Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
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New fruit trees

I got a few new fruit trees and shrubs last weekend!

The new peach tree is far back right (hard to see), behind the apple tree (no leaves right now).

A new blueberry bush (TODO: note what variety), and a raspberry (Willamette Raspberry)


It’s interesting for me to go back on my blog and see my old trees when they were young.

LED cyr wheel (v2) repair

A bit over a year ago I started using my LED Cyr wheel v2. This version has LEDs embedded on the sides in epoxy, and it had been working pretty great until a show last night. One section of the wheel I didn’t use ExpoCast 690. I had some trouble with the first section I did, and thought I’d try the other (cheaper) expo that I had. It also was just a difficult to work with, so I ended up using ExpoCast on everything else. But that one section that has the other expo developed cracks, which I’ve known about for a while. Unfortunately one crack caused movement in the LEDs and broke a connection, causing two sections on one side to not light up (since it sends the signal through sequentially). Doh…I was disappointed as it affected one of my shows, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

The repair doesn’t seem to be too bad! Using a chisel I could fairly easily knock out the bad pieces and expose the LEDs. I then cut out the two that seemed to be bad, and replaced them.


I then epoxied back over it with the good epoxy:


The connection seems good (from testing), but the real test will be using the wheel again. The epoxy takes a 24-48 hours to dry, so it’ll be a while before I can test it out. Hopefully it works, as I have another show this Saturday night in Los Gatos.

Cyr Wheel Tutorials: Walkthrough manipulation

Learn some cyr wheel manipulations when you are tired of spinning or get dizzy :)

I go through some of the basics on how to do this trick. Be careful! One of the first times I tried this I walked right into the wheel and it hit my face really hard; my tooth poked a hole through my lip and I had to get stitches on both sides!

Unicycle handlebar experiments

I’ve been doing some more experiments on my V-36 unicycle handlebar. The original version was just a basic T with bar ends. The T wasn’t too wide, but MUCH wider than stock handlebars (such as the KH T-bar or’s variations).

I hadn’t ridden the V-36 much since I made it. I did a few longish rides (~27 miles, and then 20 miles a few days later), and my wrists were in a lot of pain. Mostly my right hand; which constitutes from the position I use when braking. I spent an hour or so welding up another prototype. I went with a MUCH wider T so I could install the brake lever on it:


I haven’t yet to do more than basic testing, but I already know it needs a slight back angle (like an upside down V).

I also did a more “traditional” design, instead of using bar ends. This will allow me to slip the brake over the 22mm handlebar and not have an adapter like I usually use. I didn’t end up finishing this one..and I want to make it so it rotates amongst the vertical post to control the angle.


Finally, for reference, my original handlebar (without bar ends):


Cyr Wheel Tutorials: Rock start to waltz

Cyr Wheel / Roue Cyr Tutorials: Rock start or side to side start, to waltz

Here is another intermediate to advanced trick that took me a while to get. Really it was all about doing one particular motion that allowed me to finally get this trick.

How to do this trick: First, be very confident with the normal “rock”. A rock is a left to right through where you don’t do any spinning; just rocking. The rock is a motion where you are transferring weight from one foot to another. Most the action is done with your feet, and very little is done with your hands.

When you rock the wheel to the right, the follow conditions are true:

  • Most of your weight is on your right foot
  • Your right foot is the contact point with the ground
  • Your right leg is fairly straight
  • Your left leg is high up on the wheel, with little weight on it
  • Your left knee is bent
  • Your left hand is holding on to the wheel
  • Your right hand is free

This really isn’t a tutorial on the rock itself, and eventually I’ll make a video detailing just the rock.

The key part to the rock start to a waltz is to use your hands to through the wheel in the desired waltz direction, as I show in the video.

Cyr Wheel Tutorial: Superman

Here is a video tutorial on how to do the Superman move in a cyr wheel (roue cyr).

This trick took me a long time to learn, and I’m still not perfect at it. Eventually I’d like to learn to “waltz” while in the superman.

In the tutorial, I spin to the left — which is leading with my left hand, or counter-clockwise when viewed from above. I find it much easier to refer to specific hands and legs; if you spin to the right, reverse what I say. A normal waltz is from left foot down to right foot down, and I’ll use this terminology below.

