Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Welding in today's industry...thoughts and tid bits

I continue to get a lot of inquiries regarding welding technique, varying from the ubiquitous "what are your settings" to "I saw a guy once do...is this right?" Sometimes these discussions occur in forum areas where I try to take a mentor-ship role in developing the knowledge and skills of those just dipping their toes into the trade. Here is a snippet I pulled from one such post that gives some of my perspective on the differing techniques used by professionals today...

This is where I choose to have a differing perspective, and why fabrication has so many paths to the same end.

Multiple elements have an effect on the overall creation of the fused joint that can be controlled by the operator; amperage, filler size, filler feed rate, rate of travel, angle of torch, and cleanliness.

The constants, however, are few: composition of the material, wall thickness of the pieces to be joined, heat dissipation properties of the material.

Joining the two takes an approach that is fine tuned by each operator, however the goal is the same; a cleanly welded joint that is solid through the root, creates a gentle transition between the two pieces without removing base material from the parent metal, and a gentle feathering of the filler on the edges.

Ideally, when welding thin walled bicycle tubing, the arc should be placed into the joint so as to create a keyhole, or an equal melting away from the joint's edges, that is then closed with the filler. As you travel forward, melting the material in front of your cooling puddle, your torch angle, distance from the joint, and rate of travel need to maintain consistency insuring you have full penetration, creating a solid/strong joint.

The master welders became so by learning two attributes; visually watching the changing elements of the keyhole/puddle and physically adjusting to maintain ideal conditions. This means that controlling heat input through the pedal, torch angle and distance, feed rate and travel speed, all becoming individual adjustments that factor into a cohesive whole.

The introduction of "pulsed" welding was intended to reduce overall heat input to the material, reducing HAZ and maintaining molecular stability. However, it was quickly adapted to creating a set of machine adjusted parameters that each operator found to be ideal for specific tasks. This is not to take away from the need to control the aforementioned elements, but it greatly reduced the need for on the fly changes, making it more efficient for the pro operator who is tasked with similar jobs frequently.

I have always been of the school of thought that I analyze the material properties I plan to join, set the machine amperage at the maximum I feel will be necessary for changing conditions (moving from varying wall thicknesses) and then use the pedal and individual physical adjustments to best react to the situation. This places the pedal most often in the middle of the travel range allowing for extended comfort and control, as the heat input can be increased or tapered off easily.

To create settings on the machine that mandates the pedal be "floored" for the majority of the pass takes away the ability to react, leaving only elements that have less effect, such as filler rate, to aid control.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is wrong, incorrect, or not efficient. Only that it is an adoption of a new philosophy of welding, one that I feel is less controlled by the instincts of the operator.

As a beginner, you need to focus on learning to watch the physical reaction of the base metal and what it means. Examine how it changes with faster travel, more filler, varying torch angle, etc... Only after you achieve an understanding of how YOU affect the material can you then begin to examine settings on a machine that ease the process.

My two cents, for what it's worth.

Photo: I continue to get a lot of inquiries regarding welding technique, varying from the ubiquitous "what are your settings" to "I saw a guy once do...is this right?"  Sometimes these discussions occur in forum areas where I try to take a mentor-ship role in developing the knowledge and skills of those just dipping their toes into the trade.  Here is a snippet I pulled from one such post that gives some of my perspective on the differing techniques used by professionals today...

This is where I choose to have a differing perspective, and why fabrication has so many paths to the same end.

Multiple elements have an effect on the overall creation of the fused joint that can be controlled by the operator; amperage, filler size, filler feed rate, rate of travel, angle of torch, and cleanliness.

The constants, however, are few: composition of the material, wall thickness of the pieces to be joined, heat dissipation properties of the material.

Joining the two takes an approach that is fine tuned by each operator, however the goal is the same; a cleanly welded joint that is solid through the root, creates a gentle transition between the two pieces without removing base material from the parent metal, and a gentle feathering of the filler on the edges. 

Ideally, when welding thin walled bicycle tubing, the arc should be placed into the joint so as to create a keyhole, or an equal melting away from the joint's edges, that is then closed with the filler. As you travel forward, melting the material in front of your cooling puddle, your torch angle, distance from the joint, and rate of travel need to maintain consistency insuring you have full penetration, creating a solid/strong joint. 

