63-3 Tiger Cub Motorcycle

FRS 106, Michael Littman – Spring 2021


Meeting 01: February 1st, 2021

Written by Tejas Gupta

  • Introductions of course staff and students
  • Fusion 360 Quick Demo: download here
  • Readings:
    • 1/2: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Design (more philosophy based)
    • 2/2: Shop Class as Soulcraft (more economics based)
  • Homework: Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Design due Wednesday (02-03-2021)
  • Each precept will mainly be focused on the readings with a student precept leader
  • Labs:
    • Students will be placed in groups with a staff leader who will act as the hands in the lab with students advising virtually
      • Groups TBD
    • Labs can be viewed and controlled via remote camera software
    • Work on repairing the bikes that were WIP from last year
    • Students (on campus) will build CNC mills and 3D printers in dorm rooms and transported to Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
      • Logistics TBD

Meeting 02: February 3rd, 2021

Written by Tejas Gupta

  • Homework: Finish Part I of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Design due Monday (02-08-2021)
    • Goal: Finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Design by the middle of the course
  • Introduction of ZAMD (led by Alex):
    • Wrote introduction to correct 2 mistakes: the mistranslation of a character and he wrote it in first-person narrative
    • Preview for later: the font changes and the narrator has a split personality
  • Chapter 1 (led by Tejas):
    • begins with the narrator riding his bike in the back roads of the American heartland
    • tension between maintaining one’s bike themselves versus using a mechanic
      • being able to fix yourself when no mechanic is available is important
      • don’t let the motorcycle be a blackbox
      • analogy to the faucet – able to live with a leaky faucet if not knowing how to do something – against technology
      • beauty of doing it yourself and giving some personal care; seeing beauty where others don’t see
    • technologists and the system
      • the other couple desires this escape from technology but the narrator argues that even in fixing a motorcycle and in the technology, that peace can be found
      • finds fault in both the system and the movements away from the system
    • hidden beauty:
      • back country versus highway
      • motorcycle versus car: seeing out of a car is like watching a TV screen instead of seeing the environment
    • relationship between the narrator and John and Silvia: mutual understanding of enjoying riding
      • difference in priorities: escape from technology versus appreciating the beauty
      • talking at each other rather than with each other
      • lets John figure out his problems even though he knows better
    • Chautauquas – old-timey TED talks
    • motorcycle references:
      • choke – a control valve for letting air into the carburetor (which mixes the air and the fuel)
        • choking an engine is preventing the air into the engine, letting in too much fuel (esp. when it’s hot)
        • flooded – letting in too much fuel and wetting the spark plugs (fix by waiting an hour or pulling out the spark plugs and letting them dry)
      • bank into a turn – lean into a turn; otherwise, you’d flip over
  • Chapter 2 (led by Alison):
    • Small problems can result in disastrous consequences
    • Mechanics, due to their view of maintenance as a job, makes them detached and more prone to make mistakes
    • motorcycle references:
      • seizure – a hot piston expands and is unable to transmit the energy, so the oil usually transfers the heat
      • tappet – the end of the push rod that translates the cam’s rotation to opening and closing the intake and exhaust valves;
      • points – electrical switch in the combustion process that can wear out
  • Labs:
    • Jon – overview of motor and preparation for assembling the partially finished motor from last year
    • Tao – dissasembling and analyzing the Cub that was worked on last year – it doesn’t turn over or shift
    • Prof. Littman – front fork preparation for assembly


Meeting 03: February 8th, 2021

Written by Amber Chow

  • Homework: Ch 6, 7, 8 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Housekeeping and People Updates
    • Welcome Cordi! Prospective econ major from Oxford (England) who is on the women’s crew team
    • Lab groupings (see group objectives above):
      • Jon Prevost’s Group (1): Sarah, Tejas, Katherine, Alan, Max
      • Tao’s Group (2): Jonathan, Alex, Louis, Hannah
      • Prof. Littman’s Group (3): Amber, Cordi, Alison, Brandon, Victoria
  • Lab summary:
    • John’s Group: engine and how it works, four strokes, disassembled the engine to look at the four strokes
    • Tao and Prof. Littman: made a model name tag in Fusion 360, trouble shooting: pulled out the spark plug
  • Proposal for Increased Student Involvement:
    • Team (shared roles) vs crew (specialized roles) -> crew approach
      • parts manual
      • research manual
      • ebay
      • …etc
  • Reading Precept
    •  Recommendation from Matt (FRS106 alum): Engage with the books!!
    • Ch3 (Led by Louis)
      • Motorcycle References:
        • Speedometer: speed in mph (miles per hour). A cable directly attached to crankshaft (rear wheel) has a spinning centerpiece with a magnet by a metal plate plate and a needle
        • tachometer: “acceleration” in rpm (rotation per minute) revolutions per minute of the engine (speed the crank shaft is turning 2:1 between piston and crank). Similar mechanism to speedometer.
          • Speedometer and Tach will be the same if in gear (no clutch in). Wind might cause the speed to bounce.
        • Wet roads – oil on the road can cause slippage. Cyclists will be on the edge where the sides are higher and the oil on the road is less
        • Head down to decrease air resistance
        • “open up the throttle” gassing it, release more air and more fuel to make it go faster
        • headlights for visibility, get a reflection to grab drivers attention (daylights are most common)
      • Content!
        • Real vs not real: ghosts are as real as science (ie. gravity) ?
          • constructs, concepts, principles; consciousness – the mind is a ghost
        • Phaedrus: knows the roads, no new ideas
    • Ch4 (Led by Victoria)
      • Motorcycle References:
        • Bubble: shield over older helmets. (modern helmets have chin guards and visors so totally unnecessary)
        • Motorcycle boots: stiffer protections on ankle so if a car breezes by it wont shatter your ankle
        • Test lamp: continuity tester for current through a wire
        • Virtual show and tell: socket wrench, spanner wrench, box wrench, impact wrench, tire irons, machinists hammer feeler gauge (set the tolerances), points, chain, master link
        • Bailing wire: wire for bales of hay (stiff)
        • Motorcycles definitely have their own personality 🙂
        • High mileage really depends on what it was designed for. Most wear out about 4 times faster than cars: i.e. 100k is a LOT.
          • This is because:
            • 2 wheels, performance oriented loses durability, faster and lighter for maneuverability, gas mileage (efficient) but design is less stable, engine is small and heavy horsepower -> piston rings and cylinder board wear out quickly
      • Content!
        • Farmers: gratitude, and the need/appreciation of technology
        • A very difficult read: careful read, deeper rather than greater breadth, scrupulous
    • Ch5 (Led by Jonathan)
      • Motorcycle References
        • shim: aluminum is a great material, its soft, its a filler
          • The clamp that hold the handlebar has a stop with an inner/outer radius. The inner is larger than the outer part if clamped. If there is a gap, you will add stress on the bolt without fixing the problem. The shim is putting in some filler (like wrapping tape around it).
        • Tolerance: how tight the tolerance are. plus or minus how much leeway before you break the thing. What is good enough? For tight tolerances are reliable. On a tight tolerance if over-clamp you will crush it and cause it to buckle. (torque wrenches – looking forward),
      • Content!
        • John cares about appearances application
        • John cares about maintenance but views it differently – respect, communicating with the machine vs black box
        • In what way is the shim real and concrete and how does it represent an idea of potential – assigned role
        • Art vs science
        • Chris has mental issues
        • Evil spirt of Phaedrus –  brought back through shock therapy

