About Me

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Mountain Home, Arkansas, United States
My name is Dimitri Harris and I have been building frames for over 6 years now. I learned the basics after spending two weeks with Koichi Yamaguchi. He is one of the most interesting people I have ever met and I am thankful to have worked with him. Since then I have just been building one frame after another and learning as much as possible along the way. I build steel fillet-brazed frames that go by the name of MEECH, its an old nickname that I have had since I was a kid. I build mostly cyclocross frames because I love their versatility however I also do road,single-speed, and mountain bikes as well. Custom frames start around $1400. All the frames are handmade by me here in Mountain Home, Arkansas. I am insured and guarantee all of my work so if you are in the market for a custom steel frame I would be glad to build it for you. I am also building frames from carbon fiber so if you would like to ride a prototype frame give me a shout. Thanks for stopping by. You can email me at meech151@hotmail.com or call (870)897-6703 or visit www.meechcustombicycles.com Thanks.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fillets are Made

Yesterday was pretty cold out in the shop but it didn't seem to bother me too bad.  I have a new heater sitting out there but I need to get a 240 volt wire run for it to operate.  The cold didn't effect me so much but epoxy cures super-slow in the cold, especially when its slow-cure to begin with.  I got the brake bridge in place and started mixing up my fillet material.  Its just West Systems epoxy and then some filler additives made by them to increase the thickness and workability.  Just add it to the epoxy until it gets as thick as you want and you're good to go.  I mixed it up to about the consistency of mayonnaise so it didn't sag or run at all.

Here is the first juncture I did.  Its not real pretty right now but later after it hardened a bit I went out there and smoothed it out quite a bit.  Today I hope its cured enough to sand down and smooth out.  One thing I realized yesterday is that I truly enjoy making fillets.  It doesn't matter if its brass brazing or epoxy I really seem to enjoy it.  Don't know why.

I got better with each one. I'm sure I don't have to tell you this but this stuff can get messy real quick.  Somehow I managed to not get any on me but it takes a lot of focus.  Its about like working with that roofing tar.  Oddly enough I actually got up on the roof a couple of weeks ago and did make a big mess.  Then as soon as I got down the rain came.

I beefed these joints up quite a bit.  Lots will be sanded off but it also provides a little rigidity and adds a little contact surface area for the laminate to bond to.

I was getting good about this time.  I was happy with these, they should clean up nice.

Here is everything I used to make this mess.  The 406 is a white, powdery stuff that apparently has some strength to it.  The 423 is just graphite powder.  I basically just used it to make it black.  A little of this stuff goes a long way.  This Thanksgiving if someone complains about the turkey tasting funny you might not want to mention that you used your wife's great grandmother's gravy bowl thats been handed down through 3 generations to mix up your epoxy.  Hey, I covered it in foil.  Thats her scale also, luckily its unscathed.

I threw the frame on the alignment table before doing the fillets and the seat tube and head tube are perfectly level.  I also checked them with a height gauge to make sure everything was good.


The down tube and top tube were off just a hair.  Not sure why, maybe its because the whole front end fell off the other day before the epoxy had cured.  "Ya think?"  I'm truly not sure why, however steel frames usually don't come out of the jig completely straight either but you can straighten them.  You can't really straighten carbon I don't think, at least I don't know how yet.  I did put the frame back in the jig before applying the fillet material so who knows, maybe after all that epoxy dries it will pull it back into place.  The down tube and top tube rise about 2-3 millimeters from the bottom bracket/seat tube area to the head tube which is roughly about 600 millimeters in length, its not something you can see with your eye.  Some of you may remember me talking about throwing my Scott CR 1 on the table years ago. It was off by about 4 millimeters so I don't think there is a need to worry here, although we're all striving for perfection.

Yep, its here.  Last night I went over to Bob's shop and watched him finish my mandrel out on his lathe.  Kinda looks like a flashlight here doesn't it?  Anyway its sweet and I can't wait to try it out.  I think I may play with it on Turkey Day.  Anne and I are staying home this year with the boys (Smokey, Louis, Pinky, and Dizzy) as we didn't have enough time off to visit anyone.  Personally I don't mind, I hate traveling on the holidays.  I'm kind of a stay at home guy.  

I hope you guys have a good holiday.  If you travel, keep it safe.  Thanks for stopping by.

2 comments:

  1. Enjoying more of your progress on the CF bike, do you think the bonding methods would work on Bamboo?
    Kyle

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  2. I don't see why not. I would think that they're pretty similar. These epoxies that I'm using will bond to most anything so long as its cleaned. However there may be some wood glues out there that would work just as well. You can always call West Epoxy Systems and ask for tech support and they'll tell you everything you need to know. Thanks for stopping by Kyle.

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