Filed In: Process

Father/Daughter Project - Part 10

January 14, 2020   |   Chris Blandford

Back at it:

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15. Top tubes / Seat stays!
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Lots of considerations for these top tubes/seat stays. Before I started this bike, I knew I wanted these tubes to be swoopy-curvy. So, I impulse-purchased a Harbor Freight tubing roller and some small-diameter dies from Swag Offroad. When I got the roller home, I ran a couple test pieces. I’d never rolled tubes before. Super fun. I’m definitely going to use this in the future, for a variety of things.

I wasn’t able to find any definitive information on how to achieve this style of mixte-esque stay, so I had to wing it a bit. I began by rolling the tubes (went with .5”) across their entire length, holding them up to the frame to check the radius as I went. I rolled little by little until I was satisfied. No drawing here, just building in space.

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Filed In: Process

Father/Daughter Project - Part 9

January 10, 2020   |   Chris Blandford

Onward.


14. Finish Main Fillets



To finish my fillets, I follow the method described in these two links:

Steve Garro: Polishing Fillet Brazes
Dave Kirk: Fillet Show Bike

I start with round files, moving from larger to smaller. The largest file takes out all of my little bronze-dime edges; the medium and small smooth everything out. The smaller the file, the closer I get to the edge of the fillet, and the lighter I press. I avoid filing on the tube itself--I (try to) only file the fillet. I work in a short, almost side-to-side pushing motion as I file.

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Filed In: Process

Father/Daughter Project - Part 8

December 11, 2019   |   Chris Blandford

Moving forward. Steps for today:


12. Check Frame Alignment
13. (Align Frame if Necessary)


I only recently purchased my little alignment table. Up until my last couple frames, I’d been relying on my fixtures and the various string/straightedge/frame-alignment-gauge methods to check alignment. The classroom at UBI housed a full-size BB-tower style alignment table; in both of my courses it served as a very heavy coffee table.

I think the attitude there is that if you use good fixturing and processes, an alignment table isn’t really necessary. I think I understand the wisdom in that. One of my favorite walk-around-town activities is one-eyed-squinting at the rear ends of production bikes that I see locked up to racks. Yikes. At least in terms of alignment, the bar isn’t set very high. And really, I don’t know enough about bikes to know whether any of it matters or not. Especially for the types of bikes that I build and ride.

So, I “align” my frames to a level that my perfectionism will accept. Which--given that I’m new to making bicycles--is a pretty loose tolerance. I’ve put a couple of my scrapped frames on my little table and felt the amount of force that it takes to move a head tube even a half-millimeter. A triangle made out of tubular steel is shockingly strong. In essence, I’ve quasi-decided that: A. if something needs mild correction, it isn’t worth me yanking the hell out of my frame to correct it; and B. if something needs major correction, I should probably just start over. So--as of right now--“aligning” my frames is really just a way to gain a little feedback as I go along. I'll nudge dropouts, but that's about it. I use the alignment process as a tool for improving the work on my next frame, not as a way to correct my current incompetencies. I hope that makes sense.

With that said, here’s what I check and how I check it. (Note: I didn’t take photos of this until after I’d finished the fillets, but I checked the frame before I started filing. Nevermind the shine for now!)

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