Meeting 04: February 10th, 2021

  • Homework: Ch 8, 9, 10 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Lab Summary:
    •  Jon’s group: How a engine works – gears, neutral, gearshift, clutch, inner sprocket and chain
    • Tao’s group: Getting the cover to the transmission  off to see why the kick starter wasn’t working
    • Prof. Littman’s group: Assigned research roles, removed a cap with a strap wrench from the fork (cap originally put on so paint doesn’t get inside during powder coating)
  • K’NEX engine model: 4 stroke engine
    • crankshaft, dead center, fire spark plug, power stroke, exhaust stroke, pistons, gears
    • Intake (1), compression (2), power (3), exhaust (4)
  • Reading Precept
    • Ch6 (led by Katherine)
      • Motorcycle References
        • chain adjustment at rear axle (image indication)
        • bluing of the exhaust pipe -> when hot
        • flywheel: high rotational inertia, keeps engine turning even when not adding energy (with less pistons = more important)
        • alternator: AC electricity using magnets
        • rectifier: lets current go in one direction (1 way valve) lets alternator charge the battery
        • high voltage coil: electromagnetic transformer, step up the voltage – 10k Volts for spark plugs
        • spark plugs: gap so high voltage creates spark
        • feedback system (usually not called that):
          • valves = cam/cam follower, oblong so long part pushes up valve with a rod as it spins
          • distributor: distributes spark to different plugs (antique ignition system for only one coil but multiple cylinders)
        • fender = metal cover on wheel,
        • control lever: perches, hand brake, clutch
          • drum brakes, disk brakes (caliper grabs) in the wheel hub
        • cotter pin: pulley on a shaft so it doesn’t spin off
      • Content!
        • Phaedrus: respect, idealism – admiration vs distain
        • Romantic vs classical – non-exclusive? Which are you? situational?
    • Ch7 (Led by Hannah)
      • Motorcycle References
        • Knick-knacking from overheating – thermal expansion (tappets get looser when heating)
        • lubricate: roller chains get on and off sprocket if gets dirt it’ll wear
        • lubricant on the outside to cool it off via evaporation
        • wear also related to heat and weight distribution
        • replace the tires with tire irons and pneumatic tubes (upscaled bike), inner tube,…
        • chains slacken over time
      • Content!
        • The binary of art vs science
        • The observer needs to be part of the landscape
        • Phaedrus and shock therapy: committed for schizophrenia

Meeting 05: February 15th, 2021

Written by Jonathan Lin

  • Homework: Ch 11, 12, 13
  • Lab Summary:
    • Jon’s group:
      • Looked at how transmission shifts gears with the quadrant plate
      • Talked about the clutch
    • Tao’s group:
      • Took off the cover of the timing assembly (on the right side of the motorcycle)
      • Saw the internals of the kickstart
    • Professor Littman’s group:
      • Looked at the front fork and steering assembly
      • Detached a cup where the ball bearings are supposed to go
        • Called the “race” and the “cone”
        • Consists of 15 balls (30 total split between an upper and a lower)
  • Prof. Littman’s demo:
          • Octane (C8H18)
            • Burns with the oxygen in the air to form carbon dioxide and water vapor
            • Flame temperature is typically 2000 degrees Kelvin
            • Pressure in the chamber rises to approximately 100 psi
          • Demonstration used ping pong ball to represent piston
            • Brought gases together and ignited them, causing a rapid increase in pressure that launched the ping pong ball
  • Chapter 8 (led by Victoria)
    • Motorcycle References:
      • Tappets
        • Cam lobes engage with the tappets, which push the push-rods
      • Jets
        • Help to dictate how much fuel gets in
        • Jets can get plugged if too dirty, making motorcycle impossible to start
      • Spark plugs looked black due to carbon foul (covered by too much soot)
      • Connecting rod
        • Piston attaches to the flywheel through the connecting rod
    • Content
      • Parts vs. concepts
      • Contains vs. causes
      • The system
        • Narrator points out how the system exists, but it is difficult to find an identifiable “villain”
      • The narrator discovers that the change in elevation has caused the engine to run rich
        • Due to the fact that air pressure is lower and there is less oxygen in the air
  • Chapter 9 (led by Alison)
    • Motorcycle References:
      • Engine misfires
        • Used by the narrator as an example to explain inductive reasoning
      • Using the scientific method to diagnose motorcycle malfunctions
    • Content
      • The narrator delves deeply into the scientific method
        • Having a good statement of the problem and hypothesis are critical to properly conducting the experiment
        • “The real purpose of scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something you don’t actually know.”
  • Chapter 10 (led by Brandon)
    • No major motorcycle references
    • Content
      • Phaedrus was pursuing the spirit of rationality, encounters a perceived crisis in the scientific method that disheartens him and causes an identity crisis
      • Einstein’s quote that scientific truth is simply what is proven itself superior at any given moment in time
        • Phaedrus is bothered by the fact that truth is a function of time
      • Phaedrus believes that the increased intensity of scientific inquiry is causing chaos and instability of scientific truth

Meeting 06: February 17th, 2021

Written by Jonathan Lin

  • Homework: Ch 14, 15, 16
    • Also, assign CNC mill and 3D printer to group members; email Michael Galvin when ready to pick-up
  • Report of last class’ lab:
      • Examined pressure and power output graph
        • Learned about piston head positions (top dead center, etc…)
        • Took off timing cover
  • Technical demonstration
    • From given technical data, the top speed of the motorcycle (when in highest gear), is 63.4 mph
  • Chapter 11 (led by Sarah)
    • Content
      • Phaedrus moves to philosophy, which he views as a sort of “higher” thought process over the scientific method
      • Increasing in elevation as he delves into deeper ideas
      • Discussion over differences in Hume and Kant
        • Hume’s perspective of a motorcycle is purely based on sensory data
        • Kant argues that people have an a priori perception of things
      • The subtle change of the motorcycle as it wears
  • Chapter 12 (led by Amber)
    • Content
      • Narrator doesn’t like to view John and Sylvia as characters like in a novel
      • Narrator is meeting back up with DeWeese
        • He is worried because he has never been able to read DeWeese
        • DeWeese only knows the narrator as Phaedrus
  • Chapter 13 (led by Victoria)
    • Content
      • Phaedrus makes “Church of Reason” argument
        • Separation between the real university and the second university
          • A setting for rational thought and learning vs. a physical place
      • Phaedrus attempts to spread this faith in reason, despite his own doubt in his faith

Meeting 07: February 22th, 2021

Written by Alison Lee

3D Printer/CNC Mill Update

  • Reach out to Mr. Galvin (mgalvin@princeton.edu) once you’ve completed the training to organize the receival of your machine. Remember you can only have it for three weeks
  • Get started soon! If you have any problems, reach out to Mr. Galvin
  • Make a Lego brick if you haven’t already – Professor Littman will create page named ‘Lego’ where you can post your design
  • Remote students will keep their machines; in-person students will do a lottery for the machines

Midterm Grades and Other Notes

  • Part will be on participation in class discussions, your scribe work, and your Lego posting
  • Make your Lego motorcycle and post a picture of it!
  • We will read Chapters 16, 17, and 18 for Wednesday

Lab Updates (last Wednesday)

  • Jonathan Prevost spent lots of time scrubbing surfaces, getting all compound off of the cover, polished it with Scotch Brite to get gouges out, and now it’s ready to get compound on it to be put back together
  • Reminder: you have to be patient with motorcycle maintenance. Do not rush! Take your time and read the manual. 
  • Group 3 – working on the race and cone for the steering, and cleaning it with emery paper. 

Chapter 14 (Alex Moosbrugger):

  • Main theme: difference between technology and art
  • Development from motorcycle journey to a stationary place (their destination, the school)
  • Story becomes more dialogue-based
  • Introduction of new characters – people who Phaedrus worked with: DeWeeses, sculptor, English professor
  • Close reading of DeWeese being a “image” – the narrator is rediscovering himself and needs to re-get to know the people he used to know
  • The narrative gives more humanity to the Chautauqua and his theories
  • He’s obsessed with creating new types of knowledge, like Newton did with calculus
  • His casual use of keywords like Reason without explaining, which is off-putting at times
  • Remember what he wrote in the beginning – who is really real and remember the limitations of the first-person narrator
  • Prof. Littman recommends: The Principles of Art by Collingwood

Chapter 15 (Brandon Spellman):

  • Only motorcycle reference: changing tire and the chain adjuster link on second page
  • Why does Chris think that the school is scary? Maybe the potential for the narrator to turn into Phaedrus once again, and the school was associated with the decline into mental illness of the narrator
  • The seed-crystal and supersaturation: this chapter launches us into the third section of the book
    • A double implanting: the narrator implants himself into Phaedrus’ mind, and the almost-retired teacher plants the idea of Quality onto the old Phaedrus’ mind
    • The tone of the book → there’s a seed-crystal theme which is artistic and romantic, but he explains it using supersaturation and a very scientific theme
  • The catalyst: “are you teaching Quality this year?”
    • The narrator seems to have taken it as a challenge to understand what Quality objectively is, without the context of a specific field like grammar or punctuation
    • Debating whether to teach a well-defined curriculum where students emulate other writings and learn about fickle writing rules, or to teach Quality (whatever that means, he’s still trying to synthesize the idea of it)
    • The classical versus romantic definition of Quality

