Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday morning musings...

Thought I'd throw up a couple more pics of Eric's 650b progress for ya...

There is a plethora of braze ons for this bike just waiting for a little silver lovin...

One of Eric's requests was for a bottle opener on the non-drive there are no vertical dropouts with such a little beasty ready for purchase, I had to fabricate one. This little guy started out from a large chunk of 302 stainless. Some time on the mill and a little hand filing, and we have the rough shape below...

All welded up to the dropout, there is still a little hand filing to be done to even out one small ripple in the flat section. This little guy will be polished and masked off so that no matter how many caps it cracks off in it's life, no paint will be sacrificed ;)

I had originally built up a stem for Eric's build based off of some early conversations, but the final design ended up going in a bit different geometric direction so a new one needed to be made. I needed a 110 length, 5 degree rise with a "knee saver" design; clamp bosses on the rear of the piece.
I ended up creating a piece that recessed the steerer clamp into the body of the stem, all nicely molded together with a small silver fillet that I'm going to leave unfiled for a little bit of handmade character.
And finally, a shot of the whole enchilada coming together...
Eric's project has taken on a bit of it's own life, as new challenges and additions keep manifesting. The most recent in the challenge of fitting a rack to the rear that will accommodate the spacing necessary for disc brakes and V-brakes...a request that no standard rack can obtain without fugly add on rigging. So...a custom rack needs to be made. I'm going to fab one up that will attach using internal bosses so that when it is not attached, there will be no visual indication on the frame to detract from the clean lines. Got the material ordered up and it should land sometime next week.

I also need to construct a Ti bar for this build, so will be doing that next week with some other Ti work... hehhh (big sigh), everything always takes longer than you'd like :)

I'm in the shop early today so that I can bust out quickly. Gotta prepare for an 8 hour class that I'm teaching at the fire academy on Saturday on managing the first 15 minutes of critical it just me or does the time required not meet the expectations of the subject?

In other news, it's nice to hear from folks who enjoy reading the blog and tune in to see what's shaking. I've added a "Follower" link on the right sidebar of the page. If you want to follow the blog and see who else is reading, please sign up. Jeff and Wes of First Flight are the lone follower right now...I'd hate to have my reputation sullied by having only those two as devotees ;)

More October bars going out in the morning...I'll post up a list of customers who will be getting the next shipment on Sunday.

Oh, big birthday wishes going out to my cuz Chris...38 on Wednesday and still riding like a teenager.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Super Duper Mega Post...consider yourself warned.

Ok folks,

I've got to catch you up on two days worth of activity, so here we go...

When we last left off, I had busted out the chainstays on Eric's bike and bent up the seat stays. These were some very precise buggers, as Eric wants maximum room for mud build up but I also have to balance that with meeting the request for canti bosses, which have a very narrow window of spec'd width for proper operation. I was able to get 3 inches of clearance inside the stays while pushing the canti operation into the acceptable zone.

Here's a shot of the mocked up stays...

A lot of folks ask..."just how tight do your miters need to be?" Surface contact the entire circumference of the miter is very important for the strength of the frame. Here's a shot of the seatstays, one of the most difficult areas to get to meet perfectly as you are dealing with compound miters with multiple angles of contact.

A curvaceous rear end... watch out Jaylo ;)

I was all ready to braze up the dropouts on Eric's frame when I quickly realized I was out of Oxygen in the tanks to get the job done, so I turned up the midnight oil a bit and knocked out another 8 Luvs of the October order...never a moment to sit idle.
This morning had me running the blaster before sunrise, enjoying the combination of low lying mist in the farm fields and an incredible orange orb of a morning sun, and meeting the welding supply guys to open up.

Once back, it is back to work on the rear stays.

I vent all the tubes of the frame for two reasons; to allow for internal moisture evaporation and to facilitate rust prohibitive treatment. Here's a shot of how I mark out and drill using a center drill the vent holes in the seat tube where the seat stays meet.

I brazed up the drop outs and scalloped them to a nice finish...

