Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Weekly Wednesday Update #13

Goal Update
Took another weekend off because I was just too focused on studying and building things. No excuses, so I stepped it up during the week. Also, every time I think about planning for something, a curve ball comes in and well, I haven’t quite finalized my race plan for the year. There will be some triathlons (sprint, olympic and half ironman), 5ks, 10ks, the Chicago marathon, and at least one Ragnar relay. Good news is my [terrible] swimming form is coming back; didn't’ feel like I was going to drown for the entire mile I swam yesterday. Only way to get better is to get in the water! I have also been trying to bike for 20-30 minutes in the morning; really loving how productive my days have been after this simple change.

Weekly update
Miles Swam: 1.02 [1.64]
Miles Run: 22.93 [296.46]
Tacos Ate: 21 [259]
Miles Biked: 42.4 [620.05]

Things I worked on

As promised, I got the Z-Carve up and running this weekend! Woo!!! First, I lowered the table to give some more clearance (after modeling it in Fusion 360 of course). Unfortunately, I did not get the t-track nor the waste board installed, but that is on the list for this weekend. The enclosure is still a work in progress, but I hacked together a simple quick and cheap enclosure to keep the dust contained using some cheap plastic sheets. Simple, effective and yet somewhat elegant… I’ll call that a win!
The Z-Carve with cheap plastic sheet enclosure
The control box has been installed, still have to work out some of the programming to get it to where I want, but all of the buttons and switches work! The next step will be just wonderful. After fighting some wiring issues (motor wasn’t running perfectly), I got the machine tuned and was able to cut out a fidget spinner for the Inventables monthly Challenge (link to my project files). Nice little four leaf clover for St. Patrick's Day

Four Leaf Clover Fidget Toy

Favorite Podcast of the Week

As a kid, I watched a lot of the discovery channel (okay, a young adult... alright I still watch it, but have you seen mythbusters?!?!). Many of you may know Mike Rowe from the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs. What most of you probably don’t know is Mike started his show business in the opera… to get women! What a guy. But seriously, this is a great conversation to listen to with plenty of gems throughout.

Favorite Quote(s) of the Week

"Don't follow your passion, but always bring it with you." Mike Rowe
"Copy genius" - Dr Bill Dorfman

Random of the Week

Oh boy it's late (11pm)! I need to work on getting to bed at a reasonable time when I wake up and have biked 10 miles by 6:30am…
After logging over 150 miles on my new bike and the STAC Zero trainer, I think it's time to give it a short initial review. NOTE: I have not ridden any other trainers for a significant amount of time, so take this review with a grain of salt.
Before purchasing my bike, I knew I was going to want some way to ride it indoors and avoid the silly stationary bikes at the gym with the saddles that are extremely uncomfortable. In order to ride indoors with your bike, you need what is called a trainer. After some research I found there are typically two types of trainers: (using my termonlogy) tire on and tire off. The tire on trainers provide resistance through your tires in numerous ways; the major set back being it wears through tires. The tire off trainers basically replace your back wheel and gear set with a set of gears that provide resistance as you spin indoors. These trainers do not wear your tires, but require you to remove your tire anytime you want to spin indoors; and they are typically expensive.
Enter the STAC Zero trainer, and a new category. This trainer utilizes physics (eddy currents) to provide resistance without a physical connection to your bike. Watch these videos for more info, and this video to explain the physics. Freaking awesome right??? It takes me less than 5 minutes from the time I roll out of bed, to get dressed, set up my bike on the STAC Zero and start spinning, all without wearing out my tires! Not to mention this trainer costs only $300 for the base unit or $375 for the version with a power meter. Again, I can not comment on the accuracy of the power meter as I do not have another one, but others say it is relatively accurate.
At this point, I highly recommend this trainer. Utilizing the weights on the wheel to provide additional inertia give a very smooth ride, very road like. If you are new rider (or experienced) and in the market for a new trainer, I can’t say anything bad about the STAC Zero.

Time to write post: 31 minutes


  1. Link to project files is not active

    1. Thanks for letting me know, I must have forgot to add the link late last night. It is now updated.