Monday and Tuesday in the shop have been spent cleaning up lots of little loose ends; forks, paint, a stem, etc...
Biggest work load has been finishing up this batch of Ti and steel bars...I've kept the pedal down and am down to just one bar left to make this morning, whew! For the first time in the last 3 years, I actually have about 6 steel bars in inventory. Right now, they are black 28" bars, but can be cut down if you need a more narrow stance. So, no waiting if you act quickly :)
For this post, I thought I'd highlight a little paint work, specifically, doing some touch up and how to blend it in. We're working on Louis's Soma belt drive conversion. Originally, we were just going to do the conversion and then rattle can the area to get Louis on the trail. The more we discussed it though, I just could not send it out like that, so I spent a few hours mixing paint to get as close as I could to the original color so that we could send this out the door looking as new as possible.
I started off by masking in the area to protect the original finish on the balance of the frame and then began sanding. The goal is to feather in the work area with the original finish by using increasingly finer grades of paper. I started with 180 on the steel, then 240, 600, and finished with 1200 grit papers. You want the transition to be so smooth that when you close your eyes and run your fingers across it, you feel no change.
The next step was to begin layering on primer. As I am transitioning into the stays, I keep my gun near the drop out end and feather up the stays like a fade, allowing the paint to gently find it's way. By using this method, I avoid the probability of too heavy a layer or runs. Multiple layers go down with a flash time in between each to keep it smooth.
I built the primer up so that once I bake it, it can be sanded down so it will seamlessly take the color. Note that I did not take the primer all the way up to the mask. The color will extend beyond the primer, then the clear beyond the color up to the masked portion. This loose masking will allow a bit of clear up the stays underneath the paper so that it tapers out. It will then be sanded down and buffed smooth with some finishing compound so that the clear transition is invisible.
Ah, the last pic is what is waiting for me today, the last ti bar for this batch.
More important though, is the note next to it. I spoke with Frank at Carbon Drive yesterday and he let me in on some fantastic news...it looks like the belt drive cogs for the Rohloff drive train should be available in time for the Eurobike/Interbike calender dates this fall.
Frank promised to keep me on the forefront, as I've been jonesing for this development for a long time. A Rohloff speedhub mated with a belt drive would be a near silent/maintenance free drivetrain, a huge boon for commuters and mountain bikes alike.
Right now, Carbon Drive is planning on a 19, 20, and 22 rear cogs for the system. They are toeing the line between functionallity for both road and mountain, but mated with the more common 46 chainwheel, there should be some great range for the dirt. I'm so giddy!