Monday, January 9, 2012

Breaking Ground: First Braze on the Actual Frame

Today I decided that I really, really had to make some progress on the frame itself to maintain momentum... and because I'm impatient.  I'm still not 100% ready to braze structural joints; there's no way to really test a joint that's part of a rideable bike, so I basically have to practice until I'm consistently getting good results and try to do the same thing in the actual construction.

That left me with braze-ons.  Braze-ons are, as you'd expect, pieces brazed onto the frame.  They include (but are not limited to) water bottle bosses, cable stops, and rack mounts.

I've decided to use silver to attach the braze-ons to the frame, as many of them are attached mid-tube, where the metal is much thinner.  Silver melts hundreds of degrees cooler than bronze does, so there's a lot less risk of warping or damaging the tubing this way.  

Even though this was my first attempt at using silver, it went extremely smoothly.  I tested a couple of quick brazes and then went to town.  I was surprised at how easily the silver flowed.  It seemed to jump into place much more quickly and easily than the bronze; it was VERY gratifying  Note: the silver puddles around each of the braze-ons are actually just metal that was protected by the flux.  For a view of where the silver actually went, take a look at how the tube cleaned up below. 

This is without any targeted filing or sanding.  I just soaked it to remove the flux and then hit it with the media blaster (think sand blaster, but with something that won't damage the metal easily).  It should be said that I'm falling in love with the media blaster.  It is amazing how much time it can take to clean complicated little areas like this by hand, and it took me about a minute and a half.  

The silver is thin enough where it extends beyond the pieces that I can probably just paint over it, but I'll probably the edges of the stars with some emery cloth in a few spots just to be sure.  Overall, I think it turned out great.

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