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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:47 pm 
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Sorry I haven't had much juicy stuff to share with everyone, but I did manage to head down to the factory and had some discussions regarding some technical issues with the engineers.

It was kinda unreal to be immersed again in the carbon atmosphere. Raw carbon fiber is pretty awesome to behold, and carbon weaves could have some strange effect on one's mind...

Picked up an open mold carbon bar at 31.8 x 44 c-c at 213g, which is pretty respectable. And it feels super stiff as well. But I will open a mold with slightly better curve.

Some pics for your Monday amusemet....

UD carbon wrapped headtube junction waiting to be put in a mold.
Some 12K frames
Large roll of 3K carbon sheet in front of shaky camera.
UD carbon sheet with one strand half peeled (don't ask me why I did that. I have no idea).


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Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:47 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:42 am 
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I haven't been slacking off lately. 3D is at an advanced stage and going through some refinements. :beerchug:

But I did want to share a 3D pic of the headtube. Going along the Falco theme as you can see.

No beautiful carbon weave just yet... 6 more weeks I hope.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:10 pm 
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Hi,

I am very much enjoying listening in on your frame project. I have a carbon bike now (Calfee) and am in the market for a new one which is how I found my way here.

I am wondering about the process you need to go through. Will you use a local factory, will they make a mold for you (and them), What kind of carbon will you use? From your experience is it easy to choose a good factory? Any thoughts about making the frame for the market?

Lots of questions, but if you were in the market for a frame for yourself today what would you look into, what you have now? the Neo, or is that part of what is driving you to design a new frame, that there is nothing similar to what you would like. My personal current looking at favorite is the Canyon, but that could always change.

Thanks for posting your progress!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:53 am 
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Thanks for your interest, especially in your maiden post. :welcome:

I will use a local (to me) factory, I am separately hiring a mold maker to make the molds. I will be using a mixture of higher modulous carbon in critical locations and the rest generic (T700 and the like, which is more than good enough for bike frame making). Also trying to source some basalt/flax type fibers for certain sections of the frame. At the end of the day it will be a function of cost, engineering, convenience and availability.

It's actually really difficult to get the right factory because the handful of really good ones are a bit reluctant to deal with small orders (they already have orders by the 10,000s from Cdale/Cervelo/Scott/Pinarello/andprettymucheveryoneelse). The Chinarello joints are all over the place but I don't want to get killed.

The present goal is to make a bike that makes ME happy. If I like it enough, I will think about marketing it. Based on some prelim research, operating a brand will be a huge undertaking for someone who is not already in the industry, so that step will not be taken lightly. My inspiration mostly came from the guys on this forum. Won't repeat the list of names, coz it's loooooong.

Of course many current models I do like a lot (currently on a Prince and C50, not very imaginative but no complaints from me). However, it will be nice to have something unique and satisfies my own absolute whim. :twisted:

I haven't ridden a Canyon but they do appear to be nicely designed and well made frames.

Hope I answered your Qs.

Tetrac wrote:
Hi,

I am very much enjoying listening in on your frame project. I have a carbon bike now (Calfee) and am in the market for a new one which is how I found my way here.

I am wondering about the process you need to go through. Will you use a local factory, will they make a mold for you (and them), What kind of carbon will you use? From your experience is it easy to choose a good factory? Any thoughts about making the frame for the market?

Lots of questions, but if you were in the market for a frame for yourself today what would you look into, what you have now? the Neo, or is that part of what is driving you to design a new frame, that there is nothing similar to what you would like. My personal current looking at favorite is the Canyon, but that could always change.

Thanks for posting your progress!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:16 pm 
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Had some free time, so tried to think of the seat clamp... As it will be a one off frame why not do something über-light and über-clean.
Attachment:
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The outer tube is seat post, the inner tube is seat clamp insert and the gray part is a shim from aluminum.
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You add a groove on the seatpost and groove on the seat clamp. Then add a aluminum shim for fixing. It would be a "press fit" but it doesn't have to hold your weight only avoid the saddle from turning side to side. With the aluminum shim you could adjust the tightness of the fit. I assume you wouldn't be changing your saddle every week so this should hold up quite well... You lose all the screws and other imperfections. If you're worried about the tubes "wearing each other out" over time then you could change the shim over time to get the tight fit back...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:06 pm 
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Thanks for your input. This is a very interesting design. I am not sure I got it 100% -- is the aluminum to make sure the post will not twist? How do you keep the vertical position of the post?

Right now my seatpost will be oval so the twisting problem will be moot. Are you thinking of using this post on your new frame design?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:05 pm 
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What´s the latest update?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:43 am 
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Thanks for asking...

Moulds are done, and due to the Chinese New Year, most factories in the region are closed for 1-2 weeks, shipment was finally made and I am actually arranging for a trip to check out the delivery in a few days when my DAY JOB permits :mrgreen: .

I went with a more industrial approach which entails its own pros and cons (less handywork, hopefuly more precision, more costly, better handling of complex tubing shape, no modification until I get a test frame out). I was at the mould factory 5-6 weeks ago, and I was quite amazed by the gargantuan machine with a tiny cutting blade doing its magic.

