on the denim, it really melts into the deep ridges and looks indistinguishable form the screen printed rising sun on my old bench jeans. Next time I'll try it with some stiffer new jeans and probably make an insert for the pocket to even out the surface.
Update [Feb 27 2012] : Started coming off in places, Could be to do with uneven pressure or could be denim? not really sure? Might do a test on a flat piece although my guts telling me it's the fabric
Above is the the "Cut" sheet vector image i made for running through the cutting machine. It pay's to think ahead and be economical with the vinyl sheets
Cut some mylk logo decals for my friend Martin to stick on his snowboard
Just trying some different colour options for the Vespa hoody. Actually quite like the lime green which I am surprised about as it's not one of my favorite colours.
I love this Tshirt design but I just can't wear it because I am too fat. Big prints, especially when they are done in vinyl which can be quite heavy when used in big blocks tend to accentuate all your lumps and bumps if you're a big 'n. Real shame..... I really must lose some tub. The situation might be marginally improved if I screen printed the design but ultimately the only thing thats really gonna sort out the problem is for me to get down the gym and lose the 'moobs'.
The atari 2600 and it's joystick is a true design icon despite it being absolutely shit at it's only job. Nostalgia does funny things to a person's memory. I don't think I ever even owned an atari when I was young and find most of the games completely unplayable, yet I still can't see an atari 2600 joystick without instantly being transported back to the 80's when life was simpler and I didn't have to worry about how much a boiler costs to fix or mortgage interest rates......then I remember playing pitfall or E.T and I thank the imaginary bearded man in the sky for iphones and PSP's and the interweb.
...............but you should see what it does to skyscrapers 
Designed this a while ago but originally made it using god awful vinyl colours for some reason. The banner was gold and I think the body of the swallow was silver ?? Must have been doing testing or something, anyway I never ended up wearing it so I thought I would make myself another one while I had a spare minute and a blank Tshirt kicking about. Could really do with screen printing this one when I get the gear to do it as the vinyl can be quite heavy/thick for such a large design.
"The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing".......[Stephen R Covey]
Stephen J Gould is a famous American Evolutionary Biologist and also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation. In a 1997 essay and later in his book Rock of Ages (1999), Gould put forward what he described as "a blessedly simple and entirely conventional resolution to... the supposed conflict between science and religion. He stated that Religion & Science where "Non-Overlapping Majesteria". Or in other words religion and science dealt with different aspects of reality - the magisterium of science covers the empirical realm: what the Universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value ............ This is absolute bollox!
Found these really nice Teal / Indigo blue hoodys by gilden, from poloshirts.co.uk - Just playing around with ideas and print colours. My favorites probably the skewed Gasket design (it's a warped image of a Vespa 166 head Gasket) although it probably wouldn't make much sense to anyone but me. I think even the most ardent Vespa fan would struggle to recognise what it is. Not that that is the worst thing in the world but it's nice when images have some kind of recognisable context.
Why is it in our society that proudly proclaiming that you believe impossible nonsense for no good reason is perceived as sign of good character and strong moral standing and not the face melting credulity and stupidity it so clearly is [?]
Been designing and making bags this weekend to house my wife Faye's excellent sock monkey kits. I'm sure all this would be much faster and easier if we just bought and learned how to use some screen printing gear but for now vinyl is what we got so vinyl is what you get.
Why is it if someone claims that Jesus spoke to them and told them to feed the poor or start a ministry nobody would consider that odd or a cause for concern ? They'd probably have them on Breakfast News, sat on the couch with Sian & Bill fawning all over them as they enthral the nation with their amusing anecdote about how their religious experience changed their life and convinced them to be a better person. But if someone says that Jesus told them to kill their children or nonce their dog, then we as a society deem that they are obviously mental and need sectioning A.S.A.P.
Now take the emotion out of this scenario for a second, put aside any personal feelings of admiration and disgust you may have. Look at these two situations starkly and tell me what the difference is because I can't see one.
No one (and I mean NO ONE) even knows whether there is a God or not, let alone what that God thinks. Why everyone assumes that if there is a God he must be a nice one is fucking beyond me. All the evidence would point to the contrary. Other than your own personal feelings about the possible outcomes of these beliefs there really is no difference, the actual belief is the same. They both believe an invisible man in the sky is talking to them inside their head and telling them what to do, and doing anything, good or bad, because you think a bearded space fairy is transmitting psychic messages to you rather than a result of rational thought processes is fucking insane.