Tacking the stays...
and it's off for welding it in the fixture.

Next stop, I hand miter the seat stay brace. Yep, despite all the cool kit I have to cut tubes, I still use a file for some of the pieces, as it is the most efficient method.

checking the fit...
drilling the vent hole...these are tiny, using a whispy thin drill bit.

The brace welded in and checking the rear spacing...135mm on the nose, no cold setting needed here :)
Notice the new sandals ^... I just got two pair from Germany. I'm good to go for another 5 years

And Eric's roughed in frame...

Tomorrow, I'll attach all the braze ons, slot the seat binder and the EBB, and prep it for paint.

I should have more bars to send out tomorrow afternoon as well, as long as I can get the powder applied in time to hit the post office before it closes, here's to keeping fingers crossed.



Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend of fun...

After two years of no family vacation, the pressure from Christi and the kids to break away was coming to a head, so I treated the family to some time away (albeit brief) to celebrate my birthday.

Saturday morning, I got into the shop at 0500 to push out a little work before escaping for the weekend at 1000.

I was able to finish up and ship out some of the October bars, so here is a list of a few lucky folks who will be getting their orders early;

Andy, custom walled grips, black
Robbe, standard bar in black
Brian L, standard bar in black
Carl, standard bar in black, no decal
Brian D, standard bar in black
James, 28" bar in black

Also, lots of questions from overseas customers. Please note that it can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks for a package shipped USPS priority mail to make it to your doorstep. There is no rhyme or reason, seems that each country's customs hold packages for differing amounts of time. The United States Postal service does not have "tracking" numbers per se, only notifying me of delivery once made. To ship a service with tracking costs almost 3 times the amount, too costly for me, but if you would like it, please let me know and I'll accommodate.

Once the shop duties were completed, we ran off to Kalahari resort and indoor waterpark, one of the largest in the country. The park did not disappoint, as it kept us busy until late into the evening. My favorite had to be the "Flowrider", an indoor surfwave that you could boogie board on.

Sunday it was off to Cedar Point, voted the Worlds best amusement park for rollercoasters. It was a perfect fall day, slightly cloudy with a nice breeze, and as it was Sunday, there were hardly any crowds. We walked onto almost every ride with less than 10 minutes wait, the only exception being the new ride the "Maverick", where we sucked it up and waited 40 minutes.

It was good to get away, if only for 36 hours.

Hopefully some finished fabrication shots of Eric's frame tonight.



Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday wrap up; tubes, eggs, and drinking straws

Well the week has spun away from me without much posting, so I'll try catch you up on all the happenings.

Wednesday I planned to knock out the last of Eric's frame, working on the rear end so I can put it all together. I made some nice progress right up until the time that I got a visit from the Chief of my department...seems that Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden was making an evening visit to the College of Wooster and I got pulled into the fray to work the event as the Medical Command. A few interesting perspectives...

The Secrete Service guys are pretty cool folk, but they don't allow themselves a lot of a sense of humor

Make sure you pee before entering the secured/protected area, standing for 7 hours without leaving your post is hard on the bladder.

These events are geared to the media...of the 5000 people who showed up, maybe 1000 could see Senator Biden, the rest had their view hidden out of site by the media stage and strategically placed tents.

And my final item... Snipers do not like you looking up at them and pointing, proclaiming, "see, there he is behind the second roof turret" ;)

Anyways, back to regular programming. Here are some shots of Eric's rear end coming together...

Slotting the rear chainstay to fit the flat dropout tabs, I use a double slitting saw with a custom turned spacer...

A shot of the slot with the center remains to be removed yet, the final width fits the tab width perfectly.
A rough check of the fit, the piece will still need filed and sanded before securing.

Once ready to rock, the pieces are placed in my Anvil chainstay fixture for welding.

I tig weld the stays in place and then will later come back, fill the ends with silver, and miter in a scallopped edge for a clean transition from tube to dropout.

Once the ends are in place, I can measure my final stay length and miter for the eccentric bb.

