Saturday, April 26, 2008

A race to the finish...

Ok, so I had one of those "oh shit" moments.

I had sent one of the teams bikes out to Rohloff for use at Sea Otter (Fed Ex screwed up and arrived two days late..ughh) and have been so busy I've not thought much more about it.

It's Saturday morning and I suddenly realize that John does not have a bike to race on Sunday now that the bike is in Cali...uh oh!

The race is a biggy as it is the first race of 6 in the Groovy Cycleworks series and an Ohio Mountain Bike Championship points race to boot. Suddenly, my task at hand turns to building John a new frame/fork/bar in less than 24 hours.

So John got what I had at hand...

I had some rims for 650b's and a rigid fork that is suspension corrected that just needed finishing, some bits and bobs from Zach, and a whole lot of magic fairy dust :)

The front triangle all welded up in the fixture

A close up shot of the bottom bracket

a nice tight bead around the top tube / seat tube junction

and then by the magic of the blog, the frame is done in fabrication and we are off to paint! John didn't want anything too crazy and quite honestly, I did not have a lot of time to work with as I have to be off to the Fire Department at 0600, so we used his colors and I threw in a bit of flair; it is one of my bikes after all ;)

So it's now 0130 and I've got about 1 more hour of frame prep post bake and then I can sleep for a couple of hours before it's off to work again :(

I'll let y'all know how the John and the bike did at the race,


Luv Handles coming soon...

Current batch of Luv Handles is almost done...will ship next week.

Not including the shop orders, here is what will be going out;

Jeff K - Silver
Rod L - Black
Jeff C - Black
Paul L - Silver
Nhat N - Black
Robert S - Black, no decals
Danny S - Black
Albert R - Black
Ty R- Black
Mark G - clear, AZ use only ;)
Phat J - color to be determined by frame
Denise G - flower luv
Eric A - Black, 28" wide
Tim L - color yet to be decided

If you do not see your name, these folks came first and are ahead of you on the queue. The next batch of 30 has 2 bars left available to reserve...drop me a line.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jman's Monster paint...

The last two days have been focused around the repaint of this Monster Fat, so I thought I'd show you some progress pics to give you an idea of the liquid paint process :)

The frame is media blasted to give an even tooth for proper adhesion and then prepped for paint using a degreasing solvent...then she gets hung in the booth.

I use two layers of sanded primer on each frame to insure a nice balanced base that will protect the underlying base material well. This shot shows the grey/green primer's first application.

After the primer comes the base color. In this job, it's a Midnight Blue metallic. It looks kind of bland right now, that's because I spray it on fairly dry in multiple coats, usually 3, to insure even coverage without excess build as I do not sand my color coats.

Next up is the first layer of clear, sprayed cool and fairly heavy...I'll sand this coat to prep for the airbrush work and decals so the "orange peel" is not of much concern.

As you can see, even outside, the color does not really jump out at you yet...just wait ;)

Here's a shot of the first sanded coat. The entire frame is knocked down with 600 grit dry paper to even out the coat and prepare for what follows. It feels a bit funny working so meticously to get a good finish just to sand it into what looks like oblivion, but it'll be worth it.

I've airbrushed on the lightning bolts using a metallic silver with a hint of transleusant black.

Then I layered 5 different shades of clouds starting with transleucent white and getting darker and adding a bit of purple for the ionization effect that lightning has. The NOS decals are super pricey and are quite fragile (they are 20+ years old). Ready for the next layer of clear!

Two layers of clear and a good run in the bake box, and the frame is finished. I added some prismatic to the clear to really let the metallic colors came out really nice.

Wish I could figure out how to post larger pics as these just do not do it justice. After it sits a bit, I'll face the HT and BB and tap out the threads. Then it's a pack and ship job headed for Cali for a new lease on life :)



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Back home now...a few paint pics for y'all

Hey folks,

The trip to AZ was a mixed blessing...had fun visiting with friends but constantly had the amount of work to be done in the back of my mind the whole trip, hard to get away from.

Did some great riding, will post pics and some descriptions later.

For now, I thought I'd show you some paint progression shots for two of the bikes that needed completed prior to departing. A 72 hour push resulted in the finished fabrication, paint and build of the bikes prior to leaving. The last frame came out of the bake box at 0430 and we were on the way to the airport at 0600...that was cutting it close!