How to do this trick:

First, start with a normal waltz. Remove the right leg (the trailing leg) and swing it in front of the wheel to gain momentum. Notice the position of the leg: my right leg is kicked out behind the wheel when I normally would be “down” on the right foot (trailing foot). I then transfer weight to my left leg and bring the right leg through the wheel. At this point, your body and wheel is leaning slightly backwards, and the right leg is in front of the wheel while you are down on your left foot. I pull the right leg back as I rotate back to where the right foot would normally be down — as you go through the point where the wheel is amongst the center (for a center spin), you release with your left leg and attempt to keep the wheel in a center spin. The legs should be clamped together tightly and the back arched (mainly for style). Keep a center spin by no longer rocking the wheel left and right in a waltz.

In the video I released a little too late — I was already rotated to where my right foot would almost be down, and this causes my superman to be slightly lopsided at the start. So, I apply more weight to my left hand to help the center spin,

Downstairs Bathroom Remodel – Tiling the shower

My downstairs guest bathroom remodel project continues. Last status was posted in “Downstairs Bathroom Remodel, shower pan, etc“.

After I built the shower pan, I installed the 1/2″ cement backer board, being sure to not screw into the plastic shower pan bottom. I then used Red Guard to seal in over the thinset for the niche, and while I was at it I did the corners and bottom “just in case”. The pan is designed to capture water, so that shouldn’t really be necessary, but you definitely don’t want the niche to leak into the wood frame.


For the shower walls, I start in the middle and work my way up and down; this produces the middle as the most centered portion, and allows me to have the accent tile exactly where I want them. I picked a location sort of a third down from the top:


I use some wooden supports to make sure the tile don’t sag, and this helps create nice consistent grout lines.

For the floor I used the drain as the focal point and worked outwards:


Tile done and ready for grout (poor lighting):


Professional home remodeler at work:


Note to self, wear gloves! Don’t use your fingers to smooth grout lines:


Post grout:


Unfortunately these tile were a bit porous, and I didn’t do a good job of getting all the grout off the tile surface; this has left some whiteness to it, and I’m having a hard time getting it off now that the tile have dried. What works best seems to be some light sanding with sandpaper and then hard scrubbing with a brush. I also tried Ajax..but that didn’t work well.

Facebook promotes stealing other people’s content

I’ve had the unfortunate affair of several people stealing one of my videos to gain hits on their Facebook pages.

It is this video: LED Cyr Wheel v2 – Initial Test, that I uploaded to YouTube in April 2014:

I blogged about it here, and it this is the YouTube link:

The two copies of my video are: Krafty Kuts (2/25/15: 413,081 views, 4757 shares) and Cypher-Glover (2/25/15: 65,000 views, 1482 shares). Cypher promptly responded to my request to update the video — Krafty took a while longer, but probably because they are on the other side of the pond (UK). My video on Youtube (2/25/15) has ~7,000 views.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m super happy this video has been seen so much, and it has directly and indirectly increased traffic to my site. I’m also talking with Krafty’s manager about doing some sort of collaboration, and Cypher is going to re-post my video on some other site (at some point). I will gladly share my projects, videos, and photos with people — I just like to get proper credit if someone re-posts something I did. If people are going to make money off of my content, then it would be nice to get some sort of kick back (licensing). Having Krafty and Cypher add links does help me; this directly gives my website referrals and I get more traffic. Google ads on this site help pay for the hosting via traffic, but I’m talking about $100/year — and usually I don’t make that much in a year off of advertising.

People create content. They write text in a blog, take pictures, film videos, do performances, and create artwork. The people creating that work have a right to control how it is used, and other people can buy it from them or license the use of it. Or people can explicitly give their content away with an open license, such as a Creative Commons license. Things that aren’t explicitly given away are owned by the content creator.

Now I do freely give away ideas and processes on how to make things. I could have patented my LED Cyr Wheel; it’s construction was invented by me through experimentation and design (actually, I still covet the code). I could have patented my V-frame 36 unicycle or custom handlebars. But I did not want to because I want other people to build on my ideas, and tell me about how they made them better. I want other people to be able to make things that I have made. I have learned so much from the internet, like how to build an electric car. I enjoy sharing with people my ideas and having them build upon them. I also know I have helped other people with their businesses; I know a few people who are building cyr wheels, and probably are in some part using some techniques I documented on my blog.