Eric will be using an older XTR bottom clamp front derailleur and spacing between the tire and the unit was a concern of his. After doing some quick measurement, I ended up increasing the chainstay length .25" to insure plenty of room for mud without comprimising performance.

Next, I went to work on the seat stays. Below is a shot of the straight stay and after some bending, the final shape for the frame.

Both stays bent to fit...should be plenty of room for big rubber and mud in here ;)

Of course, while bending the stays for the belt drive project, I was interrupted by a phone call, and when I set the stay down on the bench, it fell off putting a slight dent in the outer tubing; it was my last stay :(

Thank goodness Joe Bringheli lives pretty close, as the importer for Dedda tubing, I ran up there today and picked up another 5 pair. I had been trying to avoid getting more, as I have a big order of custom bent stays on the way from Italy, but when you need them, you gotta have them.

I took Joe a pie from the Amish bakery in the alley behind me to say thanks for fitting my visit in. On the way out, he yelled.."wait Rody, I've got something for you!" Back he came with a dozen fresh layed eggs from his chicken coup...quite a versatile guy :)

Now that I'm back in the shop, I could not leave you without this final pic...

This is what one of the locals did when his cable housing cracked and had to be removed, somehow, the performance was not quite the same :)

I figure the drinking straw allowed the frayed cable to pass back through...does not shift well though.



Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricaine Ike rumbles through Woo....

The cold down draft from the North met the warm air from Ike of the south and created one heck of a wind storm in NE Ohio.

My plans for Sunday were a bit derailed when I was called back into the FD to assist with the pending storm. Ended up with about 5 hours of intense weather...winds well over 70mph but not a drop of rain, quite surreal.

I basically ran from call to call for 4 solid hours and then had the aftermath to deal with.

One of my first priorities was to open one of the main roads to the hospital for some of the traumas that were coming in. We had just finished pulling the last of the tree trunk off the road when it sounded like the heavens opened up and two large canopy limbs let loose right above us. We were able to dive out of the way...had the pole lines not slowed the fall, it would have been a quick end to little ol' me. In the pic below, I was directly under the wires.

I decided to close the road and move on...mostly to change my undies :)

This pic is looking out the back of the shop...this tree landed on some of the downtown neighbors vehicles...

And a shot from my neighborhood at the College...
right next door...
this one fell on four vehicles, flattening two of them.
Most the City is without power today...gonna do what I can in the shop but will spend most the day in clean up.



Friday, September 12, 2008

A mix mash of work...

Today dawned dreary with a consistent rain that kinda puts a damper on working in the shop. I feel a lot more energized when I can open the overhead door and let the sunshine play across the glinting metal of frames waiting to go home to their new owners.

I spent the day finishing up some shipping preparations, knocking out another 2 hours of email, and focusing on two projects.

First item I played with were chainstays for Eric's 650 and the belt drive frame. Eric's going to be running some new Grove Hot Rods with compact Race Face rings, so I did some bending/swaging to shape up some tapered stays that will give him maximum clearance for both tires and chainrings on the new steed. These started as some single bend ovals that I manipulated quite a bit. The end result is quite nice ;)

The next project involved bending up some non-tapered stays for the belt drive frame. These use some .035" x .75" tubing that will allow me to use the coupler on the drive side to pass the belt through and give me enough material for a cut away section to give clearance for the large belt chainring that is used with the system.

The last item on my list for the day was the assembly of this 29er geared bike heading off to NY state. Too bad the rain is persisting, the metallic purple powder coat is very cool dancing in the sunlight. Full braze ons to allow for geared/ss/Rohloff with Paragon sliders make up the highlights of the frame. An XTR/XT build with Phil Wood hubs, King headset, and White Bros. Fork rounds out the build.
Off now to try and catch dinner with the family...hope your weekend is fun filled!



Monday, September 8, 2008

Eric's internal cable it's done

Hey folks, lots happening here at Groovy headquarters.

