Thursday, February 23, 2012

Roody's Lugged Frame: Part 2 - Brazing the Tubes

Day 2: Brazing the front triangle

    After prepping all the tubes and lugs I checked all the fittings. You basically want all of the tubes to fit tightly into the lugs, but one that can still be pulled apart by hand. That way you get the tightest fit, with enough room to get a good amount metal in there to secure the joint.

    I put on some music and set up the brazing torch. I find it is good practice to take down and re-setup your torch every once in awhile. That keeps you aware of any problems with hoses or fittings, and helps you remember where your gauges should be set. The oxygen should be around 5 psi, and the acetylene/propane around 10 psi After checking all my fittings and pressure gauges, I grabbed my gloves and goggles and fired up the torch.

Getting the flame you want is pretty easy; barely open the fuel side, ignite the fuel, adjust until there is no gap between flame and tip, slowly add oxy, adjust until you have a whitish inner cone with a rounded (not pointy) tip, and a larger transparent blue flame surrounding it. [Need more help? Check out brazing vids on youtube]

   Starting with the seat tube and bottom bracket joint, then the head tube lug and top tube. once those were secured, I could put the rest of it together and align it on the bench. Once that was all in place, and aligned well, I set it up in the stand. One by one, each joint was separated, flux, and put back together.

  After double checking the alignment, mostly by eye, and a little with a caliper, I brazed the rest of the joints, and finished the front triangle.

   After putting the fluxed joints in a water bath, and cleaning up tools, I scrubbed off the flux with a wire brush.After re-checking the alignment, and being happy with it, called it a night.

Day 3: Rear triangle

Roody came out to the shop for the next session; fitting, aligning, and affixing the seat and chain stays.

   We started by prepping the pieces, then bending the dropouts slightly to curve inward, and set up the rear triangle. Everything fell perfectly into place on the bench. We used an old rear wheel to hold the dropouts in place, and a piece of plumbing strap to hols the seat stays in place. After checking the alignment, brazed it all together, bathed and scrubbed it.

   The basic frame was finished! Now to order the braze-ons!

[to be continued...]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Building Roody's Lugged Road Bike: Part 1

Roody's planning a tour up the East Coast

   and he needs a reliable bike: to pull his trailer with, and that fits him comfortably enough to ride over a thousand miles in a month. So, we're building it.
   The kit I'm using is essentially a spare kit that a friend had boxed up the basement for a couple years and never got around to building. It's a lugged, straight gauge road kit for a 6 foot tall male. Perfect for Roody, who is a little shorter, but feels more comfortable on a taller frame. It'll be a little heavy, but tuff enough to weather the long trip, and a few more.

   Since I had to design a bike that worked with the kit, I laid out a rough drawing of the bike we were aiming for. Easy enough, we had previously taken his measurements and discussed what he was looking for in this new bike.

   Once I had a general idea of the sizing, I proceeded in cleaning the front triangle tubes and lugs thoroughly with sandpaper and a wire brush, and rough fit them together. Then scribed the tubes and mitered them with hole saws on the drill press. Easy does it.
    I didn't have the specs for the seat & head tube angles so there was a lot of guessing, trial, and error involved. After a few extra cuts and a little filing, it all came together. After cutting the breather holes and aligning on the bench, its ready to be brazed together!

[stay tuned...] 

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Trailer Building - The Barge: Part 2

     The final touches. Well, almost...

   We dug in early and finished touching things up. All the joints were hit with a flap disc on an angle grinder in order to clean it up for painting.

   I hung the frame up from a rafter and primed it, Roody picked out a few colors and we put on a base coat.

   At some point we decided we were just going to apply a temporary paint job so it would dry quick and Roody could put the canvas hammock on and ride it home and test it out. Since he isn't leaving for at least a month, we may want to add to it, and it'll probably get scratched up by then. Also, he's getting new canvas or some stronger material to make the bedding for Brody (the dog) and his camping.touring gear.

   To sum it up, we didn't want to put to much time and money into a nice paint job until it was closer to departure the date. I'll definitely post pictures when we do the final coats of paint and remake the bed liner.

    Finally, we put grommets in the canvas and tied the liner on with old bike tubes (again, temporary setup), hooked the the hitch, and took it for a test spin. I works great so far, and its super light. Looks pretty tough too. Should be just the trailer for a long trek up the east coast. Can't wait to finish the paint and liner and post pics of it!

   It's gonna be hot. Until next time..

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Trailer Building - The Barge: Part 1

Roody asked me if we could fix the trailer he's had since he was a toddler being towed behind his dad's bike. Not a problem, just a simple bend and re-tack job, right? Well, he and his partner are planning a bike tour starting in Florida, going up the east coast, all the way to New York this spring/summer. So, why not make a BETTER trailer for months of heavy duty touring on the road?

   Rudy and I made a deal that I'd take the job, and he'd assist in the building process, and with another job I've got lined up.

   Starting with a with a skeleton of a frame, we drafted a plan using two more u-shaped tubes we had at our disposal. This way we could add a second dropout outside of the wheels, to reinforce the axles, and add a cross beam near the rear. Using canvas, we'd make a flat bed 'barge' trailer to transport a dog and camping gear.

   After drafting the plan, we started cutting the tubing we were going to use for the outer bars. Also, we picked out a couple of old forks to cut the dropouts and weld them to the frame.

    Next came mitering with a hole saw on an industrial drill press. I made some jigs to clamp the tubing to the press plate, and in the vice to keep it in place for filing. We filed down our miters with wide round files to get nice tight fits with our tubing. As it goes, we'd have to check the fits and re-file several times to get it right where we wanted it. Once we got the outer tubes fit, I tacked those into place.

   Fitting the dropouts came next. We decided to extended them a few inches since the trailer was originally made to sit flat on 26" wheels and we were building it to fit 20"s.

   To finish off the day, we set up a dummy axle using a length of all-thread, and set our dropouts into place. After checking all the measurements twice, I tacked them all into place and we called it a day.

  In the next sessions, we'll finish the welds, clean it up, and paint it!

[to be continued...]