Consideration on welding machines

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Tool making and hub overhauling day

We have plenty of our Clicker Hubs in stock, out of which I picked a few and stripped them to try some idea I just got on.

This hub can be taken apart without intricate tools, except one part.

There is a rugged steel ring screwed onto the hub shell (which is a common construction). And I want to take everything apart this time. I’ve never really heard of a process to remove this ring, let alone special tools to do the job. The ring usually stays there for life. It’s under constant tightening force whenever the rider pedals, and there is no structural reception of the force if one tries to untighten it. Okay, time to make a tool.

At first I thought it might be quite time consuming to make a tool out of some thick steel plate. Then the idea came to me that when you make a tool, it’s quicker to make it out of a tool. A quick look into the tool box netted me a freewheel remover from ACS. Perfect item to chop up as I hadn’t used it in a decade. Also perfect that it had four pawls. Two is not stable. Three is impossible to measure the diameter of.

Felt as if the god of crafts had a visit. I just whipped out the hand grinder, and voila, it’s done, with precision. There should be no excessive play, nor hammer-in tight fit. I’d thought zero to 5/100 tool clearance. And it somehow just happened that way.

It’s easy to use on a vise. These rings are not super tight on new hubs right out of box, so turning with hands usually does the trick. If not, applying some heat to the hub shell helps, as the aluminum shell has larger coefficient of thermal expansion than the steel internal.

So I ended the day with these beautiful bare shells. Pretty excited to think about what to do with them next.

Fixie rebuilt for rehab

I just rebuilt my track bike that I hadn’t ridden for ages. The bike turned out to be an ultimate collaboration of generosity from my bike friends including Yugo, one of the BMX riders representing Susukino, for the frame and main components, Sam for the back wheel, and Jonny for the pedals.

The major reason behind the resurrection is my injured left ankle. It’s been exactly one year since I got bone necrosis there, which still feels as bad as day one, but I finally realized I ought to maintain the muscles or I’d put myself in a downward spiral.

It was just a simple, quick work to rebuild it thanks to its simplicity. I only had to replace the front tube after it blew up, put a new chain on, and bolted in some BMX pedals lying around instead of ones with straps that are currently on my friend’s stationary bike. All the rest is the same as four years ago.

This photo is from four years ago. One day I noticed a massive collection of dust inside the steerer tube partly due to the minimal gap between the tire and fork crown.

This much.

The issue here is not just extra weight and dirtiness but also saltiness. The snow melting agent scattered all over the road in winter is, to put it simple, salt. As a result, automobiles in snowy areas corrode at an astonishing rate from the underside. Bikes can’t escape this fate, either. So I had to protect this princess raised in tamed velodromes from the evils in the outside world.

Voila! As all old timers familiar with tubular tires know, cork has always been good friends to bikes.

After some trimming, job done. This trick is also useful for other types of ride such as downhill bikes. You can adjust the diameter of the plug with a knife if necessary. Or, it should also be fun to travel around the world looking for the ultimate wine that has the perfect size cork plug.

Monozukuri (industrial creation)

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Sumo Roller

A fun project conceived at the beginning of this year has just dropped its fruit. A fat tire bike designed by and made for myself, the Sumo Roller.

Fat-tired mountain bikes are in, with tire widths ranging around four to five inches. I see people around me hopping on the train too. I heard my inner jealousy whisper to me, “Go bigger or go home,” so I went for tire width of 12″, approximately 305mm. The outer diameter is also decently large at 25″.

The following picture shows a different angle view, assembled with some different, makeshift parts because this was the very first day that this bike rolled on the terra.

Components include those of bicycles, motorcycles, ATV buggies, etc., which are put together by adding some twist i.e. grinding and welding. There was no guarantee for this project that the concept would actually turn out functional at all, so there was some focus on avoiding costly processes and ensuring that most parts can be taken apart and reused if this whole thing didn’t work. But somehow, it worked.

So I hopped on it, and the impression was like, wow, this is absolutely and startlingly different from anything and everything… not. It’s large, heavy, good on snow, and can’t go fast. Just as it seems. Then is it fun, you may ask? Absolutely yes. It doesn’t take any special skill to ride it around, but there is no denying that the experience comes with unprecedented sights to see and unparalleled feeling to be had.

It’s been about 10 days since the launch, during which time I’ve done some 80 km in distance. I had to readjust the drive train to counter the initial stretching of the chain, but otherwise there has been no troubles, somewhat to my surprise. There actually are many parts I thought could break down anytime, partly due to the restrictions in the structural design.

Though there are some points to be fine tuned, it came out with a better potential than expected for the very first prototype. Also I managed to make it in time before the snow was gone, which made the project a great success overall. As is always the case, DIY is THE answer when you want to ride something fun and unique.

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