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Phew, didn't think this would get such a debate going! All very interesting.
Originally Posted by Chris Scott
I thought the great thing with joining copper pipes is that the joints have solder built into a ring inside - as shown here. From the top picture of the TTR, it looks like those sort of joints were used.
Yep. If that were a British website they'd be called Yorkshire fittings, which are used on my rack. Maybe, like many things 'old', that name's disappearing. Just need flux as well to make the joint.
Originally Posted by Warin
If you cover or fill the inside of any solder item it will make any repair that much more difficult.
Yes, that was in the back of my mind when considering whether to keep this rack. If it did split or crack, and the tubes were empty, repair would be simple. But filled with resin? It may be impossible. Other than wrapping material round the outside - hence my try-out with the fittings sawn in half and clipped around the joints as in the photos above.
But while the doubt was in the back of my mind, I kicked it right out and just got on with it......
Originally Posted by Warin
and you probable cannot get thoes without solider any maore anyway).
Yep, you can still get those in builders merchants in the UK. The two mentioned above, split and clipped round 2 joints, are that type.
Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor
Here's one to throw into the mix........strength for weight, you'd be hard pushed to better wood. Some nice spruce would make a very strong rack :-)
Yes, I've seen on the web just such a thing. Maybe it was on the HUBB? But it's out there somewhere, with instructions for construction.
Must go now, have an HU Mendip meeting to go to... and there's a big yellow round something in the sky!
Yes - good to revive this interesting thread and get some ideas out.
So, would it be possible to use self-soldering copper joints with mild steel tubing?
Not heard of that being done, and even filled with resin I think the relatively soft copper joints would be exceeding weak alongside the stiffer steel. You'd want a well cubed structure, rather like this OTS rack
The strap-on rack - it was at least 15 years ago, I think he bought my Funduro. All I know is it was a sheet of PVC some 10-12mm thick. See this youtube bending vid.
Now I think about it, it's not the 'soft' plastic of chopping boards or rotomolded kayaks, but probably 'hard' lexan-like acrylic (I don't actually know what these words mean, but I know what they refer to) like the stuff we use to make windscreens. That is more brittle when thin and also actually quite heavy, but I reckon at 10-12mm thick would be quite hard to break. Looking again at that rack, he did a very nice job. I might round off the front edge a bit.
I must say that (today) I'm all fired up by these hex-key joints on ebay. Certainly stronger than copper. However...*
I've screenshot a number of them which I could visualise in assembling a rack - the usual elbows and Ts. The tricky bit is attaching pipe ends to the bike without doing the 'crush and seal' mentioned earlier, but some clamp types could be drilled and adapted to take a chunky bolt to the subframe.
And where the hex key force couldn't be expected to resist tension - such as downward loads on a platform base - you can just drill through it to use a regular nut and bolt, as well as glue.
I will probably go with 3/4 steel ECT mentioned earlier as it's dead cheap and comes galv/painted, but any tube, even hardwood doweling using wood screws instead of hex, works with those joints, I imagine. If I had clocked them earlier I would have done it by now.
* Added: ... I just received the clamps and they are for 1 1/8" OD tube with a 3/4" bore. I mistook those for the clamp dims not the pipe to fit them. What does the pipe bore matter? Thinking about it it does as the hex screw needs a thick-walled steel pipe to resist crushing while securing tightly. And of course their recommended 3/8th thick steel pipe of 1 1/8 OD will weigh a ton! I thought about trying to recover my mistake by considering wooden poles (28mm) or thick, 29mm OD ally tube, but the fact remains these cast clamps are hefty - 2-300g each? - way OTT for bike racks. Another flaw is that the overlap from hex point to max insertion is only 10mm - fine for a handrail or static structure, not so good for a moto rack. Drilled through bolts would be needed. So forget that idea...
The hex-key/scaffolding joints are cast and therefore brittle. They might be so massive that this won't matter, but hit one hard enough and it will shatter, usually where tapped for the grub screw. The field repair would be epoxy.
Copper would bend if you dropped the bike but could of course be bent back to shape. Epoxy filling would stop it crushing. Field repair could be solder or epoxy or a new fitting.
Wood is a great idea but takes skill. I designed a sidecar body in wood, basically copying aircraft techniques deHavilland used up into the 1950's. Light, strong and simple to repair with more wood or fibreglass. The trouble is that to do it properly you need to make forming jigs to hold it and the right temperatures to get the glue to cure as you form the laminates. You could also get in trouble in warm climates with the glue failing as the layers expand. The results could be first class, but bolted channel only requires hand tools and welded tube at least leaves me with something I might use elsewhere or can e-bay. The sidecar body ended up as bolted, rivetted and bonded aluminium sheet and angle (more Vickers than DH) and worked well, but a box not a rack.
Plastics wise you want something more like a Nylon or PVC. Lexan type stuff shatters and cracks when placed under enough load or the wrong temperatures. Again, it's jigs to form it accurately, the one in the picture I would guess was heated and draped over a former. The bottom angle could do with a bigger radius maybe? If drape forming, a spoon shape like the old plastic canteen chairs is stronger that the shape in the picture which is more like what you would do with laminated wood.
If you want to mess about with tooling, you could also look at glass or even carbon fibre. Your rack could be bullet proof!
Being a chippy by trade, I will one day have a go at a wooden rack just for a laff. I had even thought about knocking together a whole bike out of sticks.
For racks, I'll stick to good quality steel tube (it's only twice the price of poor quality stuff) and either Mig or Tig welding.
Seriously though, if anyone wants a rack making, give me a shout. I'll do mate's rates on the first one for a given bike. I will need the bike for a day or so.