Quality (in the context of Motorcycle restoration and design):

  • Classical quality: does it run well?
  • Romantic quality: looks clean, sleek, pretty, appearance, how does it feel and smoothness of ride, how fast it accelerates
  • Not only about the material you use but the shape of the person and their goals – whether they want a cruiser, sports bike, or something else

Group Lab

  • Big group goal: how the bottom end gets put back together
    • Needs to be clean so oil doesn’t leave the engine because no low oil indicator
    • Had to clean the small holes with threads, used drill bit
    • Always seal on the inside (and outside at times) so oil doesn’t leak into bolt holes
    • Applied the sealant, put on cover, then put in internal bolts
  • Oil goes into reservoir, which has pressure that puts it into piston, where it then drips down
  • Carburetor is too big for the motorcycle
    • Carburetors are important for air-fuel mixture and how well the engine runs
  • How to tell if everything is sealed: will do the test on Wednesday to make sure the pressure is good

Meeting 08: February 24th, 2021

Written by Alison Lee


  • Trying to potentially make lab more engaging by working with the 3D printers during class
  • Lab Updates: We sealed the timing cover back on the engine case using the three-bond sealant
  • Technical Component: Demonstration of motor on Ford machine

Chapter 16 (led by Jonathan)

  • Two phases of his exploration of Quality: (1) rigid system/creative thought experiment (2) more intellectual, criticism and metaphysical, a disaster
  • Narrowing in on a specific subject and a very small aspect
  • The debate of the importance of grades
    • looking at it as a stepping stone to a degree or a measure of progress
    • Maybe a material reward is completely valid? Are grades really so bad? Life is so much easier with a degree, is it so bad to go to college just for a degree?
    • The absence of grades: to make the focus to be on learning and not achieving a number
    • Grades can be a goal to work towards
    • The means to a good grade should be driven by a love of learning, now just a Pavlovian training to get a good ‘number’
    • Writing sem: focused about learning and improving your paper
    • In the UK, you do not get graded until the end of your two-year courses

Chapter 17 (led by Victoria)

  • Phaedrus’ definition of quality is not an actual definition
  • As an expert witness in patent cases, Professor Littman was asked to define what engineering is. Since it is so abstract, it was best to avoid defining it and falling into a trap
  • Mountains should be climbed without desire to get to the top: an analogy of learning to learn and not to get a degree
    • Quote on how the side of the mountain sustains life, not the top

Chapter 18 (led by Louis)

  • Does something exist? If something disappears from the world and has an effect, it exists
  • Note how he opens the chapter: quality is loosely esthetics, but that is subjective so he rejects it

Meeting 09: March 1st, 2021

Written by Brandon Spellman

Homework due next class: Read Chapters 22, 23, and 24


  • Discussed creating animations in Fusion 360 for final project
  • We additionally reviewed the spur gear animation created by Professor Littman
  • Technical Demo: deProny Brake Dynamometer

Chapter 19 (led by Tejas)

  • Relationship with Chris:
    • We found that in the dream, the fact they are separated by class is symbolic of his fear that Chris will never fully connect with his father
  • Quality:
    • Quality can be either objective or subjective
    • “Quality is just what you like”
      • Just is a pejorative term here
    • The place in which the narrator is forming his thoughts on quality (his mind) is so heavily influenced by society
    • To the narrator, quality blurs the line between subjectivity and objectivity, thus also blurring the line between matter and mind as brought up in this chapter

Chapter 20 (led by Victoria)

A rather short chapter with no motorcycle references

    • Why is the definition of quality disagreed upon?
      • There is a classical quality that is typically taught in classrooms
      • vs. the Romantic quality that is foundational, and it is intuitively understood by everyone
      • The narrator eventually moves quality to the top of his pyramid by the end of this chapter

Chapter 21 (led by Victoria)

Another short chapter with no motorcycle references

  • Art, Science, and Religion discussed in this chapter:
    • Religion is a new take on how to define “quality”
    • Quality in art is largely seen as a form of ‘pure’ quality
    • To appreciate art in museums, you must understand the art first. This is a great point
    • Professor Littman brought up the book The Principles of Art by R. G. Collingwood


Meeting 10: March 3st, 2021

Written by Brandon Spellman

Homework due next class: Read Chapters 25 & 26 for Monday. (No homework due Wednesday)


  • Discussed Professor Littman handing out spare parts to students on campus so that they can measure and model a part for the final project
  • Each group will be making a Fusion 360 team so that they can easily share CAD models with your team members

Chapter 22 (led by Victoria)

    • We get an introduction to scientific thinking by the narrator
    • Jules Henri Poincaré
    • There is a fusion of ideas regarding quality between Phaedrus and Poincaré
    • The result is that the definition of quality is nearly a matter of semantics, and at its core boils down to conventions. The example that the narrator used was Euclidean vs Non-Euclidean geometry. (Are polar coordinates  ‘wrong’ compared to cartesian coordinates, or are they just different methods to solve a similar problem)
    • When asked which definition is correct, the response was effectively “Ask a better question.”
      • This is a powerful breakthrough regarding how to define quality, as it shows it may not be as concrete as Phaedrus once thought
    • We then discussed whether math was invented or discovered
      • There is an element of invention, and also an element of discovering natures laws
      • One example of invention is conventions such as imaginary numbers
      • The book discusses “zero” and whether it existed before it was ‘discovered’
    • The chapter concludes with a discussion that scientific discoveries proved that there are no real absolutes in the world
        • No more absolute time – according to the theory of relativity, time slows when traveling faster (time dilation)
        • No more absolute space –  according to the theory of relativity, lengths also shorten when traveling faster
        • No more absolute substance – E = mc^2
        • No more absolute magnitude – photons discovered to not have a well defined magnitude of amplitude

Chapter 23  (two pages long)

A rather short chapter with no motorcycle references

    • This chapter marks an important point in the book because the different font lets us know that this is the first time Phaedrus himself is speaking
    • The beginning of Chris’ dream imagines him dead in a coffin

Chapter 24 (led by Professor Littman)

  • Motorcycle reference: the side cover plate is stuck on the motorcycle
    • In this case, the narrator can’t turn to the manual anymore, but rather must come to his own conclusion on how to fix this stuck bolt by using his past experiences
    • The implication is that he also can’t turn to a manual to find the true meaning of quality, but rather he must decipher this word by himself
    • We discussed writers block, and how the best solution to get over that mental barrier is to just start writing down your ideas regardless of any organization
    • How caring relates to quality:
      • Even if you have the technical knowledge to fix a motorcycle, that knowledge is useless if you don’t really care about fixing the motorcycle. Must have the know-how and the passion
      • In the field of science, the narrator thinks that emotions (caring) must be separated from the experiment in order to get the utmost quality
      • This portrays a duality in the definition of “caring”. Caring has an ability to encourage (i.e. passion) but also has an ability to cloud the mind and blur mental clarity (i.e. emotion)
    •  Train analogy – motion vs. static
      • If you dissect/break down something enough and it eventually becomes ‘static’

Meeting 11: March 8th, 2021

Written By Cordi Mahony

Homework due on Wednesday: none 🙂 

Chapter 25 (led by Professor Littman)