Here's Mikey's SS coupled 650b frame ready for paint. The couplers were masked off, the frame blasted and then chemically wiped.

The next shot shows the frame with two coats of primer. The are layed fairly heavy and sanded in between to give a smooth base before the color goes on. Mistakes here show up in the final finish so it's best to be meticulous.

For Mikey's paint, we start with a metallic silver base sprayed over the entire frame.

The sunrise fade begins with a transleusant red. It took six coats before the color really began to pop and give the vibrance I wanted.

Then a couple of coats of orange glow is layered on, giving a fantastic transition layer with the red.
Then comes the yellow sunshine to finish off the rear end

Top it all off with three coats of clear and a little prismatic added in and the frame really stands out.

The other coupler bike was outfitted with the county fair paint, so named by S. Garro due to it's resembalance to cotton candy and sh*t brown :)
I start the same way as the other frame and then the first color is pink. Mask it off and begin to follow along...

getting ready to spray the blue...

Blue is on, covered, and ready for the brown...

Uncover it all and place the decals, ready for clear...

the finished product :)

Monday sees me back in the shop. Will be working on the paint restos this week, Eric's stem and a unicrown fork in midnight metallic blue, should be cool.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Outa O-HI-O...playing in AZ

Hey guys,

Well, the last few days before I departed for Arizona were spent hammering out the last two bikes in fabrication and paint. Pulled the last frame out of the bake box at 0430 am Friday, left for the airport at 0600...that was close!

Anyhoo...I'm couch surfing at the Garros in Flagstaff...Steve and Denise are the proprieters of Coconino Cycles and gracious hosts :)

Denise pounded us on a fun ride today, she scampered up the mountain on a single speed and left me gasping for mercy at over 7000 feet.

Anyhoo, here are some pics...

the group taking a break at the Newham lookout

Here's a pic of the county fair paint...a mixture of cotton candy and chocolate colors :)

Mikeys sunset fade paint...deep metallic red to orange to yellow sunshine with prismatic to really capture the sun. Very nice when not dusty ;)

Here's a pic of Don's cheetah bike and Denise's custom Coconino daisy frame...sweet!

Finally, the view.

Wanted to let everyone know I won't be near a computer again, so please be patient if you do not see an email response from me, I'll get y'all taken care of when I return. Thanks for the understanding, this is my first break from building every day for the last 6 months (my legs definately feel it).



Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Don's bike pics...SPOILER, don't look Don!

Hey guys, I've been pushing to get these three frames done before I leave tomorrow, so all else has taken a back seat including email and the blog. I'm going to try to attend to both tonight as I feel it's important to keep communication as current as I can.

Don wants his bike to be a surprise, so if your name is Don and you are reading this...look away now, there is nothing to see here!

Now, for the rest of us, on to the show.

Below are some fabrication shots...

first up is a little braze work on the front triangle. All fluxed up are the water bottle bosses and the seat post clamp. A little heat, some 56% silver, and let the magic flow :)

Next up is the rear triangle work... here's a pic of the miter on the seat stay as it meets the seat tube. This is one of the most difficult miters on the bke to get tight as it is a compound miter and needs to be perfectly matched with it's twin on the other side. It's accuracy is extremely important for a strong build that will last a lifetime. Notice how there is no gap or light visible...that's a good fit and will make a durable joint.

Once the fabrication is done, the entire frame is tapped and faced, degreased, and blasted. Then it's off to the paint booth.

I really enjoy paint as it is an opportunity for the personality of the owner, builder and bike to come together in a synergistic relationship. For this build, Don wanted some type of animal theme. As this will be a full on geary, I thought something fast would be appropriate, so a cheetah it is; here is how I started...
The first step is two sanded primer coats for good protection. Next, is the base layer of cream white that will match the underbelly fur coloring. Then the real work begins...12 layers of darker orange faded into yellow vertically around the tube from top to bottom. I also air brushed in some darker streaks and hand rubbed the colors to add some visual texture.

Once the base layer is completed, it's time to add the spots. I played with stencils and masks, but finally decided on hand painted accents with a detail brush. I kept a couple of pics of the cheetah close at hand to get the concentration of dots and the varying shapes correct. After 5 hours of meticulous hand work, the frame was finally covered.

