20140827

An Incredible Rossin

When about a year and a half ago a friend of mine sent me a picture of a beautiful and strangely unique Rossin frame that he had acquired, I knew the finished result would be nothing short of amazing.  I see a lot of great photos of bikes, but this stunning rarity is now easily in my top ten.  And though there are still some parts that will be added and swapped out, the attention to detail and components on this bike are pretty damn amazing as is.

This frame is somewhat of a mystery - it's in nearly perfect shape and is a color scheme that neither of us have ever seen replicated.  Does anyone have any insight as to its history??   

I'm just going to post a teaser here, since you should all take the time to visit both Preilauskas' Tumblr set with a full write up and his Pedal Room profile for full specs and to see the full photoshoot!

20140811

Pink Lilies Ahead

Sometimes it's the second to last week of July.  Sometimes it's the first week of August.  But without fail, these lovely pink lilies show up every year around this time at various spots on my commute.

Like little pink fireworks!
I know I've said it a thousand times (as has anyone else that commutes by bike) but riding everywhere truly is the best way to see the progression of the seasons.  

I don't even like pink, but I can't help but smile at these.
They don't last too long before they're gone, usually about a week at most.  This year they corresponded with my mini summer-staycation, so I get to see a bit more of them than in previous years as I enjoy some summer riding! 

20140804

Takhion Bar Plugs - Finally Here!!

Over a year and surprisingly only two prototypes later, I finally have the first edition* of the Takhion bar plugs ready to go!  

Print on the left, original on the right. 
This is basically going to read almost the same as the headset caps, but with some new information and some slight differences.  Please read through so that any questions you might have regarding compatibility, ordering, or materials are answered before you order!


Hey look a FAQ:

How can I order one? 

The only requirement to order these is a photograph of your Takhion(s) and its/their serial number.  To order, please contact me at aeyoqen <at> gmail <dot> com and include your shipping information - what I will do is calculate the shipping and then get back to you with a bill.  Once I receive payment I will put in the order and have them shipped to you directly. If you are ordering internationally, a phone number is required!  If giving out that information makes you uncomfortable, I can input my phone number as a placeholder, but I cannot guarantee delivery of your order.  So far this has worked for a few orders, but if it doesn't, I am not responsible.  I can only promise that I will not give out your information and that your number won't be used for anything except by the shipping company, and only if needed. 

Right, but how much are they?

Unfortunately, these are more complicated to print than the headset caps, which makes them $20 each, or $40 for a pair. 

I understand that's pretty crummy - who wants to pay that much for handlebar plugs?  But currently that's as cheap as they get...

That sucks!  Are you making money off of these?

As I mentioned with the headset caps - no.  Originally I wanted to get a batch made to have them to give to people that needed them free of charge, but the fact is these prints are expensive.  I am charging the cost of the print plus shipping.  Though these required less prototyping than the headset caps, I still spent close to a hundred hours and even more money getting them perfect.   

Do I have to order them in pairs?

Nope. 

Will they ever be cheaper?

Price is determined by what the 3D printing company charges.  It may go down in the future, but it's been consistent for quite some time.   

Can I order bar plugs and headset caps together to save on shipping?  And do I get a discount if I do?

You can definitely order everything together to save on shipping, but these are being sold at cost, so I can't offer any sort of discount.  Sorry!

I have a 3D printer.  Can I print these at home instead of paying for them?

I have mixed feelings on this because of material compatibility and quality control, but e-mail me and we'll talk.  

What form of payment do you take?

Paypal is preferred.  Western Union can also be used if Paypal won't work.  

Why do I have to have a Takhion?   What if I want a pair just because?

I'd like to keep these with Takhion owners for a few reasons: I'd like to avoid counterfeiting (of the bikes, not the bar plugs), and I'd like to see where in the world these are going and the bikes that will be associated with them.  

If you really want one and don't have a frame, send me an e-mail and we'll talk.  I'm usually pretty reasonable :]. 

Does my Takhion need to be missing bar plugs to order?

Nope.  If you just want an extra one (or pair) that's completely fine! 

Do these work on 3TT bars or other similar bars?  