  • Narrator returns to very beginning of book where he talks about how the Sutherland’s find technology to be ugly
    • Narrator’s motorcycle – very functional, doesn’t look as nice (reference to previous chapter – beer can)
    • Sutherland’s motorcycle – looks much nicer, more aesthetically pleasing – doesn’t function as well as the narrator’s. Places importance on the visual appearance
  • Something technological can be ugly: due to lack of care (potentially). Lack of care leads to something that is ugly in terms of quality and has romantic quality ‘Phony quality’ 
  • decoration without function
    • For example: a style of architecture: ‘the decorated shed’
  • Materials: ugly materials (plastic) – ugliness = low quality
  • Plastic being used in derogatory form, plastic = fake (eg of radio, material doesn’t always make something ugly)
  • Technology originally meant art, but in fact meant ‘craft’ 
    • As in the craft (art) of a carpenter, manufactured objects were considered art
  • How would one distinguish between what is art and what is craft?
    • Alex: craft has an inherent functionality beyond art eg: craft is radio, but sculpture is art – essentially if you remove quality from craft you can get mass produced functional item, if you remove quality from art there’s not much left (just materials)
  • Piece of mind – brings together the issues of classic vs romantic

Chapter 26 (Self Help Chapter): Led By Alison

  • What is someone with gumption? – someone who doesn’t just sit around – somebody who has gumption is someone who understands quality 
  • Comes from the Greeks: root from enthousiasmos (enthusiasm)
  • Types of Gumption:
  • INTERNAL: ‘Hangups’
    • Value Trap
      • Monkey Trap Analogy:
      • If you put a coconut and you cut a whole in it big enough to put an open hand in, but too small to fit a closed hand – Monkey doesn’t realise that it’s better to leave the rice, than keep trying to get it and be stuck with the coconut
      • This analogy highlights the lack of ability to reevaluate the monkey’s priorities 
      • Motorcycle eg: not getting an explosion – you assume it electrical but it’s actually the chemical system. 
      • Being stuck on one part – connects to the ego trap 
    • The Ego Trap
      • being so sure of prior knowledge that you overlook other potential solutions
    • The Boredom Trap
      • Connection to an idea of caring – curing the boredom trap: if you’re bored you hardly care
    • The Impatience Trap
      • Comes about by an underestimation of how long you need to do something
        • Narrator and his son: Chris impatient – asking when theory were going to the top
      • Comparison to fishing: people see fishing as a waste of time – you’re fishing you’re not catching, can bring more gumption (taking a step away from things)
      • Fix = Take one step at a time, enjoy the process of fixing the motorcycle, don’t worry about how long it’s going to take 
    • The Anxiety Trap
      • Opposite of the ego trap – completely underestimate themselves so aren’t confident enough to have gumption
      • Fixing this: recognizing that even the most experienced people make mistakes
        • Suggests reading the manual 
      • Is leaning into the idea that you know nothing the best way to go about it? – from an emotional point of view maybe take a step back
    • Finding Pleasure in the activity – climbing the mountain for the fun of it
      • Finding out what you like (eg: two types of welders)
      • Sense of pride – making your own parts, more than just repair, come into the realm of design
    • Muscle Trap
    • Truth Trap
  • EXTERNAL: ‘Setbacks’
  • The Parts Trap
      • You don’t have the right parts – could be that you have the wrong one or the wrong number of parts
      • Suggests machining your own parts as this builds gumption 
    • The assembly trap
      • When you’re reassembling realise you’ve left out a part
      • Have to disassemble and reassemble to add missing parts
        • Have a notebook and write down what u do
        • Lay out parts so when you’re reassembling you can’t miss out parts
    • The intermittent failure
      • You’re trying to fix something and then it fixes itself but goes in/out of working, difficult as it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t
      • Observe when it happens and stop and try to work on it
  • Caring comes from getting enjoyment out of the activity, being rushed is a great way to take the joys out of the activity

Last week’s lab review:

  • All 3 groups did pretty much the same thing
  • Constructing lego bricks on Fusion 360
  • Group 3 tried to print the brick, but it didn’t work
  • 3 cylinders were not at the correct spacing, to fix: visual style -> wire frame look at it head on to see if it lines up 

Meeting 14: March 17th, 2021

Written By: Alex Moosbrugger

Homework due next class: Read chapters 27-29 for Monday, finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for Wednesday


  • Intro to the Electrical System, by Prof. Littman
  • Normally we’d get to rebuild a motorcycle and start it up at the end, which is a lot like a mechanics course (fun!). Instead, this year we are doing more of an engineering/design type thing, where we design and model the parts.
  • Parts will be distributed to students to feel, measure using calipers, and possibly model in Fusion 360.

Intro to the Electrical System

Four main components, from diagram/schematic:

  • Alternator – powers horn, headlamp, taillamp, and charges battery – outputs AC (alternating current).
  • Battery – used to power spark plug, charged by alternator (more below).
  • Coil – used for spark plug (more below).
  • Circuit breaker (these are the points, which have been discussed previously).

We then investigated electromagnetic as it pertains to the motorcycle using a 2-channel oscilloscope.

Next, we discussed and demonstrated Faraday’s Law (stated by Michael Faraday, 1924): Moving magnet near wire induces voltage/current, as shown on oscilloscope. Putting an iron magnet inside the coil of wire being induced greatly increases voltage (signal shown on oscilloscope). This is enough voltage to power a blinking LED on the oscilloscope (but not enough voltage without the iron magnet inside the wire).

Applying Faraday’s Law using a spinning magnet surrounded by coils of wire generates voltage with AC.

Next, we demonstrated this on the 6-pole magnet in a motorcycle which is attached to the crankshaft – the spinning by caused by the engine induces the voltage that powers the cycle’s electrical system. This setup had 6 coils, 2 each for the starter system, horn, and lights. The diameter (gauge) of the wires vary to get either less current and more voltage (thinner wire, more loops in the coils) or more current and less voltage (thicker wires, fewer loops) (current and voltage must be inversely related to conserve energy).

Next, Prof. Littman showed how the alternator’s AC is converted to DC (direct current) using diodes (one-way flow restrictors, basically) assembled into a “full-wave rectifier.” This DC is used to charge batteries (which can only accept DC due to having one high potential end and one low potential end that are not able to flip as the direction of alternating current changes).

Then, we learned about the Ignition Coil (the “Coil” mentioned above), and how this allows us to step-up the voltage from the battery/alternator to the spark plug, because high voltages (~20kV/inch of separation between ends of the spark plug) are needed to generate a spark. This is done by using a wire with relatively few loops to induce current in a wire with many more loops (roughly 1,000 to 10,000 times the number as in the fewer-loop wire). This second wire is connected to the spark plug, and now has very high voltage (but low current, to conserve energy). We watched a live demonstration of this in Prof. Littman’s lab.

Finally, we discussed how looking at the AC signal on the alternator (which is attached to and spins with the crankshaft) would be an accurate tachometer (measures the rate of rotation of the crankshaft).

At this point, we broke up into our three groups to continue on our respective projects.

Meeting 15: March 22th, 2021

Written By: Victoria Graf

Homework: Read chapters 30-32 and the afterword (finishing Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Design)

Administrative Announcements

Choosing topic of guest speaker – history of the internal combustion engine wins the vote

Under Lego – uploaded stls of Lego bricks were 3D printed. They generally ad good form (appearance), but only about half had good function (fit with other Lego bricks). When post things under the Lego header, post them as pictures under instead of links (under edit page, add media), and make sure to click update! Note that gifs play automatically but videos not, so if you want to make a clip that plays automatically, you can use Gifsicle or another gif maker. You can also use Fusion to make a video if the object is animated. Note that to upload an stl, you may need to zip the file.

Group Discussion and Updates

Overall Goal: each group CADs and animates a part of the motorcycle

Term long assignment for everybody: make a part of your own design for yourself (printed or milled) as a souvenir! (ex. nametag, phone case, puzzle) If you want to change the color of your 3D print, you can change the filament halfway through to get two tones.

Group 1 – combined CADed Legos and discussed how to fix one draft (move printer off carpet, filled brick for sturdiness)

Group 2 – piston head 3D scan (to import into Fusion) and modeling; learned how to use the split face feature (adding extra faces, press/pull to shrink the middle)

Group 3 – 3D printed a threaded screw and tested with nut from motorcycle; practiced making a thread cut using coil feature in Fusion

Nature article: “A Model of the Cosmos in the Ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism” – A recovered piece of corroded brass from sunken ship was determined to be a mechanical computer for the motion of the planets, sun, and moon. By turning the knob representing the sun, other pointers show what happens to other planets at the corresponding time.

