New Tool Friday: Post mount jig

I’ve been wanting to do post mount brakes on my frames and forks since day one, but I haven’t taken the plunge on a post mount jig. I just didn’t love the options available for purchase, and they’re a couple hundred dollars each. So I looked up the standard dimensions of post mount brakes, and rummaged around in my stock of metal and found some suitable material. A few hours on the machines, and it was done!

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I included all the features I wanted, and it was pretty simple. It does 160 and 180 brake mounts, and it’s pretty burly. I didn’t want it flexing at all while I weld. The spacer is for either frame or fork use, but you unbolt the arm and flip it around for use on a fork. This brings the mounts 3mm further out, which is how they work. I thought drawing it up would be confusing, but once I just sat down and did it, it was one of the more simple jigs I’ve built.

I’ve also come up with a system for post mounts that I’m very, very excited about. You’ll start seeing it on my custom frames now, but until then, here’s a sneak preview.

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I love building tools. Have a great weekend!

New Tool Friday: Powder coat oven

20171222_122315It’s been a little while since I’ve done a NTF post, but here it is. A powder coating oven! This beast was a little over 2 months in the making, and it was actually a really interesting build. I’ve known I wanted to bring powdercoating in-house since the beginning, but I also knew it’s it’s own huge project. In addition to this oven, I had to make a sandblasting cabinet as well, and make sure my air compressor was up to the task. But all is functional now, and I’ve been powdercoating everything I can get my hands on.

Some nerdy numbers:
The oven is built from galvanized sheet metal and metal studs. Insulated with yellow fiberglass insulation, and it has two 2.5 kilowatt oven elements for a total of 5 kilowatts. I used a PID temperature controller with a K thermocouple from Auber instruments. The inside dimensions are about 28 x 32 x 82 inches, and it’ll fit 2 bike frames or one tandem. It warms up from cold in about 20 minutes, and in about another 20 minutes the oven walls are fully warmed up. If I open the door to stick a bike frame in, it takes about 5 minutes to warm back up to 400 F. I’ve calculated the energy it uses, and it’s astonishingly small. Once it’s up to temp, the elements run at about 50% power to keep the whole thing at 400F. So if I’m just powdercoating one or two bike frames it’s on for about 2 hours, which uses around 6.25 Kilowatt hours, or $0.75.

Why powder coating?
One of the reasons I chose powdercoating, aside from being such a durable and long-lasting coating, is that I believe it to be more environmentally friendly. Wet paints have large amounts of VOCs which are released into the atmosphere during use. Powdercoat releases no VOCs during curing. However, the ovens used in powdercoating must be powered, so using electricity is the main environmental impact. Durango’s power comes from the Four Corners Generating Station which is a coal power plant. Pretty much a worst-case scenario for emissions. However, coal generates just over two lbs of CO2 per Kilowatt-hour produced, so during a 2-hour powdercoating session, I’m producing about 12.5 lbs of CO2. Roughly the amount your car produces driving 16 miles. In the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty damn good.

_MG_0062In the next few months I’ll be experimenting with quite a few color and fading options. These will gradually become available as color options on the Colors page. I’m looking forward to some absolutely rad looking bikes coming out of the Myth shop this year. Keep an eye out on Instagram, and this blog.

 

Also, we’re collaborating with King Cage and offering powder coated King Cages. These are now available in the Online Shop.

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New Tool Fridays: Bandsaw

I really like bandsaws. They’re way quieter than chop saws, and don’t spray dust and metal everywhere. This week’s NTF is about my Harbor freight bandsaw. I bought this thing when I got tired of walking around my gigantic Carolina that took up twice as much space. The funny thing is, they have the same capacity, 8 x 12.

My favorite things about this saw are:
-It’s an extremely common model called the RF812 that’s sold under a lot of brands, so spare parts are very easy to come by.
-It has a 3/4″ blade instead of a 1/2″ blade, and I find that the blade just doesn’t deflect as easy, and makes cleaner cuts. You’re limited to a finest TPI of 14 though, unless you make your own blades.
-It’s an extremely efficient design. It’ll cut up to a 10″ piece of metal with the vise as it is normally set up, but you can move the stationary jaw and get an extra 2″ out of it. I like being able to cut big stuff if I have to.
-It’s available from HF for $700.

My least favorite thing was the motor. So I removed the enormous, cast piece of junk motor it came with and made a new motor mount. It’s spring loaded so it’s easier to change speeds. Then put a nice Baldor 1HP I got from the salvage yard on it, and now it just sings.

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It was also really low to the ground as it came, so I whipped up a steel stand and put some real wheels on it. I hate having to bend over to use tools, and I use this one a lot. Now it rolls over stuff pretty easy and I can move it when I need to.

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They say everything Harbor freight sells is just an incomplete kit, and you have to finish it. This saw is a perfect example.

New tool Fridays: Belt sander

I started doing New tool Fridays a while back with the Buttfeeler. I haven’t had a chance to continue the tradition, but I want to because I really like the idea. When I buy or make a new tool, I’ll post a few pictures of it on a Friday!

This Friday’s new tool is a belt sander that I made this winter for the shop. It’s modeled off of a “Kalamazoo” double 2in belt sander. My version also has 3 different speeds. I painted it a nice soft blue.

I like how it turned out, but as usual, I can think of some things I would do differently next time. I’ll bet this isn’t the last belt sander I make.

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I keep 80 grit on the left, and 120 on the right.

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Keep an eye out for more New too Fridays!

Frame jig – Bench mount

After building the jig, I needed somewhere to mount the damn thing, since it weighs about 100 pounds. This part actually took quite a bit of thinking before I was ready to commit to a design. My design parameters were:

-Mounted to my welding bench so that it didn’t move much, but could still be rolled around if I needed it elsewhere.
-To rotate 360° to give me the most possible access when welding while in the fixture.
-To swing left and right so that I could get behind both the front and rear of the fixture for welding, and also so that I can swing the whole thing to the left and out of my way when I need to use the welding bench for other things.
-To raise up and down by quite a bit so that I can raise it for fitting all the tubes, and lower it to weld in my chair.

I decided to use bronze bushings to go between the two pieces of steel pipe. This gave me a nice smooth rotation, and also conducts electricity so that I don’t have to use a ground clamp on the fixture.

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The bronze bushings installed in the larger tubing with machine screws to keep them from rotating.
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Binders for the clamps.
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The clamps with their extensions welded on.

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I used 309L stainless filler and it came out very nice.
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This is the part that bolts to the frame fixture.

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Clamp slotted.
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And here it is all assembled. 2 Axes of rotation, ability to raise and lower and fairly modular. I might add or remove things as I figure out more about what I want.