Project Dandonneur

My buddy Dan wants his 1971 Raleigh International converted to a 650b randonneur with a Wald front rack. Dan is a busy family man so we meet at my day job and discussed the project. He needed the rear end widened to fit a 135mm wide wheel, cantilever mounts front and rear, rack mounts and the struts to make that happen and I needed the brazing practice. Perfect!

Excited to get going I adjusted the rear end first using a BB post mounted to a Bridgeport table.

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Next it was onto brake mounts. I like this fixture and it works well but when time permits I’m going to make a better one. This was also the first time I tried Fillet Pro from Cycle Design. I’M A FAN!

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Onto the fork. The fork needed brake and rack mounts. This is the first rack I’ve mounted so it is completely new to me. I haven’t ever owned a bike with a rack either. Dan was awesome in helping me with images for examples of exactly what he wanted.

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The next thing I did was dimple the chainstays to clear the new 650b x 42 meaty tires. I made a pair of vice grips so I could dimple built frames as opposed to dimpling the tubing before assembling the frame.

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With the frame and fork done my next step was mounting the rack. I machined this headset spacer / top rack mount on a 4 axis horizontal Haas CNC milling machine.

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You’ll see how this works later.

The Wald rack came with some beastly mounting struts. I wasn’t about to use them to mount to this rack. Using some 4130 tubing and solid stock I machined the strut parts.

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Then brazed ’em up!

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MUCH nicer (and lighter) than the big ass piece of bent metal that was supplied with the rack.

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With the bottom struts taken care of it was onto the top.

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Again, confusing now but keep on scrolling and it’ll all come together.

I had to put some mounting slots in the back mounting plate of the rack and what a better way to do so than the tomb stone fixture on the Horizontal.

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Finally finished brazing the top struts so now these pics should sum that all up.

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Well, here is the finished product. Dan has already told me that he is going to get a poodle so he can carry it on the rack! Can’t wait for pics of that!

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This project brought me a load of new challenges and I greatly appreciate his patience with my learning curve and I hope he loves the bike for years!

Thanks for making it to the bottom of this post.

Ride safe!
Allan Varcoe

Here is his Flickr feed.

The RAKER!

After making a fork jig I needed a way to rake (bend to give the fork offset) fork blades. Joe from Cobra Frames gave me some pointers and pics to help me come up with a design.
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Two pieces of 1.25″ thick x 8″ wide x 1′ long poplar were used to make the die. I traced my curve on the blocks with a friking super accurate set-up!
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Then deck screwed them together and cut the profile.
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Then unscrewed them and belt sanded chamfers on the inner edges to create the “V”.
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I made the roller in the handle out of some scrap low carbon steel and cut the stock for the side plates in no time. Laying out my hole locations in the side plates and die was quick. I then bolted the handle extension on. 50″ of leverage outta be enough to bend some little fork blades.

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I also had to weld the part that stops the tube up.

Next I’ll attach the wooden die to a 6′ long 2×10 and the tool will be complete.


8)

I used a shit load of washers on this thing. LOL!

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Now, I’ll be building myself a disc cyclocross fork because my next project will be a disc cross frame for myself.

Thanks again and ride safe out there!
Allan Varcoe

Fork Jig

After making my frame jig I figured I’d keep on keepin’ on with the 80/20 stuff and build a fork jig. It’s pretty simple, pretty self explanatory. This jig only took minor machining to build. And the machined parts could have been done without milling, just drilling.

The FixieFool fork is just for demonstration purposes only. I actually rode a fork just like this for a bit and holy CRAP was it stiff. My hands would hurt after 20 miles on that fork. Geez. You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to fork ride quality.

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Project Frame Jig

With the cost of frame jigs exceeding the value of my car I decided a little while ago to slowly build my own. Well, the time is here. My jig is done!!!! It’s obviously has quite a bit of influence from the Arctos jig made from 80/20 extrusion.

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As I use the jig I will add and improve. I want to add a BB height scale and some angular measurements for the HT and ST.

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Perhaps I’ll braze the rear triangle on the Rotten Gear frame.

Thanks for checking this out.

Ride safe!

Allan Varcoe

Tube Butt Gauge

After building a few frames I felt the need to build myself a tube butt gauge. When building a frame the tubes have a “short butt” and a “long butt” (pause for jokes…… 🙂 ). A butt is when the tubes are thicker at the ends (near the joints) for strength. The manufacturer of the tube often paints one end to identify the short or long side. Columbus , for example paints the short butt.

Why? The short butt is the starting point. Make your first miter there then, when you trim the tube to length the long butt will leave you enough thicker wall to braze (or weld) on.

Just to make sure I have my butts in order I figured I’d make this simple gauge.

The idea is to have two posts run parallel and about an inch apart, with a dial indicator perpendicular to measure the difference.

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This will be the base that holds the two posts apart and parallel.

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While I braze bike frames I can still tig weld…. sorta. Ha!

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The top hole holds the dial indicator and the bottom hole is tapped for a 10-32 screw. The screw supports the ID of the tube.

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The final product.

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You might not be able to read what’s written on the tubes so I’ll type it out. Where the indicator is in the above pic the tube is .038″ thick. Then the wall thickness tapers to .024″ thick.

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Like this.^

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Henry James / True Temper shows this very well. The butt on the left is the short butt.

Thanks for checking this out. Leave a comment if you like it. 🙂

Ride safe!

Allan Varcoe

Side Project

While on my lunch breaks and after work I have been building my own frame jig. Jigs generally sell for $2500 to $5 grand. Since I have access to CNC machines I could make a jig for penny’s on the dollar of a professional jig. Will there be better ways to go about building a jig? I’m sure there are but, I can happily say that I have designed (with a little internets help) and built my own from scratch. Will it be as easy to set-up or make slight tweaks, doubt it. However saving upwards of $4500 can allow me to be a pinch inefficient in the beginning.

My design is obviously based off of the Arctos Jig.

I started with a really rough sketch and figured out the main pieces of 80/20 extrusion needed (like Arctos). EBay is an amazing source for 80/20. They have their own direct store on eBay. 80/20inc. is the username.

Then rounded up some other stock supplies from McMaster to make the HT and ST holders.

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These smiley face brackets allow for angular and position in X and Y.
X being the length of the frame while Y is the height.

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So’ together is looks like this. The main beam is 45/15 (meaning 4.5″ x 1.5″) and the HT and ST uprights are 15/15. The main beam is 60″ long and may or may not get cut down in the end. A little extra length never hurt anyone right?

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Next I found a nice picture of the BB fixture. I made it a bit more compatible with other forms of BB’s. In case I make a BMX frame one day.

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That’s all for now!
Check in again some time and be safe out there!

Allan Varcoe

Tooling Up!

In an effort to make all my frames ride straight I needed a way to check the alignment. Not having the funds for an alignment table I decided to improvise. Making a bottom bracket post and using a milling machine table I will be able to do so.

After turning I get to use the tap handle my Grandpa gave me. I love using stuff he used when he was my age. 🙂

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Then I took it from the CNC lathe to a good ole manual Bridgeport mill to drill mounting holes.

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You get the picture using a BB shell.

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It’s first use will be on Adam from Rotten Gear’s frame.

UPDATE:
I used the BB post to align Adam’s BB and ST. Turns out the frame nails held very well as the ST was only .005″ out along the whole tube! Not bad for a noob!
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Damn I’ve gotta get myself a CNC machine for my shop! Ha!

Thanks again! Ride safe out there everybody!

Allan Varcoe