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Sunday, January 10, 2010

MYOG Successes

Make Your Own Gear is a rite of passage for some, and impossible to imagine for others.
I have had many failures in making my own gear. Pure embarrassment prevents me from listing many of them though the leg warmers that wouldn't stay up are worth note.

The first in my recollection, which was among my greatest failures, is actually the very same concept that has recently brought my greatest success. Many years ago - high school I think - I attempted a bike repair stand. Constructed of a sheet of plywood as a base and a branch from the tree in the back yard, I rigged up a rickety structure unknowingly giving a nod to Modern Art. If careful, I could actually clean my chain without the bike tumbling over on top of me. It took as much time to get the bike perched upon it, as it did to remove the front wheel (which was never really suspended above the ground) and grease the bearings. Interestingly, I realized several thousand miles and 10 years later that I had actually dropped a couple of those bearings.

I disliked my work of art and have always wanted a real stand of my own. I recently verbalized my longing to my wife as I was installing the computer on my new ride. Her comment nearly collided with my thought - "Why don't you build your own?" With a chuckle I reminisced of auld lang sine, leaned my bike back against the piano bench, and lost no time mentally laying out the project.

Here is where I differ from most DIY'ers. I can do it myself. I'm a general contractor by trade, and have at least dabbled in most every form of construction imaginable. I've even tried my hand at sewing. The downside to that is threefold: Unreasonable personal expectations abound, I'm only willing to DIY because I'm too poor to save myself the effort, and the end product is always heavier, uglier, less mobile, and often dangerous.

I googled "build your own bike repair stand" and found quite a few ideas. All of them were much less than what I was hoping for, and most met one or all of the heavy, ugly, and dangerous criteria. The PVC ones bothered me just out of principle, the wood ones looked like a gallows, and the metal pipe stands, along with each of the others, looked a little too -i bilt dis here thang wid my own tules-ish. So, I decided to put my years of construction work, and a shop full of spoils from a thousand jobs to good use. In all - I spent under $20 on this bike stand, and for once I'm rather proud of the result. I must say that I did glean some good ideas from the concepts that I found in my search, and implemented a few of them here.

Though most of the typical hazards are still present (heavy, ugly and a little dangerous), I have found some measure of satisfaction. I must say also, that as a DIY'er I don't play fair. I own a welder, 5 different cordless drills and every other cordless tool concievable, 2 angle grinders, and every other tool I could imagine needing to finish this project. And, I used nearly all of them. To the person who made the PVC pipe stand "If I couldn't use a welder, I would've used your design."

I'm not going to give you the play by play, but if you're at all perceptive, you'll get the idea.

The basic raw materials: Angle iron, 2 sizes of tube steel, a 3/4" bolt and nuts, and a bar clamp.

The Bar clamp got new jaws out of redwood, reinforced with a 1.5" ABS pipe. Later I will line the pipe with strips cut out of some scrap vinyl base as padding. All of this glued together with a half empty tube of Sikoflex Construction sealant.

I've left the top of the jaws open a little hoping this will make it easier to hang the bike.

After cutting all of the pieces in my back yard, I took them to my shop and welded them together. Then I took the bones back home for fine tuning.

This shows the locking nut, with a 3/8" anchor bolt welded to it as a handle.

This is my rough welding job. More than adequate though not textbook.

Two 3/4" nuts welded together and onto the end of the pipe clamp.

And, a "finished" product. The locking nut releases the jaws, and allows them to pivot for attaching at the seat post or down tube as needed.

Still needs a tool tray, and various other accessories, but the basics are in place and operable.

I've also had another recent success in MYOG, which was actually Alter My Own Gear. The Pearl Izumi gloves which I have worn and loved for over 10 years have finally begun to show wear. Not just wear, but the tips of all my fingers too. I couldn't throw them away, and when I saw REI selling fingerless gloves for $20 I rejoiced. Why as a cyclist wearing fingerless gloves for 15 years now, I didn't think of it sooner, I don't know. I cut the fingers off, and "cauterized" the wounds with a BIC lighter, and have worn them regularly to work ever since.

1 comment:

  1. Wow--I am duly impressed. A far cry from the tape and string era. Ahh, the memories.