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Finished construction comments

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James Powell

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:33 pm    Post subject: Finished construction comments Reply with quote

After several hundred holes drilled, lots of which are tapped, and a long time filing, I have finished my kit.

1. How about making the 3mmx.5 tap available with the drills...I had a heck of a time finding one and I live in a (nominally) metric country. Imagine some poor guy in the US trying to find one...

2. How about "renting" hardened steel jigs instead of the brass/AL ones? I didn't mess any of mine up too badly, but if I were making a 30+ lever frame, I think some of them would have suffered excessive wear for continued use. Something like having a $20-40 dollar deposit for hardened tools might be worth while...I don't know for sure.

3. How about a underside sketch of the frame in the instructions? Some bits are confusing as to where they go. Bearer brackets were a bit of a interesting read to figure out where they go, and the arrangement of screws for the aux contacts is also a bit puzzled out.

4. Where possible, slots like those in the Bearers which are blind should be milled out prior, IMO. Leaving them to be cut out via hacksaw is a waste of time/effort/small drill bits. (I used a 61 and drilled along the back, then broke the pieces out and filed flat...but I have had experience chain drilling before).

5. Spare parts. 1 spare tappet and 1 spare lever would be nice in the larger frames. It is easy to mess up a tappet, and without spare material, it would be a bear to fix. I have 1 lever that does not have its ball/spring assy because the holes are not in the right fault, but I would have liked to replace it if I had a spare. With 24 of each, it is easy to make a mistake, and while I understand that cost is a issue, if I put my time at any reasonable value, then the cost of the frame kit is relatively irrelevent.

6. Locking pins. To fit the pins into the bars, I used a motor tool (Dremel/Mini Drill) to spin them, and a file to turn the end down. This made it fairly easy to get the pins in without them being too loose or tight to press in with the vice.

Oh,and I guess I am responsible for why #7 won't operate! I'd suggest that the software be made to warn when a lever is not operatable because of the conditions that the idiot designer (me) has put on it...I have a single lever that will require hand adjusted pins.

I was really happy with the design of the frame. I think that it is a clever design. It does require a lot of time to make a decent frame work. When I have need of another lever frame, I know where to look to get one.

The last comment is to builders-I would suggest that you pick Left/Right in the locking after deciding where the locking should be relative to the lever frame. I didn't and mine is now backwards (locking under the "floor" rather than in front of the lever frame, as per Midland (UK) practice). I knew which way around it should have been, but I didn't think that it is perfectly possible to reverse to arrangement of the box until too late. So, my interlocking will be hidden under the floorboard of the box.

James Powell
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Joined: 01 Apr 2004
Posts: 16
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your observations, James. Let me respond to some of your points.

1. We will look again at the possibility of supplying the 3mm taps, although you are only the second customer who has expresssed any difficulty in obtaining one. The other lived in a semi-remote part of Australia and the supply difficulty was understandable.

2. Our experience suggests that the life expectancy of the drilling guides is more than adequate for their purpose, particularly if used as suggested, that is, only to drill a starting mark for each hole.

3. We are considering further drawings to supplement the Construction Manual, although access to the photographs in Stewart McSporran's article is helpful, and is suggested in the current version of the Construction Manual.

4. To create the cutouts you refer to, the method suggested in the Manual has proven very simple and fast (I've done it often enough myself) and doesn't involve any chain drilling of fine holes.

5. Spare parts can be supplied to order. Having said that, there is usually some cunning way to redeploy a mangled tappet. A wrongly drilled lever can sometimes be reworked by plugging the inaccurate holes with brass rod and soldering it in place, then filing smooth and redrilling. If necessary, a complete redrill having rotated the lever by 90-degrees can work.

About your #7 that is always locked, I apologise that I missed that when checking your scheme. A software alert is certainly on the cards. Let me know if you need any help solving your particular issue.

I am glad that you are basically happy with the design. Your comments are constructive and appreciated, and I'm sure that they will help and encourage others.
All the best
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