Optimus Prime

Bad pun, I know. Blame Roy.
This weekend, we smoothed out the few remaining burrs on the frame, brushed it,  knocked the rust off and cleaned it, then gave it a coat of primer.
Flipped it on it’s back, primed the bottom and sides, let it dry. Came back the next day, flipped it right side up, primed the top and touched up the sides.
It was sweaty, stinky, and somewhat tough because it was so nice outside, but it’s done now. Left a wet paint sign on the front and called it a day.

American Steel

At some point, we were asked “Wait, don’t you guys live in San Francisco?” Yes, yes we do. “Where do you find space to up and build a trailer in San Francisco?” The answer, my friends, is Oakland.


The Studios

Roy and I went in with some friends on a space at American Steel Studios in Oakland, and so far, we’ve been really happy with it. It’s the old American Steel complex on Mandela Blvd, which used to be the Cypress Structure before the Loma Prieta earthquake. After they tore down the structure, it became Mandela Blvd, with a park and path through the middle. It’s a great space to work in, with really interesting neighbors in the complex. You can find fine artists, industrial artists, commercial vendors, and just about everything in between. The complex is packed full of people that make things. I’m still not quite sure where we fall on the spectrum, whether we’re industrial artists, or closer to the neighborhood of craft work. Doesn’t really matter right now. I’m just happy we found a studio to call home.


Where the toast happens.


Frame plan meets the enemy

I was somewhat surprised that our plan wasn’t significantly changed after contact with the enemy. I’d realized after closely examining the Timbren Axle-less Suspension and documentation that we’d probably need to move the crossbar near the middle a bit, and had never really been too sure how the transition from the a-beams to the coupler was going to work. Luckily we had some expertise at Desert Metal in Lovelock, NV to show us the way and make things happen.



Actual Size

Actual Size


Why Toaster?

I love toast. I mean really love toast.
When I was little, I would wake up in the morning, go to the kitchen, and make myself toast. Preferably with lots of butter, jelly, and cheese, or the occasional smear of Braunschweiger. (Don’t judge me!) The toaster would greet me every morning, gleaming and faithful. It was the toaster my parents got for their wedding in 1962. It was a Toastmaster.

the original

the original

When I started making noises about building a second trailer, Roy and I agreed that we needed some sort of design or theme to build around. The first trailer was done because I wanted to build a trailer, period, and design and planning didn’t really enter the equation until after the fact, when we looked at it and thought “Wow, that’s kinda generic.” Riffing one night, we landed on the topic of the toaster, my childhood toaster, and all the good feelings I associated with it. The closest profile we could figure to match the profile was a Benroy, so that’s what we used as a starting point for our plans. It looks rather toastery. And voila! A theme was born!



This weekend, we paid a visit to our friends Debbie and Randy of Desert Metal Products in Lovelock, NV to weld the frame. (And hang out. And play Qwirkle!)


It was a full, but super productive day! We couldn’t tow the trailer back home with us, no VIN#, no plates, and since we were driving so far, we opted to rent a cargo trailer, load the frame onto it, and drag it back home. It worked great, and we were able to unload the frame at American Steel yesterday!

Next up: Shop day to clean and stage the shop, then to clean and paint the frame! (Should also figure out how to make a public calendar to share dates!)

Post From the Wiki Last Week

20140503 Courtney

Started the build journal page. Need someplace to talk about this in the abstract, right?

Yesterday, we received our largest delivery of supplies yet: coupler, stabilizer jacks, swivel jack, rims, tires, valve stems, fenders, axle-less suspension system. Today, we got the tail/turn lights. We already had the safety chains and connectors. We’re scheduled to go weld the frame together on the 16th. I’ve started snapping pictures of things as they come in, mostly out of excitement, but I’m just realizing we should set up someplace to put photos, because there will be a TON more relatively soon, and we’ll want to share.


Also starting to think about scheduling. We’re doing the frame in Lovelock (road trip!! woo!!), but once we get it back to AmSteel, we’ll need to start some sort of scheduling 1) so we know what we’re doing next and 2) so we can share with other people what we’re doing next. I’ll probably take down this gawd awful pink dry erase board from above my desk and mount it in the shop. That’ll be a good place to leave notes and think on the fly down there. And now I’m thinking about how to share info with folks in a general sense.

Pre-history: NINKs

When we both were laid off in 11 days of each other in 2009, we both immediately thought “Road Trip!” We set up the No Income, No Kids blog to track our travels as we drove around the country dragging Shorty behind us.

(And wow, I’d forgotten all about the cranky motel manager…)

After that trip we only posted a couple more times when we took the trailer out again and thus the /travels/ blog sort of died on the vine. We’ve decided to let it lie and just link to it from here and move on.