Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The keys to the shop

I am blessed with an amazing shop and somewhat of an ability to build fun stuff. I have worked hard to get there, from one Tig welder I bought with the little money I had (that taught me what I needed to start welding ) to a full shop of rad tools that teach me even more everyday and make it easier to rip thru projects.

But there was that day where I was given a key to someones shop when I was just starting out and had no tools. The first thing I was told " don't fuck up my tools, and don't forget to clean up ".

I still have those days where I ask to use peoples shop to learn new tools, such as Daryl's shop with all the rad tools like the Pullmax sheet metal machines, but now that I have a shop of my own, with a key.... My day has come where I get to call the shots ( kinda cool )

Anyone that knows me knows I have 2 goals in life.

1. Build Rad stuff to impress hot girls
2. Teach my trade and progress in my trade

Thats MLS in a nut shell - its all about progression in all ages

Anything from working on projects for kids at the science museum for learning simple things, to working on a project for DLR ( the German version of NASA ) for the leading scientist to learn more then they already know, I love to share my trade and help people learn thru my craft or just straight up teaching people my craft is my true love.

When Josh Boisclair came to me... He was already holding the blueprints of his exact design, he had some experience of what he was doing and had built 2 cargo bicycles before this one. I told him he can use the tools, the reason I said this was because he had the blueprints in his hands and he had the right mindset to get the project done and the most important thing was the passion to build it right.

Mike Cleaver of Cleaver bikes and I helped him get the tubes for the main frame tacked up right away, if you build things, you can agree theres never anything more frustrating then not being able to have 4 hands to hold all the tubes in place while you tack weld everything.

The Best fabricator in the world may look like this guy.
2 hand for holding the tubes and 2 for welding.

With the main frame tacked up and most of the tubes notched by Josh and some burnt holesaws later on my horizontal mill. Jost retreated back to his little shop not far away from the MLS skunkworks shop to keep adding tubes and starting to braze it up. 
Spinning dropout was one of the projects
These little 4130 chromoly thru axle tubes
20mm front axle and 15 mm rear

The next project was using these blue prints to bend up 1/4 chromoly plate to make the fork crown
As you know, I love to use the press brake for everything so I decided to " bump" the plate a little bit at a time ( moving back 1/4 inch at a time ) until I got the desired curve.
Josh doesn't have CAD but his 1 to 1 prints were right on

He arrive at my house to do all the milling on my ExCello vertical mill
That machine is so easy to move the head, we put the 5 deg angle in the legs and everything.
The secret was we tack welded the curved plates laying on the blueprints together with the correct spacing then we put all 3 of them in the mill welded together and drilled the steer and leg holes. 
Then the spacing is dead on to your prints - Theres your MLS tip of the day
These were a pain to get the curve right.
This is the toptube of the bike and they link the frame for strength above the kegs. 

A day before the show Josh wanted to make a chain guard
So we cut it all out and I showed him how to roll a bead around the guard to add extra strength to the body of thin aluminum guard. It turned out great, even got some welding lessons in. 

This was a shot of his bike sitting on the ground without the rear end fully welded
Looks great, I can imagine he was so stoked taking this photo, I would be. 

Chrome built this rad bag for him to keep the kegs cold
Look at that MLS T-shirt Josh is wearing

This was Saturday before the HandBuilt bicycle show in Sacramento
I think it should be a requirement for people at the handbuilt show to go to a welding shop before the show, thanks to the crew at Praxair in Sacramento we got a lot of dry ice. They hooked us up. 

Heres a shot from BikeRumor with the dry ice chillin the kegs.

Check out more shots over at Bike Rumor - Josh's Keg Bike
Still have my Handbuilt show report coming in a blog post so stay tuned.

Good work Josh - it turned out great
Enjoy - MLS


  1. I got to see the cargo bike at a Thurs. night party and at the show, it looks great.

    1. Josh did a good job, I just made sure he didn't break my tools, he did the building.

  2. great post.

    cool bike.