Friday, 18 July 2014

Tube notch central

Despite being preoccupied with milling machines and related paraphernalia - and even decorating! YES I've made a start on painting and tidying up the walls in the cellar. The floor is next for consideration, it needs all the oil getting out of the concrete first but after visiting Bob Brooks workshop a while ago i was amazed how much light is reflected back up off his painted floor, and with no windows the lighting in the cellar has always been an issue.

I've managed to get a few more tubes notched up and tacked into position in the frame. It's really starting to take shape now and most of the tricky tubes are already done. Only a few more tubes left and i'll be moving on to all the brackets and other bits that will undoubtedly take up a lot of time.
I have a whole front end (forks, brakes, wheel etc) to go with the frame, but the forks will need shortening and stronger springs fitting, and i can't do those things until i have a back wheel and tyre in place so the ride height & ground clearance can be set correctly.
It looks like i'll be building the back wheel from scratch, probably following the design from the bopchop wheel but fitting wider rims.I don't like the look of the side drive wheels that are popular at the minute, and i can't find split rims with beadlocks, so they might have to be beadlockless.

With new mill now in situ i spent 2 evenings  this week fitting a Digital readout and Linear scales to it. I bought them as a kit off eBay, and initial impressions are that it's very cool! No doubt they will quickly become invaluable, as it opens up a whole new world off accuracy and repeatability. Not like it wasn't possible before but all that measuring makes it very tedious. This looks a lot easier to me!
The mill itself seems pretty impressive so far too, it produces some very clean cuts, doesn't vibrate when making decent size cuts, and the variable speed is a revelation!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Going down.

It was a fairly mammoth task getting the mill down into the cellar. Most of today was spent inventing various ways of getting it from one place to the next, and trying to overcome various obstacles.
We used an engine crane to get it out of the van and back onto a pallet, however the engine crane doesn't have a very good range of movement and we had to make a spacer to get it to lift from that height. Then a pallet truck was used to get it down the garden to the top of the cellar steps.

Next was to make some long skis out of bits of 4x2 timber, the engine crane was used again to lift the mill clear of the floor whilst it was fitted with it's new ski's and bolted tightly to them.
The next bit was surprisingly easy, using big bar it was pried towards the cellar steps until it started to pivot downwards. It's just a matter then of giving it a shove to get it going. It seemed the real problem now lie in lifting it onto the stand, the crane can nowhere near lift that high in one go. And so i went and borrowed a hydraulic bench and that made light work of getting it to the right height.
It now sits on it's new base and fits back in the corner of the workshop where the old mill used to live. I've used it very briefly and it seems very nice, dead quiet, smooth and snug ways, no vibration and loads of power.
Tomorrow I'll oil it up properly and adjust everything. Thanks to Stuart, Tom, Arge and Benji for helping out.

Friday, 11 July 2014

New horizons in dragbikes II

My old milling machine was sold via eBay earlier in the week and went off to it's new home the very next day. I got what i paid for it 3 yrs ago so not bad really - a free mill!
Collected the new mill today, i've not had chance to use it yet but initially at least it's a rather fab bit of kit!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Out with the old

I've been sidetracked a little from chassis building recently, first of all there was a pesky race meeting
to go to - this went well till it rained. We qualified 1st with a 7.58 which was very close to my personal best, in fact both qualifying runs were 7.5's, the other a 7.59 and both runs were best ever 60ft times (1.16) which meant the changed final gearing was a step in the right direction. The weather however did spoil the fun, and by mid afternoon on  Sunday the meeting was called off.
The second distraction - on the way to the race meeting i went looking at milling machines and on my return ended up buying one of the ex demo machines i was looking at. It really wasn't one of the ones i went to look at either but i spotted it and was quite impressed by the capacity. The price was good and I've come to the conclusion that realistically it's about as much of a mill as I'm ever likely to get safely into the cellar. So i'm currently in the middle of selling my old one quickly as i need the space (if anyone's interested its on that site 201120673907). And I've spent most of this weekend building a heavy duty bench for the new one, which i'll collect later this week.
Today however, i managed to spend a couple of hours making the lower back engine mounts, and fitting some more tubes - the really awkward top ones that meet not only at 2 angles but on a curve too. It took a couple of prototypes to get it right.
Only a few tubes left to go in now really, but next weekend will likely be taken up with trying to get nearly 400kg of mill down the steps into the cellar.... safely!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Summer Nationals 2014

I've managed to make enough room to get to my bike and i'll be loading it up and heading to Santa Pod on Friday morning. Coverage of the event can be found courtesy of, with webcam, live commentary and end of day reports and galleries, all of which can be found here:

8 bikes on the list for comp bike:
4    Phil Crossley     Suzuki GSX  Team Bopchop  1500cc
5    Tony Clark    Suzuki GSX 1100  Outlaw Racing UK 1500cc
8    Kevin Osman   Suzuki Hayabusa  S & K Racing  1300cc
9    Dave Batcheler  Suzuki GSX Bandit Plumb Crazy Racing 1340cc
12    Steve Moor     Suzuki EF  Team Elysion  1260cc
14    Sean Mills     Suzuki Hayabusa  Big CC Racing 1585cc
15    Paul Hambidge   Kawasaki ZX12R  1200cc
42    Allan Davies      Suzuki GSX Gipp Racing 1428cc

Qualifying is on the Saturday and we are scheduled for 3 runs. However it's a big event with a lot to get through so we will see.
Commiseration to our newest crew member - Benji, who started a work placement this week and so cannot make it. 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Some more progress ....

A bit more progress made today - all tubes with bends in are now complete. Rear bottom engine mount is next as that's the only fixed point, all other mounts will have bolt on brackets. Once that's done i can take the cases out, and hopefully the whole thing is light enough to move as i need to get my bike out to go racing next weekend!

Next weekends race meeting is the Summer Nationals at Santa Pod. Only a 2 day event this one, although there is a test and tune day on the Friday it seems unlikely we'll be bothering with it. We should be there sometime friday afternoon to set up and get scruitneered. I've fitted the larger sprocket and i'm expecting it to make a difference, however the clutch will likely need tweaking to cope with the change, so it may take a couple of runs to get a handle on it. 
The entry list is pretty good - 8 bikes and a couple of new entries too. Should be a good one!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Test tubes

Some 12 meters of 1.25" tube later, and it's time to fit and bend some proper tubes into shape.
The ERW tube costs about £30 for 12 meters, whereas T45 (hardened and tempered carbon-manganese steel) is about 10 times that! So it was well worth sacrificing that first as no end of problems cropped up. The strength of the T45 tube was obvious when i came to bend it. It's thinner wall than the ERW i've been practicing on yet it requires both hands on the tube bender and some real effort to get it to bend. The ERW by comparison i can bend without even fitting the handle to the bender, plus it springs back several degrees when you release it so you have to take that into consideration when trying to get the angle spot on.
The lower frame rails are now done and fitted into the jig, the top tubes have been bent too, but still need notching for the headstock tube. The rear tubes should be straightforward as they only use 2D bends, then there's some smaller diameter T45 for all the cross bracing, and that's all straights.
Once the main tubes are in I'll do all the fittings/inserts for engine mounts and other main components and tack it all together.

It all takes so much time .....  just bending and fitting those lower tubes was the best part of a days work. I'm sure i once said i'd never build another frame again.... i seemed to have forgotten that!