The subsequent step is the clear. Three coats of clear, sanded between each, gives a beautiful depth and shine that is tough to really capture with the camera, but makes you want to rub your hands all over it :)
The clear starts off a bit cool, but the last coat is mixed really hot (lots of reducer) to burn in the layers and give that glass like appearance.

26 straight hours later, the frame is done in paint and ready for final rubbing compound and wax which will really set it off. That will have to be done after I crash for a few hours.

Don's got some matching paint Luv Handles as well, with full XTR drivetrain and Phil hubs, this will be a HOT build.
Tomorrow...two more paint jobs, two bars and a stem and I'll be ready spend some time packing for my trip ;)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ughh, forgot the camera at the shop tonight...sorry.

After pushing through a 40 hour straight shift at the fire department, I slept for an hour and was back in the shop today pushing to meet the deadline for Don's frame.

Got the rear end all mitered up, brazed on the dropouts, silver brazed and slotted the seat binder, brazed in the H2O bosses and welded up the rear triangle. Still have the fiddley-bits to tack on the frame and then it is ready for paint on Saturday.

I'm about two weeks behind where I want to be on the build schedule as the booth took longer than I'd planned, but here is what is coming up;

April - 6-10, work on repaints prior to the business trip to Az
- 21 through 30, work on custom stems/bars/forks

May - 1 through 5, prototyping some TI Luv Handles for all you folks that have been bugging me for these ;) and Doug and John's 6-5-0 builds
- 6 through 9, Phat Jay's 29er SS
- 13 through 16, Eric's 6-5-0
- 20 through 30, Chris's 700c SS and two day trip to bike festival with demos
June (tenative schedule)
- Goyo's 6-5-0
- Groovy at GOBA

It's a pretty knarly goal to keep this schedule, but I promised the kid's that once summer hit, I'd get back to just an 8 hour day in the shop so I'd have time with them. Lot's of rock climbing, biking and kayaking in the kid's plans this year :)

Pics tomorrow for your enjoyment...thanks for being patient,


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Don's bike is in high speed...

Bike two for this week, Big Don from the dualing states of CT and NY is hooking up with an internally cabled geared 29er for his main ride. This beauty will be outfitted with XTR drive train, Phil Wood hubs, Magura Marta hydraulic brakes, Thomson post and stem, and matching Luv Handles.

Should be a pretty trick build.

Let's start out with a pic of the internal cable guides looking through the down tube from the bb.

After slotting the tubing in the butted sections where the cables enter and exit, I then fit brass tubing in the piece that will fully encase the cable allowing for a rattle free ride with easy cable routing. Everything is silver brazed in place and finished smooth. In the above pic, you can see how the internal pieces are positioned once in place

And a quick pic below of the entrance point...

After all the internals are placed and the ends mitered to fit for the main triangle, it's time to put it under the torch. The majority of the tubing on this build is 8-5-8, meaning it is .8mm thick on the ends where strength is needed and .5 mm in the long center section to reduce weight. Though thin, with tight miters, you can run a tiny tig bead that will dissapear under the paint, giving a seamless clean look.

Here's a couple pics of the welds on the bottom bracket area, a challenging spot due to the varying angles of intersection and the disparity in tubing thicknesses.

and here is the main triangle all welded up and ready for some rear end attention :)

I start the rear end by working on the chainstays. I mill the dropout end first, cutting it in two planes for the angle from the dropout to the bb and the offset so that the tubing wraps around the shape of the drop. I then tack the two together to give some strength and stability during mitering the bb end.

The shot above shows the mitering end of the Anvil fixture. The scribed lines indicate the bb centerlines so you can position the intended placement of the chainstays once everything is all cut up.
Dead sexy curves on those chainstays. Is it wrong to get that excited about a bike?
A single cut to length is all it needs once set up is appropriate.

Moving on to the seatstays, I custom bend them to fit my design. The pic below shows two correctly bent seat stays and one that I pushed too far and the wall collasped...bummer. I hate to waste product and money, but every once in a while the demands we put on the material is greater than it's ability to support our expectations :(

Mikey, whose SS coupled frame is documented below, stopped by to refine his wheel building skills under a watchful eye. Despite a few false starts, he cruised through the lacing portion and will be ready to tension and true on Thursday when he stops back. That's when the real education will begin ;)

Next day in the shop should see the end of fabrication on Don's niner and the beginning of the last frame before I head south.