Sunday, March 30, 2014

Toronto Lliving

Living in Toronto means using transit. It's called TTC here. We are one of the
few cities left that have streetcars. San Francisco still has a system and runs off a cable in the ground, many have seen these on the rice-a-roni commercials. Most cities got rid of their trolly systems  around WWII and went to the way of autos. We hung on though and have many rail systems in the city. Now we are getting updated cars complete with bike racks.

The other day I saw one of these old timers on the street. There is quite a lot of political debate with our transit system and where money should go.     Rob Ford is now running for re-election and the debates have been televised. Robbie is actually good at the debates and is holding on well. I think this is being televised in the USA and other parts of Canada but am not sure. Here is a photo of the main candidates. Notice that Rob looks like he's ready to get into a fight, He calls it a War. The lady in the middle is Olivia Chow, She's one of the other main contenders in the Mayoral Race. 
    We went to Washington D.C. for a few days and any time we mentioned we were from Toronto people asked about the Mayor with smiles. BTW: D.C. is a great place to visit, the city has really cleaned up and most exhibits are free. Very friendly people and a great place to bring the kids. I'll post photos later.

    Most Torontonians have gone shopping at Honest Ed's. This is a really quirky store with the oddest slogans. "Come in and get Lost", "Only the floors are crooked" "Don't just stand there....Buy something".  It's become a landmark and a tourist attraction here. Good deals on things too! This is one of the largest and oldest lit signs in the world. The photo shows one side only and at night it's like a casino (When most bulbs are working). 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Precision Billet Rear Derailleurs

    Toronto Cycles is soon to be releasing the 
153 gram vintage Precision Billet derailleur that has been on the website for some time. I have had many requests for the complete unit and have recently put some time aside on this. This is actually an exact copy of the vintage Precision Billet that was sold many years ago except there is no steel. This is a short cage derailleur and has standard ratios. Because of the design these won't work with too large of a top gear as the pulley can hit the gear on the cassette.  Some units will have ceramic pulleys made by AEST.

    I've used mine on a 10 speed and and 8 speed with no issues. Took a bit to break in and had to play with adjustments until it was dialed in.Complete weight of unit below is 153 grams. One of the lightest derailleurs in the world. All parts on this are Aluminum hardware or Titanium hardware. The release on these will be around April 1st. Sales on these will be very limited. I don't have that many parts on hand so a maximum of about 40 for the time being. 
  Each unit will be sold as per the photo posted and the colors I have made. No special coloring this time around. No custom orders.  Since this is a prototype for future production I can only sell to understanding people that have a more advanced knowledge of repairs and modifications. Will require phone contact. I need feedback / Reviews and am more inclined to this type of sale (No freebies though). Sorry to be so difficult but this is not a plug and play type item.

    I might add a video if I have extra time of this in action. Spare parts will be only available to customers that have purchased the full unit. If I run out of a part I cannot produce more units.

Please leave a comment with any questions or suggestions.
I will update this post soon.
Precision Billet
Precision Billet Website

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Aluminum Anodizing Tips

Toronto Cycles Aluminum Anodizing. Tips and Tricks!
We have better perfected the anodize process and are using better quality dyes from US Specialty.

We are currently not doing outside anodizing since we don't have production capabilities and our anodizing time is taken up by other processes. Anodizing aluminum is a complicated process and the tank here is set up for smaller hardware runs.

The Anodizing Process:
    Anodizing aluminum can be difficult. I will start a blog here about the process because many people try to anodize but run into problems. There is little real information on the internet as well. Many sites give amperage formulas and the like but can be difficult to follow. Over time I have better perfected the process and am always learning as well.

    This type of anodize is done in a sulfuric acid bath, battery acid and water. Around 20% of acid to water should be fine. It's easier to start with a thinner mix and add more acid rather than take it away. This step is really important as it will have an effect on the current and it's density. In my experience the tank also needs a bit of aluminum, after a few runs the tank will break in and anodize will become more steady in it's formation.

    A good variable power supply is needed. I've hear of a car charger being used but have never tried it. I use a variable supply with 3 amps maximum. This is enough to anodize 2 or 3 160mm rotors at a time. I usually set the voltage to be constant around 14.5v and let stay in the tank for about 80 minutes. Sometimes I will leave in a bit longer because some colors need a bit more anodize.

    The metal things going into the tank are anodes. They should be much greater in surface size than the parts you are anodizing. Titanium is the best solution. I use old titanium rotors and titanium wire to connect to the tank. They need to be cleaned occasionally but will last for years.

     The dyes need to be heated to 140 degrees (generally). PH needs to be low as well. Pet stores sell electronic testers and ph down which does the job. Some colors like reds and purples wont take well unless the ph is lower. US Specialty dyes will boost the ph and this in combination with water will require careful checking.

Time in tank
    The parts will need to be in the tank for as long as it needs to anodize. Start with scrap and learn before doing expensive parts. The parts should have a grayish look when done. Wash very well after the acid before dye. Time can usually cut down by increasing voltage but can form a poor coating. Temperatures should be around 68 degrees. 

    Boiling water alone will work. If the dye flushes out at this point the anodize is no good. A hard boil or steam for 30 minutes will lock the dye in.  I use nickel acetate seal from US Specialty. The nickel molecule gets trapped in the pores and requires less heat and shorter time to seal properly.
    Boiling will make a tougher surface. The nickel will have a bit nicer look and a bit more shine as an end result. For me it make sense to use a good sealant.

End Result
    Your finished job should look nice. If it looks nice its basically ok. You should have deep color and wont be able to wash the color off with bleach (Bleach will strip the dye out of parts not sealed properly). Patience and experience will really help.

Problem Solving
1. Pitting parts: Acid too strong also new tank without aluminum seeding.
2. Burnt parts: voltage too high
3. Wont take full color: Not fully anodized. Needs more time or more power.
4. Parts loose color in seal: Temperature of tank too high, Anodizing pores too large. Too low voltage.
5. Parts loose color over time: Bad sealing
6. Some dyes take color and some don't: Some colors need different temperatures in the acid bath. Play with the temps and try different colors to find the correct tank temperatures. Dye PH wrong.

If you have any tips to add or questions please leave a comment.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Toronto Cycles Blog

The Toronto Cycles Blog!

Recent Updates:
Toronto Cycles is now carrying anodizing equipment and supply. We have dyes from US Specialty and are bringing in titanium wire and anodes.

Titanium Frames will be added shorty and are at a great price. The frame to the right is for MTB application. It has both disc mount and standard studs.

Starting in March 2014, HST will be applied to all in store orders.

I will do my best to update and answer comments and questions. 

I might also be starting production on the derailleurs by mid 2014 release.