Tools Posts

Tube Bending and Panana Budget Tube Bender Review

Tube Bending and Panana Budget Tube Bender Review

Tube bending is something I avoid, however there are times when it is necessary. Some framebuilders do it as a feature of their work but I tend to only use bent tubes when it is necessary to solve a clearance problem as with the child’s first pedal bike. I purchased this bender for the princely sum of £90 from an Ebay retailer who I guess is based in China but had stocks in the UK. The brand may be a red herring as I suspect it is one of those tools turned out by a Chinese factory under different names. Indeed Stakesy’s have what looks to be an identical bender available on their site for £165, though they were out of stock when I ordered mine: https://www.stakesys.co.uk/tube-pipe-benders/manual-tube-benders/sta137-buzz-bench-top-manual-tube-bender.

Disc Brake Fixtures on Kickstarter – UPDATE 2

Disc Brake Fixtures on Kickstarter – UPDATE 2

Eric Meinert, from Canada, has just launched a Kickstarter project to fund his POST MOUNT disc brake fixture. Suitable for both frame and fork as with previous fixtures, and suitable for both 140mm and 160mm rotors. The fixture can be ordered by pledge on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/4608648/bicycle-post-mount-disc-brake-jig. It will subsequently available from his Incepi website.

This fixture now complements his other available fixtures which are available from his INCEPI website at:  http://incepi.myshopify.com
There is an ISO disc brake tab fixture, below, which I purchased through a previous Kickstarter launch.
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Additionally there is now a FLAT MOUNT fixture which I understand is likely to become the accepted standard for road bikes. I think the price for the fixtures is very reasonable despite having to import them from Canada: effects of Brexit not withstanding!
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I have no experience of flat mount fitting on steel frames but The only commercial supplier I could find of the flat mounts themselves was Paragon Machineworks in the USA. However when I was at Bespoke 2016, Bear Bikes in Leighton Buzzard did have some on display and although they are not advertised as such I am sure they can supply them.

Some Small Lathe Projects

Some Small Lathe Projects

Since Jon Thompson’s post on introduction to a lathe I thought it worthwhile to share a few of the small bits I have produced since obtaining my lathe, to give a further idea of some of the possibilities. The first thing you discover is that a lathe straight out of the box is only the start, and most of the jobs I think up usually require additional lathe tools from commercial suppliers; or require the making of bits yourself specifically for individual jobs.
The first thing I wanted to make was a heat sink for brazing the top end of seat tubes; something I now feel is essential for fillet brazing stainless steel in this situation. These are commercially available but on reflection those I have seen would be unlikely to fit in my frame jig should I wish to braze in situ, so I can make my own more fit for purpose. One further point is that despite the Chinese allegedly dumping cheap steel on the open market, none of it has come my way and metal is an expensive commodity to buy, especially in the small quantities usually required.

Pro-Max 350w 6inch Bench Grinder –  Review

Pro-Max 350w 6inch Bench Grinder – Review

I purchased this machine from Metal Polishing Supplies after an online search. It is a “Budget” model in the world of Bench Grinders and bears a remarkable resemblance to a lot of other own brand models suggesting they are likely to be made in the same Chinese factory. Credit to Metal Polishing Supplies, however, in as much as the company has produced it’s own product leaflet which is written in clear english. They also offer a 3 year warranty.

Servicing a Model W Gas Fluxer

Servicing a Model W Gas Fluxer

I have been running my Gas Fluxer now for 2 years before the gas pressure dropped right off and it looked like it would need servicing. The outflow valve was very stiff and showed evidence of white residue on the threads suggesting a leaking valve. The usual most likely cause of pressure drop off is a blocked flashback arrestor but in this case replacing it didn’t help. I resolved to empty the fluxer and replace any faulty seals.

Angle Grinder review – Makita GA4034 100mm

Angle Grinder review – Makita GA4034 100mm

I had always assumed angle grinders were far too cumbersome for cutting cycle tubing, especially for mitreing. This was based on my experience with my “Budget Brand” 115mm grinder which is heavy, fat and vibrates a lot. When I was informed by a contributor he was using a DeWalt tool for mitreing I thought I should look at them again to try and reduce the cost of using Dremmel cutting discs which are at least £1 each and last a couple of tubes.
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Make Your Own Framebuilding Jig

Make Your Own Framebuilding Jig

By Jonathan Thompson

My first experiences of frame building involved some sort of jig. This was some angle iron bolted to a sheet of MDF (for my tandem BMX and recumbent) and then a proper jig at Downland Cycles for their framebuilding course. To start to make frames at home I thought I needed a jig. Looking at the retail options was a bit of a financial shock. Lovely though they were, they were all well into 4 figures which seemed a bit steep. How hard can it be?

Framebuilder Tooling – Using a Lathe

Framebuilder Tooling – Using a Lathe

By Jonathan Thompson

I have to confess to being a tool buyer. I’ve generally found the sooner you buy tooling the sooner it pays for itself and generally it always does.
For me the lathe was always a desire. When it came to building my jig it meant I could build a custom one rather than forking out on prebuilt one or someone else making the round bits. I also have a full time day job, so getting to machine shops during the week is never easy and I love the chance of learning some new skills. It also just opens up a whole lot of other jobs that are impossible without the right tools.

Bespoke Bicycle Show 2014

Bespoke Bicycle Show 2014

A bigger show again this year at the London Olympic Velodrome. This year there were several toolmakers present, in particular three frame building jigs on display.
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The most interesting from the homebuilders point of view is probably the Bicycle Academy jig which was displayed as a pre production model and will retail for £2000.

Home Made Fork Jig

Home Made Fork Jig

I have managed to make a jig for building forks. I have found it very effective and it was not too difficult to make. I used a 8mm thick piece of steel plate as the base plate topped with a 40mm square section and two v blocks. The square section was attached to the base plate by drilling through, tapping the baseplate and inserting bolts This makes for a heavy and solid base and is heat absorptive. I then extended the base with aluminium profile fixed to the baseplate with the matching fittings and screws and added uprights to attach an axle for the dropouts and a mid fork blade support.