Chapter 27 (led by Prof. Littman)

During a dream as Phaedrus, he attempts to choke the figure in the shadows which he determines is the narrator

He scares Chris and considers sending Chris home

Chapter 28 (led by Amber)

Physical context – “Analysis of Ideas and Study of Methods” PhD program at University of Chicago

In response to what field he studies, he replies English composition which the Chairman says is a methodological field. The ensuing disagreement about process and substance leads to conflict between Phaedrus and the Chairman, who was responsible for the Great Books program. As a result, Phaedrus writes an angered letter to provoke the Chairman to throw him out. Phaedrus says the committee is a pigeon hole for the Chairman as an Aristotle fan and for the remainders of the Great Books program.

Phaedrus is not a fan of Aristotle because of Aristotle’s rigid definitions and subcategorizations. He dislikes that Aristotle defines quality as art in that way made a car art and Picasso not art. He says Aristotle’s subcategories did not encompass true quality.

Phaedrus discusses the comparison of mythos v logos in Greek philosophy. In class, we discuss the question, “Should we read classics?” We suggest that the middle ground, reading more than just classics without ignoring them, is the best compromise.

Technical point: Brazing refers to using metal of a lower melting point to weld (like hard solder). Steel has a high melting point, so welding (which is melting steel) makes it easier to punch holes in thin metal. Note solder is a lead-tin mixture used for copper pipe, etc.

Chapter 29 (led by Amber)

This chapter discusses Truth v Goodness and Phaedrus’ idea of virtue. Phaedrus reiterates his association of loneliness and low-Quality technology before concluding that Aristotle is disagreeable because he is fighting sophists and rhetoric. Aristotle rejects them as too relative since he thinks there is absolute truth.

Phaedrus then discusses how “virtue” in Greek philosophy is a misleading translation. He equates “arete” (the word translated as “virtue”) as dharma or excellence and notes that it is not just limited to an ethical or moral context. He says that contrary to popular belief, “Good” is quality while “Truth” is something else.

Phaedrus does not like Aristotle subcategorization and over-attention to detail, but he also doesn’t like Plato’s preference for the dialectic (though he does like the generalizations).

Meeting 16: March 24th, 2021

Written By: Victoria Graf

Homework: Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 from Shop Class as Soulcraft

Administrative Announcements

Monday: guest speaker about the internal combustion engine

(Optional) Article from Scientific American on the webpage for background reading before the guest speaker

Group Discussion and Updates

Group 1 – Continued work on Fusion model; looked more closely at rotational tools; drawing spur gears and wheels

Group 2 – worked on Fusion model to get semicircle indents (clearance for the valves called valve relief) on top of the piston head

Group 3 – checking dimensions against real parts (checking that the threading is good and small fixes); animation of parts

Chapter 30 (led by Alex)

  • Finishes talking about his class at the University of Chicago
  • Professor is sick, so they read Phaedrus in the meantime
  • Chairman substitutes for the class
  • Phaedrus and the Chairman “debate”
  • Phaedrus catches the Chairman in his own words, quotes one of his articles
  • Irony – Phaedrus uses dialectic to “prove” rhetoric is better
  • Dialectic is pursuit of truth, rhetoric is for persuasion
  • Winning by not losing
  • Chariot and two horses example (reason and emotion) was analogy not truth
  • Grinding his axe – reading maliciously
  • Fact v opinion
  • Irony – keeping score of two sides when talking about the One
  • Does not define Quality to the Chairman
  • End of chapter, breaks down into a trance
  • Ties into mythos – not believing = going mad
  • Narrator realizes Chris liked Phaedrus better since he was authentic and fun

Chapter 31 – End (led by Louis)

  • Now transition from reason to emotion
  • Starts with a disagreement of where to go
  • Narrator starts to feel like a ghost while Chris is real
  • Clarified ghost analogy with Chris complaining about the nothingness on the trip
  • Existing through life v. interacting
  • Over course of the chapter, narrator realizes Chris is like Phaedrus
    • Recognizes desire to seek arguments as a symptom of Phaedrus (argument at the diner)
    • Killing Chris by saying something was wrong with him
  • Emotional climax
  • Chris asks, “why did you leave us?”
    • Was not able to open the glass door back then
    • Chris realized Phaedrus was not willingly taken away
  • “I knew you were not insane” – healing relationship
  • Speaking Truth to each other
  • First time narrator really talks about Chris’ potential problems in depth
  • Driving without helmets on
    • Realizes has been looking at back the whole time
    • Helmet metaphor for society’s expectation of sanity – narrator decides to stop conforming
  • Chris goes back to being his son in terms of personal interaction, not just duty
  • Chris can now see and stands on the foot pegs
    • Metaphor – people thought standing up and looking for yourself was dangerous, but Chris says “no I can tell”
    • Thinking/seeing for himself

Afterword (led by Louis)

  • “Culture-bearing”
  • Distinction between “culture-bearing” and a part of culture/about culture
  • Reminds readers that this book was actually an autobiography of sorts
  • Historical context: around the time of publishing, there was a split between younger and older generations
    • Vietnam War
    • hippie culture
  • What might a book like this look like in the context of modern America (with current culture and pandemic)?
    • Hard to say if it would be a success because of “culture-bearing” nature
    • Previous success of book is partly thanks to it giving goal to people who were dissatisfied
    • Comparing freedom versus traditional versions of success
    • Challenging of capitalist culture still remains especially among young people
    • Still elements of the “hippie notion” in today’s society (tiny homes, “van culture,” etc.)
    • Without context, book still feels like it was published recently since still relevant
    • Counterculture movement never really disappears
    • Even if you don’t like the book, it had an impact
  • Mental health movement
    • Timeless and timely
    • Recognition of mental illness as not degrading and removal of shock therapy
  • Weird that book ends with Phaedrus, but the narrator wrote the afterword
    • Really, narrator wrote the book, so the narrator is still there
  • Emotional resolution, “riding off into the sunset”
  • “To thine own self be true” – Shakespeare quote; was advice to a young person going off to university

Meeting 17: March 29th, 2021

  • Talk from Armand Ensanian
  • This week, we started Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford
  • This week’s reading assignments:
    • Monday, 3/29: Introduction and Ch. 1
    • Wednesday, 3/31: Ch. 2 & 3

Introduction, discussion lead by Prof. Littman

  • Focus on the idea of competency and agency
  • The book was written in 2009, in the wake of the recession
    • Resulted in a popular craving to return to craft
  • Author used to work at a think tank office job
    • Mindless
    • No concept of a final product, where it’s going
    • Factory work in an office
    • Finds manual work more engaging intellectually
  • The idea that one knows when they’ve done a good job
  • Discussion about manual vs. intellectual work
    • Brandon describes manual labor as a different kind of work
      • My (tangential) thoughts as I’m taking notes: Agree that it is indeed a different kind of work. I’ll watch a show in the background when working on a design project of some sort, for example building a model of a building, thinking that it’s mindless labor. Then, an episode of The Bachelor later, I realize I cut a piece wrong or glued something incorrectly. What follows typically is a string of choice profanity uttered out loud and a vow to never watch TV while working ever again, which I’ll usually break immediately.

