Archive for June, 2015

 

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I had an idea in my head for some time now but it lacked specifics. Usually I want to have some clear direction before moving into the shop for the execution however I have learned that sometimes good things can result from little planning. Since I didn’t have too much loose, if my idea went sideways, I thought I would just wing it and see what would come of it.

Often I wonder why things are made simple when they work just as well complicated and in the case of my next project I wanted to add an element of engineering to a rather basic item. I needed a shop clip board and wanted to build something that would reflect the environment it would be used in. I love seeing the internal mechanicals of machines and often wonder why people feel they need to cover them up.

In the case of my clipboard I wanted to build a more mechanical type spring mechanism as well as fabricate a more interesting shape for holding the paper. Unfortunately this post is not filled with fabricating pictures. Since I didn’t have a plan I didn’t know when to take pictures. In fact I wasn’t planning to post this project on the blog however it actually turned out ok so I thought I would share. The following pictures show the tail end of the project but it will give you an idea on how it was built.

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The entire clip board was built from 6061 aluminum. I machined everything you see in this picture except for the stainless steel fasteners, spring, and cable. The actual “board” was plasma cut from a sheet of aluminum. I realize it is hard to visualize how this all fits together, just keep scrolling.

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This is the board in mocked up stage to ensure that the spring tension would work. I’m not in love with the lever I built located on the right side of the pivot shaft however I’m going to go with it for now.

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So here I jump straight to the finishing stage. Everthing was either polished or powder coated. Ready for final assembly.

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Finished product! Looks kinda cool, a little bit chunky but still works for me. Next time around I’ll build more intricate.

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The exposed spring mechanism allows viewing of all the action.

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Rocker arm style paper clamps.

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Cable adjustment cap allows for spring tension calibration.

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The paper release lever lacks a bit of an interesting visual but still works, for now.

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Decided to decorate the back side with a unique GG decal. Cut out an old skool diving helmet on the vinyl plotter for no other reason other then it looked cool.

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Cycling season is upon us which also means the agony of getting into riding shape has begun. When I ride my road bike I typically ride by myself. I like zoning out and riding at my own pace. What I also like are all the training numbers that can be had, and analyzed, based on my own riding performance. I monitor heart rate and cadence as the primary indicators that help me determine my progress and abilities.

This year I began using the Strava app on my phone which allows me to track more of my riding data. I won’t go into detail about the app since the website would do a better job of explaining it however I will say that it is packed full of data that helps determine the pace I am riding at and how I improve.

Since I want to have my phone visible when I ride I wanted to have it mount in a location on my handlebar stem. There are companies that offer phone mounts for bicycles however the ones that I looked at all had some minor issues that I did not like. I figured I had a Saturday afternoon to kill so I thought I would see what the milling machine could produce for a mount.

I spent a few sleepless hours, the night before, lying awake in bed mentally engineering the mount. Once I had the neuron blueprint made I caught a few hours of sleep then headed into the shop and starting chipping out some 6061 aluminium.

The criteria were fairly basic. The mount needed to be solid; I didn’t want Velcro or rubber bands holding it on. Second concern was that the phone had to mount to it quickly. Third thing was that I wanted the mount to accommodate my Otter Box case. With these 3 personal requests I came up with a plan. The rest is of the story is told below.

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I started off with a section of 1.500″ x .500″ flat 6061 aluminum and began hogging out metal to form a clamp for the phone.

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With the middle sectioned out I started to open things up from the outside.

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A little more milling and I finally had something that resembled the clamp that I dreamt up the night before.

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I required a 6 mm thread in the center hole that would eventually provide the clamping force adjustment.

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I am not a weight junkie however there is no need in carrying around anything that is not required. I milled off some extra aluminum that was not necessary.

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With the clamp roughed out it was time to start on the base. The first order of business included milling out a section to accept the previously build clamp.

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Next step involved hogging out all the unwanted aluminum. My projects sometimes get “chunky” and I did’t want that to happen on this one.

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I needed 2 flanges that would allow me to bolt the holder to the bike and the other to help keep my phone centered. Out came the boring head and things were trimmed up.

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Here it is just rough machined. Not finished yet.

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I test fit the mount on the bike and determined things were, in fact, too “chunky”. I decided that the smaller flange I previously cut in order to keep my phone centered really was not required. Therefore it was time to undo my work. I set the base up on the rotary table and cut off the top section on the mount which included my previously machined smaller flange.

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It is definitely looking better, and lighter, having been cut down.

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As I continue to lighten things up I cut some speed holes. The one exception was the bottom 6 o’clock hole. It was drilled and tapped, you will see why later.

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Here are all the components that make up my holder. You can see a knob, which I didn’t show any pictures of machining it, which will be used in conjunction with my clamp.

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Onto the finishing portion of the project. The mount will get anodized in order to protect if from the elements. Of course I say elements because it needs to sound like I need a reason. Truth is that it just looks really cool when anodized. All the edges and surfaces got touched up and then were hit with 2 stage buffing. Then thoroughly cleaned and ready for anodizing.

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Here they sit in a sulfuric acid bath and soak for a couple hours while getting bombarded with electrons.

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Onto the coolest part of anodizing. 5 minutes in the Red Bordeaux dye resulted in a fantastic shade of red.

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This is the clamp fresh out of the dye.

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Because there is always 1 person that says “How much does that weigh?” the answer is 109 grams. Yes it is weight, get over it!

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Here you can finally see how the mechanics of the clamp works. The knob allows me to tension up the clamp against the soft, flexible, section of the Otter Box phone case.

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The base mounts in place of the steering head center cap. It is solid and secure.

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The single tapped hole in the array of speed holes was done in order to allow me to store the clamp when the phone is not installed. I simply spin the clamp onto the base and that way it won’t get misplaced.

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Here you can see how the entire system was designed, and built, to work. The phone is mounted very securely and has no movement.

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All that is visible from the top side are the fingers that wrap around the sides and clamp. I am happy to say that I have cycled multiple times using the mount and there are no issues.