It’s not always plain sailing

The Samurai, my fourth frame was going well until I discovered that the seat-tube had developed some cracks around both the bottom bracket and where the seat-post sleeve inserts into it.

Luckily I hadn’t yet carbon fibered up either of those joints so I’ve been able to cut out the offending tube and will replace it with one that’s hopefully not so prone to cracking.

The cause of the cracking is probably due to the consistent cold temperates in the workshop overnight and that without coatings of epoxy bamboo will naturally dry out and become brittle and crack. It’s also due to the steel seat-post sleeve insert changing temperatures at different rates to the bamboo, causing the bamboo to crack.

Interestingly both the cracks were in places that would have been covered with carbon fiber and they probably won’t have propagated any further, but I couldn’t take the risk of that not being the case and don’t want to let a mistake roll out the door.

Below are some pics of the cracked seat-tube both before and after I’ve cut it out. It was interesting to see the different levels of adhesion (or lack thereof) of the epoxy to the various materials. It’s mostly only mechanically bonded to both the steel and the bamboo, making it very important to roughen up the surfaces to ensure a good bond. The aluminium bottom bracket is painted in a specific etch primer (the white paint), but it doesn’t seem to have chemically adhered properly to it. I’ll have to investigate why!

Posted in bamboo, carbon fibre, Frame building | 1 Comment

The Panda is born.

The Panda lives. I built her up today and her owner rode off happily into the sunset! I’d love to show you more photos, but instead I’m just going to tease you with the couple above and hope that you’ll come to the Made to Measure exhibition to see her in the flesh. It’s running July 21-24 and is to be held at the Royal Melbourne Exhibition Building. Think NAHBS, but smaller and all local! Click on the logo below to find out the details. It’s going to be great!

Posted in events, finishing | 1 Comment

Finishing the Panda

The Panda’s getting the finishing touches now. 3 coats of clear coat to be exact. Here’s some pics after the first coat was still wet:

The Samurai isn’t that far behind. The head-tube’s all wrapped up and I’ll be able to work on her lots more once The Panda’s out the door. It’s been an interesting process to try to build two bikes at once – it seems like there’d be areas for time-saving, but in reality I’ve only got two hands and each bike requires such a huge amount of detailed work that you just can’t spread yourself thin that easily. Lesson learned for the future I guess!

 

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Panda progress

Bamboo Bike #3, dubbed The Panda by its eventual owner is nearing completion. I’ve laid up 95% of the carbon fibre and just need to do some final cosmetic layers and then lots of finishing. Then comes the tricky things like brake holes, derailleur mounts and cable stops.  Then some clear coat, then some testing!

Bamboo Bike #4 isn’t far away either. The head-tube’s been wrapped and the rest is scheduled to be done next week.

Here’s a few progress pics of The Panda:

Posted in carbon fibre, Frame building, wrapping | 3 Comments

Maisie – 7 months and 1500km on.

A visual report into how she’s fairing…

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DIY Bamboo Bike Workshops

We’re investigating setting up a space to run bamboo bike building workshops in Melbourne this winter (the best time to build!). If you’ve got a spare 5 minutes we’d love you to respond to a questionnaire on how we should run these workshops.
Start the Bamboo bike building workshop questionnaire

 

Posted in Frame building | 4 Comments