About Me

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Back in my hometown of Jonesboro., Arkansas, United States
My name is Dimitri Harris and I have been building frames for over 9 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, which is 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 Jonesboro, 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.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Making a Carbon Fiber Chainstay Protector

Just for the sake of it I thought I'd share how to make an easy carbon fiber chainstay protector.  Whenever you're doing anything custom the last thing you want on your finished product is something fake.  Chainstay protectors aren't that big of deal, I've even used a piece of black duct tape in a pinch, but its nice to have the real deal.  You can't just go out a purchase a carbon chainstay protector for any frame because there are so many different styles and shapes of chainstays.  This is an easy way to make one that will fit your frame.  Personally, I prefer to make the protector on the chainstay before its ever incorporated into the frame because its so much easier, but if you're wanting one for your current bike then you have to make it on the bike and its not that hard.  In this photo you can see the main materials needed.  A little expoxy resin (this photo shows some of the cheaper stuff that you can buy over the counter most anywhere, afterall its not a real high-end part),carbon fiber of course (any type will do, I just used a couple of scrap pieces that I had on this one), some flash tape or even electrical tape will work fine, and some nylon peel ply.  I prefer to work off of a piece of parchment paper because its reusable.  Any epoxy that gets on it will flake right off after it dries.  

Cover your chainstay real good with the tape so as not to get any resin on your frame.  Epoxy can get messy real quick if your not careful.  I try to lay it down as smooth as possible and without many seams.  Peeling the finished piece off is not always as easy as you'd like it to be, and it takes a little care so you don't crack it.

Wet the epoxy out while its on the parchment paper.  Like I said above, it doesn't matter what type of carbon cloth you use, I only worry about the top layer.  I normally use three layers of cloth.  I've made them with two before but three gives you a nice solid piece that won't break when you're trying to peel it off.  So in this photo there are already a couple of layers of some uni-directional carbon (scrap pieces) and then a top layer of some nicer stuff.  There might be some ladies around so you want to look like you have your act together.  Notice that the carbon cloth doesn't go past half way down the side of the stay.  If it goes past the half-way point then it goes back into the smaller diameter of the stay and makes it even harder to get off.  Although, I just realized that if you make it wrap around more of the stay then you might be able to just snap it onto the stay and not even glue it in place.  Not sure about that as I haven't tried it.

Ok, all the layers are wet and in place.  Put your release film over it all and try not to get any wrinkles in it.  You may need to kind of work it around in order to work them out if you're using a curved stay, straight stays are much easier.  The nylon peel ply actually soaks up excess resin, you can even use two layers of it if you need to.  Pull it down onto the carbon cloth really snug to soak up as much resin as possible.  If there is alot of resin coming through the top of the peel ply you can just wipe it off with a rag.  When I first started making these I would wrap breather cloth over the peel ply and then try to tighten everything up with some stretch film but I've learned that all that is unnecessary.  If you go back every 15 minutes or so you can pull the peel ply down to keep pressure on everything.  For the most part everything will stay in place.

If you leave the peel ply a little long on both sides it will give you something to grab onto to put more pressure on it.  To be honest, on a part that is so basic all the pressure isn't really needed, however I think it makes for a much cleaner finished product.

Alright, I didn't take any photos of taking the cured piece off the chainstay so you'll just have to imagine.  What I normally do after everything is completely cured is to peel up the the edges of the tape that is under part and try to lift up on it as much as possible to break the edges free.  I've also used a little screwdriver before to get up under it and worked it off that way.  One thing I forgot to tell you is that its better to make the protector a little bigger than what you need, this way if you tear up the edges you can trim it up.  After you have the part in your hand you can trim it up with a dremel tool or I actually have a big pair of scissors that i can cut the majority of it to fit and then I just clean up any rough edges with sand paper.  I've been attaching them to the frame with Loctite Silicone Gel in hopes that if you have to peel it off for some reason maybe it won't ruin the paint, however when I mount them I'm hoping that they never come off.  

Here are a couple of the most recent ones.  Normally I put a coat of clear on them however I like the looks of the dry ones as well.

The other day I rolled over 100,000 miles on the Nissan Frontier.  I had always had Chevy trucks up until I decided to try something different in '07'.  This truck has been flawless, knock on wood.  Its never been in the shop for anything except oil changes.  The only thing that has remotely gone wrong is that the water reservoir for the windshield wipers has a small pinhole in it and the fluid drains out after about 3 days.  I think maybe it froze up one winter and got a small crack in it, but other than that its been batting a thousand.

The Tour is less than a week away and its looking prime to be a good race.  I think I remember predicting that Nibali would win this year however I'm pretty sure I'm wrong, although he did just win the Italian championships.  I don't think he has quite enough to keep up with Froome or Contador.  But those two look like they're spot on for an outright head to head duel.  Bad knews for Contador is that his righthand man, Roman Kreuziger just got kicked out of the tour by his team for suspicious blood samples.  That sucks.  I've always liked Kreuziger.  Sad thing is, Roman never really wins anything.  He's always in the top ten but seldom wins.  Is anyone clean or am I just completely naive?  I understand that they are all gonna do everything possible within the rules to gain as much advantage as possible but is everyone doping or are there some clean riders that can win?  I've been thinking all along that the riders are cleaning up however I'm learning that I don't know jack squat.  I do feel that while many of the riders have doped or may be doping, it is possible that a few are getting falsely accused.  I have no idea who it would've happened to but just think about, we've put people in prison for their entire life only to find out they're innocent.  It is possible.  I guess I'm just hopeful.  Oh well, so be it.  Its no sweat off my back until they falsely accuse me.  The only thing I'm gonna test positive for is caffeine, swiss cake rolls, and Nutty Buddies.  If you stick a needle in my veins right now, hot-dogs, ice-cream, and potato chips would ooze out, but I'm still sitting pretty at my old race weight of 158 lbs.  Go figure?

Oh yeah, I would like to tell our oldest cat Smokey that I do not appreciate him leaving his business on my wheelbag, especially when there was a fresh litter box only a few feet away.  Thanks alot Smoke!

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