Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ti Luvs are out of here...

I hit the shop early this morning to finish fabbing up the Ti Luvs for February and buddy, let me tell ya, it's cold out there!

I cranked the heat in the shop so that I could work without wearing my puffy down coat...I'd hate to burn a hole in that, it'd smell like burnt goose feathers for sure :)

Titanium...a fun metal to work with, but it can be equally frustrating. Ti is very intolerant of less than perfect technique and will quickly render your expensive tubing worthless if you do not pay due homage to it's preferences.

I start off by dusting down the ceilings, sweeping up the floor, vacuuming the shop and finally, wiping down all the surfaces, specifically the weld table and associated equipment. Yep, I really do all that before I begin, as a spiffy clean environment is important for high quality welds in Ti.

Next up, the weld table gets loaded up with the necessary equipment... vice, purge fitting for the bars, stainless brush used only on Ti, kevlar gloves, aluminum foil for dam creation, and a cup of acetone for final degrease/cleaning before welding.
All the parts have been previously degreased, washed, scotchbrighted, washed again, and then dipped in acetone. As Ti not only likes a clean environment, it also needs an oxygen free environment for welding, inside and out. Here I have a purge fitting in the end of the grip section filling up with argon. The hole will allow the argon to flow into the center section for attachment.
With every part ready, I begin by tacking the pieces together. I keep the tacks small and fuse without filler, so that when I run a bead over them, they disappear and do not disturb the puddle size.
and a tack on the outside edge...note the lack of color, showing good internal/external argon coverage...
Once both grip sections are tacked on, it's time to start running beads. I took some macro shots so that you can see whats going on. You want the filler to make a smooth valley transition between the two pieces, insuring that you are not drawing too much material from either piece, undercutting your foundation.
The bars are much more tricky to weld than they look at first glance, as you make seamless transitions from valleys to lap edges, requiring varying amounts of filler to keep the bead the same size and shape.
Jamming them out, the table is starting to fill with work.Christi spent some time in the shop, getting the boxes ready, packing up finished bars, and sending them on the way. Oh, I'm stocked back up on shirts in four colors, 20 bucks shipped to your door in the US, so if anyone needs one, drop me an email.
I also got some coverage in Velo News at the show. Although there are quite a few errors in the article, they did a nice job of showing some of the bikes in the gallery pics. Check it out...
cheers,
rody

1 comment:

Craig Ryan said...

Coverage looked great Rody, not to worry about errors. I've got my hands photos up, your's included. It was great meeting you. Craig