Thursday, October 26, 2006


I finally broke down and bought BikeCad.

It's earned its keep already. I just did a new DCS frame design. The challenge here is to work within the available lug angles. This covers a pretty broad range of fits, but sometimes finding the right compromise takes a bit of trial and error.

BikeCad can display angles as different variables are fiddled allowing me to quickly zero in on the best lug set for properly fitting a given rider. Cool.

That said, I think a better answer is to develop a system where any angles are feasible at any joint. The theory of how to do this is relatively simple, and involves composite construction techniques that I've used in other contexts. But, the real key is making sure that the joint is stronger than the tubes. After all, no rider wants to find him/herself suddenly riding a pair of unicycles, eh?

From my perspective, the most feasible method is to miter tubes closely, and bond them with epoxy. Then layer additional carbon fiber on layers using a vacuum system with bleeder felt to extract excess epoxy and air.

So, there's a need to test this process to ensure that I get: 1) enough strength; 2) consistent results. Which means that I need some practice tube.

"Fortunately" if you look at Linda's blog, you'll see I had a little problem with a front triangle. So... I'm going to cut out the tubes and make them my first sacrificial "test tubes." After that I'll get some tubes from McLean and try to build myself a frame. So, stay tuned on this front too.

In a different vein, I've found some sources for Metax stainless tubes fro the front triangle. So, some stainless projects are on about to come online very soon.

Expect to see activity starting to pick up again.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Catching Up

Hey, it's only been a month. A month!!!! Yowza!

Work and the first bug of the year. It's been pretty much 7 days a week for the day job of late. And, the kids shared a virus from school. So I missed the Missouri MS ride and the Apple Cider Century. Boo on that.

Meanwhile the garage has been filling with parts (build kits and one-off treasures from EBay).

Add it all up, and I've been highly unproductive on the framebuilding front. It actually reached the point where I couldn't reach tools and parts in the garage. Ugh!!!

Last weekend I got back on the bike (34 & 32 degrees F on Sat & Sun at 6:30am).

I'm slow but it felt good. Last week I hoped to start reorganizing the garage and basement - but, some out of town clients came into town and it got busy. This week, I've finally got past the o-load and made some progress making space.

Tonight, I got back to work on Linda's frame. More on the other blog about that. The key thing is progress is being met.

One other thing that's taken time has been beginning to form up an organization that (for want of any better name) I'm calling the Lake Michigan Chapter of The Cycle Design Group. The intent is to create professional group that can advance the interests of custom/hand-built framebuilders. To few riders have exposure to what's available. Very few recognize or appreciate the incredible bargains a true custom handbuilt frame represents compared to a manufactured bike. And, there really are some legislative issues that could benefit from our input. So, onward with the LMCTCDG. More on this later.

Hopefully, there will be more pix to post in the next week or two.