Tuesday, September 25, 2007

random thoughts and pictures

howdy, all. just sorta in limbo the last few days, we are going on a four-day san juan river trip tomorrow, so i can't really start a bike and let it rust while i'm gone, it isn't really condusive to metal joinery and sweet brazes. and, i have been put in charge of salsa production for the trip. there are some new mexicans on the trip, so AZ pride is at stake, yo. chipotle red and garlicy green for the float! so, i've been collecting piles of parts for the various full and partial build kits for bikes i'm working on. yes, not only do i keep track of all the needed tubes, dropouts, brazeons, flux and filler material, but all the parts needed to build whole bikes as well. i like building complete bikes and wheel builds, it's really cool to see a project to ultimate fruition. so on the random pics: the first is the current status of chris d.'s bike, for now, a box'o'tubes. i'm gonna go out and miter the main triangle and start real assembly when i get back. it's gonna be quite a ripper: think 13" 29er with a 23.75" top tube. that's what custom is all about. next, rim sizes, in order from small to big: 26", 650b, 29er. 650b is coming back, and it is causing quite a cool vibe in the custom builder circle. at around 27.5" it neatly fills the gap in between 29" and 26". it will allow us builders to fit our clients even better! as a size, it's been around quite a while, and is very common in europe, with alot of cool trekking tires avalible. what's new is that kirk pacenti at bikelugs.com is getting 650 x 2.35 knobbies made from panaracer, they look like a cross between a fire xc and a motoraptor. google it and check out the buzz... and yes, i will be building for this size, e-mail me for details, to change a current order, or just to say "hi!" next, some phil wood disc hubs. what can you say? pure functional art - simply gorgeous. and, my cutting tools for headtubes and bottom brackets. after faithfully facing, chasing and tapping hundreds of tubes, they are going to the tool grinder while we are gone for some love and sharp new edges! lastly, me getting rained out on my last attempt at a ride....it's been a nice wet september. can't complain about rain in arizona! see you all in october! steve & denise.

Friday, September 21, 2007

simon's bike ready for paint

it took me a little while, but i finally got simon's bike all done and ready to go to paint, it looks really nice! that makes three bikes this month so far. i'll get chrid d.'s bike started but won't get it finished until we get back off our four-day san juan river trip. {yayy!!} should see david's bike back from paint before we leave, too. tired today, been working really hard, but did squeeze a quick ride in a few days ago, sorry, no pics. it's definately fall here now, with cooler temps and wind. feels nice.....those trout should start trying to fatten up for the winter, too, i'd like to stick some more of them in the freezer before snow shuts down the rim lakes. soooo, here's some pics of simon's frame: all polished up, a faw fillet shot, and the braze-ons all crusty with flux. and, the tools of the trade. more soon, thanks for reading, steve.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

mostly bikes, but some fun stuff.........

been just whittling away on some of the bike backlog lately, but got in a fine day of fishing yesterday with dan and chris, everybody went home with trout for dinner, and it was a beautiful day! first, the black curved toptube bike belongs to denis, who came and took it away to live in tempe. lo-gloss basic black. have fun with that rig, denis! next is the progress on simon's bike. it's going slow but steady. the sliders require a bit more work to get everything all just perfect. i should get the seat stays on it tomorrow, and hopefully get it all brazed up too. more pics as soon as it is all brazed and de-fluxed, she's a looker! next, in a sorta sucky picture cuz' it's raining outside, is dan building up kathy's new frame for her birthday tomorrow - have a great ride on your new bike tomorrow, kathy! does it get much better then that? more in a couple of days when there is more to report on. next bikes, in order of builds: chris d., jim r., lee t., annie b. later, steve.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

a fine day out!