The Wayne County Fair is going on and if you are into checking out animals, eating greasy food, and seeing lots of folks who should be wearing more clothing (that's right Ms. Muffin Tops, this means you), then the fair is the place to be. Fortunately, I've got enough going on here at the shop that I doubt I'll be making it down anytime soon ;)

Back on track, Eric requested internal cable routing for his steed to keep the lines clean and to do away with exposed cables that can lead to poor performance. So, we're installing one brake line in the top tube and two gear lines in the down tube, with the gearing actually entering on the opposite sides from standard to decrease the bend in the cable, allowing for better action and longer life.

Although the cables enter on the side opposite, they will exit on the appropriate side for the mechanism it controls; rear derailleur enters on the left and exits on the right, front derailleur enters on the right and exits on the left. This is a bit more work to finagle the internal routing where it needs to go, but will be worth the extra effort.

I put together a quick video to illustrate the process for y'all, enjoy!

Once the tubes are all ready to go, it's off to weld up the front triangle.

The frame flowed very smoothly and came out straight as an post weld alignment needed here.

Some of the advantages of having a custom fixture is that it locates each piece and hold it all steady, allows for excellent access to the entirety of all the joints, and when used in conjunction with a systematic welding process, allows the frame to pull it's self into an aligned state, leaving very little necessity for the cold setting process that is so barbaric.

In other news, the balance of the September Luvs and some of the October order will be shipping on Wednesday. Hope the bars find everyone excited and healthy.



Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday morning brunch...a metal affair

So after a bit of brunch with the kids, I thought I'd post up a bit of metal work for your appetite.

Friday and Saturday were spent working on Eric's 650b and the belt drive project.

I also squeezed in another fork build from some of the crowns/legs that I mitered up earlier in the week. Here's a shot of the crown on a 29er fork...the miters welded up really cleanly and should look super under some glossy white finish.

Em stopped by to help me clean the shop. She does a nice job cleaning and wiping down the machines, but then gets all philosophical about it; "why bother, you're just going to get it dirty again!" How do you argue with that logic?

On to the builds... one of the first items of the frame I work on is the seat tube, as it is a key element in building everything off of. The seat tube is measured and cut to a rough length, the top cut at a 12 degree miter and then all the edges filed and cleaned so they are smooth. Next up is the binder bolt. It has to be precisely placed and then tacked, as I will use the front surface of the binder to keep the bottom bracket miter in phase.

The binder is tacked on both sides before it is released from the fixture. It will be silver brazed later, giving a smooth strong finish fillet.

Below, you can see how the binder is then used to orient the seat tube for the bottom bracket miter. I use parallels to shim out the binder so that the tube is straight in the fixture.

Once the seat tube cut is made, I move on to the down tube. I mentioned earlier that all the tubes are run over the alignment table. The longer the tube, the greater the probability that there will be some measure of bowing to it. These need to be positioned vertically, so that the stresses of the frame use the irregularity to it's advantage rather than it's detriment. Below, you can see the slightly raised portion in the center of the tube and the subsequent photo where I've marked the centerline on the top to orient it.

Centerlines marked...

The downtube is swaged/ovalized to give greater surface contact with the headtube and then prepped for mitering. I miter the bb joint first, as the cutter is already in the mill and then the headtube. As each frame is custom, I do take about three cuts to get the angle dialed in and length finalized; one to remove most of the material, a second to finalize the angle, and the third to finish length.
All fit up with 12mm of headtube extension below to allow for clearance of control knobs of sussy forks if they are eventually used.
A quick compound miter to allow the seat tube to slide into place finishes off the down tube...all nice and tight :)
The last bit is the top tube. Eric wants a frame geometry that has only a gently sloping top tube, so he may sit on top of it and wait for friends without sliding back into his saddle. I typically use an aggressive slope, as I never have the opportunity to sit and wait. Seems I'm always the one that others are looking back the trail at ;)

Going to run into the shop today and work on the internal cable routing, catch up on email tonight, and then get back at it in the morning.