Archive for the ‘Testing’ Category

Fundamentals: Make Mistakes

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” — Niels Bohr

That about cover it.  We’re not experts yet but we’re well on the way to making every mistake possible.

This is one of the Fundamentals of the CollaborativeFail Fast.  This is also one of the mantras I’m known to mumble at Seven Cycles.  Interestingly, in the Colab, we have to fail fast if we’re going to complete this project.

We’re struggling with getting the fatigue testing methodology standardized.  We’re still testing the testing procedure, yipes.  Since there is no industry standard, we’re setting our own and although we often guesstimate and calculate these types of process correctly on the first try, we didn’t in this case.

I think we’ve just about got it nailed but close is not close enough.  More on that later.

Test of Concept

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Some of Seven's shop bikes and commuter bikes

Some of Seven's shop bikes and commuter bikes

In this morning’s Collaborative meeting at Seven Cycles Mike Salvatore suggested that we build a bike to test out a few of the conceptual ideas and assumptions that we’ve been discussing so far.

The outcome of that conversation is that we’ve agreed, as a mini project—headed by Matt O’Keefe—to build a Shop Bike that will be applying some of the work we’ve done far.  Someone set a deadline for completion of the frame, fork, and stem as Friday, December 11; six working days away.  The word crazy comes to mind, not just because it’s a new product but more because we’re doing a lot of test-of-concept work on this bike.

What to accomplish in the next six days

  • Build the first complete lugged frame under the Seven badge
  • Butt all the tubing in-house:  eight tubes.  This will be the first time we will have done all the tubing in house.  And we have a lot of tooling to figure out
  • Build a steel fork that incorporates some Collaborative aspects
  • Make at least one of the lugs from scratch.  We’ll probably end up making more than one, using various construction ideas.  More work.
  • Build a steel stem that incorporates some Collaborative aspects
  • Machine the frame and fork dropouts

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Why Fatigue Testing?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Seven's fatigue testing machine

Seven's fatigue testing machine

What’s the deal with all this talk about fatigue testing?  Why has Seven Cycles brought this topic up a few times already in the Collaborative journal?  Who cares?

I’ll provide a few quick reasons why testing for Seven is so important:

  • Barely any bike companies or suppliers do fatigue testing
  • Proof?  Try a Google search
  • It takes a lot of time and tenacity
  • Everything is subordinate to safety

First Up:  Barely Any Bike Companies Do Fatigue Testing

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Lug Testing Research

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
Lots of interesting lugged construction articles--from the 80s.

Lots of interesting lugged construction articles--from the 80s.

I’ve been digging through all my old articles and periodicals for anything that relates to lugged frame construction.   It’s been a while since I read through it all.   Some of the best data I’ve been able to find is from the late 1980s.   Some of the other Colabbers are digging up old articles, too.

In the 100+ pages of reading I haven’t found any good fatigue testing data for lugged steel frame construction.  We’re not done searching but I’m starting to have doubts.  If you’ve seen any, let me know.

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Fatigue Testing Fixture in Process

Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Repurposed parts for the lug testing fixture.

Repurposed parts for the lug testing fixture.

We’re in the midst of making the lug fatigue testing fixture.  Seven’s own S.B.—our prototype machinist—is making the fixture as I type.

Here’s a few fun tidbits about the fixture making process at Seven that some we’re interested to learn–after the jump:

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Initial Lugs Arrived

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Henry James lugs loitering.

Henry James lugs loitering.

Here are our first test lugs.  They just arrived from Henry James.  A great person and company; Seven Cycles has worked with him and his wife for many years.

These are the first “strange” parts we’re working with in the Collaborative.   I say strange because lugs are the only element of a frame that we don’t work with on a daily basis; we work with steel everyday; we work with brazing everyday; we work with fatigue testing everyday; you get the idea.  Lugs, not so much.  Aside from employees’ personal projects, lugs are a rare find in the shop.

Next Step

Now we’re going to start melting metal and making parts to break.  The fun begins.  I expect we’ll have something to show tomorrow.

Ever the optimist.  – RV


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