The world needs the skill sets you will develop here.

#1
I saw a post a while back from a young guy interested into getting mini bikes- I couldn't respond then, but hope he sees it here...Absolutely get into this!. I have a great job in the automotive world, company car, terrific insurance, paid off house etc....and my story started right here....what I learned working on Lil Indians- about engines, gearing, clutches, exhaust systems, how to figure things out, fabricate, overcome problems, adapt & create...transferred very well into the real world...my buddies and I learned things blowing up 5hp B & S's that no college master's program could ever hope to teach us and many of us took that out into the world and ...to the great surprise of parents, teachers and local police, did extremely well. Get into this and stay at it, the world still needs you.
 
#2
I agree with you. This is a great way to get kids out from in front of the video game screen and into to garage using tools. Unlike video games, building a mini bike with your own hands rewards you with something real and tangible. My love for engines, cars, and machinery started in 8th grade. I had a class called Power Mechanics which taught us about tools, shop safety, and engines. We were encouraged to bring in a lawn mower so we could rebuild the engine. I rebuilt the 3.5 hp Briggs on my dad's mower and learned a lot. The kids who did well in Power Mechanics were encouraged to take Auto Shop in high school. Sadly, I don't think most schools offer classes like this anymore.

You might be surprised what you can learn when studying mechanical engineering in college. All of my professors came form various industries and had tons of practical knowledge. The guy that taught me thermodynamics worked for a company designing and manufacturing heat exchangers and pressure vessels. Another professor, that taught us numerical methods and vibration analysis, came from Boeing Rotorcraft. He spent most of his career designing helicopter rotors in the early '60's, before the electronic calculator. He could use a slide-rule and kind of alluded that we had it easy with computers and calculators.
 

delray

Well-Known Member
#3
I seen a lot of collage engineerings come and go in my work. It seems like a lot of them know how to draw up something on paper/computer. but to actually put it together and make it work is another thing to see. the ones that know how to wrench....weld...etc are the ones that tend to get it right.
so yes getting kids into building minibikes can be a good thing in the future for them..........
 
#4
Delray,

I saw exactly that while I was still in school, in the mid to late 1990's. Our senior project the was the SAE Mini-Baja. We had to design, fabricate and then compete with an all-terrain vehicle that was also buoyant and able to operate as a boat. There were only two of us that knew how to operate a wrench. I was astonished. I couldn't understand how someone could choose this course of study be unable to use simple hand tools. Fortunately for us, the other guy was good at welding and I was a decent machinist. Were were able to design and fabricate our parts and then assemble them as a working vehicle. The other guy was a motorhead and had built a wicked Ford Bronco that was his daily driver. I was a motorhead as well and built a 400 hp `77 Trans Am that was my daily ride. The rest of our team was about useless. Some of them were book smart but couldn't operate a screw driver if their lives depended on it. We tasked them with documenting our designs and producing the final report. They weren't even able to do that very well.

I still see this all the time in my career and still can't understand it. You gotta wonder why someone chooses this line of work if they weren't first inspired by the tools and machinery as a kid. This is precisely why I get along with the contractors that I deal with. They realize early-on that I can actually do their job if I had to.

Back to the initial topic, our county needs people that can design and build things. Not everything can be out-sourced, off-shored, or globalized. You cannot do everything with a computer or smart phone and doing great things requires getting your hands dirty. We are the adults now and as such we need to encourage the next generation to be enthusiastic about careers in design, engineering, fabrication, construction, and manufacturing. This has always been our strength and it is why our country has always been great. Think about the advancements we have made in aerospace from the early 1900's until the present day. Our country drove that and made it happen. Electronics, exactly the same thing. Metallurgy, chemistry, biology, medicine, etc...I'm sure you get my point.

While composing this rant I recalled an article that I recently read that talked about college debt and the alternatives to college debt. They provided statistics that showed a person who goes to trade school now will be more likely to own a home in less time than someone who incurred the debt of attending a four year college program. In two years or less you are working after (or even while) attending trade school. Your tuition is less, thus your debt is less. You can start saving for a home and retirement earlier. Not everyone is cut out for college or having a desk job. Most of the guys in the trades that I talk to couldn't imagine being trapped behind a desk. My favorite HVAC contractor has been running his own business for over 20 years. He has a 9th grade education. He's in his 40's now and is incredibly smart, funny, and witty. He made over one million dollars last year. I never met a poor electrician or a poor plumber. Those guys always have nice vacation homes and all the toys.