NO.  Right now these have ONLY been designed to work with the original Takhion Pursuit bars, which have an internal diameter of 20mm.  My 3TTT bars are coming in at 21mm, so they're a bit loose, but I suppose if you put some extra bar tape they *might* work.

If you happen to have a Takhion with its original drop bars, please let me know if the diameter is different and I'll be sure to make a version that works with those!  I want all Takhions to be able to use these.

So they work with bars that have an internal diameter of 20mm?

I have only tested them on (three different pairs of) original Takhion pursuit bars.  They probably will work on other bars with the same measurements, but I can't guarantee anything.  

Will there be a version compatible with 3TTT/Textima/other types of bars in the future?

If there's enough interest, I'll definitely make a 3TTT version.  If you have something super proprietary that you would like plugs for and don't feel like any existing versions can be modified to work for you, you can e-mail me about a custom design.


What about a version that works with brake cables?

Currently in the works.  I will update this page when they are available.  Unfortunately I don't have a physical reference for these, but I do have photo reference which is what I will be basing the designs off of.  If anyone has a brake cable compatible version they'd be willing to let me borrow, you'll be rewarded for your kindness! 

Is there a limit to how many I can order?  

Due to turnaround time, right now the limit is two pairs per frame - if you have two frames, you can get eight, etc.  In the future that will probably change.  If for some reason you feel like you need more, send me an e-mail!

Are these a 100% accurate recreation?

As much as I'd like to say they're perfect, I'll go with they are about 95% accurate.  There were three prototypes made to test measurements and materials, and while the measurements are pretty spot on at least by using an original plug as a reference, I could not get the exact same material due to monetary constraints.  

What if I get one and find a mistake?

Then please let me know and I'll fix it!  I've had a few people look at these, and you can check out the photos before for comparison.  

How are they made?

They are 3D printed.  The original model was created in Blender, an open source software.  Some work was also done in Meshlab, another open source software.  

What are they made of?

The printing material is a smooth plastic with a bit of give that is capable of being printed at high resolution.  The original caps are PVC, so the material is *close,* but not exact.  

From Shapeways' site: 

"Detail plastic is an acrylic-based photopolymer that comes in white, black, and transparent.  We recommend using this material for smaller, detailed products that don't face high stress or heat.  The level of detail for these products is high but individual layers are more visible than in Strong & Flexible plastics."

Will they scratch my bars?

I've had no problems so far, and I've installed and removed them on a few sets of bars.

Does the material have any inherit problems? 

It cannot withstand temperatures over 118.4 degrees F/48 degrees C.  So don't put it in the dishwasher.  It also has a bit of a "wood grain" look if you look closely - this can be seen in the photo above.  The texture is a bit rougher than the original plugs were, but not too drastically different.  
  
Why 3D printing over injection molding?

Though injection molding would be more historically accurate, I wanted to keep overall costs down, and every quote that I was given required a minimum order that was too high.  PVC injection molding is also dangerous due to chlorine gas, and that drove up the price as well.  3D printing allows me to keep the costs way more reasonable than injection molding and fill small orders on demand.  

Any chance there might be an injected molded version in the future?

If you're willing to pay for it, sure.  Unfortunately it's probably something that I won't be able to fund myself.  Really serious about this and want an injection molded version?  Send me an e-mail and we'll discuss it.  

Who is printing them?

Shapeways is printing these.  

Why not just have a Shapeways storefront?  

For verification purposes, as mentioned above, and also so that there wouldn't be markup on the caps for the storefront.  I would also have to make the model available for download, which I don't want to do.  

Didn't you say Shapeways didn't work for these the first time?

There were some problems with the first batch from Shapeways over a year ago, but they've improved quite a bit.  I've also changed the model and tested a few different materials, and this one is fine.  So we're all good!  

What if Shapeways doesn't ship to my country?

Shapeways might not ship everywhere, but I will.  I'll order the caps myself and ship them to you personally if that turns out to be the case.  

Why not just do that with every order instead? 

The turnaround time on 3D printing can be a while, and since people are ordering from all over the world I wanted everyone to get them as soon as possible.  Also, it's very difficult for me to get to the post office while it's open due to my work schedule, and it would take even longer to get your caps if I had to send all of them.

What shipping service is used?  

