Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Mistake Free Top Tubes MkIV™

I have pretty much been in the garage every night this week and nearly all of the weekend, so things are moving quickly...

My extra tubing arrived on Tuesday morning, allowing me to utilise lessons learnt from the tube bending learning curve to great effect. In a couple of days the tubes were ready with minimum fuss and no obvious mistakes. But first the forks, which stretched the limits of my TIG skills.

I re-used the actual dropout bits of the Paragon failure, mostly because I didn't have any other suitable material lying around. The dropout holes are not at the same centers as the tubes so turning them down to suit what I had required some thinking and setup on the Grayson. Here they are freshly silver soldered into the leg tubes.
Much time was spent taking microns at a time off the leg tube to crown miters, I have learnt the hard way to take this sort of thing slowly, and I get slower when both bits have required some effort to get to a level of complexity. I then welded it up but forgot to take pics.
Mistake Free Top Tubes MkIV™
The Mistake Free Top Tubes MkIV™ come free with several meters of randomly badly bent tubes, sort of like steak knives but less effective for slicing vegetables. I clearly need to design a frame that utilises many many very short bits of straight pipe.
Once I was basically happy with the top tube mitering etc I brazed in the top plate. This was silver soldered actually as it is such a beautifully controllable thing to do and I did not want a big fat braze in there. As things were going to be a tight squeeze in there I cleaned it up nicely before getting too much further down the track.
I then fettled the fitment of the The Mistake Free Top Tubes MkIV™ so they slotted into place beautifully. Clearly some things just require you to bollox them up a few times before you can achieve creamy goodness.
I then plunged into welding the things into place and before it was even cool I had to chuck the wheel in to see if all was well, which it was. The dropout slots will require some very minor loving to get the wheel sitting 100%, but it is looking pretty good as it is.
It looks so much better with those bends tucking around the wheel.
And then I thought I would chuck the half finished forks on to see how things shaped up, unfortunately I only have one tyre at the moment. An upside down pewter tankard is an admirable tyre replacement, but it might make for a slightly bumpy ride.
I spent some time today cleaning things up, there is still a good few hours yet to spend though.
I have made a bridge to fit in here but I need some more silver solder rods before I can do any more.
Some nearly finished fillet brazed cleanup.
This plate ended up with a bit of a shave off the sides, I think it still works visually.
I have silver soldered the seat stay joints and sweated the filler up inside the junctions, I will clean up and cap the open ends a bit later when I have more welding rods.
This pleases me.

I am discovering that at the end of a build session I get a certain feeling depending on how well or badly that particular bit of the build has gone. If it has gone well it means that I have been in the zone and doing things that I am totally comfortable with, without rushing or stressing. Then I get a warm glow of satisfaction...

 If I have rushed or stressed then I am clearly not in the zone and I end up with a knotty feeling centred on my solar plexus, reminding me that I did not do as good a job as I could have when making that particular bit. I am getting much better at stopping or changing what I am doing until I am in a better space.

My current aim in life is to build a frame that is the culmination of build sessions that have all ended in the warm glow of satisfaction. This may take time and a number of frames.


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