Monday, December 27, 2010

out making tracks

IMG_6171, originally uploaded by rackntroll.

first time this season out on the the cross country skis! about 5 or 6 inches of nice light powdery snow, very good conditions, nice and fast.
might head over to french creek state park soon to cover some distance.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One thing leads to another...

Our family car, an '03 Ford Focus, started making a funny noise from the right rear wheel, only when making left turns. I suspected that it was the wheel bearing, especially since the car has nearly 140,000 miles on it.

I jacked it up, there was indeed a fair amount of play in the wheel. That is the telltale sign of a wolfed bearing. Removed the drum to access the bearing, looks like it is also time to replace the brake shoes. Since I am doing the shoes, I might as well replace the drums also, right? Very convenient timing, especially since the drums come with the wheel bearing already pressed into it. A bearing alone is $45, the drum WITH the bearing is only $ not sure how that works, but I'll take the drum AND bearing please, and save me the headache of getting the bearing out and in of the drum.

I took care of the right side, then I get to the left side. Boy o Boy, that drum is being very stubborn. Hours later of massaging, prying, and banging the drum it finally comes of. The culprit? A completely seized up emergency brake cable, so the shoe was dragging all the time basically, creating a lot of wear on the drum, which put a large ridge into it, making the removal of the drum very difficult, and especially because the shoes was being held tightly against the drum by the bound up cable.
Here is the seized, rusted, and just about broken e-brake cable (I yanked it out of the housing to exposed the badly corroded inner cable):

Here is the new cable assembly, cannot get just one, so they both got replaced.

Bleep Blop Bloop fast forward past waiting 2 days for the brake cable, and its all taken care of. Yippee!

Here is a complementary shot of the wear indicators on my totally sick ALLLLLLL season tires. Conti EXTREEEEMMMMMEEEE Contact DWS. The ridges in the siping grip the snow. After last years ridiculous snowfall I can confidently say that yes, they work. Much much better than any of the previous tires I've had.

When the "S" is gone, they are no longer optimal for snow.
When the "W" is gone, no longer optimal in the wet.
When the "D" is gone, well you know what that means!

We will return to our normally scheduled programming shortly.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

getting settled

check out the new digs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

On the Move

Sadly, the time has come for Laura, Cate, and I to leave our peaceful paradise.

I'll be moving my shop stuff last, I have been sneaking bits of time here and there to work on my current project, the long awaited simple rack fixture. It should be done soon, then I can start moving my equipment.
There will be some shop downtime and therefore weblog downtime.
Don't worry, I'll be back.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sturmey Archer AW - Fixed Gear Hub Conversion

The plans for this conversion have been posted at for many years. Ever since I first stumbled across the page I wanted to try the conversion for myself. Fast forward a few years and I finally have the equipment to make it possible.

A groove must be machined in the planet cage, seen on the left. The left hand ball cup must be knocked out of the hub shell and have a matching groove machined into it. A bar with a hole in it must also be fabricated, to lock the ball cup and the planet cage together.

The internals are hardened, and by golly are they hard. My end mill didn't stand a chance. A hand file couldn't even put a scratch in it. So with my torch I spot annealed the areas that needed to be machined. I heated up the areas to red and tried to hold that temperature for a little bit, then let it cool slowly. And it actually worked!!!

Here is the hub reassembled (except for the ball bearings and cone).

Got it all done in time for the Philly Bike Expo, for the presentation on Sturmey Archer hubs, put on by Trophy Bikes. Have not yet heard how the presentation went, maybe I will get some pictures in a day or 2.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dumpling Transportation and Tiny Miracles

Made this rack a whiles back, a pair of pictures finally found their way to me. Love the Bean Green Crosscheck, year 2 for the CC I believe?

photos by McGet

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Starting Something New

IMG_5972, originally uploaded by rackntroll.

The beginnings a new fixture. Spent a good chunk of time standing over the lathe turning handwheels, pulling levers, and flipping switches.

Monday, October 25, 2010


IMG_5967, originally uploaded by rackntroll.

all it takes is a split second of poor torch/heat control to blow a hole in the tube.

Friday, October 22, 2010

3 water crossings- deal with it

Found this license plate on the road in front of the creek, very appropriate.

Haven't done a water crossing on a motorized cycle in over 15 years, back when I was a young'n riding dirt bikes. This was the 3rd one and the deepest. I have also crossed this one on my bicycle, click here for the video.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

welded platform and a cat on a wood pile

Got a platform all welded up. Kinda sloppy, I definitely want to get a smaller welding nozzle, I think that will help. Didn't blow any holes in the tubing, yet....still have a few more chances for that!

The cat meowed at me just as I snapped the photo. He was laying down on some logs, which looks uncomfortable to you or I, but to a cat its pretty swell.

Going for a stroll.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Moto Rack Part 3

The bike carrier was finished up by its owner, a couple coats of paint, strapping, and some brackets to mount the tray to were added.
We may add some additional bracing, but otherwise it was a success!

