Friday, May 30, 2008

Phat J's kit all done up :^)

Jason's frame is all finished up...ended up with 4 coats of clear and lots of sanding to give it some depth and to even out the underlying 5 coats of masking.

Typical, pictures do no do it justice, but, unless you want to travel to Ohio, it's the best y'all are gonna get ;)

Jason plans on building it up with a mix of black and silver components for a nice, balanced look that will compliment the explosion of color on the frame.

A painted to match Luv Handle, White Indy cranks and hubs, phil wood bb, black Brooks Swallow saddle, and black anno'd Ritchey post and stem will round out the build.

Should be a pretty killer singly.

I welded on some chromo Luvs today and will hit the Ti tomorrow, due to my clumsiness; dropped my 1.00" diffuser cup (ceramic cup for the tig torch) on the floor and broke it, so I'll have to get some more tomorrow.

Next up for frames are Chris's road bike, Eric's 6-5-0, and Gregorio's all should be seeing info requests from me soon.



Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jason's frame in paint

Found my camera cord...yippee!

Ok, feeling a bit tired tonight and am hoping to catch Christi before she's in bed for the night so the commentary will be short ;)

First shot...the bars and fork blasted and ready for primer.

Frame all blasted, chemically prepped, ready for primer...

All pieces parts feeling very happy with their first solid coat of primer...into the bake box they go!

Once out, they get sanded smooth and another coat of the grey green stuff for extra protection :)

All primered up and sanded again, it's time to start laying down the color. Jason wanted a kicked up Polka dot paint with bright colors, so away we go...

If you look close, you can see the masking under the layer's of paint

Moving through a couple of coats, we arrive at the final top coat, a nice powder blue...

Once it flashes out, it's time to remove the leg becomes a polka dot massacre pallet...

The frame in it's spotted glory. The green came out darker in the pics than in reality. The first coat of clear is on. It'll get baked, sanded, then decals applied and off for 3 more clear coats.

I should finish the paint tomorrow and I'll be welding up the Luv Handle's in between curing coats.

See you in the am,


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Ok, so I've found out just how much a slave to tech I am.

Lost my connection cord for my camera so have felt totally incapable of updating y'all on what's been going on. I tried a couple different cords with no love, big bummer.

So today, no current pics for you, but here's what's been happening.

Before I could get started on Jason's paint, I had to bust out the little extra's that help make it a his fork and a bar :)

So I spent the majority of the day yesterday finishing up a Yo Eddy style 29er fork and a Luv Handle for his build. Still warm from the weld table, I got them both blasted up, prepped, and up to speed with the frame...then it was off to the booth.

I had time to get two coats of primer on the whole shebang before I had to call it quits for the night. Tomorrow I'll lay down the colors. Jason has asked for polka dots and panels with some bright spring colors.

Friday will be Luv Handle day...gonna be welding up the chromo and Ti bars, oh yeah!

Hopefully, I'll find my cord...big dummy.
To hold you over, here's a pic of Kaltens favorite bike, a '62 Schwinn Phantom cruiser that we saved from the tip and converted into a kickin single speed.



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Phat Jay's the paint booth!

Welcome Sunday morning...

I finished Jason's frame fabrication today under bright blue skies...would have loved to go ride today but the press of commitments and feeling a bit under the weather still kept me working instead.

I silver brazed on the top tube hydro guides, and drilled and brazed the Rohloff chainstay bosses. As this bike is going to be used primarily as a single speed, but with the possibility of using a Rohloff for geared play in the future, I've installed 5 bosses that will accept custom machined aluminum clamps to hold the twin cables in place when used, but allow for a clean look without obtrusive pieces when running as a singly. I particularly like the ones on the non-drive chainstay; I locate the boss on the inside of the chainstay so you can't see it, but allowing for a small aluminum mitered plate to attach and hold the cables tight to the bottom of the stay for clean tight routing. The bosses are located out of the way of the tire so mud clearance is maintained...Sweet!

So, here's Jason's completed frame, with all vent holes taped and bosses with bolts, ready for blasting. Before I paint though, I ream the seat tube, tap the bottom bracket, and prep all the boss threads. It's easier to do this now, as once it is painted, it really sucks to get cutting fluid on the fresh finish or risk chipping it with a sharp tool.

Here I'm getting ready to ream the seat tube to 27.2 to correct for any shrinkage from welding.