Had the idea the other day to use the Smunky (sock monkey) pictures I have been messing about with as models for the my Tshirt designs. I really like em, particularly for displaying slogan designs I thinks its the blank but slightly menacing expressions.
Been doing some work on a new format for some of the Longer slogans. The standard plain text format I really like for the shorter phrases but I felt I needed to come up something a bit more visually interesting for the longer ones rather than It just be a block of double line spaced text with a  on the end.
Because no one lies like liars for Jesus...... If Religion doesn't even make you behave like a better person what is the fucking point. I could cope with the obvious falsnes and utter ridiculousness of religion if it at least actually made people behave like better human beings but it absolutely doesn't. It just gives people an excuse for their abominable behaviour. That pesky devil.....always trying to drag you down. Grow the fuck up and take some responsibility for your own actions, good or bad.
"We are all star stuff".......[Carl Segan] 1934-1996
Nearly every single atom in our body was cooked up from hydrogen atoms in the bellies of stars, billions of years ago. when matter first exploded out and then coalesced through the force of gravity over billions of years, giving rise to suns planets and solar systems, And on one small rock at the arse end of nowhere, at the edge of a rather ordinary galaxy, floating round a very ordinary sun. The first self replicating organic molecules were formed from natural chemical bonds. Over billions of years, through a process of replication, ''descent with modification', acted on by natural selection we have gone from the first multi-celled organisms to big, daft, hairless apes, that can send a man into space, build an iPhone, create an infrastructure to protect each other and bitch about the weather. Now that's fucking awesome.
If you wanna believe a white, 6ft 2, magic Jew got sent to be nailed to a stick 2000 years ago by his dad who was also him, in order to create a loophole in a system of his own creation, or that you were made from dirt or possibly a rib by speaking some magic words. Your welcome but fuck me that sounds dull and unimpressive compared to the truth.
I often think men who constantly want to wrestle each other would just be much happier if they were able to get rid of their hang ups and prejudices and just be gay. I'm sure they would just be happier and more fulfilled in the long run. I had 2 overly macho friends at Uni who were constantly injuring each other as a result of impromptu wrestling sessions when drunk which eventually culminated in one of them breaking the other ones wrist as the both tumbled down the stairs. I am sure they would both have been much better off taking their tops off, showing each other their winkys and having a proper kiss and a cuddle rather than having to break each other's limbs just to have an excuse to brush up against each other.......Just be Gay, it's fine.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day........give a man religion and he will starve to death praying for a fish".......unknown
My wife bought these at a car boot sale at the weekend. They are just about the tackiest fucking things I have ever seen. They're awesome!
With the Vespa still in pieces i did the unthinkable at the weekend and went to a scooter rally on my Monkey bike. I actually didn't get nearly as much shit as I thought I would and the little dax kept up with everyone really well. Unfortunately on the way home the airfilter fell off and both the exhaust pipe brackets disintegrated. But at least it did get me home...which is more than I can say for my mate Eddie who I had leave stranded just outside york with a seized piston ring, waiting for the AA man. Looks like I am gonna have to order a new exhaust but for now I have just bodged it with bungee cords which seems to be working pretty well
If A jobs worth doing........it's worth doing with Gaffer tape and bungee cords. This should do us for a while.
"If you open your mind too much your brain might [plop] out" .........Tim Minchin
This is my little bike after it's first (1000mile) service and a proper wash. At least I think it's a done a 1000 miles anyway? it could well be kilometers.... i haven't bothered to work out weather the odometer reads in Km's or Miles yet.... will do that soon, then i can work out how many miles you get on from the pidley 2.4 ltr fuel tank. Anyway so far so good...... no problems as of yet. With it being cheap and Chinese I was sort of expecting the wheel bearings to have disintegrated before now.
This was just a little doodle I found in my sketchbook one day, can't remember doing it but it just made me laugh when I saw it .
Having had the monkey bike for just over a month I thought I would share my initial thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of small daft bike ownership
The good 
- The ride is fantastic.......it's so light and agile. I am, and always will love Vespas, but when you have spent your whole life riding a 2 wheeled vehicle with the engine hanging off to one side, only one shock, per wheel and more steel bodywork than a Sherman tank. Riding something so light and balanced is real eyeopener.
- The breaks are great....... unlike the originals this has a front disk and i really can't find fault with it, it's the same setup i have have on my Vespa (One pot front disk & rear drum) but again because of the weight, and despite being a much cheaper affair, when you want to stop, it stops. I know this seems like a minimum requirement but anyone who has ridden a bike with 2 drum breaks will tell you, stopping when you want to is a bonus rather than a given.
