Saturday, 27 February 2010

That's more like it!

I got the frame back from the powdercoaters yesterday, and I'm happy to report that this time around it looks great. The satin black finish gives it a lovely "factory" look that I really like. And in retrospect, the matt finish that I went for at first, maybe wasn't the best idea, since it might have proven too difficult to keep clean.

I got a few other bits and bobs painted as well. More on that later. Next up: compiling a list of all the bolts I need and ordering those from With the frame and the rest of the components looking as good as they do, I can't very well bolt it together with anything other than top of the line fasteners, now can I?

Monday, 15 February 2010

It all adds up...

Almost two months ago I ordered 12 countersunk, stainless bolts from a company called McMaster-Carr in the states. I needed them to fasten my sprocket and rear brake disc to my PM rear wheel, which uses a really archaic bolt pattern and 7/16'' bolts. A month passed without any bolts arriving. Then a further two weeks. A call was placed and met with the suprising answer: "We cancelled your order due to export restrictions". "-Come again? Export restrictions? I wasn't aware that old imperial bolts were covered by some sort of non-proliferation treaty", I replied. "And why haven't you informed me of the cancellation?" Since the customer relations person at the other end couldn't give me a satisfactory answer, I hung up. Annoyed, to say the least.

Since McMaster-Carr were the ONLY source I could find for the bolts I needed (stainless 7/16'' contersunk must be the rarest bolts in the world), I had to resort to having them custom made. A company called Acme Stainless in the UK made the ones in the picture and had them sent to me within a week. The cost? £65 including postage. Aouch!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Halfway there.

In this day and age of iPhones, nano-tubes and what not, it's easy to overlook some of last century's high tech, like the CNC-mill. In essence 1970's technology (invented in the 50's), it still makes my mind boggle at the sheer precision of the thing. I understand the basic principles of it all, but the way it moves in 1/1000 mm increments back and forth, and even more amzingly, mills perfect circles in solid blocks of metal is just astounding to me.

As you can see, the upper triple tree is almost there (lower part of picture), while the lower tree is still a big, but not heavy, piece of billet.
The difference in weight between these and my steel prototypes is amazing. Next up: machining the "slots" and the threads for the bolts that will tighten the clamps around the fork legs.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Dangerous times.

At the moment I'm waiting for my frame to come back from the powder coaters and my tank and seat unit to come back from the guy in London who's doing the flake job. Until I get the frame back, there is not much I can do on the bike (apart from finishing the triple trees which is pencilled in for for Monday) and my brain has started whispering: "–screw this project, let's move on to the next one... It will be much more fun than this... Haven't you've always said you were going to do a cafe racer... I bet there is a nice paralell twin engine somewhere on eBay..."

Must. Not. Start. New. Project.
Must. Finish. This. One. First.