Once the seat tube is a nice slip fit, I move on to the bottom bracket...

After all the clean up work, I blow off the frame, wipe it with a solvent, and send it off to the blast cabinet...the finished product, ready for paint : )

So while I was busy blasting, Cubby decided to take a nap in his favorite truly is a dog's life!
Tomorrow is the Memorial day holiday, I'll be serving the public and thinking of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom.



Friday, May 23, 2008

Jason's Bigwheel almost ready to roll :)

I paid my penance today for taking a day off to travel on up at 0345 to put a full day in at the shop and push Jason's frame through fabrication. Almost made it...gave up at 1900 to go home and get some grub ;)

Started the day off working on mitering up the seat stays...

I marked off the cut lengths from my fixture measurements and then took about three slow cuts to hit the stays right on the money. I struggled for a time with the Anvil seat stay fixture, as it was very different than the set up I had used for years. Kinda feel like I'm rocking it out now.
The stays fit up nice and tight, with good contact the entire circumference of the seat tube. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I tacked the stays in place to the dropouts at the top and bottom of the mitered slot. Tacking in the vertical areas keeps any lateral movement or pull from occurring and adding more stress to the piece.

Once the stays are tacked firmly, I silver braze in the stainless dropouts, giving them a nice scallop finish that will melt right into each other and give a super smoooth appearance once coated in some liquid love (paint, that is). One of the reasons there is an up charge for the sliders is that not only are they expensive, but it takes mucho silver to fill the ends for good adhesion and material removal for the scalloping.

Once the rear end is ready to be mated to the front triangle, I mark and drill the vent holes for the seat and chain stays to allow for gas expansion during welding as well as moisture evaporation for the longevity of the frame. These also allow me to coat with rust inhibitor once the frame is completed. A quick punch set and then drill it out with a #2 center drill and a bit of cutting fluid.
I weld up the rear end in the fixture to insure that all is held tight and straight. There are two little spots I cannot reach in the fixture that require removal of the frame to finish; under the inside of the seat stay and the fixture side of the non drive chain stay. The rear spacer is kept in place during this finish work to insure the heat does not shrink the rear spacing.

The frame then gets an oval stay brace placed and I'm outta energy! Still have to put in two Rohloff cable guys on the chain stay and braze on the hydraulic brake tabs and she'll be ready for post fabrication work; tapping, facing, reaming the seat tube and paint prep.

Kalten stopped by to briefly help out with prepping the Luv Handles for assembly by sanding off the mill scale from a few grip sections...

You can see he has a ways to go ;)

Mike's X frame is all repainted and ready for assembly, so I thought I'd share a few pics. This is a Ti 29er X frame that Bill fabbed up last year as his first bike in a long time. It took a beating in the last 365 days so now it is repainted and ready for another season of action.

I picked up Chris's tubing for his road bike build, some very nice Dedda Heat treated pieces that are uber thin....65/.45/.60 (that's hundreths of a millimeter folks) . Gonna have to keep the bead moving fast on that stuff.

Hope y'all have a good holiday weekend...I'll be serving the public at the FD Saturday and Monday and in the paint booth Sunday.



Time to spring clean...

Morning folks,

Gotta clear out some of these lingering frames, so here is the deal.

The three show frames would normally sell for over $1975.00 each with the amped up paint and extras, but I need to get them out of the shop to make room, so I'm gonna have a quick spring blow out.

Price for the frame, fork and King headset for each of the three will be 1275.00 plus shipping to your door.

Here are the frame kits that are available with a description and pics of each;

Don't want to bite at that price? If they do not sell outright, I'll accept offers until Tuesday, and then they'll move on to the highest bidder.

Time to stop waffeling around and commit, these are too damn nice to sit around ;)



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jason's frame rolling along

I've been sequestered away at the FD for 72 hours over the weekend, so not much been happening at the shop.

I got started on three restorations on Sunday, Bob and Michael's Yo's and Jeff's Bruiser before having to go back into work.

Yesterday, I was pretty sleep deprived and feeling a bit of the spring flu bug, so I just kinda wandered around without much focus for a while, trying to keep close to the porcelain pedestal. Finally got my arse in gear though and worked on Jason's rear triangle a bit.

