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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Handlebar Kickstand and How I Setup To Weld Stuff

I've tried a handful of kickstand placements but on this bike they don't balance out right, and it tends to tip over too easily, regardless of stand height. So I figured I'd have to weld up an A-frame kickstand, but then a lucky accident gave me an idea:

I had the handlebars unsecured inside the stem, so they flopped down, and the bike happened ot push on them unevenly from side-to-side, keeping the bike and bars stable just like you see here. I decided for now that I'd just clamp them into this position to help me work on the bike, but that later I would use a quick-release of some kind to hold them in place for steering position:

Yet still let me quickly flip them down to use as a "quickstand" and re-lock them in place. They're much wider than any A-frame I would have used, and thus much more stable; the bike isn't going to fall over even if pushed with a stand like this.

Of course, there are disadvantages: I can't put anything on the bars in a way that will stick out past the surface that will contact the ground, and it's going to wear away at the bars at that spot. I can help both of those problems by adding skid pads of some type and thickness to that spot, though. Another problem is that the steering cables I'd been planning to connect to the bars will now need a way to allow their mounting hardware to rotate freely around the bar but not slide along it. Either that, or add a pivot point bar separate from the handlebars to the stem, and have the cable hardware there.

For welding, I'm sure there are better ways, but since I don't want to build jigs just for a one-off experimental bike, I tend to use a bit of packing tape to hold things in place while I tack weld them, then once I'm sure it's still in the right place, I finish the weld. Takes multiple tries, sometimes, as I still occasionally bump the workpiece with the welding tip before the welds cool or even before I have started the actual tack weld, without realizing it.

Here I've setup and taped a seat support tube to weld in place, with a square to help me line it up at the right height. I used a square only because it will lean up against the bars in the right way to stay in place by itself without securing it while I setup the right angle and height for the tube to be taped to before welding it. The last frame shows the tack weld.

Below is setting up the other side's support tube the same, then taping it.

The most difficult part is getting them mounted symmetrically, without a jig. If you're willing to do it, I'd definitely recommend building a jig instead of this method.

Two pics of the fully-welded-on support tubes.

Of course, I didn't realize that a few days later on I'd make a seat-mounting and angle decision change that would require me to cut these off and reweld them at a much higher angle. :-(

This just shows the piece of downtube I welded to the end of the ex-front-fork to make my rear seat support and cargorack hanger.

The last pic shows the hardware actually mounted in it's final position. I simply took a multi-size punchout discard from some metal box I'd saved years back, and punched out the center of 3 rings, just large enough for the bolt to fit thru that secures the assembly together, and welded the nut for the bolt on what would be the inside of that ring plate. Then welded the plate to the top of the ex-downtube that had been ground to the angle necessary to put the seat-holding ball in the right place.

I left the wheel-axle on the ex-skate-hardware so that I can use that very sturdy axle as a potential mounting/swivel point for my cargo rack later.

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