Distractions Everywhere!Posted: March 2, 2016 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Balance bike, Brazing, brazing training, fabrication, frame building, framebuilding, how to make a balance bike, tube mitering, tube mitring, Wilkinson Cycles 4 Comments
Hello again folks, excuses excuses. Last time it was a baby, this time it’s a new house keeping me out of the workshop. And a real fixer-upper at that:
I have made it into the workshop a little though. In response to customer enquiries the other week I made some trial cuts with titanium tubing with the Torch & File precision mitre cutters with outstanding results:
Also, Brompton Bicycle kindly let me use some of their folding bike tubes to make my son Tom a balance bike. I called it the “Brom Tom”. It made Tom’s first Christmas present a lot of fun.
Blog post filler alert!!
A few years back my then girlfriend asked me if I could fabricate an illuminated sign for a music and arts festival in steel box section. It had to be 4 metres high and break down into 3 pieces to fit into a Luton van. “Sure, no problem”. This was the first thing I had ever welded so I had to buy a cheap arc welder for the job. The sign was used for 4 consecutive years now so I can’t have done that bad a job and the girl is now my wife. Phew!
My wife Saga also recently designed a light installation for a house refurbishment in East London that she project managed. It was made from stainless steel tubing with thick copper and brass rings and tubes brazed on. I turned and drilled these parts on the lathe from round bar. The stainless tubing was fillet brazed with Fillet Pro silver and suspended from the ceiling half way along by bicycle chain to reflect the client’s passion for cycling. My mobile phone photography doesn’t do it justice, honest!
In between house renovations and moving to the new Brompton factory in Greenford, I’ve also started giving brazing lessons. My first student Tom cycled from Bracknell to Tottenham Hale and home again in a raining gale. Massive respect Tom! Well done for learning fast and doing some nice neat braze-ons and fillets. I think I learned a lot too!
That’s all for now folks. Bikes. Must make bikes. A little inspired by walking to the Bicycle Revolution exhibition at the Design Museum earlier today..
Wilkinson Cycles Global HQPosted: April 30, 2015 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: bike frame storage, bike workshop, brass brazing, Brazing, butt gauge, butted tubing, cast iron surface table, dropout, fork bender, fork blade bender, fork end, frame building, frame jig, framebuilding, gas fluxer 4 Comments
Hello again, I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything for a while but I’ve been busy doing stuff like this at my new workshop:
He should come in handy for those menial tasks..
Rick’s fork will be my first use of my new bender..
Stay tuned for my next post for bender performance, laser-sintered titanium dropouts and more!
How to Move a Surface Plate..(up some steps)..Posted: September 19, 2014 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Brazing, crane, frame building, how to move a surface plate, surface plate, surface table Leave a comment
So after I’d finally bagged myself a large workshop in a factory nearer to my home, a few weeks back I needed to move my cast iron surface plate off the island on the River Thames, which involved negotiating 17 steps up onto the footbridge that leads to the road.
This time I knew how to do it.
A “Euro 3” sized pallet
Some OSB to strengthen the pallet for winching
Some timber offcuts to screw into the pallet around the plate to prevent it from sliding
Some pieces of wood to stand the pallet on (I’ll explain)
4 Ratchet straps
2 Lifting slings
An engine hoist (Ebay bargain)
A pallet jack (found in a skip by a friend)
A Tirfor winch with anchoring straps (borrowed from my dad’s tree surgery business)
2 sheets of plywood
Use of the mahoosive crane in the building site over the bridge
To put the surface plate on the pallet, I had to lift it off the stand with the engine hoist and slings. The hoist is only rated up to 500kg, and I calculated that the 4ftx3ft plate is more like 650kg, with a 2 inch thick solid plate and all the strengthening cast webs and edging below that to complete the plate structure.
I hoped that the hoist makers had allowed some safety margin..
