Heart Transplant #1

So as it turns out, even benevolent bee saviors can have health issues. A few weeks ago, Beezus suddenly stopped running. What to do?!

Our first thought was that maybe his poor little batteries were tired. So we let him charge up for a while. No dice.

Next thought was an issue with some of the original wiring as some of it was fairly corroded. After a lot of fiddling around with the multimeter, we decided that wasn’t it either. Which left one last thing…

The motor. We set to work taking it apart, and determined that the brushes had burnt out and broke, and that the commutator was past being salvageable.


Fortunately the space where Beezus lives (NIMBY) can be a great place to find old parts, and SuperDave happened to have an old motor from another utility vehicle lying around. We just had to detach it from the axle. This actually ended up being more of an adventure than we had originally anticipated, but after a lot of tinkering and a lot of motor oil getting on basically everything, we managed to make it happen. Ta-Da!
Then came the process of putting the new(er) motor in Beezus. The replacement was slightly bigger, so making it fit was a bit of a challenge. Then came the process of trying to fit the chain back on. We had hoped to do this without taking everything apart, but no such luck. So off came the brake drum and the casing around the chain. Lots more tinkering. Lots more oil. Lots more fun tools.

Tinker time

Tinker time

Eventually, we got the motor in and connected! Then it was time to actually try to run the bee again. SO I pushed down on the gas pedal and… nothing. Wires were connected wrong. Oops! Tried again. AND IT WORKED! Sort of? We managed to get the motor running and wheels turning, but we ran into a slight issue. The new(er) motor had a bad bearing. Siiiiiigh. Well at least we’ll be ready for the next one!

More updates on heart transplant number 2 here soon!


Let There Bee Lights! (Again!)

We’re back to it! Beezus is out of hibernation and we’re buzzing along getting him gussied up for another year on the playa. Our first goal this year was to outfit him with new fancy lights. The past 2 years we’ve had simple rope light strands, so we figured it was upgrade time. We decided to go with RGB LED lights. We ended up going against individually addressable ones (they were a little excessive for what we were looking for), but they’re still programmable and will be doing some lovely color fades! The stripes, flower petals, and grass will all have lights that will add a whole new dimension to our lovely little bee. Here’s some shots of the process!

Oh, and stay tuned for lots more! We’ll be ramping up a new fundraising campaign here soon!

Jumper and Levity doing some team soldering

Jumper and Levity doing some team soldering

Smallfry fixing some wires up top

Smallfry fixing some wires up top

Jumper looking super fancy

Jumper looking super fancy

Let There Bee Light!

Another successful work weekend under our belts for the season. We got the lights working again!

Initially the plan had been to get new LED strips (RGB color change waterproof 12v). However, we decided it was smarter to try and get last year’s lights functional if at all possible. After investing in some new wire, clamps, and a soldering iron, we managed to get everything back online. We’ll be running the lights (and eventual sound) to a switch panel on the dash so that all of the controls are in one place. That should be arriving next week. So much excitement! Pics of it lit up at night coming soon!Image

Beezus 2: The Resurrection

Aaaaaaaaaaand we’re back!

Sorry for the haitus everyone. Beezus isn’t much for the winter months. But build season is back upon us! We had our first session this past weekend and made some solid progress already! Project of the day: put the steering and pedals all back in their original places. Yes, we put in a lot of work to get the steering up top so the driver could ride Beezus around. But as it turns out riding on a bee is a pretty bumpy ride on the playa. The good news is now we can ALL be inside of Beezus together! Check out the progress shots with our busy worker bees.ImageImageImageImageI


We’ve been remarkably MIA on the blog as of late, but not because we’ve been slacking by any means! The past month or so has been one heck of a whirlwind. Despite a few near anxiety attacks and endless supply and material runs, guess what?


As of 8;45 PM PST on Sunday, Beezus was completed.1185433_10101173613046845_1408224885_n 1175523_10101138480128683_1068781971_n

Prepare yourselves for head-explody cuteness! See you all next week!