I could go on about this forever but the Eagle's game is coming on and I have beers to drink and wings to eat. Let's keep this going. We all need this kind of discussion. I'm growing weary of observing young people sitting at a restaurant , staring at their phones, and not speaking with one another. Get gotta do something!

-Ray
 

I74

Active Member
#5
I retired as an ASE advanced level automotive master tech after 40 years of turning wrenches, fabrication, welding, electrical, ect. ect.
Actually started ripping apart bicycles & other stuff at around 7 years old.
Was big into building models ect. when I was a kid, & was pretty good at it.
Think doing stuff like that starting at a young age, really helps with ''hands on'' skill sets for later life....
Kids today are pretty much geared for computers, texting, & video games ect.
We didn't have computers ect. back then, & didn't even see a computer until in my early 20's.
The diagnostic stuff I learned with back in the day was all analog.
Through out my later years, I worked with a lot of kids right out of tech school, & they were usually pretty cocky, until they had to address a problem that they were not instructed on while in school ect.
''Guess where they would usually come to first for help'' .

I didn't go to tech. school, pretty much just the school of hard knocks. LOL
All my certifications, except for a few seminars ect, are self learned from manuals , research, or hands on.

Hope with my new place , in a nice big subdivision with lots of kids, that they will come around this spring & summer, & check out when I 'am working on Mini bikes ect. & maybe take interest.

Ian
 

Littlebear

Active Member
#6
Great thread here. I am sure a bunch of use older folks here have similar stories. My love for things mechanical began with an Artic Cat Kitty Kat 50cc snowmobile that my father bought for me at age 4. (1970's) He took me to the dealership and let me pick it out. Brand new! Something I never will forget. Anyway, these days middle aged (all grown up maybe? Still playing with mini's amongst the rest of my toys.) Now an ASE certified master auto tech with Ford and GM certs also. Mini's are definitely a great place to start. It is just awsome to see the younger folks hanging out on here not to mention this is an excellent site. Boy, I almost lived on that little snowmobile. Lol. Couldn't even get me off of it even if I was frostbitten.....
 

Littlebear

Active Member
#7
I retired as an ASE advanced level automotive master tech after 40 years of turning wrenches, fabrication, welding, electrical, ect. ect.
Actually started ripping apart bicycles & other stuff at around 7 years old.
Was big into building models ect. when I was a kid, & was pretty good at it.
Think doing stuff like that starting at a young age, really helps with ''hands on'' skill sets for later life....
Kids today are pretty much geared for computers, texting, & video games ect.
We didn't have computers ect. back then, & didn't even see a computer until in my early 20's.
The diagnostic stuff I learned with back in the day was all analog.
Through out my later years, I worked with a lot of kids right out of tech school, & they were usually pretty cocky, until they had to address a problem that they were not instructed on while in school ect.
''Guess where they would usually come to first for help'' .

I didn't go to tech. school, pretty much just thetaseminars too.so.l of hard knocks. LOL
All my certifications, except for a few seminars ect, are self learned from manuals , research, or hands on.

Hope with my new place , in a nice big subdivision with lots of kids, that they will come around this spring & summer, & check out when I 'am working on Mini bikes ect. & maybe take interest.

Ian
I did the same. I didn't go to tech school either. Self taught also. I attended GM and Ford seminars too.
 

I74

Active Member
#8
The majority of really good techs I worked with through out the years, pretty much did it the same also.
Think that it makes a person better well rounded for hands on, & problem solving ect.
Have nothing against higher education, but a person needs common sense also, & maybe a bit of street sense,, not just book sense...
 

capguncowboy

Well-Known Member
#9
I agree that lots can be gained by learning how to use tools and make something, or even rebuild/repair complex components, but don't discredit computers or gaming in general. Ten years ago, only about 50% of all jobs in the US required computer skills. By next year, that number will hover closer to 75%. Some colleges now have "E-Sports" teams for gaming, and students can receive scholarships in exchange for participating in those programs. I don't necessarily understand the value in it, they do.

That being said, my son (11 years old) and I work on stuff together all the time. I teach him how to use tools and build stuff in the shop. We've rebuilt engines together and he's redone a few by himself. He learns pretty quickly and seems interested in figuring out how things work and why small changes can stop them from working. I guess he's a lot like me in that regard. My dad worked for IBM, so I grew up around computers. I used to teach him how to do stuff on there, but now it seems he's teaching me things.