The Paragon sliders I'd been waiting for finally showed up. Seems the crew up there were suffering from the same bit of sickness, but they were out for a week. Glad they are all feeling better :)

Anyhoo, I mitered up Jasons chainstays, a nice oval to round s bend stay made by Dedda that uses a little more wall material in the dropout end for added strength in this single speed/Rohloff application. The thicker wall allows us to get away with not using a left stay brace with the Rohloff, as the torque created is substantial.

Here's a shot of the bb intersection...

I like these oval stays for singly applications because they allow me to set the piece far to the outside of the bottom bracket for maximum tire clearance, while still leaving room for up to a 40T chainring without any denting or manipulation. That's nice, because it maintains the highest level of structural strength.

A shot of the frame with the chainstays in place...

The Paragon sliders with windows all tacked up and in position. These will be silver brazed and then scallop cut for a smooth finished transition. I design the bike so that the sliders are in the center of their range with a wheel base of 17.25. This leaves room for the rider to custom tune the bike to either move the wheel forward and under them for a faster, more agile climber or back for more stable cruising and still have substantial tire clearance.

The windowed sliders are pretty sexy, but come at a price. About a 30 dollar up charge from the standard sliders.
With the chainstays in place, it's time to start working on the seatstays. They begin as straight pieces that I measure out. I mark off the center line, the rough cut length, the tire apex point, the top bend and the bottom bend before actually finessing the tubes.

Here's a shot of the start of the process...

And the final result after custom bending, wiping them clean, and getting ready for mitering.

and the last pic...the angled slot that is cut to allow a tight fit on the tab of the dropout.

Hope to have Jason's frame finished in fabrication on Friday.

I'm taking off for a day to visit some shops/customers in the Virginia area then I'll be back at it Thursday evening.



Friday, May 16, 2008

Lonely day...just me and the mill

Today I embarked on my monthly Luv Handle journey, made more interesting with the inclusion of the Ti proto pieces, so I thought I'd share the process with y'all. There's lots of top secrete technology in here, so if you read sharing with the enemy!

I started off by parting off the Ti in the lathe into the beginning cut lengths for the bars. I used the parter on the lathe as it gives a very precise square cut as well as is much cleaner and easier on the Ti tubing than the cold saw.

The next process is putting the bends in the center section. I use a 10,000 psi custom bender to accurately place the correct bend angle in the tubing. The tubing is kept in phase/aligned using a clamp block (on right of pic) that sits squarely on the machined plates. The post in the front of the bender with the white tape sets the angle of the bend and limits any further downward progress.
After bending, the center section moves over to the vise to be swaged to reduce the 1.0" diameter to .750" so that it will mate well with the .875" grip section. This process also increases the strength of the bar by increasing the surface area of the segmented section. The angled plates gradually ovalize the tubing and give a very clean transition from oval to round. The surface plate in the foreground keeps the tube in phase to insure consistency.

The finished swaged end ...

After both ends are swaged, it's off to the mill for mitering. The most difficult aspect of the Luv's is the severe miter at the grip/center section intersection. It is a compound miter, giving both sweep and rise to the bar. To hold it in place, special fixtures are used for the mitering process.

Looking down at the indicator plates and the angle they provide.

the bar carriage in the fixture...

a cutter's view of the Ti center section ready to be mitered. You can see there is very little room for error with this set up. The miter takes two cuts and due to it's depth, takes a long time. With Ti, the propensity is for the wall to tear rather than cut cleanly, so the spindle speed and feed rate MUST be precise.

Looking down at one completed miter
The center carriage with both miters now complete. To give you an idea of process time, it takes 40 minutes from time of loading to unloading one center section for mitering the Ti bar. The standard chromoly bars take half that. With the cost of Ti, it's better to take your time and be precise because any scrap is lots of money lost :(

Fortunately, there was no scrap this day :)

A gaggle of Ti center sections...

For all of you that romanticize frame building as a career, one factor you have to deal with is the solitude, both good and bad. Today, I stood in front of the bender, swager, and mill for over 12 hours straight by myself, and this is the result...

Enough material for 5 full Ti bars and 14 chromoly ones. It was a long lonely day, one that is repeated often. But it is totally offset when you get to deliver a product that make people smile excitedly like a 4 year old at Christmas :)

I'm waiting on my Ti end caps from the water jet cutter and then we'll begin welding everything up. Hoping they'll be coming soon ;)

Sunday will be a full day in the paint booth working toward getting some of these frame repaints done.

See ya soon,