- It's really comfy........... was so worried on the run up to delivery that it was gonna be way too small and really impractical but I couldn't have been more wrong. I feels like sacrilege to say it but it's more comfy than my vespa. The seats a touch lower and the bars are slightly higher, which makes it much more friendly on the back.
- Sits at 50 mph nicely tops out at 62 on speedo
- People absolutely love it. it's impossible to park up anywhere without someone coming over and asking about it. Sometimes they don't even wait for you to park up. I have had a load of people, including bus drivers wind their windows down at the traffic lights and start shouting questions about the bike at me
The Bad (well.... not that bad) 
- The gear change...... One of my concerns was getting used to the foot gear change ( vespa gear change is in the handle bars). As it turns out this really wasn't a problem but 3 days in and my toe has gone numb. I put this down to 3 factors. 1) my choice of footware 2) the To lever design 3) the gearbox is brand new and a bit stiff. I know the gearbox will loosen up as the engine beds in but i cant cope with numb toes for three months while i wait for this to happen. I won't be buying, biker boots to ride a monkey bike (trainers all the way) so that only leaves the gear change lever. Will investigate the alternatives and report back.
- The engine........ I feel bad putting this in the bad section as there isn't anything really wrong with it. It has plenty of power and torque and it still has a lot of running in to do but the power delivery just isn't as exciting as a 2 stroke. It's much more linear and almost certainly more practical...... but just not as exciting as that 2stroke wooooooosh as it hits the powerband. Also it feels really..........? Lumpy i suppose is the word. The vibration is much harsher. Don't get me wrong vespa buzz like fuck but there in lies the joy. A Vespa fires every stroke of the crank and vibrate so fast that it becomes this satisfying uniform hum that engilfs your entire body in a weird and spiritual way. This just feels lumpy and harsh in comparison.
The Ugly 
- Getting wet............am really not enjoying having wet shoes and mud splattered trousers. Obvously this isn't bothering us enough to wear more practical riding gear but it is a nuisance. Those Vespa leg shields may way a fucking ton but the do keep your trousers dry
- It Just wants to wheelie everywhere, particularly away from the lights. Because the wheelbase is so short and the riders weight is right over the back wheel, keeping the front wheel on the ground is easier said than done which is one of 2 reasons there are so many aftermarket braced extended swing arms available, the other reason being..........
- The rear swing arm wobbles like fuck. which can be a bit disconcerting when it decides to shift by about 2 or 3 inches as you are leaning into a corner. At first I thought it was the cheap chinese tyres losing traction but no, it's just the swing arm flexing like a floppy hotdog sausage.
- The fuel tank is abysmally small (2 litres + 1/2 a litre reserve) and there is no fuel gauge. Although to it's credit it does do 50 miles on a full tank which isn't that shabby for something so small
Simple 2 colour print of Exploding/Nova sun design utilizing Tshirt base colour in design. I really like this one simple but bold and striking.
The Dunning–Kruger effect - why stupid people don't know it
The 2 consequences of incompetence for an individual are :-
- They make bad choices
- The don't realise they are making bad choices
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to appreciate their mistakes. The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to the situation in which less competent people rate their own ability higher than more competent people. It also explains why actual competence may weaken self-confidence. Competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. As Kruger and Dunning (1999) conclude, "Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others"
Essentially what Dunning–Kruger discovered is :-
- The same skills required for competence at a given task are the same skills required to evaluate that competence.
- Some people are so fucking Dumb - that it is impossible for them to evaluate quite how fucking dumb they are.
Like Charles Darwin said "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge".
Been looking around for a new vespa for a couple of months now, was just after something cheap and cheerful to get to work on while my old Vespa gets rebuilt.... To cut a long story short i was getting really fed up with the ridiculouse prices that tatty second hand PX's where going for and in a moment of madness i have bought one of these.............and it's fuckin awesome! will possibly add a page for this soon - first job is to cut some decals, tuning is gonna have to wait till my Vespa is done.
This is what sold me - ZenHua 125 - £995 monkeybike.co.uk - Brand new copy of a 70's Honda Dax with a 125 engine and a six month guarantee. From probably the best monkey bike specialist in the uk and for less than what some people where asking for a fucked vespa PX125 cutdown, painted with Hammerite and with no M.O.T. Praise the imaginary bearded man in the sky that they have started selling new PX's again.
I built this site once and then deleted it like a twat. Now I'm rebuilding it. Bare with me, this will take me fucking ages