Friday, September 18, 2015

Building the Black Ship Monster X Cross with Campy Athena EPS

Oh bother. This post was started months ago and got erased in the cyber-nethers. Let's crack a beer and see what happens:

Unassuming pile of Chromoly tubing
Monster X Cross
 (Or how to turn an unassuming pile of chromoly tubing into a sweet ride)

Design and Drafting: David and I collaborated on the design for this one. As an avid rider and owner of many custom bikes, he could tell me exactly what he wanted out of  the frame. in this case, fast, aggressive but still comfy position in drop bars with Campy Athena EPS.

After drafting the soon to be frame, the appropriate tube set is ordered. in this case, Nova Cycles made a custom Monster Cross kit for Black Ship Cycles that used lighter 29er tubing with the same rear triangle as the Icebreaker.

Part 1 - Cutting, Fitting, Welding: Once the tubing showed up, the cutting and filing began. Rough cutting main tubes began with a chop saw, then mitered with bi-metal hole saws in the vertical mill. Once the tubes were notched, I perfected the fitting by hand filing and cleaning the joint. This was also a good time to drill out the enlarged bottom bracket holes to accommodate the electronic shifting wiring.
We marked all of our spots for the EPS wiring and drilled them out, then cleaned'em up with a hand file. This took a while, as neither one of us was very familiar with the group, but we found all the info we needed and it was a rewarding accomplishment to put a sweet custom spin on this bike.

As soon as everything fit up properly and snug in the fixture, the front triangle is tack welded into place in sequence.

The piece then comes out of the fixture and onto the table for the finish welding, also done in sequence to prevent heat warpage and misalignment.

Once the front triangle is check on the alignment table, the rear triangle gets cut and fit, same as the front. The tubes are slotted for dropouts using a rotary cutting wheel and hand file, then the dropouts are inserted and aligned. Everything is tacked in the frame then welded in sequence on the table. The frame is then checked for alignment and clearance.

The next step is to cut, fit, and weld in the fender mounts. After that, the brazing will begin.

Part 2 - Brazing, Finishing: First, all of the brazed on small parts get dry fit and marked on the frame with sharpie. Holes are drilled for threaded mounts and other mounts are filed to match the curve of the tube. Once they are all set up and clean, each piece is clamped, fluxed, and brazed into place with either silver or bronze using an oxy/acetylene torch. The flux is cleaned of and all braze-ons are thoroughly checked, any adjustements are made.

Finally, the seat tube is notched and reamed, any inconsistencies are filed down, then the final alignment and quality check is done. Once everything passes inspection, it's off to the paint shop! 

The Monster X Cross!