Now the hoist legs would sort of fit underneath the stand’s cross members at a certain angle, so getting it off the stand wasn’t too difficult. I was very careful not to sway the load much.
Because the hoist legs and wheels wouldn’t fit into the pallet slots, I had to put the pallet width-ways on top of the hoist legs, and then lower the plate onto it.
Next, I put the pallet jack underneath the pallet and jacked it up off the legs, after strengthening the pallet a bit by jamming some wooden blocks into the fork slots.
I now had to lower the pallet onto 4 small stacks of plywood, one under each corner. This gave me just enough room to pull out the pallet jack, and then re-insert the forks into the slots of the pallet. I could then jack it up, remove the plywood from underneath the pallet, and finally lower the pallet to the ground.
I placed the wooden cover on the plate and ratchet strapped it to the pallet. I used some wood offcuts (handy being in a woodworking shop sometimes) to screw around the plate to further secure it.
Now the fun began!
At the other side of the bridge, the building site crane driver did me a favour and lifted it over the fence so that the pallet courier could collect it easily and take it to the new workshop:
The new place is nearly ready for frame building work to begin. A frame jig is on order from Sputnik Tool, the gas cylinders are set up, and I’ve been making benches with lots of help from the wifey. There’s a fully equipped machine shop on site at my disposal, and John, the factory owner is giving me lots of great training in machining and toolmaking.
Bye for now,
A Visit to Reynolds Technology.Posted: May 4, 2014 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: butted tubing, frame building, reynolds technology, reynolds tubing, swaging 1 Comment
Andy Newlands and I went to visit the Reynolds factory in Birmingham. Andy will be distributing their tubing in the US.
Here are some (not great) pictures that I took with my phone. My favourite machine was the reeler. It plasticly deforms the tube between two offset metal reels so that the internal butting mandrel can be pulled out.
The weirdest thing was, the whole factory smelled like Reynolds tubing!
My New Surface Table.Posted: December 23, 2013 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: alignment table, bottom bracket post, cast iron surface table, frame building, surface plate, surface table, Wilkinson Cycles Leave a comment
So, as part of my quest to tool up in a proper manner, I decided to liberate a 4ft x 3ft cast iron surface plate from Glasgow University.
With the help of two Tirfor winches, a pallet truck and an engine hoist, my good wife and I brought the plate across the bridge to the island, down the steps and onto its base in the workshop.
50 years old but in fine fettle due in no small part to being kept with a protective wooden cover, I had one more task to do before it was ready for use.
I had to drill a hole through the plate to mount my bottom bracket post. Like some noisy hardened steel harpoon though the skin of a great silent whale, I broke through the 40mm hide of this grey leviathan and ran paper under thumb to smooth the burr. The fine hardened stainless steel post was made in the new world by Mr Alex Meade. The post is designed to be used with Park facing tool threaded inserts.
I used a thick piece of hardwood clamped to the table as a drilling guide. I pre-drilled the wood on the pillar drill.
I’m really looking forward to checking and aligning frames on this table.
Now I can almost braze properly…Posted: July 12, 2013 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Brazing, brazing training, frame building, framebuilding 2 Comments
So after about a year in production brazing at the Brompton factory I’d say may brazing quality was starting to ramp up considerably. I’m still nowhere near the quality of the top dogs in the factory but I’m confident that I’ll be doing clearcoat quality fairly consistently before too long.
I did some practice brazes the other week in the workshop with flux paste. As I’ve previously built my own frames with lugged BB shells, this is my first ever fillet brazed bottom bracket shell:
The brazing that I do in my day job at Brompton has been really useful.
Last month a bunch of us from the factory took part in the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton ride with 29,000 other cyclists. And yes, I did get over Ditchling Beacon on my 2-speed Brompton without stopping. Just.
Also, my friend John, a lifetime engineer and machinist has offered to work with me as I start up as a frame builder, giving me use of the facilities at his factory to make jigs, etc. What a guy. Watch this space..