Oh shit yeah….the blog…. I forgot about that….sorry mum, dad, and my strange new followers after who keep asking for my address after my other post, Hot Grindr Date (I said I’m not free for a photoshoot again @iheartmusclebearz69, not after last time!)
Since my last bout of sporadic posting, we finally have some movement on the project. After chopping the frame up and toying with the idea of creating my own cafe racer loop, I decided my limited skills were outweighed by my enthusiasm to get this project moving/not having my bike end up looking like a homemade half arsed bag of shit. After getting a pre-bent loop from www.oneoffwe.co.uk, I was very impressed with the quality and trial fitment of the loop, the next step was to abuse my friendship to borrow some room and a welder at my friend’s workshop.
The plan for the day (once warmed up) was to get the loop welded into place, which first meant learning how to weld…..good job it’s not an important part of the bike and won’t affect the overall look if done badly…
Measuring & cutting
This was one of the most tedious parts of the day. The loop has to mate up to the frame regardless, but it has to look just right i.e. it can’t be ridiculously long and exceed the length of the wheel.This meant accurately attaching the loop to the frame via duck tape and eyeballing the end of the loop to where I imagined the centre of the rear wheel would be (based on offset projects I had seen online)…..no seriously it was this level of precision. With the bike stripped completely for powder coating, the rear swingarm was not there, so no axle point to get an indication of wheel position. Using my phone to look at other projects I liked the look of, I scaled the length of rear section with parts of the bike I knew the length of i.e. triangle section of the frame and decided on a position, see gallery below.
This final position meant chopping both the existing frame and the new loop. Consideration had to be given here to how the loop would be mounted to the frame. There are slugs provided, these are thin round length of steel tube with a length of material removed which compress to fit snugly inside the loop and frames tubing. Enough of the slug has to be inside the frame and loop to provide a solid fitment prior to welding. The design of the frame meant I had to chop as much excess metal away without touching existing structural welds (see picture below). A lot of metal also had to be cut from the loop, just shy of where the loop kicks up, trimming any further would have led to difficulty trying to get the loop onto the slug to hold in place prior to welding.
Preparing for welding
To prepare for welding the loop, some more modification was required. After speaking to JM Customs on instagram (Thanks dude!), he recommended doing a couple of plug welds to get a solid mounting of the loop to the frame, along with the seam weld that will mate the two ends of the tubing together.
The gallery below shows the outline steps of preparing the frame and loop for the plug weld:
All I have to say about this is, thank fuck for angle grinders…
Whilst I have played around with welders in the past, it has been very limited exposure and always under the supervision of someone who has a clue what they are doing (or at least they pretend they do…dad 😀 )
The type of welder I was using was a Metal Inert Gas, or MIG welder as it’s more commonly known. This is the one with the metal feed on the reel and the gun thingy that has a gas shield that causes the weld n’ stuff. (Tech blog post to follow up once I have time to research the intricacies of welding for people who don’t really know how to weld).
There was probably a good 90 minutes spent on trial and error with a few sample pieces (seen in the gallery below), initially blowing holes in the metal, then not really doing much, then finally getting something that I could work with. I would like to spend a day or so with an experienced welder to get a hang of the basics of what to do and what not to do. A lot of fiddling of knobs got me at a place I think was ok, but I think this was sheer luck more than anything…
Once I had semi-confidence i wasn’t going to completely scrap my 37-year-old bike frame, I started with the plug welds, then the seam welds. Pictures can be seen in the gallery below:
Overall I am pleased with the result. This is something way out with my normal skill set but it was good to have a stab at it and come out with a finished product (after an hours grinding). I would love to get a MIG welder and learn how to properly set up the welder and weld without the need for a grinder!
Onwards and upwards…..this project is growing arms and legs so the finished by date is slipping to the right…next to attack is the holes in the frame, although I will probably get an actual real life welder to look at these…I already blew a small hole into the frame trying to fix the existing holes….shit!
To be continued,