finally got out into the beautiful coconino national forest again yesterday! been seeing a whole lot of metal lately, i really needed to see some organic forms! the trail conditions are still hanging on, with some great rains the last few days keeping the forest green and temps cool. the flowers are still hanging in there, the yellow ones are pretty much done, but the purples like asters, loco weed and some lupines are still kickin' it, and the red indian paintbrush look just dandy, like this one here. they are semi-parasitic, so they get it easy anyway. soooo, rode up climb 3 to the sunset trail cross-over and up the new section. man, i think that trail is really sweet now. twice as long, some of the best views of the peaks anywhere, and once the burms get buffed out it will be sweeeet. from the top we went down upper brookbank to wienie walk, down it, and over to schultz creek trail so the dogs could get wet. schultz was flowing nice, clear water. we usually don't see that much in september. then, i crossed the road and went up the lower orion springs and over to the old trail the goes from the bottom of lookout to the sunset parking lot. not alot of traffic on that one in a while, boulder-city! trying to dodge soccerballs of rock with 3 wheels at speed is pretty sporty, however! thanks to denise for getting me and the dogs out. back to work on simon's bike, got most of the front triangle cut on tues, still got some work on it for shure. next on the slate: chris d. "jersey"'s 29er. get out, have fun!! steve.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

and so it begins again........

sent david's bike off to paint this morning, did some errands, and got going on simon's 29er. it's gonna be sweet - curved top tube and paragon stainless steel sliding dropouts for one speed/disc use. rockin'. here's this bike's ala carte custom tubing selection: 37mm head tube, 38mm downtube: truetemper verus heat treated. top tube, seat tube sleeve: .035 x 1.25" seamless aircraft cromoly, seattube, nova cycles 28.6mm externally butted. chainstays: dedacciai zero-tre s-bend 30mm x 17mm. dropouts and bottom bracket shell, paragon machine works. i'm gonnd hand-bend the seat stays outta 5/8" x .035 4130 with special inserts in the dropout end to fill the space because the ss dropouts must be brazed on with nickle silver - tricky and expensive! gonna see how far i get on this today, i haven't done anything fun {other then work} in about a week, my hand cycle got all new armor yesterday and i'm gonna go for a lengthy single track grovel tomorrow! ciao for now, steve.

Monday, September 10, 2007

fillet polishing, braze-ons, alignment and done.......almost.

well....david's bike is sorta wrapped up on this end for a while. i polished all the fillets in one day, a seven-hour marathon. i was pooped and crosseyed. listened to alot of cd's that day, and a two hour johnny cash tribute on npr's american routes that really kicked ass. but, they do look sweet! then, all the braze-ons for cables, brakes and water bottle mounts and such. this bike got a disc mount that allows the disc to track in plane with the horizontal dropouts for one speed disc applications. it can also be configured as a gear bike with derailleurs. a real do-it-all kinda bike. then, you go through alignment procedures. in the full frame pic, you can see the tools which align the dropouts to each other. then, once you chase and face the bottom bracket and ream the seat post you can mount the frame on the alignment table to check it's straightness. in this case, the frame was within 1mm across it's entire surface. good enough! no sense in bending a frame past it's yield strength if you don't have to, it just shortens it's life span. sooooo.......now off for custom paint, and chasing and facing all the threads and bearing surfaces, stickers, and assembly. often, i do everything except paint on a bike, including spec'ing the parts and building the wheels. she should be back in three weeks or so, the sycip brothers in santa rosa, ca. paint most of my bikes. this one will be a deep burgundy. tomorrow, it all starts again.......simon z.'s 29er. steve.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

meltin' metal.

on this post we're getting things hot.....i use oxy-acetylene for everything i do...silver brazing and brass fillet brazing for frame joints. it is strong, much stronger then the tubing! the brass i use, high fluidity rod from henry james, has a high nickle content, and melts at around 1650*. the torch flame it's self burns at over 6000*!!. don't let that touch your skin! {i have.} the flame is green due to the gasfluxer adding flux into the aceteleyne line, which allows the brass to flow nicely. that, and alot of practice and skill! i have thousands of brazes under my belt by now. it's a tedious skill to pick up, i first learned it at united bicycle institute quite some time ago.....sorry i missed out on a seat stay post, sorta spaced that one...i'll do that one again soon. and, a finished braze. sweet!!! the white/clear material is flux. it helps the metal flow, shows you the temperature the metal is at, and cleans the metal. flux is your friend! next, the frame goes into a dunk tank where water dissolves the flux. next, alot of polishing! draftsman, engineer, machinist, brazier, jeweler. you gotta wear alot of hats at this job. thanks for reading, steve.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

more notes on framebuilding.

