Friday, February 5, 2010

LBJ0001 Becomes a Commuter

The Rented Mule actually builds up quite well as a commuter with 700C wheels. I had one built for a while, but stripped it. I have my prototype frame sitting in the corner, quite literally collecting dust, so I decided to build it into a commuter.

I rode the prototype frame for a year or two and it's quite a nice frame. The angles are slacker than the production model. The seat tube is a half inch longer. The gusseting is different. The head tube is not machined. And, most importantly, it has a different set of dropouts. Other than that, it's pretty close to a production model.

Unfortunately, I screwed up on the prototype dropouts. One of the holes is .1 inches out from where it should be, causing it to ride a bit high on the disc. I fixed it by running a 7" adapter with an 8" disc and then spacing it up to fit properly with washers. This doesn't work too well though. The caliper constantly came lose and you could see that it was stressed out and causing the holes on to ovalize a bit. I wanted to drill it out to where it should be.

Where the hole should be overlaps with where the hole is, so it's a pretty difficult hole to drill. I brought it in to work to use the drill press and asked my riding partner/maintenance supervisor to help me out. He figured we should get one of the millwrights/machinists involved as he would be the best guy to get the job done.

My plan involved bolting a disc adaptor to the right spot and then drilling through the whole works to get a hole in the right place. I would have to sacrifice the adaptor, but this seemed like the only way we would get the hole in the right place. Worst case, if it was a bit out, I could clean it up with a file. Well, worst case I could weld in a new dropout and get the frame re-painted.

Millwrights, of course, aren't used to dealing with such precision. "We'll just file it out. Here. Gimme." Next thing I knew, my frame was clamped in a vice, one of them was scratching away at the paint to mark out where the adaptor should sit and the other was banging away at things with the file. They wouldn't believe me that it was steel and got a magnet out to prove me wrong. I probably should have just filed it out myself in the first place, but I honestly thought I'd be able to have a cleaner solution with a drill press at my disposal. Anyhow, it's almost there. I will have to clean it up a bit with a file once I get it built.

So, the lesson for're always better off doing the job yourself. My paint will survive bit it was hard for me to watch. I should have taken a "before" picture. I'll try to get an "after" up in a few days.