Chapter 1, discussion led by Johnathan

  • People who go back to college to learn trade skill
  • Discussion of how manual work is more fulfilling
    • Amber provides anecdote about how she rewired her house
      • Internal monologue Hannah is back:  Very impressive! If I attempted that, I think my house would have burned to the ground. I think that a lot of examples of manual work pertaining to the home are particularly interesting– it occurred to me that the person doing the work is both the craftsman and the consumer. Does this affect one’s approach and attitude toward the work?
  • Johnathan points out that results of the work can be seen directly in front of you 
  • Brandon lists more examples, including woodworking and IKEA 
  • Author describes difference between craftsman and consumer
    • Victoria: Consumer is more inclined to replace, craftsmen want to keep 
    • Alison: Craftsman is more possessive, more tied to what is present
    • Amber: Quotes footnote in back of the book– craftsmen place a certain attachment on things
      • Internal monologue Hannah: Agree with all, I feel like when it comes to craft, I am much more frugal in general; I still have scraps from freshman year high school architecture!
  • If craftsmanship is not as economic, then why do it?
    • Alex: Because we like it, there is a sense of attachment not only to physical but also functional 
  • Mentions the cognitive part of manual labor
  • Connecting Crawford to Pirisig (previous book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
    • Relationship of quality
    • Victoria: Hypergamy, a solution but not a practical one
  • Discussion: Outsourcing of factory jobs, personal services vs. impersonal services
    • Jobs that are here to stay are ones in which you would need to think outside the box
    • Independent of the amount of education
    • Max: Machines may replace jobs, but a huge percentage of the jobs of the future don’t currently exists
    • Tejas: What would he say about someone who has already gone through the education system and how would they repivot
  • The problem all of this leaves us with: finding a higher level

Meeting 18: March 31th, 2021

Written by: Hannah Su

  • Announcements
  • Check out Discovering the Motorcycle by Armand Ensanian
      • Additional plug as I tighten up these notes: It’s 5 stars on Amazon!
  • Possible in person activities to come
  • Extra curricular club currently in the works (presumably for next year)
        • Opportunity to do some hands on work once things return to normal… whenever that is (there is light at the end of the tunnel though!)
  • Reminder to make something from the course

Tips for Assembling and using 3D printer + Mill

  • Approximate assembly time: 3 hours
  •  Note: Level the 3D printer in room and then check it once you get back into Adlinger
  • Additional resources: 
      • Youtube videos
      • Online website


Chapter 2, discussion led by Alex

  • Quote: “The dichotomy between mental and manual did not arise spontaneously”
    • Follow up question: How did this come to be?
        • The need and want to specialize
        • The distrust of authorities 
        • The idea of just doing whatever is the next step 
        • If everything is standardized and you have an inventory of parts and you can mass produce them
  • The rise of scientific management
    • Perceived the need to create a managing class
    • Separation between those who are doing to those who are thinking 
  • Aspects of the manager
    • good at not being good at anything
    • skilled at not needing skills
  • Dilbert principle/Peter principle
    • Pertains to people who are too bad at their job
    • Every employee rises and reaches the level of their incompetenceEmergence of middle management
    • Connection to Pirsg in which they pull the least competent person to give instructions
  • Best Buy example mentioned in the book
    • Managers are free to take credit when things go well, yet are exempt from accountability when things don’t, as they can always push it onto the worker
  • Creativity is a byproduct of long practice
    • Discipline and play in bridge design
    • Can’t be undisciplined but a light level of of structural understanding allows you to be playful in the design
  • Advice for young people 
    • If you like learning, go to college
    • If you’re heading toward a managerial position, you’ll need some hands on experience

Chapter 3, discussion led by Alex

  • Flipped the lens and took more of an individualistic approach on the same overarching ideas mentioned previously in the book
  • Lots of ideas that have a push and pull (observation looking back at these notes), primarily
    • Agency vs. Autonomy
    • Device vs. Thing
  • Agency vs. Autonomy
  • The difference between agency and autonomy
    • agency is the ability to do something for yourself
    • when you become more autonomous, you become more dependent on the vehicle
    • agency interferes with autonomy
  • Agency = liberty to choose
    • Pertaining to the motorcycle, you get to choose how it functions
    • Designer would fit into agency category
  • Autonomy = liberty to be
    • Rider fits into the autonomy category
  • Brief mentions of the mechanic and the consumer scattered throughout
  • Device vs. Thing
    •  Things:
      • All objects have some sort of intrinsic purpose/ability
    • Device:
      • Originates from our need
  • Piano vs. Stereo
    • Mastering a device vs being mastered by something
    • Piano: You have to practice
    • Stereo: You don’t have to practice, entirely focused on the interface
    • Also connected to agency vs. autonomy
  • Examples from the class of things that need to be practiced;
    • Interments:
      • Piano, Bass guitar, Flute, Ukulele, Drums, Sithar, Guitar, Viola
    • Sports: Squash, Golf, Wrestling, Fencing, Rowing, Swimming
  • Intuition: Car
    • Not intuitive: Any given individual can’t open it up and point out engine oil, etc
    • Intuitive: The same individual can push a button
  • Discussion of mutual exertion of control between human and car, which leads us back to the idea of autonomy
  • Technology’s impact
    • Electronics have taken over mechanics of these vehicles
      • I.e. electronics that automate processes
    • Idiot-proofing
      • Idiot light and dipstick (I’m pretty sure I head “idiot light,” but is this referring to the oil light?)
  • Betty Crocker and Build-a-Bear
    • Allows you to do enough work to make it feel like you’re actually making, where in reality you’re just accessorising 
    • Key part of why the products sell
    • The you aren’t building a bear, you’re just selecting what you want
    • You feel like you’re involved in the building process
    • The feeling of making, the social engagement, the ability to customize what you’re paying for in the huge mark up
    • Middle ground between agency and autonomy
    • Develop sense of ownership
  • Another relevant example to consider: Motorcycle repairman vs designer

Reading Assignment for next class (Monday, 4/5/2021): Ch. 4

Meeting 19: April 5th, 2021

Written by: Katherine Glaser

  • Talk from William Becker: Wheels
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford Chapter 4 –The Education of a GearHead

The Would Be Apprentice

  • pride in building the desk organizer- goes into a debate over what he should charge
  • Conversation around what qualifies a person for a job
  • Narrator packed a bearing with grease to keep it lubricated –
      • Bearing in motorcycle is pressed into a hub
      • has an outer race and an inner one
      • Same applies to steering- theres an upper bearing and a lower bearing- allow for free motion of the fork assembly
  • Authors first experience in a fast car- grounds authors appreciation for speed in the rest of the chapter

String Theory

  • Narrator’s experience working on his car 1963 VW Bug –he couldn’t identify what was causing his car not to run properly
  • Building vs Fixing
    • Use of the shoelace example to show theory vs reality
    • building something from scratch vs fixing someone else’s work
    • creativity vs adaptability
    • connections to other fields such as computer science
    • Stochastic Arts – having to deal with failure on a daily basis
    • the importance of attentiveness – diagnosis, trial and error

The Mentor

  • Wood vs. Metal -different levels of precision
    • Wood- more often associated with craft
    • Metal- associated with engineering
  • Bolt Grade markings- different markings represent different grades and strengths- (see Bolt Grade Markings and Strength Chart posted)
  • Mushrooming of the Valve Stem- Valve is flattened out at the end
    • means the spring that was attached to the valve was too tight

Forensic Wrenching 

  • main idea: Rebuilding a motor isn’t just following a manual- must be adaptable
  • Skeleton art work- emphasize the importance of attentiveness

Similarities between Pirsig book

  • Pride of being independent and having a mechanical understanding
  • two types of people- people who want to use and people who want to understand
  • caring about the vehicle
  • idea of the idiot worker- inattentive and unconcerned

Reading Assignment for next class (Wednesday, 4/7/2021): Ch. 5

Meeting 20: April 7th, 2021

Written by: Katherine Glaser

Further education of the gear head from amateur to professional

Early education and work

    • Getting out of own head was a key idea he talked about
    • Was in academia but didn’t enjoy it
    • Studied physics then philosophy and ended up being a teacher.
      • He was across the hall from two older teachers, one being 90 years old and he felt very out of place.

Think tank in DC

  • He was told about this job and after interviewing for it and got the job
  • took it because of the large salary
  • A distinction between the liberal arts and a liberal job where you are free to use your mind.
  • He feels like the think tank is less of a “liberal” job than having a repair shop like Fred.
    • This was mainly because the think tank was being funded by large oil companies so didn’t really allow free thinking.
  • He found this area to be much better for his thinking than the think tank he worked in previous not only because of the freedom it gave him but also because of the work environment.

Call Fred

  • He went to Freds shop and really learned more than just tools and how to prepare parts.
  • Fred- narrator calls fred a scholar because he is very experienced in the field of motorcycle repair.

Started working in the basement

  • He found much more enjoyment in the manual labor work
  • Found himself in an underground market kind of work space.
    • There were a lot of strange people and many different rooms/spaces
    • He found this area to be much better for his thinking because of the physical area surrounding.
    • Being in your own space, there is no constraints on your creativity and process.
  • Story of exploding bearing. John wasn’t able to do it when he was younger but it may still be possible.