More Carpentry!

We had another successful weekend at NIMBY! The floor is officially completely in, and we put on a coat of primer to seal it. We also managed to nearly finish the bar! Beezus is looking pretty fancy these days! Beezus 013 Beezus 024 Beezus 030



We’ll be ordering fabric and foam for seating this week so we can get started on that this upcoming weekend. Look out, world!

2 build days, 1 weekend

Phew! We were pretty busy at the warehouse this past weekend.

Build day 1: Steering/pedals
On Friday, we decided to try to wrap up the steering column extension, as well as get the extensions for the gas and brake pedals going. We started the day with our trusty engineering pal Dave fitting a custom piece for the steering wheel spline to weld up top, which we did at his shop in Alameda. Then it was off to NIMBY to fit the new part! We adjusted the angle of the steering column, welded it into place, and attached the steering wheel.

Then came the pedal extensions! We measured and cut extensions from out leftover square tubing that made up the frame. After a quick run to the local metals shop to get some heavy duty hinges, we were able to fashion some new pedals! We didn’t have the bolts we needed to attach them to the original pedals down below, but we got pretty darn close!

beezus (ish) 006 beezus (ish) 019 beezus (ish) 023Day 2: Carpentry
On Sunday, our other friend Dave and the lovely Beeker came to tackle the woodwork. We cut and measured the remaining panels that make up the floor of the car. Then, it was time to bolt it all down! We made a Home Depot run to grab some self-tapping screws, and then made short work of that part of the project! We were also able to start the frame of the bar. It’s not finished yet, but it’s off to a solid start! We’re hoping to wrap up the carpentry before next week’s fundraiser!Beezus 011 Beezus 012 Beezus 021

Welding and Templates

Another solid day under our belt! Thanks to my wonderful friend Paul “Savage,” we were able to finish weld nearly everything on the car. Beezus 010

The only remaining welding projects are re-welding the seat on the inside of the car, and the steering column. We’re holding off on the steering column until we get it placed exactly where we want it. A comfortable drive is key!

While Savage was hard at work on the welding, Beeker and I made some templates for fabric! Something like 10 panels in all to cover the outside- a combination of spandex and fur. Now it’s time to start sourcing for good deals!

Beezus 005 Beezus 014

The structural part of Beezus is nearing completion! Then, it’s on to all of the pretty stuff (fabric, lights, sound, etc). Huzzah! Next week: carpentry!

Welding the Floor

So this weekend, we didn’t get as much welding done as I had hoped. My friend and master welder was injured, and is out of commission for a while. I had been scrambling around for a bit to find a welder to at least help with the floor beams, since we needed that to happen before we could start putting the floor panels in. Luckily, a fellow NIMBY tenant named Gary offered to help! We spent some time measuring, cutting, and angle grinding the beams to make sure everything was solid. And then- welding! We didn’t get past the floor beams since his welder isn’t quite heavy duty enough, but hey! Progress! Since it was just 2 of us, no pictures this week. We’ll have some more next time though!

Flooring and filming

On June 2nd, we started a few new parts of the project!

First came the filming. So everyone knows, I’m awkward. I’m okay with it, but being in front of the camera is not my favorite thing. But hey. You gotta do what you gotta do. Luckily, my friend Mike offered to help me out by filming for me. We ran into some technical difficulties with setup and sound, but we made it work! Thankfully Mike is a patient man. Soon we’ll have a video and the Kickstarter will be up and running!

Next came starting to build out the floor. Thanks to the help of carpenter extraordinaire Dave “Scorpio,” We were able to template and cut some of the panels that will eventually become the floor of Beezus to haul all of our lovely bee-lievers around. And our lovely miss Kerri-Ann took lots of measurements for fabric.

Next time- more welding!IMG_5844 IMG_5858 IMG_5874