Actual Progess

A lot has happened since my last post. The first thing that happened was that I got actual prices for the billet forks. It turns out that CNC is not that much cheaper in Thailand than in Europe. I guess that makes sense as the point of CNC is to remove most of the labour which is the element that is cheaper in Thailand.

After going through the designs with Royce Creasey and faced with an imminent departure from Thailand, I redesigned the forks from 50 x 25 x 3 mm rectangular section steel.

The approach taken was that all parts could be fabricated with simple tools. Where precision is required, parts should only need a lathe to fabricate them.

Shortly after I returned to Ireland and set about setting up a workshop. I got myself a Colchester Bantam from the UK and started work. Without access to cheap labour I have had to fabricate everything myself. This is good and bad. I have to learn every skill as I go, and with 3 small children and a full time job time is limited, but there is no better way to refine a design than to build it yourself.

Here are the forks ready for welding:

In the above photo, the holes are not yet cut to weld in the turned insets.

The headstock was tricky to turn without a 4 jaw chuck or a steady. The following photo shows how I am still learning how to use the lathe. The finish could be better, but the critical dimensions are within tolerance.

The A-arms are a simple design. Here is a picture of the components waiting for welding.

Since I am welding with TIG, I want accurate notches. I built a tube clamp to fit into the tool post of my lathe. This allows me to accurately hold a piece of tube at any angle and notch it with a hole saw.

Next I have to to the lower A-arm and start welding. Then on to the frame