Saturday, January 27, 2018

Bicycle Repair

My back's a lot better but I'm still a bit leery of doing much of anything that requires lifting, turning, bending over, or standing upright. I did finish up a job that I was working on down in the basement "laboratory". Scratch one off the list.

I also took my touring bicycle to a shop for some work. The bottom bracket was thrown together when I was getting ready to take the Portland to Missoula trip a few years back. I needed a triple set of gears on the front for the mountains we were expecting to climb and I ran into some problems getting it converted. The main problem was that my mother passed away just as I was preparing to take the trip, so I was involved with funeral arrangements and all that goes with the passing of a parent. I took the bike to a couple of shops to get a new crankset installed and got a couple of it can't be dones, so I rigged up a solution that worked rather well and was expedient but there were some issues with the threads.

I took the bike to a small shop in Valparaiso, Indiana - Leo's Mobile Bicycle Service - and he got it all straightened out. I could have done the rest of the service work myself but I want the bike ready to go when the nice weather comes and I've got a ton of other things on my plate. He lubed and trued the wheels, greased the headset, installed a new cartridge type bottom bracket, new chain, new cables, adjusted the brakes and the derailleurs - $200.00. That's a fairly good chunk of change for an old steel frame bike but I've got relatively new wheels and rear derailleur on the bike. Plus I put new tires and tubes on it last summer. The seat is a nice sprung leather saddle that is very comfortable and the bike fits me well. So basically, everything now is pert near brand new and ready for another tour across the heartland. Which I'm hoping will be this summer. I talked to my old saddle pal last year about doing the Cowboy Trail across Nebraska this year. I haven't talked to him of late but I'm hoping we can put something together. By the way, if you are anywhere close to Valpo and you need anything bicycle, check out Leo's. I'm real pleased with the work he did.

I've got a couple of sessions of the Multi-Axis CNC class under my belt. We're making a small spur gear for our first project. We - meaning the instructor - wrote a program for the horizontal machining center the last session to produce the blanks. It's interesting the different approaches to making parts depending on your background and the equipment available. I look at things much differently than the instructor and the young guys in the class. I'm a old school guy with very little formal training versus young guys who were brought up in the digital age. One of the other students drew up the gear and printed out a sample on the 3D printer that he has at home. Lot different than me and my old South Bend lathe making drawings on the back of bar napkins. That's the difference that two generations will make though. I did notice in the other CNC class I took that combining old duffers and young pups makes for a pretty formidable group. However, the main reason I'm taking these classes is to see these new technologies in action and to keep from getting too far behind the curve on manufacturing techniques. Looks like it's going to be a good experience for me.

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