I think parents are a little too tough on kids these days. The learning should go both ways. I agree that playing games for hours on end is a waste of time, but I don't think it's such a terrible thing to do in moderation.

Just my 2 cents.
 
#10
I agree that lots can be gained by learning how to use tools and make something, or even rebuild/repair complex components, but don't discredit computers or gaming in general. Ten years ago, only about 50% of all jobs in the US required computer skills. By next year, that number will hover closer to 75%. Some colleges now have "E-Sports" teams for gaming, and students can receive scholarships in exchange for participating in those programs. I don't necessarily understand the value in it, they do.

That being said, my son (11 years old) and I work on stuff together all the time. I teach him how to use tools and build stuff in the shop. We've rebuilt engines together and he's redone a few by himself. He learns pretty quickly and seems interested in figuring out how things work and why small changes can stop them from working. I guess he's a lot like me in that regard. My dad worked for IBM, so I grew up around computers. I used to teach him how to do shere,an ut now it seems he's teaching me things.

I think parents are a little too tough on kids these days. The learning should go both ways. I agree that playing games for hours on end is a waste of time, but I don't think it's such a terrible thing to do in moderation.

Just my 2 cents.
I completely agree with you here. Being an excellent auto tech etc.... Takes a bunch of computer skills also. Its good to be well rounded at both. Really, probably essential to be successful these days. Diagnostics can be done many different ways now, not only with an automotive scan tool but with laptops, smart phones etc. One thing I chuckle about sometimes is a "new young tech" just out of school thinking they know how to spin the . Give them a four barrel carburetor to rebuild and watch the look on their face. They know fuel injection inside and out, but can't even tell you what the term "naturally aspirated" means. Lol. Guess that shows my age a bit huh? Anyway, love this thread.
 

I74

Active Member
#11
I agree also Little Bear.
The last 20+ years of my carrier, I used ''a lot'' of computer diag, equipment, & enjoyed it.. You have to with today's technology.
Often times though, that diag. equipment would not 100% pinpoint the problem/problems, & I would have to get out the old breakout box, multimeter, or old school Oscilloscope, especially with AC circuits on sensors ect.
 
#12
Interesting that at 61 I bought a Lil Indian to get to messing with tools and having to think problems out...so much of what I do now is behind a computer or via cell phone...I needed to get back to going out to the garage, cursing, throwing stuff and thinking problems thru...I swear overhauling this little bike has done just that for me (though I look like a F&^#king clown car riding it!)
 

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I74

Active Member
#13
Interesting that at 61 I bought a Lil Indian to get to messing with tools and having to think problems out...so much of what I do now is behind a computer or via cell phone...I needed to get back to going out to the garage, cursing, throwing stuff and thinking problems thru...I swear overhauling this little bike has done just that for me (though I look like a F&^#king clown car riding it!)
Don't throw stuff !! LOL
 
#14
Of course, the world needs these skill sets....what did we parents do when we decided to let our kids sit in front of a computer or video game controller all day? @smudvapor and @electrathon are doing the right thing getting their students interested and enthused in bike rebuilds. I'll never forget the day my small engine students drooled over a Wheel Horse pulling tractor.

I use CAD software to design custom parts but then think all night about how I'm going to solve the next "problem" with the tools I have and the parts I got--my brain still is the best computer I have.
 
#15
There is nothing more rewarding to me then the father and son time we spend together. I remember as a little one being in the work shop with my grand pop with the pot belly stove keeping us warm. I would always tell him I am making something and his reply was yea your making a mess and we would both laugh.
I started including my kids in all that I do since they were little and we still do them now. My son and I started with golf carts fixing them up and having fun to starting a small vintage golf part business for him and me when I retire. About a year ago we picked up our first mini bike and we both caught the fever. It’s great when I get a call or message from him when he finds something of interest for us. He is in his room playing on computer right now but at 10:00 am he was outside pulling a rim and tire off a old Honda 50 and was determined to get it apart. He did ! I am very lucky and even have my daughter and wife looking out for that next new project.
 
#17
A comedian "the cap" does a great bit about working with his father fixing stuff growing up. Says, the only thing he learned was how to hold the flashlight and get yelled at..... Lol.... I remember those days.........My pops had a short temper.:oops:
 

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