carbon fiber files
I'm sorry, I just had to say it. Ever see the Cheech and Chong movie Nice Dreams where they're selling pot out of an ice cream truck and Cheech says, "Hey baby, want a big stick?" Oh well, you didn't think you could come into this room and not hear at least one dumb joke did you? Dumb jokes are the only ones I know. Check out these Big Sticks that I made today. Please note that these are for carbon fiber frame building and not smoking.
Marijuana seems to be in the headlines a lot these days. Medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, foods and drinks with marijuana already in them. Today I saw a marijuana business convention on MSNBC. I've never seen so many stoners dressed up in my life. It looks like about half of the U.S. is ready to legalize pot and I'm sure the other half will follow suit. The taxes they are collecting on it are between 25-50%. Thats great revenue if they'll spend the money wisely and not stick it in their own pockets but when has that ever happened. "Change is what this country needs I tell you, change." Sometimes the world looks like its going to pot but then again I'm not sure that it hasn't been like this forever and that we only think its getting worse because we're getting older. I remember when I was a kid my dad was always saying that the world was getting worse and talking about what we needed to do to get back on track. I thought the world was fine. I got up and went to school, played football with my friends at recess, came home, rode my bike and played more football with my friends (remember 'smear the queer'? We're not supposed to say that anymore I don't think. The queer of course was the guy with the ball). The world seemed fine to me then and I imagine it seems ok to the kids these days. A few years ago I went back to school to finish up my degree. I had to take several classes that I didn't really want to take but thats part of it right? "Communications? Why would I need that?" When I found out we were gonna have to give speeches in front of an audience (just a classroom) I about quit school again. I stuck it out and got over my fear of speaking in front of a class so I was glad that I stayed with it. Another class I had to take was European History. "European History?", I could barely stay awake through American History. Occasionally I would stick Playboy pictures inside the pages of my history book in middle school to help pass the time when I wasn't able to sleep.
"Mr. Harris, have you listened to a word that I've said?"
"Of course Miss December, I mean Mrs. Johnson, I've heard it all."
"Then why don't you repeat it for me and the rest of the class?"
" Umm, well, you said that George Jefferson discovered the Statue of Liberty in 1492."
"Mr. Harris why don't you bring your book up here and show me what page you're on."
"Umm, I don't think thats a very good idea Miss Bush, umm, I mean Mrs. Johnson. How bout if I just go straight to the office and get a whipping instead? Please."
Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that one day in class, reading my European History book, I realized that the United States was going through the same exact problems that Europe was going through 200 years ago. It was almost identical. Just saying, if they haven't figured it out by now I doubt they're gonna, maybe its actually the way its supposed to be. Of course the professor had to tell everyone that I was all wrong but that was only because the students were starting to listen to me instead of him. I still think I was right, afterall I got all A's in every class except for his, he gave me a B. What a tool. Just kidding. He was a pretty cool guy actually, I forgot his name though. I think it was something like Miss Bush or Mrs. Johnson.
Alright, alright, lets get this blog post back on track. "Big Stick?" Ever tried to file a carbon fiber tube with a metal file? Well I have. I built my first carbon frame using nothing but metal files and they don't work worth a flip, not to mention they dull the file in no time. Also I didn't have all the correct diameters of hole saws that I needed to work on these sized tubes. Lots of guys have milling machines that do this work for them but I looked around my shop for the milling machine and it wasn't there. What to do? This was my solution. I went to Lowes and bought dowel rods in the diameters that I needed, mainly 1 3/8" and
1 1/2". I also needed a 1 3/4" for the head tube but they didn't have a dowel in that size so I managed to find a piece of PVC pipe that was the correct O.D. Then I bought this package of 40 grit sanding belts (5 for like $5) and some velcro strips. Actually the first two that I made I just tacked the sanding belt to the rod and then I glued the other to the PVC. I was experimenting for the best way to do this.
The velcro idea came later while I was thinking of a way to make the sandpaper replaceable, however tacking or gluing it directly to the rod seemed to make the best tool and should the sanding cloth wear out these things are super-simple to make, cheap too. It was more like an actual file. The file with velcro worked alright however it made like a cushion between the sandpaper and the dowel and it also increased the outside diameter quite a bit. Anyway, Wallah! I now have a set of carbon fiber files. I cannot believe how simple and effective these things are. I don't think I've ever made anything that worked better than I actually thought it would. Normally I get way over excited about something and it doesn't work. Finally, success! They chew through a carbon tube like a beaver goes through a pine tree. "Did I really just say that? Do beavers even eat pine trees?' Yes I did, and I have no idea if beavers like pine trees or not. Maybe if you put some sap on it. I bet I can miter a carbon tube with one of these homemade files faster than you can set up your mill and get it done. And even if I can't who cares, I don't rush my frame builds and these carbon files go as fast as I need to go.
"Yeah Dimitri, but how tough are they?" Well chief, just for fun I decided to use one on this here steel tube and while it wasn't ideal for steel it did cut into it fairly well. Ok, the Nicholson file company doesn't have to worry about going out of business any time soon but if you want to cut through a carbon tube I would definitely buy the MEECH "BIG STICK", or, you can just make your own. You can make them for whatever diameter you may need. If you need one for an uncommon diameter the worse case scenario is to take a larger dowel and have someone turn it down to the correct O.D. The coolest thing about BIG STICKS is that they keep your handmade frame...well, handmade.
Here are the carbon chain stays I got in yesterday from Rock West Composites. They're pretty beefy and should work good for road bikes but I'm gonna have to figure something else out for cross frames because I'm not sure I can get the tire clearance I need out of these ones. Give me a minute I'll figure something out.
The main frame is cut and fit and I'm gonna start on the rear end tomorrow. Catch you later.