Monday, May 20, 2013

A weeks worth of fabrication...but no bikes

Yep, just what it says, here's a weeks worth of work and not a stinking lick of bicycle work.  When you own a shop and folks find out you've "got an awesome set of tools and a welder", you will be inundated with requests.  I try to fend these off with the fervor of a childlike tantrum, but alas, some slip through due to necessity.  So, here are the latest sat on the back pile for too long gotta have them done yesterday can you PLEASE do this favor for me I'll owe you big time shouldn't take you longer than a couple of hours fabrication projects (yes, that run on sentance is how it sounds in my head).

Most structural fabrication means means dirty hands...

The guys at the Edge were good enough to loan me their van to get to Colorado for Nahbs this year, so I was indebted to them for my business soul.  Out of the bargain came the need for a safari rack for their 15 passenger van;  it will carry 6-8 bikes and has an expanded metal basket with spider netting to hold duffel bags of gear.  A removable ladder let's them access any point on the rack. I designed it to have 4 LED Spotlights on the front and room for two weatherproof speakers to be mounted on the side, so she'll party as well as be functional.  She's getting powder coated right now with a nice textured/slip resistant polyester black.  I look forward to the guys getting the customers out into the wilderness for some epic cycling.

For the Fire department, I had three projects.  The first was to repair two ladders that had damaged rungs.  As these have to pass a lot of loaded stress testing, not just any guy with a garage and a set of tools can do the repair.  Unfortuantely for us, there is no one local to take on the burden at a reasonable price (read cheap), so I strapped them to the top of the Volvo and brought them home.  Each ladder had to be fixtured, the old rungs machined out, and new rungs press fit, swaged, and welded into place.  All ladders passed the testing... glad that AWS certification I have finally is of some use :)

I also fabricated a new Stokes Basket tray to carry the rescue sled on the top of a fire truck's roof.  I picked through the scrap yard in my Birks for over an hour to find scrap aluminum that would do the job.  Not bad for $5.80.  Gonna be powdercoated in fire engine red and mounted up.

I also machined a new pump panel drain interface out of a piece of 3.00 x 2.00" x .850" aluminum to replace a rusted piece of crap on another engine.  Had a pic of it, but lost it somewhere in the great 1's and 0's that make up the internet, so you'll just have to imagine it. 

Many builders take on these normally invisible projects, helping keep the doors open for what we really enjoy doing.

Back to bike stuff tomorrow, thanks for watching this public service announcement.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Success of a different type...

Those of you who have followed the blog for a while realize that I divide my time with many diverse activities.  One is my public service with the City of Wooster, Division of Fire.

The last six months, I've been absorbed in both a budgetary and education battle to save six positions within our department, in jeopardy due to decreased municipal funding from the state level.  The last couple of months, I've been increasingly busy working as a co-chair on a community campaign to educate our citizens to insure they are prepared for their opportunity to define their desired level of service within our community in the voters booth.  Speaking at three to four community meetings a week and attending half as many committee meetings has been weighing heavily on me mentally, emotionally, and straining my little available time.

I am pleased to announce that the voters have decided to maintain our level of service and have passed an increase in our city's income tax, a positive outcome.

I am running about two weeks behind in the shop due to the temporary time constraints, for that I apologize, but the safety of our personnel and securing the jobs of six young families had to take priority.

I'll be working on completing the remaining April Luv Handle orders this week and will hopefully be back on track and current by the end of the month.

Thank you for allowing me the levity to re-prioritize for a bit, your sacrifice in receiving product a little later has had a significant impact on the community I choose to live in and work in.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ohio Power Series Trophy

I am a big advocate of providing for grass roots racing opportunities. Currently, we operate 12 mountain bike races each season, including the state championships, with 100% of the profits put back into the local cycling community. Aside from all the promotion and day of race time commitments, I took on an awards project for last seasons winners, to be honoured at the first race of this year.

I wanted to make a kinda industrial/raw fabrication looking trophy that also honored our two largest sponsors; Monster Energy and Clif nutrition. Sounded cool, until I had to actually start fabricating 45 of these...what do I get myself into?

Anyway, had lots of fun with the guys who came out to share the pain. I hope they are well received...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Carey's Camo ceramic....

I've been playing with ceramic the last few days and decided to really push the boundries of masking with the material and see just what can be done.  Negative masking with paint is a fairly straight forward endeavor that gives the painter the opportunity to create multi-color features on a frame with ease.  Negative masking tends to be more time consuming, uses more material, and carries the risk of knife marks in the protected layers during removing the masks than the use of positive masking and an airbrush.

I wanted to create a camo effect in ceramic.  Normally, I would use positive masks and three airbrushes already loaded with colors to quickly move around the frame and fill in my camo.  However, the ceramic is too thick for use in an airbrush, negative masking it is.

The hurdle with negative masking with ceramic is that once it begins to cure, it's like concrete, making removing the mask material quite a chore, impossible if you are not tuned into your temperature and cure times for detail work.  I had to cure the layers long enough that placing masks on them would not cause visual damage, but not so much that I could not get the masks back up later.

Additionally, each time I cure off a layer, the one underneath will harden even more with the additional time at cure temperature.  I had to create a tiered cure time table for the number of layers I wished to use so that at the end of the process, the first layer would be just at the maximum time for cure that would still allow me to get the masks up but the final layer would be stiff enough not to smudge during the removal process.  Let me tell you, I'll not be looking forward to this complex of a ceramic finish again any time soon  :)

The most difficult piece of the puzzle was the delicate masking that makes up the lower portion of my graphic, the frame model, and the owers name.  As the layers go on, the thin masking gets buried and with the stiffness of the ceramic, is VERY difficult to remove.  Careful Xacto knife skills are maditory.  I'm not completely satisfied with the result, I've identified a few tweaks to use next time.  For a first go, however, it's not too bad.

The advantage of this coating is that even with the multiple coats, it still builds less than the same visual finish in wet paint and is more durable.  We've got a ways to go before I reach the true limit of this material on bicycles...I'm excited to see where we end up.