Friday, October 15, 2010

axle guards

some time spent with the lathe.
first time machining delrin, it was fun- deep cuts and fast feed rates.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bromke Press Release

US Man's Custom Rack Gets the Nod From UK Folder Fans
by mcget --
LONDON (Oct. 3, 2010) -- Brompton Bicycle Ltd. factory staffer Richard offers a thumbs up to a Rack and Roll folding rack prototype by Dan Niedziocha of the United States. "The brazing's good, innit?" Richard declared, after giving the folding front rack a close inspection. The rack was making an ad hoc debut at the Brompton 100, a cycle ride limited to just 100 fans, Brompton dealers and staffers associated with the iconic British folder's winning of the Queen's Award for Innovation. The ride was staged on Sat. Oct. 2, at the Guard's Parade Ground behind Buckingham Palace, and wound through the scenic Brompton Quarter (where inventor Andrew Ritchie first designed the bike three decades ago in his apartment) to the Brompton factory in Brentford, where the award was presented by HM Lord-Lieutenant of London, Sir David Brewer.
Niedziocha is a bicycle mechanic who also runs Rack and Roll, a one-man handcraft operation in a former barn near New Hope PA, creating custom racks of steel tubing for bicycles and motorcycles. The rack was his response to a conversation with Trophy Bikes proprietor Michael McGettigan, who asked for a porteur rack that would be permanently mounted, carry a Domke F-6 camera satchel, and fold to allow the bike to fit in a standard Brompton box or case. Niedziocha finished the rack just in time for the Brompton weekend, despite recently becoming the new father of a baby girl.
Mr. Niedziocha dubbed it the "Bromke" rack and it attracted a fair bit of attention at the ride, and the next day at the Brompton World Championships, held at Blenheim Palace. This novel annual race, which requires business attire and features a Le Mans start, was part of the third annual Bike Blenheim Palace, which also featured a time trial, bicycle polo and stunt bike demonstrations.
A subset of Brompton owners enjoy customizing their folders and braved intermittent rain to check over one another's machines on the expansive grounds surrounding the Palace. Always on the lookout for the unique, many Bromptoneers expressed interest in Niedziocha's rack and disappointment that no price list or ordering information was yet to be had.
Niedziocha hopes to take advantage of the internet to reach such design mavens later on. Brompton's output is now over 25,000 bicycles a year, and while they themselves design and sell scores of practical accessories for their bicycles, a number of smaller cottage industries have sprung up in the UK and Japan making limited edition (and generally pricey!) custom items to fit Bromptons. Mr. Niedziocha's novel, US-made rack may soon be joining that exclusive and quirky queue.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Not a Bicycle, But there are Similarities

So, we got my mother-in-law to watch our Little Lady. This was the first time Laura and I went out together without the little Bean Queen.

Went for a cruise on the motorcycle, Laura's first time riding on the back with me in about 9 years...

Luckily it was close to home, and my buddy who lives even closer to where we flatted bailed us out.

I really need to get some nerd rack action going so I can carry the necessary equipment to avoid being stranded.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not Just Bicycles Anymore

I love my wife, she treated me to a motorcycle. But not just any motorcycle, an extremely cool dual-sport.

BMW G650 X-Country

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

That Time of Year

IMG_5872, originally uploaded by rackntroll.

It's wood burning season!!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lathes are the Best

IMG_5869, originally uploaded by rackntroll.

I was in a pinch, needed a presta valve extension. Lathe to the rescue, they are the best!!!

Welded Racks

IMG_5853, originally uploaded by rackntroll.

5/16 x .035" tubing, gas welded. A Victor 000 welding nozzle would help keep the bead smaller, but I'm okay with the 00 tip for now. I tried to break the weld, it held up, the tubing tore open. Expect my first gas-welded rack soon, I'll send it over to Chris for some long term testing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moments of Clarity in Otherwise Murky Water

I know, I know, this post title sounds like a Modest Mouse album. Shit, maybe it already is, I dunno.

Anyways, got some real welding rod in the mail today, and welded up 6 more practice joints. The thinner 1/16" filler rod is great.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moto Rack Part 2

Luke stopped by with his motorcycle to see how the plate fit onto his luggage system. We had to pop it onto the mill and make a few changes but it all worked out perfectly. Still need to do a few things before it is ready to hold a bicycle, but its headed in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lazy AND Poor

It has been said that TIG welding is the lazy man's fillet brazing, and that fillet brazing is the poor man's TIG welding.

So I suppose that leaves gas welding for the lazy AND poor man?

It really started to click on the 5th and 6th attempt. Need more practice though.

Still using coat hangers, have some real welding rod coming in the mail soon. Yippee!

Bromke Rack Mark I

Finished up the first iteration of the Bromke rack in time for the Brompton World Championship held at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, England.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Moto Rack

Helping out a friend who wants to be able to carry his bicycle on his motorcycle. The aluminum plate fits onto a luggage system already on the motorcycle. A Thule or Yakima tray will be bolted to the aluminum plate.

Layout work

Barely fits on the machine

Boring a hole