here's the progress on david's frame, almost done except for the seatstays, a whole little project of their own. got all the nice shiny tubes from the last post all mitered up and stuck in the jig. the jig is fully adjustable to any normal geometry and holds the tubing straight so you can tack them into a structure. you only tack in the jig, you do not fully braze in the jig as you cannot achive all the proper angles to join the frame while in the jig. brazing of the frame is done in a park repair stand. also, here is a pic of my mitering setup. it's a vertical mill-drill. it takes hole saws of the sizes of tubing you are joining to and copes the tube to fit it. the tubes are held in a tubing vise, which is bolted to a rotary table, which spins to the desired angle and clamps fixed at that angle. also, a picture of the chainstay fixture, it hold the stays in place so you can braze the dropouts in place after you slot them and then miter them both on the same plane. and, here is a couple pics of making stay bridges, i cut them out of cromoly strips with a hacksaw, rough them into shape with a bench grinder, and finish them with a hand file then braze them into place in the jig to hole the stays parellel during alignment. lastly, a pic of the frame in it's current stage - looking like a bike! more later, steve.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

you gotta start some where.........

david mc k.'s bike on the drafting board getting prepped up here....first step for every frame is putting a fresh sheet of paper on the drafting board and sharpening a #2 pencil and drawing a customer's body dimentions on the sheet. then, the bike is drawn into the customer's body. the bike is made to fit the person, not the other way around. and, the blueprint is used to extrapolate the miter-to-miter lengths and the angles which you will cut the tubes at. in the picture you are looking at, the tubes have been scrubbed shiny-clean with dishsoap and hot water inside and out. this does a few things: it de-greases the tubing, which is absolutely necesisary for proper metal joinery of any kind. second, it allows you to look for blemishes or dents resulting from munufacturing processes. third, with the tube all squeaky clean you can accurately measure the internal butting profiles to maximise the strength potential of your butting, the thicker sections at the end intended to maximise strength and dissipate heat. tubes come in an impressive variety of thicknesses, butting profiles, lengths and shapes to allow an experenced framebuilder to build the strongest, best-riding, most efficient frame he can. after this, you take them and roll them across the frame alignment table to locate any bows in the tubing. tubes always have a slight bow, which you orient in the up-and-down plane to build a straighter bike. the headtube piece with the two vent holes is cut from a 3' piece of raw material and faced to make both ends parrellel to each other, both the properly align the headset cups, and to insure that the headtube piece sits straight in the jig. the ventholes allow expanding gasses to escape during joinery, water to escape which is captured during expansion and contraction due to temerature fluctuations, allows for rust inhibitors to be sprayed in the frame, and minimizes heat distortion from brazing. the bottom bracket has also been vented. the fishmouthed piece is the seattube sleeve, it has also been cut from stock and coped on the vertical mill. it goes on the top of the tube and strengthens the seattube cluster, as well as eliminating distortion which would need to be reamed out to allow for proper seat post fit, weakening the frame. looks cool, too. and, no frame is built from one complete tubeset, but chosen from different manufacturers from around the world. here's this frames tubing list and it's maker and country of origin: headtube, toptube and down tube, truetemper, usa. seattube, tange prestige, japan. chainstays, dedacciai, italy. bottombracket shell and dropouts, paragon machine works, usa. the seattube sleeve and seatstays are made from seamless aircraft 4130 steel, usa. who thought there was so much before you ever start cutting tubes? more pics later, steve.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

handcycle technical testpiece

went and did a very hard ride yesterday, parked at the top of chimmney springs road and rode up freidland prairie road to secret trail. i was really fired up in that i totally aced secret trail! it was really, really fun to ride at the edges of the one-offs' technical ability! the ferns were fading out on the trail, meaning that it's freezing at night up there. at the end of secret we dropped onto the "yo mamma" trail, a new flag addition. i have to say, it had pretty nice flow and plenty of rocks, a good thing! after that it was a grovel in the nice, gentle rain back up chimmney springs to the car. also, in framebuilding news, kathy's frame got finished but it slipped out the door before i got pics of it. oh well, it will be back soon from the painter up for ya'll to see. and, thanks for all the great responses on the world's post! o.k, time to go and dave mc.k's bike. thanks for reading! steve.