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,



MIUMIU said...

Nice to meet you, look at your blog sympathy.
And links to your blog please.
Waited reply.

Maverick Solutions said...


steve garro said...

cool beans, rody! that squisher looks like someting in my shop....true, the long hours of concentration is what i ask folks if they possess when they say they wanna build......steve.

Peter T said...

Amazing...and maybe someday I'll understand your fabrication terminology :)

You know, you could give the Teutuls a run for their money if you had a reality show.

Rody said...


If the Teutals actually fabricated anything (like their frames/tanks/tins) instead of just putting on gingerbread, then it might be a fair comparison ;)

Unfortunately, it would be a pretty slow paced show.

Til next time,