March Videos

Steep angle cut on the bandsaw

Large hole cutting in a steel pipe

A drawer cabinet I made a couple years ago. The drawer action is really nice!

Demmeler Welding Table

Our newest welding table is a very exciting addition to our shop. It is a modular fixturing table and is used for any type of clamping/holding needs.  Quite often, holding down parts  quickly and correctly is the most difficult part of a welding job. This table utilizes its own array of proprietary tooling to easily and accurately hold parts exactly where we need them.  Because the table is also a grid of squares it can be used for easy layout as well.

 

1947 Brown & Sharpe #2 Universal Milling Machine

Creating unique objects of function and design is definitely exciting. Since the last blog installment I have had the pleasure of testing my new frame and fork. The light NON-ridiculously over sized tubing has proven to be comfortable and light and plenty fast.

Part of the fun of building cool bikes and other stuff is using cool tools for every part of the process. This can be anything from a file to a machine with moving parts. My favorite type of machine is a horizontal milling machine. In the shop we have four varying sizes of them from 150 lbs. to 4000 lbs. We use them often for various machining operations and they work particularly well for mitering tubes to mate to other tubes, for things like bike frames and ONYA trikes.

This type of machine was used for many other types of machining such as cutting long slots or making gears and spirals. The problem with finding old horizontal mills these days is they usually don’t have the attachments that are used with the machines to do these specific operations. Thanks to our associate Franco at Paragon Machineworks, we were turned on to the prospect of another mill made by Brown & Sharpe, one of the greatest tool manufacturers of the 20th century.

After a couple months of phone calling and waiting we got our hands on it, however this time we hit the attachment goldmine! In the pic you see all the tooling laid out that originally came with the machine in 1947. It is all in mint to new condition, and has a great new home in our shop. Look forward to future blogs focusing on what this gem of a machine can do….

Fork

As some of u know my bicycle The Phantom Mach 4 was stolen a few months back. Big bummer. All my fancy conglomeration of parts and a very unusual frame that represented so much innovation and uniqueness. Oh well, and goodbye. Anyhoo, what better way to say goodbye to something important to you then to re-evaluate what was so special about it and what would I change? As a matter of fact I had already been planning my next frame and it was drastically different from the Phantom.
After reading several articles from Bicycling Quarterly, I came to the conclusion that ultra-light and ultra stiff are NOT the best choice for most and ESPECIALLY ME. I won’t go into too much detail but for long rides which most of you know I prefer, a frame with some flex performs the best regarding efficiency and comfort.

I have chosen to start with an all steel fork I am building myself. This was a difficult proposition considering my previous carbon fiber fork did the job and was sooooo light! The first thing I realized about buying another carbon form was that they are all made overseas, AKA Taiwan. The second thing I didn’t like was their lack of character. They also have a “dead” quality about them that can more easily be exPlained by tapping one of the legs on a hard surface and holding it to your ear. Sound stupid? Well take a nice steel fork, do the same thing, and then tell me you don’t understand the difference. Besides the fantastic resonance you hear, it actually can make a difference flying down one of the many bumpy paved and unpaved roads I love to ride on. What’s the big sacrifice you ask over a carbon fork? Well the o ly thing I can think of personally is a steel fork will come out around 1 pound heavier. According to a blind test in the same magazine mentioned previously that amount of weight difference matters far less than we all imagine. That’s right, it hardly matters AT ALL. I know that is hard for most to believe because they want to follow the current trends.

That’s why as a very serious cyclist I will prove that a reasonably light all steel frame, fork, and stem will not only look sexy but will kick ass just as well as my previous oversized light bike.

I’m not a fan of buying cast crowns and fittings for my personal bikes so as you see in the above photos, I have made my own fork crown configuration. It is feeling nice and stout and structural. The crown’s industrial look will be sexified with some grinding, filing, and sanding. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to be brass brazing most of it together, which in itself is a really fantastic method for joining this type of steel construction together.

Check back for upcoming welding and brazing installments….