Unfortunately, Facebook promotes stealing other people’s content. People go to YouTube and grep around for short cool videos. They then illegally download them with something like Clip Converter, and proceed to upload it to their Facebook page as a “public” video so anyone can see it. Some choice wording describes the video, like “Imagine showing up to the rave with one of these.”, and tons of people watch and share it on their Facebook pages. The description does not reference where they got the content from. I don’t blame the people watching and sharing the video; I blame the person who stole the video and uploaded it. People actually have a job where they do this for a living to promote musicians! I hope they will think twice about taking videos like this. Even if there was a reference to the original content, it is still illegal to copy a video and upload it to another site — let’s be clear, that is the essence of what pirating is.

I don’t just blame the person who uploads the video, but I also blame Facebook. People want to have the video appear on their site because a “Facebook Business page” will get higher ranking and more exposure. They do not want to have links leaving Facebook because it lowers their rank. Cypher – Glover – who’s job listed on Facebook is “Social Media Manager”, was the first person who uploaded my video to his page. He later updated the description to give me credit, so I was okay with this. He specifically told me the following:

“Links kill reach, i cannot link directly within the text post to an outside site of facebook without hurting our edgerank (facebooks way of handling pages) and therefore hurting our reach on not just the post but our page as well. One thing i can do is place a call-to-action button, What that is, is a “Shop Now” or “Read More” or “watch more” button which is present on the video itself so people can see the source from which the video came from. It drives all clicks and conversions to your site, with nothing on our end but us sharing your name and content. Would that be okay with you? the cool thing about it is that after 24 hours, i am allowed to post the link into the text. Meaning that if people love it as much as they did on my page, and you reach shares in the hundreds, your link to your website will be on hundreds of peoples walls where people can see it. Direct uploads are the highest driving content, this one is pretty self explanatory, and means that i would just have to repost the video directly to our page, which i think you expected already.”

My answer to him is yes, it is okay to do this. But people who do this type of marketing should strive to reach out to content owners in the first place and ask for permission! Or, better yet, license their content. PS, Cypher, if it isn’t okay to quote you, please let me know and I can remove and paraphrase it. I also figured this is common knowledge, but not everyone understands it.

Wait, is it really illegal to download someone’s video from YouTube? Technically yes, it is. Here are the term’s of service, which I captured as an image in case it changes:


I highlighted the important part. My video does not have a Download link. Even if it did, the second part still applies; “one can not copy, reproduce…or otherwise exploit any Content” the media managers are violating this term to it’s fullest!

Unfortunately, I’m sure it is impossible to track who scrape or download videos with a service like Clip Converter.

I also blame the millennials. They have grown up in the internet era, and feel like sharing content without attribution is okay. Sort of like how my generation (X) felt like it was okay to “share” (aka: pirate) music on Napster. It really wasn’t okay to do that. Yet people do have limits; people seem to realize that it would not be okay to copy Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda video and upload it to their Facebook page. VEVO would be all over them, and they know it. But they don’t see the guy who films Star Wars pancakes characters as threatening, and therefore upload his (or her) video and get views off of it.

Of course, sharing the original content as-is is fine. An original YouTube video creator has their description listed, and their ads play, and they potentially make money off of it. Posting the Youtube link will convert to an inline video and looks very similar to the Facebook user —- but the person or social media manager will not get as much credit. Therefore, they don’t do it. This is a shame.

What have I learned? Always have my website URL in my videos — even for stupid short videos like this one. Don’t let your content get away!

Grainger, shame on you for bad packaging!

I ordered a small switch from Grainger and it came in a huge box:


What a waste of packaging!! Shame on you guys. Please don’t overpack; it is wasteful.

26″ Mountain Unicycle Tires

I have had my geared 26″ mountain unicycle since about 2009. It is a Kris Holm 26″ frame (KH26), the Schlumpf 2-speed hub, and a custom handlebar I made. I’ve gone through a few tires in the past years, so here is my recent experience and research on them.


Tires I’ve Used (in order):

1. WTB Stout 26×2.3″: Cost: ??. Weight ??. My first tire that I got on the unicycle in 2009. I wanted something very light weight for racing and cross country. Unfortunately it is too light, and definitely not wide enough. I felt like uni was a little too unwieldy to ride, or too “squirrly”, wanting to wander about. It also would kick me off on bumps, as I had to ride it with a bit higher pressure (at this point, I forget what I used). I still have this tire hanging in my basement. I also recall that this tire was *very* hard to get on and off the KH rim.