The master welders became so by learning two attributes; visually watching the changing elements of the keyhole/puddle and physically adjusting to maintain ideal conditions. This means that controlling heat input through the pedal, torch angle and distance, feed rate and travel speed, all becoming individual adjustments that factor into a cohesive whole.

The introduction of "pulsed" welding was intended to reduce overall heat input to the material, reducing HAZ and maintaining molecular stability. However, it was quickly adapted to creating a set of machine adjusted parameters that each operator found to be ideal for specific tasks. This is not to take away from the need to control the aforementioned elements, but it greatly reduced the need for on the fly changes, making it more efficient for the pro operator who is tasked with similar jobs frequently.

I have always been of the school of thought that I analyze the material properties I plan to join, set the machine amperage at the maximum I feel will be necessary for changing conditions (moving from varying wall thicknesses) and then use the pedal and individual physical adjustments to best react to the situation. This places the pedal most often in the middle of the travel range allowing for extended comfort and control, as the heat input can be increased or tapered off easily.

To create settings on the machine that mandates the pedal be "floored" for the majority of the pass takes away the ability to react, leaving only elements that have less effect, such as filler rate, to aid control.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is wrong, incorrect, or not efficient. Only that it is an adoption of a new philosophy of welding, one that I feel is less controlled by the instincts of the operator.

As a beginner, you need to focus on learning to watch the physical reaction of the base metal and what it means. Examine how it changes with faster travel, more filler, varying torch angle, etc... Only after you achieve an understanding of how YOU affect the material can you then begin to examine settings on a machine that ease the process.

My two cents, for what it's worth.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

OIRL 2014 is a wrap...

OIRL Race #3 took place at Findley State Park, Thorne Trail, a tight, twisty, root filled trail that began to push the rider's technical ability.  Wrapping around a beautiful lake with fall colors just beginning to turn, it was a venue that begged the student athletes to push their limits.

A fast gravel start led into the woods and the single track. Guy Dagget dominated most of the race until a mechanical opened the door for Clayton, also of Hudson, to pass and take the race and series lead.  The JV battle continued between Noah (MCC) and Paul (Wooster) for the top placings in the JV Mens category, with MCC sweeping most of the awards at the podium.



OIRL Race #4 stepped the technical and physical requirements up another notch, taking the high schoolers to Vulture's Knob, a tough race course known for it's short steep climbs, flowing downhill runs, and playful technical features.  The home course for Wooster HS, they took advantage of it, with Gillian dominating the Varsity Womens field and Anastasia of MCC putting in a great performance on the most demanding trail she's raced at.  St. Ignatius had a good showing as well, with all team members performing well.  A big thank you to 331 Racing and Pro Gold for filling the prize table with goodies, and Clif products for feeding all the kids with nutritional items during the race...


The final course of the season, Camp Tuscazor, played host for OIRL #5.  The series stress's progression in fitness and technical ability and brought that to full realization for the athletes when they pre-rode this venue.  A short 1.8 mile course was laid out that was strewn with wet roots, rocks, and 500' of steep climbing per lap, giving the participants a 2500' gain in just 9 miles of racing.  As the countdown commenced at the start line, a barrage of sleet and wind began, cutting to the bone...so glad the climbing kept them warm.  Wooster High School had a commanding lead in the Varsity competition thanks to the pony tail trio...Sydney, Gillian, and Emily who had consistently dominated the female podium all season.  The real race was for second, as Hudson and Montgomery County Composite came into the final race tied in points.  A strong performance by Clayton, Guy and Ryan lifted Hudson above the efforts of the team from Dayton, securing second.

However, MCC's Noah Landis dominated the JV podium most of the season, cinching the state title for their team just 6 points ahead of Wooster.



Congrats to all the student athletes...here are the final results.

The final State rankings are as follows:

Varsity State Champions

1.) Wooster High School
2.) Hudson High School
3.) Montgomery County Composite (Dayton)

JV State Champions

1.) Montgomery County Composite (Dayton)
2.) Wooster High School
3.) Saint Ignatius High School

Final State Individual Champions

Varsity Female

1.) Gillian Wenger - Wooster High School
2.) Sydney Wenger - Wooster High School
3.) Emily Walter - Wooster High School

Varsity Male

1.) Clayton Travis - Hudson High School
2.) Guy Daggett - Hudson High School
3.) William Powers - Montgomery County Composite (Dayton)

JV Male

1.) Noah Landis - Montgomery County Composite (Dayton)
2.) Paul Lindenmann - Wooster High School
3.) Ben Carmel- Wooster High School

All athletes should be commended on their outstanding achievement.

