Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fatigue Testing Begun

Friday, December 4th, 2009
This is the first test fixture.  Version 2.0 is already under way

This is the first test fixture. Version 2.0 is already under way

I can’t keep up with all that’s happening.

On Tuesday—a lifetime ago—we started our fatigue testing program.  In fact, the tester is running as I type.

The tester had been running 24-hours per day since Tuesday.

Testing Ad Infinitum

We’re trying to set the benchmark failure point at about 75,000 cycles.  I’ll post more about this later.  The reason I mention it here is that 75,000 cycles takes about 21 hours to reach.  So, at best, we’ll be running one test per day.  And, we have about 100 tests we want to run for the Collaborative.  So, we’re looking at about a 20-week testing schedule—100 tests divided over a 5-day work week.  20-weeks we don’t have for the Colab.  So, we’re now in negotiations regarding which tests take priority and which tests will have to wait for Colab 2.0—or some other project.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 26th, 2009
Giving of thanks with donuts

Giving of thanks with donuts

From then Seven Cycles Collaborative:  Happy Thanksgiving—or happiness during whatever you do on this likely day off.

Not much happening on the Collaborative today, other than eating.

The customary thank-you-giving in the Seven Cycles universe often includes donuts—and an occasional beer.  These donuts are from yesterday—some employees brought in multiple boxes of donuts.  Lots for which to be thankful.

Fork Design: Step One

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

As this project progresses, the bike’s fork has been coming up more and more.  It’s become clear that we can’t work on the frame design without the fork getting in the way.  Here is a super brief summary of how we ended up talking fork design.

First, we discussed, “What is a frame?” Many people, including the team at Seven Cycles, consider a frame to include a fork—often referred to as a “frameset”.  Seven feels strongly enough about this idea that we have been building our own carbon fiber forks for many years.  We tailor the fork for the frame.  So, on this Collaborative project, it was an easy conclusion to reach—we’ll make a fork to match the lugged steel frame.  Easy conclusions can be dangerous because easy and right are so often at opposite ends of the decision scale.

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Elements of a Lugged Frame Joint

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

A brazing station

A brazing station

Just as we deconstructed a typical lugged steel frame last week, we’ve started deconstructing each element of a lugged joint. The primary aspects on which we’re studying include:

  • The Lug: including type, shape, material, finish, tolerances, etc.
  • The Tube: material alloy, surface finish, diameter, wall, etc.
  • The Brazing Material: including alloy, base metal, and material preparation
  • The Surface: including preparation, treatment, surface grain, etc.
  • The Flux: what type, environmental factors, application, timing, etc.
  • The Process: including elements of time, temperature, mixture, fixture, etc.
  • Environmental Elements: including temperature, humidity, circulation, etc.
  • Component’s Interfaces: tolerances, cleanliness, etc.
  • Artisan Variables: inherent variability of the individual one-at-a-time process we do

Tonight we’re going to do an overview clinic and then tomorrow we’re onto diving into each element of the above. Bringing a snorkel. I’ll post the testing matrix soon.

Tonight we’re going to do an overview clinic and then tomorrow we’re onto diving into each element of the above. Bringing a snorkel. I’ll post the testing matrix soon.as we deconstructed a typical lugged steel frame last week, we’ve started deconstructing each element of a lugged joint.  The primary aspects on which we’re studying include:
The Lug:  including type, shape, material, finish, tolerances, etc.
The Tube:  material alloy, surface finish, diameter, wall, etc.
The Brazing Material:  including alloy, base metal, and material preparation
The Surface:  including preparation, treatment, surface grain, etc.
The Flux:  what type, environmental factors, application, timing, etc.
The Process:  including elements of time, temperature, mixture, fixture, etc.
Environmental Elements:  including temperature, humidity, circulation, etc.
Components Interfaces:  tolerances, cleanliness, etc.
Artisan Variables:  inherent variability of the individual one-at-a-time process we do
Tonight we’re going to do an overview clinic and then tomorrow we’re onto diving into each element of the above.  Bringing a snorkel.  I’ll post the testing matrix soonJust as we deconstructed a typical lugged steel frame last week, we’ve started deconstructing each element of a lugged joint.  The primary aspects on which we’re studying include:
The Lug:  including type, shape, material, finish, tolerances, etc.
The Tube:  material alloy, surface finish, diameter, wall, etc.
The Brazing Material:  including alloy, base metal, and material preparation
The Surface:  including preparation, treatment, surface grain, etc.
The Flux:  what type, environmental factors, application, timing, etc.
The Process:  including elements of time, temperature, mixture, fixture, etc.
Environmental Elements:  including temperature, humidity, circulation, etc.
Components Interfaces:  tolerances, cleanliness, etc.
Artisan Variables:  inherent variability of the individual one-at-a-time process we do
Tonight we’re going to do an overview clinic and then tomorrow we’re onto diving into each element of the above.  Bringing a snorkel.  I’ll post the testing matrix soon.

