Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Over The Handlebars

My shedweek has been spent contriving a plating tank so I could plate the handlebars. This has been going on for so long now that I'm a little tired of it, I'm pretty much over the bars. As I mentioned last time, my previous attempt was an utter failure. This time I decided to plate each half separately to try and make the job slightly easier. The depth of the drop of the grips and the geometry of the head mean that a simple square cut tube will not work, it's not possible to get the handle bar fully immersed in the solution. When I picked up the tube from Pete, I mentioned this difficulty and he simply suggested that I cut the tube at an angle and mount it off vertical. Clearly Pete's not as dumb as I look as this turned out to be the winning answer.

A little trig. to calculate the angle of the cut and then recycle the 
failed polythene tank into a little stand for the tube tank. 

With the tube mounted it looks like a big fat mortar. 

The tube is 150 mm diameter cable conduit and the end cap is stuck on with evil smelling PVC glue. I tested this before hand and it was absolutely watertight. I wanted to plate both halves on the same day so that the conditions would be the same and the resulting finish would be the identical. This meant waiting until the weekend and getting up early. In the meantime I used the same tank to plate the brake lever and the trouser guard.

The contrived set up looks a lot like a Heath Robinson drawing

Try to imagine where the submersed handlebar is compared to the other side and you can see the difficulty obtaining a tank to completely cover it. The central part of the head is masked by paint, only the bars are plated.

Now that the bars are done I can soft solder the trouser guard into the head. To ensure that it is in the correct place I installed the wheel again. This meant I needed to protect the tyre and rim from the heat. I wrapped a wet rag around the tyre and then used 4 layers of old baked bean can steel to act as a heat shield.

Baked bean can heat shield.

This worked well and the tyre and rim paint are undamaged.

The neck was also plated at some point in the last two weeks but I'm old and I can't remember when I did it. Again, the area to be plated was masked with paint. Also at some point in the last two weeks I've had all the bits nitrided that require hardening. I'm still polishing these and I'll plate them in the coming week.

Before nitriding, afterwards they go an interesting blue colour.

I'm now at the point where I can prep for painting and then wait for a spell of decent weather.

In other news the deck is very nearly complete, I've screwed the actual decking on to the joists rather than use nails. My tendonitis wouldn't cope with hammering 3500 nails very well. I'm only about 8 metres of decking short which isn't too bad considering that I bought 750 metres to start with. I've been borrowing an 18v cordless drill from Dan, a fellow member of our pub quiz team. It has made the job so much easier. All that really remains to do is to stain the bare timber, I'll be leaving the choice of colour to my lovely wife (resident soft furnishings expert) for obvious reasons. Doing the deck myself has had a significant impact on the facile project, I hope to get back into production properly next week.

In more other news, my whanau spent the long weekend up in Nelson. We caught up with Mr. Middleton and his family and had a most enjoyable meal and evening with them. I failed to find anything to steal from his shed, I was hoping to locate a set of Westwood rims but it was not to be.

I took my mountain bike up to Nelson and on the Saturday morning I did a little ride up into the hills. The Dun Mountain track is wasome and even more wasome when I discovered that the first half follows the bed of the first (horse drawn) railway in NZ, towards the top you ride over some of the original sleepers from the 1860's. It was cold and windy at the top (878m) so I pulled my jacket out of my pocket. At this point I must have dislodged my brain as I descended like a complete twat (again) and had a minor off. I don't seem to learn do I? Just a bit of gravel rash and a hurty knee this time though. So this week I actually was over the handlebars.

Later, driving into town for dinner, my lovely wife in our car and my in laws in their car got caught speeding. Being a long weekend it is zero tolerance and she got fined $30 for 58kph in a 50kph zone. She was very sheepish but I didn't say a word, I didn't need to. The fine will have to come out of her shoe allowance. It's the only way she's going to learn.

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