Friday, September 21, 2007
Ive wanted a disc wheel for the track for a while, but either not been able to afford one or got outbid at the last minute on ebay. It got to a point this summer where i just gave up and decided id make my own. Ive been working with composites for 5 years and built boats, sail spars and bike frames from carbon fiber, so i feel pretty comfortable with the material, this is just a new project for me. The first part of the project, and the one I'm least comfortable with, is machining a hub body.
Even a composite disc wheel needs an aluminum hub to seat the bearings, axle and hold the cogs/lock ring. Its pretty crucial that the threads be the right pitch and depth for the cogs to mate, that the bearings press in tightly and that the parts i make interact with parts made by any bike company. Ive got some basic machining experience, and luckily MIT has a "hobby shop" where students and staff can learn to use very nice equipment like milling machines and CNC lathes. I pretty much learned how to drive a lathe while making the first hub body, and I've posted some pics below of the result. Its a prototype, so hubs #2 and #3, which are already started, will be a little different.
What I've made is a pretty basic hub that is designed to bond to the composite disc on the large central flange. It will accept "Phil" axles and bearings and is a standard 120mm. It will also take a standard cog and lock-ring. This prototype is single sided, but the next ones will be flip-flop (fixed/fixed), the other main difference is that this one takes older phil bearings and the next ones will take their newer track specific bearings.
I'm moving into a work space October 1, so things should move along this fall and winter. Next on the list..
-find a steel tooling plate, basically a very flat surface, to mold the disc on.
-mold the disc and bond in the hub body
-think of a great name for my wheels!
I should be able to build each wheel to the riders needs. Heavier, more powerful riders get stiffer stronger wheels, lighter rides can ride lighter wheels, and if I ever made a road version, it could be more compliant to handle rougher pavement.
I'm hoping that Ill be selling custom wheels once i figure out the process, my goal is to be taking orders by mid spring. So keep pushing me on this project and maybe next summer the track team will have a wheel sponsor!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
With my fall schedule in motion, I'm not going into work till 2pm on most weekdays and wanted to see if anyone was down for maybe getting in some road time during the morning hours with me? I wake around 8am so anytime from there outwards is cool with me for a start time.