Monday, March 29, 2010

Moving In and Setting Up

My friend Olivier and I now have our own little shop and have been busy for the last few months getting everything together to begin building frames in it. This process is now nearly at an end, and so I present the following photographic journey into our shop...

My bike, "Suave Gardin," heavily loaded outside my house with stuff for the shop. It was not an easy journey, and it taught me a lot about better ways of carrying heavy loads! One of the tricky and fun things about this whole process has been figuring out ways of transporting things to the shop without a car. In some cases it's been possible (barely) to carry them on bikes. At other times we've needed to rent vans, call in favours, and take the TTC. My mother and sister deserve special praise for driving our surface plate and oxygen concentrator from far-flung parts of the province to our shop.

In the "courtyard" of our shop (between a bike shop and the garage we're set up in), with the bag, which somehow made it without falling off. It's an old "German Police Backpack" I bought on eBay. Strapping it to the handlebars is not the best idea: it swings all over the place. It's filled here with files, tubing, tools, etc.

The shop itself. There are boards on the windows right now to scare thieves away. Soon those will be down and replaced with bars and curtains, and there will be lots of natural light—very important for framebuilding! My friend David, who has his shop set up in a basement, stressed that when we were looking for a shop we shouldn't settle on anything without lots of natural light. We got lucky!

Some of the things from the backpack laid out. Most importantly, two old mountain bike stems (one with a 25.4mm quill and one with a 28.6) we're using as lug vises. They cost next to nothing and they work extremely well.

The first thing I did in the shop was drill out this Ritchey vertical dropout. I did this not because I'm especially obsessed with saving weight—and certainly not because I have anything against that divine Ritchey logo—but because it was noisy and in this shop it's okay to make noise. This was a major problem in my "bedroom shop."

Having made lots of noise, the dropouts had their rough shape. More work to come.

A seat lug in the "lug vise." After working in my bedroom and holding the lug in my hand for filing, I was astounded at how quickly I was able to put the rough shape into this lug.

The next job was drilling a hole in our little (24"x18") cast iron surface plate. Olivier made this guide out of lucite. We didn't drill a starter hole (advice from David—thanks!) we just went for it. It took a while but it worked just fine. Our hole location could have been a tad better (a few mms of the BB post hang off the edge) but it's not bad.

Our alignment system, which fits nicely on our workbench, and should be large and heavy enough to align frames and cold-set them. (Thanks to Drew of Engin Cycles for the Bringheli BB post. The handle half is broken off, but we knew that in advance!)

My hand got in the way of the flash on this photo and then my camera's battery died. But it has a certain appealing sinister aspect. That's our Doug Fattic design fixture sitting atop a drafting table. It hangs about 3" off the edge, so we may end up looking for a larger table top... Beneath the table are our oxygen concentrator and a propane tank. We picked propane as our fuel because it's safer and we can get it refilled down the street. We picked an oxygen concentrator over an oxygen tank because it's safer, was relatively cheap, and we never need to get it refilled. We still don't have our torches and tips, though, so we're not quite sure how this will all work!

That's the next post!


ford said...

Brilliant lug vise improv! I love it.

I hadn't heard of the oxygen concentrator before. I imagine the trade-off is in energy use & upfront cost? Will it have a consistent psi output, or do you attach normal Oxy regs to it?

I may be getting one of Doug's fancier fixtures soon, though the rear-end problem still plagues my dreams...

Anyway, nice shop. I'm envious of the windows (the B!KE shop storage room I've been renovating up for my own space is mighty dark & musty)

-Clifford in Peterborough

AH said...

Hey Clifford!

Yes, oxygen concentrators cost more up-front. But their primary use is medical, so "used" units (which are likely to work perfectly, but you might not want to trust your life with) are not very expensive. The energy use works out to much less than the cost of renting/filling a tank... It does put out a consistent pressure (max. 5 lpm) so no regulator is required -- though we're not sure it will be enough for a really hot flame :) We'll see!

Olivier should be posting his RTF on his blog soon. It's pretty incredible!

ford said...

The concentrator sounds like an interesting choice...I'm probably going to stick with a regular O/A rig; I'm enough out of my depth in this adventure already that keeping some elements predictable is important!
The best place I've found so far for torches / etc at good prices is

I'm really keen to see the new fixture. If it's awesome and replicable, I might offer Olivier a commissioned build! (I've actually been quietly following his blog for a while). Are you guys doing your own fork fixture as well?


AH said...

Yeah, Olivier is 99% responsible for us using the weird oxy concentrator/propane setup, but I'm sure it will work just fine!

He took some photos of the rear triangle fixture today, so the post will no doubt come soon!