From Open Book Management to Open Workbook

Friday, November 20th, 2009
Now, if someone could just explain all this to me, that'd be great.

Now, if someone could just explain all this to me, that'd be great.

Over the years we’ve done a lot of open book management with the Seven Cycles team.  Even to this day we have an average of six meetings each month where we discuss the business—in all aspects—with every employee at Seven.

When we started this project, having an open book system was so ingrained in our thinking that it was a basic assumption or the CoLab.  We’ve already discussed topics ranging from the cost of labor and materials for a steel frame, the cost of all our meetings, and even the cost of tooling—whether repurposed or not.

Following the “open” state of mind, we also discussed two other “Open” concepts, one of which was an idea we’re calling an open workbook.

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Monday Night Brazing Lights

Friday, November 20th, 2009
Brazing tools of the trade

Brazing tools of the trade

We’re about to have our first hands-on Collaborative clinic:  Seven’s lugged brazing workshop.  Some people here are excited about it.  We’ll post details—maybe even a video if I can get it together.

When we set up the workshop, it was interesting to note the dichotomy between Seven’s lack of lugged construction experience and the extensive experience of some of our employees with lugged construction.

What?

While we’ve been brazing at Seven Cycles since our first day—Seven’s first bikes were steel—we’ve not brazed lugs in production.  However, we have a deep wealth of lugged brazing knowledge within the company.  It was interesting to review—and in some ways, discuss it for the first time—with the team.  Some examples we discussed regarding our experience included:

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Fatigue Testing Fixture in Process

Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Repurposed parts for the lug testing fixture.

Repurposed parts for the lug testing fixture.

We’re in the midst of making the lug fatigue testing fixture.  Seven’s own S.B.—our prototype machinist—is making the fixture as I type.

Here’s a few fun tidbits about the fixture making process at Seven that some we’re interested to learn–after the jump:

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Expedited Long-Term Project

Saturday, November 14th, 2009
Viewing the timeline from an angle is one way to condense the timeline.

Viewing the schedule from an angle is one way to condense the timeline.

The description of the Collaborative journal employs the expression “Long-Term Project”.  I laugh about that now.  While I started working on this project about year and a half ago—with a couple people from Seven Cycles—it wasn’t until September that I really determined we were going to do it, and do it now.

September became October and we began the project.  Already a bit later than I’d like.  Something about tradeshow season always takes more resources than I expect.

And then, I moved the deadline from next summer to early February.  And

So, “long-term” became “yesterday”.  Now we’ve got only a few months left to develop a project from a pile of Post-it notes to a rideable—and raceable—innovative bike.  We have a plan on how we’re going to do that; and we can’t let a single element slide.

No problem.

Gotta go work on some brazing test parameters now—and a thousand other elements.

Posting Twice Per Day

Friday, November 13th, 2009
No time to stop and smell the roses--I mean bikes.  I love the smell of bikes.

No time to stop and smell the roses--I mean bikes. I love the smell of bikes.

Right.

I’m trying to get this CoLab journal updated at least twice each day.  Sadly, I can’t even manage to update daily, yet.  Not only is there too much going on with the Collaborative, we’re also running a little business called Seven Cycles—and it absorbs a bit more than all the hours in the day.

On the Collaborative team we have participants working on posting here; it takes a while to get it going.  And it’s always more work to post that it would seem.  Grammar is such a pain.

Regardless, it’s important to start posting daily times two if we’re going to keep people in the loop about the Collaborative’s progress.

A year and a half ago

Monday, October 12th, 2009
Opposing Forces & Creative Conflict

Opposing Forces & Creative Conflict

I was talking with one of the Seven Cycles CoLab participants a few days ago about how this project began came about. Where did the idea come from?

It’s a long and convoluted story.

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