Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lacking The Balls

As promised, the dude from the heat treatment place had masked off the shafts before hardening the con rods. I turned up on a motorbike to collect them and as he's an enthusiastic motorcyclist he's now my new best friend. Anyway, the brazed joints appear to be unaffected by the nitriding process which is nice. So this shedweek I've been plating, painting and assembling which is all very satisfying.

Mask off and prime for plating.

Mask off and prime for painting.

Applying the paint in my spray booth (disused outside bog).

Plating, you can just make out the primer acting as a mask to prevent plating the bearing surfaces.

At this point I realised that I couldn't put it off any longer, I needed to make a proper tool to tighten all of these curious fittings all over the bike. I've been having a good think about this lately and I've been scouring the local junk shops looking for a specific donor tool. I couldn't find one that exactly fitted my requirements so in the end I took one I already owned from my cabinet of curiosities. The donor is case hardened which made some of the machining tasks a little more difficult.

Use your immense skill and judgement to work out what I've added and taken away.

I think it fitting that the donor tool was made by essentially the same company 
(a few iterations later) that made the original Abingdon Ball Head. 
I like that kind of holistic interconnectedness, it tickles me.

The head can finally be tightened properly, the pegs are made from an old HSS 5/32 drill bit.

The same tool will fit all of the fasteners on the bike, there are four sizes.
Two shown here, one on the head and two the same on the gear wedges.

At last I can start to assemble all the pivots.

At this point I discovered that I didn't have the balls to finish the job. I had to go and see Keith at Cycle Trading to get another 50 3/16" balls. I've been making a note of the total count so far in all the races and with these now complete, the tally is 272 individual balls in the machine. I have an original advert somewhere that boasts about this, of course I can't find it at present but I'll post an image when I do. I don't know if the numbers match or not.

The conrods complete.

Right hand side in situ. Note the lever pivots at the end of the forks in place.

Left hand side.

Gratuitous side shot.

The weight is now exactly 41 lbs which means it will be slightly lardier than an original. That's possibly not a bad thing as I'm also slightly lardier than I originally was.

In other news, we had an exciting weekend of weather. We were bathed in bright sunshine and to the South East the sky was as black as a really black thing in a darkened room. And under a bed, or something. Anyway within a few short minutes it was a howling gale, we had just as much damage to our trees in a few short minutes as we had in the big storm back in September when we had the 250kph winds. But we were lucky, just up the road in Amberley it turned into a proper tornado that took roofs off and pummelled everything in golf ball sized hail stones. We have friends just one km down the road that now have an interestingly textured car roof.

I know, I know, it's nothing like the big ones in the USA but for a tiny little town in the South Pacific, it was pretty exciting I can tell you.

And, and in the same week as an added bonus, here are some Mammatus clouds over my workshop. Now, I bet you don't get those where you live. These are the first I've seen in 8 years, they are not common.

I wonder why they're called Mammatus?

Then over the other end of the workshop here is a particularly good lenticularis cloud. These are rare worldwide but dead common here, we see them all the time.

Space aliens and everything.

Honestly, it's all been going on this week.


  1. The machine is looking very, very nice! I used to see mammatus clouds when I lived in Iowa in the American midwest- usually a harbinger of truly impressive weather. Once I was caught out in a hailstorm with actual cricket ball to baseball size hail- smashed the rear window and windshield out of the US government vehicle i was using, When it came time to fill out the damage report, the carbonless form cheerfully stated:"press hard. You are making eight copies"

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Nice story. We're just not used to it here although we seem to be getting more than out fair share of wild weather lately.