Archive for May, 2012

Just finished some Xtracycle bags for a Michigan winter bike commuter. He wanted bags that could stand up to being coated with salty slush for months at a time. 

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These bags are designed to stand up to grime, rain and snow in an urban environment.

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This project started with a roll of truck tarp from the ReStore, and the fabric from Brian Keough’s trampoline. I have a pattern that I created for an earlier Xtracycle project, and it saved me some thinking this time.

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Here was the original design that I made 3 years ago – actually the guy that ordered this new yellow pair saw this bag on Flickr and tracked us down – funny, because it is the only other Xtracycle bag that I have made. I got halfway thru the brother to this one before I got sick of the project – it is still in a milk crate in the garage, and I have been sporting a ratty original Xtracycle bag on the other side of my bike.  

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So the lesson from the first session (that I forgot this time) is that these bags take A LOT OF TIME to do well. Another thing that I learned from the original project is that leather is amazing for this type of exposure. I have been using this bag a ton for 3 years, in rain, mud, and sun, and it still looks and works great!

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Bob wanted to be able to use these bags with Xtracycle’s new-style ‘P-racks’ – which are set up with a crossbar on them to hang normal panniers from, so unlike the older-style racks, where you can just sew fixed loops in the hangers, we needed to be able to snap these ones on and off.
I created a harness out of 2″ webbing that spreads the weight of the load across all 6 of the hangers. This webbing is backed with the woven nylon mesh from the trampoline and covered with the waterproof truck tarp. After the harness was in there, I trimmed the tarp and trampoline panels to match, and ran the whole shebang thru a binding foot to wrap the edges in 1″ nylon webbing trim. That was a huge PITA, and there has got to be an easier way to do it.

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Pockets are coated cordura packcloth remnants from another local bag business. 

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Some friends of ours go to the Unitarian Church down the street. Someone there heard that we were into salvaged textiles and gave us a box with 85 of these camstrap buckles in it. 

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I added the female snaps to the flaps, and then stretched the bag onto the rack to locate and mark the male snaps on the body of the bag. 

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The side flaps have loops of fire hose across the top that wrap a piece of 1″ nylon webbing. The ladderlock buckle lets you crank down the top of the sides to support your load. 

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More pockets.

These bags fit any bike that uses the Xtracycle Freeloader rack system. They can be used either with the older-style Xtracycle V-racks, or the newer-style P-racks. They feature coated truck-tarp backed with a heavy, UV-resistant nylon mesh. Recycled military-spec aluminum cam-buckles adjust the bag flap to carry anything from a yoga mat to an 80 pound sack of concrete. Nylon fire hose armors the bottom against curb-strikes and the back of the bag where it rubs on the lower frame of the Xtracycle. 

MAN, THESE THINGS TOOK FOREVER TO MAKE and I charged the guy about half of what I should have – made me grumpy. But now that it is done, I am stoked.

These ones are spoken for, but we can make more of these with about 4-6 week lead time. 
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A Large Handlebar Bag

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Uncategorized
We are bike-lovers in a bike-loving town. When I first saw Erika’s sticker-covered Stumpjumper (with lowrider pannier racks!!!) I knew deep-down that we’d be together for a long time.

I modified an army surplus night vision goggle bag to go on the handlebars of my townbike, and now I can’t live without one. It is so nice to have a place to throw keys, phone, wallet, a U-lock, light, small pump, and maybe a burrito and bottle of wine too. The bag below is a knock-off of the army surplus bag that I have been using, made from 99+% salvaged materials. 

We have made a lot of bike-related bags now, but until this week I hadn’t made one that I really thought that we should focus on – I am kind of a ‘perpetual prototyper’…
But I think that we’ll keep making these ones.

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Large handlebar bag with wire support on the sides.

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Here is the bag in progress – body is a collage of our friend Lee’s old world-traveling backpack, a thrift store laptop bag, and a fire hose panel from an old, unfinished messenger bag project.  

 

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 Made sides out of three different kinds of fire hose. Yellow hose is from a jaunt in the woods with Jake awhile back.

 

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Here are the sides sewn in, with some bling firehose trim that also provides a tunnel for a supporting frame that is made out of wire and scrap aluminum tubing. 

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 Front has reflective trim and backpack cordura.

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Other than rivets and thread, the snaps and webbing are the only virgin materials in this project. 

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 Inside pockets are scraps from some other old backpacks.

 

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In action 

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He has only had it for a few days. Give him a few weeks and it will be full of loose change, receipts, food wrappers, diapers, wipes, a vice-grip, headlamp, swim trunks, lip gloss, and maybe a few Sierra Nevada bottle caps. Mine is.

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We’ll make you one out of your favorite old backpack – your bike-based life will never be the same.

 

I went to the metal scrap yard last month looking for some steel to use in a project.
I really should never go there unless I take a chaperone. Didn’t find the steel that I was looking for, but bought a broken drill press and a bandsaw too.

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This is a Rockwell Model 20-421 20″ drill press. Made in about 1959. This is about the biggest common drill press size, a common factory tool, with a large ‘production table’ on it. There are some great online resources for finding out about old tools. Lots of other people share a passion for fixing up old beautifully-made tools, and I am always delighted how eager people are to share what they know.
I didn’t have a truck with me, so I went home and looked it up, though I already knew that I wanted it. I knew that as long as the column was straight and the main head casting was solid, that everything else could be restored. Bought it for 20 cents a pound.


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It came with a brand new USA-made Baldor 1.5hp electric motor. Problem was, the whole machine had tipped over (probably right after they moved it to put on this new $400 motor), and the shaft on the motor had snapped right outside of the casing. 

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They forklifted it into my truck and I borrowed a chain hoist to unload it – it weighs about 500 lbs.
Unlike our older (1937) Delta drill press, this one has a fiberglass belt guard, which – though cracked – I was able repair with some epoxy.

 

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The biggest problem right off of the bat was that the motor mount assembly was badly damaged. Luckily the broken parts were on the pallet with everything else.

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 I used a torch to braze the broken ears back on.

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Also had to braze a few of these cracks. 

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Not pretty, but… Notice the broken tab on the left – this part was missing the broken-off piece.

 

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Brazed on a washer and ground out a notch.

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Here is the repaired assembly, ready for the motor.
I was able to pull the motor apart and weld a 7/8″ bolt onto the broken shaft to extend it back to its original length. I had an ancient machinist in town turn the shaft down to 3/4″ on his lathe, and this ensured that the new shaft would be centered with the rest of the motor. He also keyed the shaft for me so it would take a standard pulley.
I had to replace both the motor and quill pulley – found both on Ebay – and replaced a couple of the bearings in the quill. One is impossible to find, so I was able to repack it and keep using it.

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Here it is all back together. 

 

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It was missing the levers that feed the quill downward. I made a new assembly by drilling a standard pulley, brazing on 3/8″ concrete anchor bolts with the tips of some 3/8″ lag screws welded onto them, and threading on knobs carved from a yard sale baseball bat.
I rough cut the knobs with a hatchet, and then finished them with sandpaper using my other drill press as a lathe. 
I had been using a newer/lighter drill press from Craigslist in our warehouse, and its last deed was to drill the holes in the pulley that makes up this new mechanism, then back onto Craigslist/Facebook, where an old friend snapped it up in about 10 minutes. Call it ‘upcycling’.

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Found this vise at a yard sale this weekend for $10, and made a mount for it to finish off the job.
With a little oil and any luck at all, this tool will run well for another 50 years.