I am hoping to take some pictures in a few days. Frankly I am quite nervous because only time will tell if some of the design features will work at all and also the custom bits and bolts will fit squarely.

But i didn't sit around and waste time during the CNY feasts. Planning to open a new thread on a completely different titanium build and this one should be fun too.


fitty4 wrote:
What´s the latest update?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Finally something more to share with you guys...

Got a much anticipated call last night and a trip was immediately scheduled for this morning to head down to the factory. At 7:30 this morning, off I went. Traffic is light as CNY is not fully over and southern China's general shortage of labor gets worse.

After an eventless 2-hr trip, my arrival was greeted by factory guard, who looked friendly and obviously in weekend mode -- I am sure he remembers me.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:48 pm 
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@elviento this is a very interesting thread. Definitely a unique way to build your own custom frame. I look forward to seeing the completed frame and how everything goes together. I like your goal of trying to be aero and light, most light custom frames are not concerned with being aero. Hopefully all your custom parts will fit like you want them to.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:04 pm 
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My 3 friends at the factory greeted me with warm sincere smiles, and I was equally glad for obvious reasons, plus it looked like I wasn't the only one getting chubby after CNY feasts. They were all 5'6"-5'7" guys, typical of Southern China who are pragmatic and easy-going, but reality is 2 of them have worked on frames used by 2/5 of the Div 1 peleton today and ridden to multiple tour/giro/vuelta victories and world champ titles in the past few years.

After exchanging CNY greetings, we headed down to the layup room without further ado. Considering a busy 2011 and the holidays, the factory is not as well organized as during my last visit, but I was more anxious about my frame. As we stepped into the layup room, a worker who is supposedly one of the better ones at the factory, was already finishing up laying up the head tube and moving on to the down tube and BB cluster. He had a fairly common name, sort of a Chinese equivalent of Bob (or Joe), but I wasn't introduced to him as he was concentrated on what he was doing and we did not want to stop him.

Despite his ordinary looks, he definitely had extraordinarily deft fingers, and the tailored pieces of carbon fiber sheets were coming together around plastic bags. The shapes matched my recollection of the 3D paintings but the seat mast seemed narower than the paintings. Soft carbon cloth is apparently sticky and sort of uneven, but I am sure the oven will sort that out in due course. Overall looking good.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:31 pm 
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As we had discussed before, this guy makes around $500/mo, which has doubled over the past 3-4 years, yet labor is still in great shortage, as a lot of the world's well known products are made in the area (Iphones, Ipads, Samsung Tabs, HTC whatevers, Pinarellos, Chinarellos, and too many others to name). That said, the corruption/inflation in this country is making the average Joe's life harder even with the rising wages.

But inflation issues had absolutely no place on this guys' mind right then, as he was completely engrossed in his work. The efficiency with which he was putting all that together apparently did not leave much room for anything else. He is in his late 20s but hard work makes him look a slightly more mature than that. I don't know how much he likes this job, but I was pretty sure as of that moment, he had as much desire as anybody to wrap up the carbon sheets nicely. As we can see from the pics, he is not in shredded clothes with blood running down chains and shackles, nor is he your typical white-haired cappuccino-sipping artisan. Just a regular guy trying to do a good job.

It was almost moving.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:46 pm 
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My moulds were casually laid over some other moulds. This was not a staged shoot so you won't see workers dressed in white in spotless glass rooms. I frowned for a moment but then it occurred to me it was actually a pretty nice and solid stack to put stuff on. :lol:

The inside of the moulds had what appeared to be either grease or resin, in very small amounts. If you look closer, you could see the machining marks. It's amazing to me as they basically CNC'ed out such a large piece of alloy.

I caught a quick glimpse of a neighoring mould which was apparently for a TT frame, with Kamm tail design no less.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:09 pm 
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Wow... It is really incredible to me the amount of resources nd time put into this project for one frame. I hope it turns out as you desire! Totally fascinating to follow the manufacturing process without the gloss and pr of the big guys. Thanks! Keep it up!


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Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:09 pm 


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:34 pm 
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Thanks for the encouragement. Time and effort is no problem as this is enjoyment to me (I am sure many share the sentiment). In addition to getting the shapes and geometry I desire, I am also trying to get some design concepts to work, which hopefully will make the project noteworthy.

This is not cheap either but a typical WWOTY worthy project would run close to $15K-20K anyway, so in my mind this certainly is an interesting alternative to getting a Meivici, Baum, R5CA etc.

The full frame should be done in one week. The cable routing, and the mast topper weight are the two biggest question marks right now.

It's 3am now so I better hit the sack. Will upload the other stuff tomorrow.


JN2Wheels wrote:
Wow... It is really incredible to me the amount of resources nd time put into this project for one frame. I hope it turns out as you desire! Totally fascinating to follow the manufacturing process without the gloss and pr of the big guys. Thanks! Keep it up!

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Last edited by elviento on Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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