Writing service tickets

  • At first he felt that he had to say he worked much less than he actually did.
  • Had a $40 shop rate per hour but end up having it be only $20 because it takes twice the time.
    • He does this to make up for his slower time repairing the bikes then other mechanics.
    • This was due to mostly lack of experience but he also felt that he could not change people for more time then realistically it should take him (or another mechanic).
    • Pandoras box (financial burden of customer and burden on the bike)
      • Wants to change the oil seal.
        • Wouldn’t have to for the customer but decides to because of his connection with the motorcycle
      • He cut down the bill $700 dollars for this action because it was unnecessary.

Different tools were brought up

numatic tools – powered by pressurized air

  • Electrical contact cleaner (solvent)
  • Carburetor cleaner (solvent against gunk)
  • Engine degreaser (solvent)
  • Cutting oil (cutting threads)
  • Molly grease (protective for surfaces)
  • Lithium grease
  • Unitizes complaint
  • Oxygen tank
  • diegrinder
  • Nematics is air
  • Hydraulics is fluids
  • Pressurized fluids
  • Physical presentation
  • Clutch- slip clutch

Purpose of clutch – engaging the release of the clutch allows the primary chain to disengage and allow everything else to continue spinning.

  • Basket with 3 sets of plates that are all pushed together
    • The spring squeezes together 3 sets of plates.
    • The flat plates are connected to the inner shaft and the other sets of plates to the other one.
    • Can either rotate freely or pressure is added.
      • Must also figure out the force that must be put on the plates to figure out the spring constant.
    • Hydraulics (master cylinder vs slave cylinder)
    • Fluid in the piston gets pushed by a force and gets transmitted to a larger area piston creating a larger force exerted than inputted. This helps when dealing with very large or heavy machines (10 times the area means 10 times the force exerted).
      • Example: brakes on cars, this allows us to put a larger force without having to push extremely hard.

Rest of class

  • Break into groups and continue to work on our parts in lab.
    • Start to animate our parts in future classes.

Meeting 21: April 12th, 2021

Written by: Alan Ji

Homework: Read Chapters 7 and 8 of Shop Class as Soulcraft for Wednesday’s class.

Guest Speaker: Professor Ju gave a talk about combustion engines.

We talked about different types of combustion engines and discussed different compression/ignition methods as well as their individual benefits/drawbacks. Prof. Ju explained workings of different engine types (gasoline, diesel, fuel cell, EV), considering their efficiencies and exciting areas of growth. We also talked about the future of combustion and vehicles in general.

Discussion: Chapter 6: Contradictions of the Cubicle

  • The Job:
    • The narrator talks about his life while having a cubicle job
      • He writes abstracts for scientific articles
        • Given unreasonable quotas to meet
        • Leads to him not really reading the articles
      • The articles already have abstracts of their own, so his work is believed to add some sort of value
        • Strange since he believes he is actually misrepresenting the works
    • Poll:
      • Seems like nobody in our class would want to take this job/use InfoTrac
  • Judging/Standards
    • Manual work has objective measures (e.g. electricity either works or doesn’t)
    • Knowledge work lacks objective standards (does the abstract perfectly represent the article? harder to say)
      • The narrator is judged only on his quota, not quality
  • Ethical Obligations
    • The narrator feels an ethical obligation to the reader of the abstract
    • Narrator genuinely wants to read the article and understand the content
    • The reader wants to read an abstract that genuinely describes the content
    • But, in the end, neither accomplishes their goal: why?
      • The corporation is only concerned with profit maximization
      • Ethical considerations are not given any weight
      • This leads to a lower quality product
      • Dissatisfaction on both sides (both worker and reader)
    • Commercialization of academia: does it help to reach broader audiences? or does it inherently remove quality from the work?
  • Manual vs Knowledge Work
    • We often think that knowledge work requires critical thinking/problem solving skills
      • The narrator’s job seems very repetitive and not requiring thinking
    • Lots of manual work seems to require more critical thinking than this
      • Electrician needs think about new problems faces, or else the house can burn down
  • (Questionable) Teambuilding Activities
    1. Workers were given a random coworker’s name and told to write positive things about that person. They then were asked to read what they wrote and discuss the qualities.
      • Makes us dependent on what our coworkers think
      • Forces us to fit in with corporate culture
    2. Workers were given a dowel to balance on fingertips and told to move it to the floor without dropping. Manager secretly exerted downward pressure so that the dowel moved upwards when released.
      • Explored the symbolism of manager exerting downward pressure, unknown to the workers
      • Workers willingly get on their knees to make it work (subservient to the corporation)
    3. Workers were told to hold a ribbon and stand in a line. One worker was told to move out the line, and the team then examined the reactions of the other standing workers – do they move together or stay put?
      • Supposed to show that all workers must move together or else drag the team down
      • What would you do in this situation? Class seems to agree that they would not move since they were not told to.
    4. The class seems to agree that most of these “tests” were insubstantial and ambiguous at best. Management tries to make a connection between these activities and teamwork when there is not much of a tie.
  • Team vs Crew
    • Team:
      • Members of a team have overlapping expertise
        • Each member may not necessarily be an expert in anything
      • They all work on one large project together with no set way of dividing work/taking responsibility.
    • Crew:
      • Members of a crew are each an expert in their own field
      • These experts in narrow areas come together to work as a unit, with each person focusing on their own specialty
      • Each worker acknowledges the expertise and skill of the other workers
    • In a crew, each person can be held responsible for their own work. If the electricity doesn’t work, you can’t blame the plumber.
    • In a team, there is no objective standard for work that each person can be held to. Since there is no divided expertise, it is hard to say whose contributions mattered more than others.
    • Lack of objective standards leads to this “holistic approach” where a worker’s attitude and “higher purpose” are considered instead of the work they actually do.

Meeting 22: April 14th, 2021

Written by: Alan Ji

Homework: Read the concluding remarks and acknowledgements of Shop Class as Soulcraft for next Monday’s class.

Discussion: Chapter 7: Thinking as Doing (led by Allison)

  • Different ways of thinking
    • Different ways of thinking: knowing that vs. knowing how
      • Knowing that – simply knowing a fact is true
      • Knowing how – practical knowledge only gained through experience
    • Examples:
      • Knowing how: firefighters’ sixth sense
        • They know when a building will collapse, but if asked they can’t really explain why or how they know
      • Knowing that: Ohm’s Law
        • It is a beautiful theoretical result, but doesn’t really help when working with a car – not helpful in non ideal situations
  • Crawford doesn’t necessarily knock one method of thinking over another – he simply highlights their differences and applicability in different situations
  • Learning by Doing
    • It’s much easier to learn how to use a hammer by using it than by staring at it
      • Interesting – tools are only useful if we know what they were made for
  • Pattern Recognition/Algorithmic Learning
    • Chess master example:
      • Chess masters were able to remember complex positions they have seen many times, but were unable to remember positions that don’t actually happen in chess games
      • This implies that they are good because they recognize certain patterns
    • A human chess master can recognize patterns and intuit the right moves
    • A chess computer simply calculates millions of possibilities to find the right moves
      • These are two fundamentally different ways of approaching the game of chess
    • Further discussion – neural networks:
      • Is the use of neural networks an example of computers doing pattern recognition?
        • Further, does this count as really learning?
      • Some neural networks are now so complicated that we cannot really trace exactly what they are learning or how they learned it
      • Can we trust these neural networks to really “learn” better than humans?
        • FAA thinks no – AI is not allowed to fully fly an airplane on its own
        • Tanks vs clouds example:
          • A military algorithm trained to detect enemy tanks actually ended up learning to identify clouds in the sky
            • Reiterates the fact that we don’t really know what these networks are learning
  • Another category of thinking?
    • “Knowing why” was suggested as another possible category of thinking
      • For example, firefighters know what they should be looking for inside a burning building; they know which facts are important and which are not
  • Professor Littman’s observation: Crawford uses a lot of stories (e.g. his father the string theorist talking about a theoretical shoelace, a chess master’s intuition, a philosopher hanging in a basket) to get his ideas across. This is a very effective form of communication – it gets the points across succinctly while simultaneously making the ideas more memorable.