2. Maxxis Ardent Wire Bead Downhill Tire 26 X 2.6: Cost: $35 (plus shipping). Weight ??. Part #: TB74306200.  In November 2011 I decided to go for a wider tire to get more stability. It definitely worked; the unicycle felt more stable, and I was pretty happy with this tire. The Ardent is also a good “all round” tire and seemed to perform well for muni. Unfortunately the 2.6″ width isn’t available anymore from Maxxis. The widest Ardent that they make is now 2.4″. But that is okay, because in February of 2015 I started having trouble with the tire: it kept popping off the rim! This is probably because I had a heck of a time changing a flat one day on a ride. I could not get the tire off. I broke a plastic tire iron off, and it was still fighting me. Eventually I got it off and patched the tube (which didn’t hold!). Putting it back on was even worse: I couldn’t get it back on. I eventually got it on, but I’m sure I blew out the wire bead in the process. On the next ride I did (very wet and muddy out with my friend Roland), the tire kept popping off the rim about 3/4 the way through the ride. Oh well; the tire tread was getting a little low, so it was time to replace it.

3. Maxxis High Roller II: (26×2.40), Cost: $65. Weight: 840-855 grams. What I’m currently using. I’m using a light weight tube, and the tire is pretty light, so it has really good low rolling weight for hill climbing abilities. It also feels pretty good on the street, with low resistance (not like a Gazzoladi at all!). It fit the rim pretty well (not too tight, not too loose). It corners really well — great tread. I am using a light tube — which means I have to have higher pressure (32psi), so it is a bit bouncy. A regular or heavy weight tube would add up to a pound more in rolling weight, but I could run lower pressure (25-28psi), and would be able to avoid pinch flats and potentially roll faster on bumpy ground. Overall, I think I really want a little wider tire, but it works really well, and should be good for my upcoming Nepal unicycle tour.

Tire Research

I did quite a bit of tire research before settling on one (actually, two!). I wanted a tire that was good for off road use; particularly fast high-gear unicycling on flowing trails, but with enough stability to roll down rough trails and a high pace and not get too thrown off. I also wanted it to be as light as possible, as I’m going to use this tire on the next big unicycle tour in Nepal over the Annapurna Pass (coming up in April 2015). The tour will have lots of climbing, so I want it to lower the rolling weight. I decided to stick with Maxxis; they are a pretty good tire, and have too many options to choose from. Adding another manufacture or two would make it even more difficult to decide. For tire wide, I was ideally shooting for 2.5″ or higher, and 2.7″ was ideal. However, the 2.7″ tires were nearly twice as heavy as 2.5″, so I cut them from my choices. I also decided to throw in a 2.4 in the mix. I wasn’t picky about tread compound: EXO, 3C, TR, or whatever — they don’t mean too much to me, except one will wear faster because it is stickier. I’m not doing fast road cornering, so stickiness isn’t too important on a unicycle — weight is, so I picked whatever compound was lightest (when there was a choice).

1. Maxxis High Roller II: 26×2.4, 840 grams. Web: Maxxis High Roller II.$65 on Amazon. Light weight (for muni) at less than 900 grams, but only 2.4″ width — I really wanted 2.5″ or wider!

Maxxis High Roller II.png

2. Maxxis Minion DHF: 26×2.5, 860 grams. Web: Minion DHF . $? on Amazon. Also pretty light, and 2.5″ width! The DHF stands for “Downhill Front”, but that doesn’t matter for unicycling. I ordered this tire too, but the High Roller II came first, so it is the one I’m running. This might be a great tire, and the uses show the same as the High Roller. But the high roller might be better for less rolling resistance on hard packed dirt

Maxxis DHF.png

Tires that seem less good to me:

3. Maxxis Minon DHR: Web: Minon DHR : $?. Seems good, but 2.35″ width just isn’t wide enough for me. DHR stands for Downhill Rear.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.41.55 AM.png

4. Maxxis High Roller: Web: High Roller. 26×2.5: 1180grams. 26×2.70: 1320 grams. Too heavy. At least for me, for now. This might be a great tire — and it is offered in a 2.7″ width — but at 1320 grams it is a pound heavier than the 2.4″ High Roller II. The tread looks not as good for wet ground.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.43.01 AM.png

5. Maxxis Ardent: Web: Ardent. 26×2.40: 685 grams. I already know this is a good tire, but I figured it was time to try something new. It is lighter than the High Roller II and the same width.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.46.18 AM.png

6. Other’s considered: Griffin (26×2.4 – too heavy at ~1130 grams), and Aspen (not wide enough).

I also looked at some of the wider downhill tires, but they were all way over 1000 grams — great for pure downhill muni, but horrible for climbing.

(c) 2008-2012 Corbin Dunn

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