Thursday, September 13, 2007

Coming along....

The house is coming along nicely. I finished up the wiring, so now my friend Levi is taking over on hanging and mudding the drywall. I can't tell you how excited I am to not be doing the drywall. Not only do I hate it, but I'm swamped with bike work, so this really helps out.

I'm putting the shop move on hold too, while I bust out a couple frames. I've been slowly putzing on a few for a little but, but now I really need to finish them up and get them out. I've had two holdup's on the stainless frames I'm working on: waiting for material from Reynolds, and getting my lathe set-up so I can make the headtubes. Well, the Reynolds order came in last week, and I finally got the three-phase power wired up for the lathe and some of the tooling arrived Tuesday.

So last night I was finally able to crank out a headtube and get the frame jigged up. The new lathe is awesome. The chuck is big enough to hold a whole headtube with no problem and the big tooling makes a world of difference in cutting stainless compared to my old small lathe.
I turn my stainless headtubes from 38mm 316L raw stock. For this frame I needed to add a bit of heatube extension above the lug, which is usually done by brazing a sleeve on the headtube. However since I was machining this and had a big enough OD, I was able to just turn the headtube extension right into the tube. Kind of a neat trick.

A few things worth noting since I've now gotten my third shipment of 953 tubing. Reynolds really seems to be getting the manipulation of this material down a lot better. All the tubes I received were right on spec for wall thickness and butting, which is a huge improvement over previous tubes. In addition the tubes are quite a bit closer to being truly round and straight. Only a couple had significant straightness issues (on all previous orders, none of the tubes was truly straight) and the roundness is within .010" (compared to .035" on early orders).

I also ordered a couple of new tubes Reynolds is offering just to see how close to spec they were. I'm pleased to report their new lightweight chainstays are truly lightweight. Until now, the 953 chainstays were a bit underwhelming compared to the rest of the tubing. But with these new stays and the better wall thickness tolerances of the main tubing, I can now built 953 bikes that are truly lighter than any other steel available. Of course as always, weight will depend on what you're using it for, but it's nice to know these light tubes are finally out there.

And finally, I'm pleased to say I sold the steel/carbon frame that I was pushing on here for a while. Built it up with a new Chorus group this week and shipped it out. Hope the new owner enjoys it as much as I did. I'm finally getting my stable down to a manageable size, which feels good.


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