The top three teams in Varsity and JV received trophies to be interned at their respective schools.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MATT DILYARD, PHOTOGRAPHER EXTRODINAIRE

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ohio Interscholastic High School League 2014

  1. Ohio Interscholastic Racing League, Races 1/2

    This past weekend marked the beginning of the second season of High SchoolRacing in Ohio, with the opening race at Camp Manatoc in Peninsula Ohio.

    28 student athletes participated in both Varsity and JV Men's and Women's categories, riding the 4.4 mile technical single track loop for multiple laps based on category.


    Everyone had a fantastic time and we look forward to the remaining 4 races in the series.

    If you are a high school athlete in Ohio and wish to participate, please check out the info at Ohio Interscholastic Racing League : 331 Racing

    Ohio Interscholastic Racing League-oirl-group.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-emmanatoc2014.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-oirl-mantoc-varsity.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-oirl-medals.jpg

    Race #2 of the OIRL series took place in wet conditions at Reagan Park in Medina Ohio, a tight twisty course built for challenging advanced riders at speed or beginner/intermediates to become immersed in the sport.

  2. The weather saw a few crashes that resulted in mechanical issues but all the kids finished riding or running across the finish line 

    Fantastic support from the local cycling community allowed us to insure the trail was safe and had abundant personnel on course to bolster the kids confidence.

    Ohio Interscholastic Racing League-reagan1.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-reagan3.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-reagan2.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-regan4.jpg

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The END is in sight...

After almost two weeks straight of making bars, I'm down to just the final few...

I've been pushing hard to finish the balance of the bar orders for the year so I can focus solely on full builds and have finally reached the eventual burn out.

My compressor blowing it's thermal fuses was the stimulus I needed to take two partial days off and focus on something totally not bike related.

My grandfather had always painted, mostly farm/western scenes on slate that he had hand hewed for each piece.  I have always felt that I pulled some of my artistic talent from him, so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

This is my first attempt at brush and canvas,  inspired by art on a pinball machine that tells the tale of a werewolf that threatens a small town: Silver Bullet.

Groovy Cycleworks-scarletsmall.jpg

I really learned a LOT working through the process.  There are many things I would do differently the next time to improve the quality, but it was enjoyable to casually work away at it to take my mind off of life.

Now, with the compressor rigged to work for now, back to more of this...


cheers,

rody

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Caught a little local press...

Thanks to Thomas for the local press...


FIGHTING FIRES TO CRAFTING BIKES: WOOSTER FIRE DEPARTMENT CAPT. RODY WALKER HAS ANOTHER LIFE AS OWNER OF GROOVY CYCLEWORKS

By THOMAS DOOHAN Staff Writer Published: July 7, 2014 4:00AM

WOOSTER -- When Wooster Fire Department Capt. Rody Walter is not fighting fires or providing emergency medical services, he is cutting metal, welding and painting.

Walter spends his free time fabricating custom bike frames as the owner of Wooster-based Groovy Cycleworks, which he started in 1994. He said he has long been fascinated by cycling and began racing in local, regional and national races during the late 1980s.

"I really enjoyed the freedom it allowed," Walter said, explaining how cycling allowed him to experience the world in a different way. "So often in a car ... it's about getting from Point A to Point B."

In 1991, he moved to Wooster and started his career with the fire department, all the while riding his bike.

Married and settled, Walter said he and his wife, Christi, decided to start a family and wanted to find a way to increase their income so one of them could stay home with the children. With this, Walter said, the seed of Groovy Cycleworks was planted.

"We were pretty disappointed with the tandem we were riding," Walter said, explaining how it was not strong enough to take the beating of the surfaces they were riding. Itching to ride something beefier, he described how he and his wife developed a design for a tougher tandem and had Pennsylvania custom bike builder Bill Groves put it together.

"I became enamored by the whole process," Walter said.

Eventually convincing Groves to mentor him, he developed his fabrication skills and Groovy Cycleworks started rolling. Over the years, he has honed his skills and grown quite the following in the national and international cycling community. While Walter estimates only five of six of his bikes are in Ohio, his custom bicycles can be found in 28 countries.

Walter said his time is been split between the fire department, Groovy Cycleworks and his family, which eventually grew to include son Kalten and daughter Emily.