Chapter 8: Work, Leisure, and Full Engagement (led by Hannah)

  • Nadia Comaneci – perfect 10 at Olympics (gymnastics)
    • She wasn’t thinking about the score at all when she did it – only focused on the task at hand
      • Worrying about just the score makes you less able to get the score
  • More relatable to us students: obsessing over grades
    • Only worrying about grades makes us hate the process of actually learning
      • We tend to do much better in subjects that we like, because we enjoy learning them and are not only obsessed with the grade we get
  • Idea of Community/Responsibility
    • Being able to see your impact/contributions to a community makes you much more interested in your work
      • Example of the town carpenter who sees his work around town – creates a sense of responsibility
        • Makes you truly care about the quality of your work since it affects the community around you
        • A factory workers cares less about the products he makes since they are shipped away and never seen or though of again
          • No direct sense of responsibility since the worker doesn’t see the consumer
      • Example of bankers – used to be a trusted banker in each town who could make real judgements on character before handing out loans
        • Commercialization i.e. big banks destroyed this sense of community
        • Larger banks feel no sense of community and thus care less about the quality of their work
          • Harms the integrity of the banking system and can lead to huge problems like the 2008 recession
  • Some Career Advice
    • Balance of work and leisure is extremely important
      • We need work to provide for ourselves, and we need leisure to enjoy our lives
      • How do we balance these two aspects?
        1. Many people work to earn money so they can enjoy their leisure time outside of work
          • Essentially, find a good job that you don’t necessarily love but allows you to provide for yourself and take leisure time (e.g. weekends, vacations)
        2. It is also possible to find work that you truly enjoy, so that work and leisure are combined
          • Narrator could be an electrician and make more money, but his work as a mechanic truly feels like leisure, so the extra money is less useful
    • This is very important advice that is applicable to all of our lives!
      • Many different ways to plan out and enjoy a life
      • There isn’t one right way – narrator is simply trying to present alternatives to the status quo
    • Main point – we need enjoyment in our lives somehow, whether that is enabled by work or occurs at work itself

Meeting 23/24: April 19th, 21st, 2021

Written by: Sarah Brewer

Precept 23 – Reading: concluding remarks and acknowledgements

  • “As the subsequent history of banking illustrates, any job that can be scaled up, depersonalized, and made to answer to forces remote from the scene of work is vulnerable to degradation even to the point of requiring that the person who does the job actively suppress his better judgement.” – the main point of the book
    • In terms of the pandemic what are your thoughts? – could be an outdated thought
    • Anyone who has worked in a lab sees there’s a collaborative culture that doesn’t exist now with the pandemic and zoom – have to question if those things are essential
    •  Zoom has affected collaboration 
      • Introverts have become less introverted through zoom
  • Individual agency in a shared world – need to be self-reliant and then changes his tune and says by being self-reliant you’re messing with group work and collaboration
    • Quickly turned cynical in this part – gaining the ability to do things on your own means you ignore other people – not necessarily true 
    • We are able to do things on our own, but can still choose to work with other people 
    • Collaboration can be done simply for the sake of collaboration – author skips over this idea
    • The idea of collaboration can exclude people – only works for extroverted people do this 
    • Clarifying point – how we usually think of agency is “i’m free to make my choices” – author says it’s more about the fact we’re bound to an objective ideal
    • looking up information for help is another version of collaboration 
  • Does having more experience make you have more respect for other opinions and give more room for collaboration?
    • Specialization – if you’re building a house you need many different people to work together to get it done – everyone is knowledgeable in their field while working with others – collaboration comes from different kinds of knowledge
    • Author felt detached from society, but when he found something he had in common he wanted to have a conversation with the different people which led to collaboration 
    • On the subject of specialization the author took it a step further and talked about how there’s a level you reach where your craftsmanship that allows you to comment on another person’s work – fights with the idea of collaboration – appreciate praise when it’s from someone who is skilled
  • He talks about the importance of failure – do you punish failure or praise rewards – are you trying to produce the best results or avoid failure? Does this book have different ideas than the other book?
    • Importance of failure – he agrees on most things with Persig – the experience of failure shouldn’t be edited out of the education process
  • Universal ethics and solidarity – how does this apply to your everyday life? How does your opinion of humility change now that you’re at Princeton?
    • Most princeton students were tops at their high school and now they come to princeton and everyone is the top
    • Need to work harder at Princeton to maintain grades
    • Can’t just be working for A’s – understand why you’re learning 
    • Imposter syndrome at Princeton – everyone feels this way, but you were chosen to come here because you have something to add to the Princeton community 
  • “In practice seeking out the cracks where individual agency and the love of knowledge can be realized today in one’s own life.” – two main ideas from the book 
  • What did you learn about the author from the acknowledgements that also connect to the book?
    • Collaboration – he acknowledges a large number of people also across disciplines – majority motorcycle mechanics, but also people from other fields
    • An expression of his own collaboration

Precept 24 – Report from seeing the motorcycles

  • Had 2 motorcycles and started the first one and then tried to work on it, but it was backfiring – tried the other one
  • Looked at the oil chamber and then Professor Littman rode that one around
  • The pistons looked bigger/smaller than anticipated – they were smaller than expected 
  • Reading assignment for Monday – first three articles on data page of our website
  • What are other lab classes like?
    • Lab instructor recording a video of her collecting data and then the students used the data on MATLAB – then write a report after the lab
    • Then some online simulations for circuits and then a physical lab kit which they used – circuitlab.com 
    • Physics 104 – worked with circuits and have lab kits and then write a report
    • Chemistry – watched it online and took notes 
  • Daily Princetonian article on how to improve zoom class
    • Creative hobbies – do something creative – allows you to express yourself
    • Staying connected – start a book club or weekly discussion group
    • Keep in shape – athletics 
    • Making money – getting a job – you’re of value to someone
    • Giving back – volunteer work

Meeting 25: April 26, 2021

What we did last week in lab:

  • 3D modeling transmission, began creating assembly of gears and rods
  •  Finished the 3 piston heads, created the animation
  • Created restrictor rod, printed, looked at the rod spring and talked about how to model the spring and oil levels

    Technical Discussion

  • Talking about how to model displacement of oil – John explains cross-sectional buoyancy equations in SolidWorks

Turner Article

  • Q&A with Turner – designer of terrier
  • talked about his use of overhead valves, this engine was lightweight, had better fuel economy
  • 2-stroke engines
    • for 2-stroke, you have to rely on intake, exhaust to control torque
    •  oil is mixed with gasoline in 2-stroke, there is no air in the bottom-end
    •  poor emissions and fuel efficiency, but generate a lot of power for size and weight
  • Materials
    • Different parts of steel are hardened, case-hardened, mild
    • Various uses of materials require various processes due to forces acting on them
    • Where use casting – barrel made of cast-iron vs aluminum
    • Pivot on the connecting rod was nickel-chrome steel
    • We examined parts on the deconstructed engine diagram, discussed specific use of materials
    • Explained tempering and quenching as processes
  • Early motorcycles had a gearbox separate from the motor, called unit construction
  • Dovetailing on the valve
  • Aluminum vs cast-iron piston
    • The weight is the biggest problem
    • Also aluminum is better, as it doesn’t encourage detonation
  • Barrel is cast-iron because it has pinholes which retain oil
  • Oil pump was 2 plunger instead of gear
    • Plungers create suction instead of reservoirs of oil on the gear

Really That Good? Article

  • Less technical, how do specs translate to riding characteristics
  • Better fuel economy, cost was $450, 84mpg
  • Performance going up hills was excellent
  • Why do people curl up when riding? To avoid aerodynamic drag
  • Complained about the center stand breaking
  • John shows us triumph tiger cub prototype, 2-stroke twin engine

Tiger Cub Overview

  • Cubs were derived from terriers
  • Explained many of the changes made
  • Unloved features
    • top of the frame was below the gas tank, so the headstock was poorly supported, but gas tank gave some rigidity
    • The chain ran in shallow oil bath, so could be stretched
    • Would drive on highway and stop quickly without warning

Final Remarks

  • Discussed final presentation day May 3rd start 2:30
  • 10 minute break
  • Lab