Here's some pickies of the one I knocked up for my "S"
It'd be a little stronger made as a one piece but I wanted to be able to loose the pannier racks and just use the carrier. I did a little trip with this set up, 2500 miles including some trail riding in the Pyrenees whilst fully laden. The only thing missing to make it perfect are some strap loops on the top rack.
The one I'm making for my "E" will be a little different because the bike doesn't have a full subframe or rear pegs
The strap-on rack - it was at least 15 years ago, I think he bought my Funduro. All I know is it was a sheet of PVC some 10-12mm thick. See this youtube bending vid.
Now I think about it, it's not the 'soft' plastic of chopping boards or rotomolded kayaks, but probably 'hard' lexan-like acrylic (I don't actually know what these words mean, but I know what they refer to) like the stuff we use to make windscreens. That is more brittle when thin and also actually quite heavy, but I reckon at 10-12mm thick would be quite hard to break.
That heater in the video is ok, but they show it being used on acrylic plastics. They are brittle.
I'd think it was grey in colour? In that case it is PVC. This stuff is not as brittle as the acrylic...
[yes, plastic rack was grey so = softer PVC. CS]
For the home workshop, you can bend PVC like sheet metal ... it will go off - white in colour - when bent too far... Before it gets to that angle .. heat it! That relives the stress and you can continue bending in successive stages to what ever angle you want. The thicker the sheet the less angle you can bend before requiring heating - say 10 to 15 degrees would be of for a 10mm sheet.
Heating? Use a hot air blower ..or a hair dryer...
Many different ways to make things
The two I prefer are
a) easily bent – if it is hit it bends ..and I can easily bend it back. Will work harden and fracture if bent too often.
b) Strong enough to support the bikes weight + me + luggage. Impossible to bend back unless you hammer it (and probably need heat as well).
I've built things both ways – each has it advantages. One I don't like is part way between the two - bends frequently and hard for me to bend back, try to aviod this
Thinking about racks for soft bags I reckon we can junk the tubular hoops which unless you can weld are a right PITA to make. Given that soft bags often have rigid backs why not make the rack with a plate instead? I'm thinking either 2mm aluminium or nylon like the Kriega Overland set-up.
You could probably use something like these clamps to attach tubular "legs" both to the plate and also to the bike.
Found HERE and HERE. The easiest way to attach a bag would be to have something like an upside down pocket which simply drops over the plate with a strap at the bottom to hold things tight.
I've thoughts on bags but maybe that's for a different thread?
That's what I was thinking when I was considering making bags, only more a pair of upright poles on the bike onto which a pair of sleeves on the back of the bag would slip over. If the sleeves were something other than fabric and had open ends there could be a lockable element too.
When I first started this thread I was a hard pannier fan, but like a lot of people I've changed my position and am now thinking soft-luggage is the way forward. If nothing else it'll be easier to store note I've moved from a French house with garage to a London flat with tiny shed.
But I'm not yet convinced by any of the soft luggage available, it's either too small, the wrong shape, or most importantly the wrong price.
So I'm contemplating a semi-rigid system, the plan is to ditch a full rack in preference for something which simply keeps the luggage off my high exhaust. That way it won't need to be as sturdy, nor as complicated to fabricate given I only have a shed. I know Chris and I have discussed the merits of a rack (on his site) in providing addition triangulation, so the plan is to run a single tube from the pillion pegs up over the exhaust to the rear rack attachment points.
Now attaching the luggage. Again Chris on his site has brought up one of the problems of throwover luggage, the fact that it's hard to consistently put the luggage in the right place especially when tired or rushed. So rather than straps going from one bag to the other I'm thinking of a harness which straps firmly over and under the seat, staying in place and onto which attach the bags, probably with large side-release clips.
This hopefully solves the problem of consistent attachment points.
And now the semi-rigid luggage itself. The plan here is to separate the functions, support, crash-resistance, water-proofing. What I have in mind is a U-shaped piece of flexible plastic (an old water drum) which hangs from the harness. Each side will have eyelets punched through, and through these a web of paracord so that the the luggage can be compressed to suit the contents. Something like this:
The idea then is to put waterproof stuff sacks inside, as many or as few as required, tighten the paracord, then fold the to over and secure with buckles. It means for instance that you can have a stuff sack full off all your heavy items at the bottom, with another on top for lighter stuff. Also I can quickly shed my waterproofs and just stuff them into the paracord web.
Hopefully this long waffling ramble makes some sense, and if anyone's got thoughts, comments, or wants to shout "No!" feel free.
The "Green Range" is of course the old National service type army pack with a lot of the straps cut off and replaces with plastic clips. The "Platey thing" though allows said clips to be secured in multiple directions under the bag so the strap takes the weight of the load rather than just having the structure of the bag (particularly the stitching) in shear.
I get my soft bags on in 2 minutes (there is some strap tensioning) and off in 30 seconds, so on that score at least as good as plastic boxes.
I love your string bag idea though and now propose to plagerise it mercilessly (sorry ).
Now attaching the luggage. Again Chris on his site has brought up one of the problems of throwover luggage, the fact that it's hard to consistently put the luggage in the right place especially when tired or rushed.
And also with the bike on a side-stand makes it a big faff as well.
I used Ortlieb Cycle panniers bought second hand. They just clip on.
I knew that the clips wouldn't stand up to rattling around trail-riding so used a couple of cam-straps to cinch everything up tight.
The whole setup worked really well. While camped for the night, I left the straps looped slack on the rack. In the morning, load panniers, clip on, tighten straps, ride off.
They are perhaps a little small for some but that was deliberate; stopped me carrying too much crap.
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