Despite how busy the bike-smith, firefighter and family man may be, Wooster Fire Chief Roger Brenneman said Walter does not show it at work.

"He is very good about keeping his two lives separate," he said.

As the department's EMS captain, Brenneman said Walter works at making sure everyone is property trained and prepared to jump into action.SFlb"He is very dedicated ... anybody will tell you that," Brenneman said. "He is meticulous about doing things correctly. That's why people like his bikes so much."

Cary Wenger of Wooster said he likes his Groovy Cycleworks bicycle he won in a raffle after a local mountain bike race. He said his mountain bike, painted with military grade ceramic paint, is "just right for me."

One time, he said he got on the bike after taking a season off and likened the experience to coming home to a home-cooked meal.

"It felt like a warm bowl of macaroni and cheese," Wenger said. The attention to details like fit and handling, he said, is what makes his bicycle special.

With bicycles ranging in prices and even going up to $12,000, Walter said paying attention to detail is important.

Wenger said riders who purchase a bicycle from Walter usually are experienced cyclists and know exactly what they want. Walter said he does not mind putting the long hours into making the bicycles perfect.

"There is no room for error," Walter said.

He said he has not been alone in his pursuit of crafting the perfect custom bike as each family member contributes to the cause.

"It's an interesting dynamic," Walter said.

He said it has allowed them to work together, spend time together and always have a parent around. While his kids are involved in the production of the bikes, he said for a long time they did not realize how far his bicycles have reached.

"It never really hits home to my kids until I go to a show like the North American Hand Built Bike Show."



QUESTIONS...

Hobby: Cycling has shared time with rock/ice climbing and whitewater kayaking, but as I get older, all have slowly taken a back seat to a hobby that brings me back to carefree childhood days of simply enjoying action and imagination; playing pinball.

Favorite food: Though not born here, Wooster has served as my home longer than any other place. It would not be "home" without Coccia House pizza and Hartzler's Chocolate milk.

Favorite place to visit: Whether on the rock or in the water, no place allows me to feel as serene and one with the world as the New River Gorge in West Virginia.

My pet peeve is: Mediocrity

Who's tunes are playing: In the CD carousel right now is Morphine, The Crystal Method, Southern Culture on the Skids, DJ Format, Henry Rollins, and Cake.

The talent or Superpower I wish I had: The ability to turn back time and work less, spending more time with my kids as they grew.

Least favorite chore: Working on old, rusty vehicles...but with two 1992 Volvos on the road, this chore never seems to end.

First Job: I began working as a custodian/janitor for a day care at the age of 12, three evenings a week. That job ingrained a doctrine of responsibility and the need to be accountable to not only my employer, but to my own expectations of success. Can't say I cared much for cleaning toilets used by pre-schoolers all day long, that was a bit messy.

Nobody knows I: often struggle with feelings of failure, as I continually battle with finding time for everything I've committed to.

Who, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with: My grandfather passed away while I was still very young, but left behind a legacy of self expression though his hand crafted work; paintings, handmade furniture, and self designed and fabricated tooling. Although I have glimpses of who he was through these objects, I would like to opportunity to get to know him as an individual, as I feel much of who I am has been derived from the person I believe him to be.

Reporter Thomas Doohan can be reached at 330-287-1635 or tdoohan@the-daily-record.com.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dented B-side...

Michael sent a frantic email...

Rody,

I hate to ask because I know how busy you are and I know you aren't taking repairs in anymore, but can you maybe take a quick look at Karen's B-side... I knocked over an unused lally column I had in the basement and it dinged the drive side chainstay. No cracks as far as I can tell, but kind of a deep dent. It's certainly not a high end frame, but Karen is kind of attached to it (she named it).

He's right, I am busy and don't do repairs for folks anymore, but since he was in a bad way after crunching his wife's bike and is local, I made an exception.  Gave up riding with my daughter tonight, but got it done.

Before:

After:

Paint was removed three inches to either side of the dent so I would not have to breath that stuff when the stay heated up.  I had to drill the crease out at both ends using a center drill, then methodically fill the gaping dent using the tig torch and two sticks of stainless filler (used because it flow/feathers out).  The area was then filed smooth and a bit of 45% silver was flowed into the uneven areas and sanded.

The paint edges were then sanded for a seamless transition and then primer, color, and clear feathered on to match the existing paint.

Total time - 3 hours.

Hope Karen is happy with her frame and Michael is out of the dog house :)

rody