UPS standard shipping is used, and a tracking number is provided.  Expedited shipping is also available.  

What if I get a damaged/bad/broken/missing order?  

Take photos immediately and contact me.  I'll get in touch with Shapeways and have them replace your order.  

What if I receive them and decide I don't want them?

If you're on the fence about whether or not you want one, you can order a material sample from Shapeways for free to see what they're like.  If you do end up getting one and aren't thrilled, send me an e-mail and you can return it to me for a refund.  

Can I buy them for my friend?

Yes, but you have to get your friend's Takhion information!  

Will you send me the model?

Sorry, I won't be giving out the model.  

But I want to make my own and don't know how to model!  Please send me the model!

I too cannot model, so you get to experience the adventure much like I did and learn a lot along the way!  

Is only black available?

I'm pretty certain I've seen a photo of a Takhion with white bar plugs, but for the life of me I can't find it.  Maybe my memory fabricated it.  Either way, I can do black or white, same as the headset caps. 

I saw <insert material here> on the Shapeways site.  Can I get these printed in another material?

Some materials are incompatible with this design, but if you really want a pair in say, stainless steel, I can get a quote from Shapeways and let you know how much that would be.  Keep in mind the only material I've tested is the detail plastic, so I'm not responsible if it doesn't work!

Can you show me some photos of the new one with the old one?

You bet I can.  Rubiks cubes not included.




Anymore questions or concerns, please e-mail me or comment here!  And please e-mail me if you're interested in ordering.  If you don't hear back from me within a day or two, comment here and e-mail again to make sure it didn't get caught in my spam filter!!

Aeyoqen <at> gmail <dot> com  

*First edition here is just referring to Takhion bar only, no brake cable hole models.

20140731

Takhion Alert!

Just popped up on the bay!

Just the frame, bars, BB and crank for sale though.
It's a Super Sport, Columbus SL, 58cm.  Looks to be authentic, and has definitely seen some action!

They're getting more expensive every time they pop up, that's for sure.  I am seeing them a lot less often though. 

Hope it goes to a good home!

20140728

Takhion Bar Plugs: The Second Prototypes

It's only taken me a year...

Original orphan bar plug on the left, and the reproduction on the right.  
I just got the latest prototype tonight and snapped some photos before it got too dark.  Unfortunately I wasn't quite fast enough and didn't get one of the plug actually in the handlebars - but it does fit!  Perfectly!

There are a few small changes that need to be made, some of which are visible in the photos.  I instanced the original Takhion logo from the headset cap model, which needs to be adjusted a bit.  The diameter of the top can be increased and deepened by a millimeter, and I need to re-check the proportions of the circles surrounding the logo.  Small changes, but they'll make all the difference and can be done quickly.  The next iteration should be the last!

For those of you wondering about plugs that support cables: once these pass inspection I'll modify the model to allow for brake cables.  

It's really hard to get a good focus on these tiny details.
If all goes well, these will be for sale sometime in August!

20140720

Brazin'

After obtaining a loaner regulator while mine gets sent back to Craftsman for repair, I was able to do some external brazing.

I'm still fighting with temperature control a bit, but I feel like each time I pick up the torch I get a little better.  

Head tube fillet!
These dropouts were so thick it was difficult to heat them without overheating the chain and seat stays.  
Figuring out how to miter these by hand was interesting.
Bottom bracket, and a nice view of the fancy bent chainstays!
Suddenly, a bicycle.
Having the loaner regulator seemed to make a huge difference - I think my oxygen regulator wasn't really doing a great job of, well, regulating.  Hopefully when I get it back it will work just as nicely as this one.  

Once I clean up the flux, I'll double back and fix any holes or weird areas on the fillets.  Then it's time for braze ons!  

20140713

Coming Soon To Pursuit Bars Near You

I went to do some final brazing this weekend and discovered that my oxygen regulator had decided "nah."  Since Amazon doesn't consider oxygen regulators worthy of same day delivery service quite yet (apparently that's reserved for "essentials," like "food") I figured I'd tackle another project that's been getting finished way too slowly over these past few weeks.

Disregard the funky artifacting.
This is undergoing a test print at the moment, and after any additional edits I'll make the modifications for cable routing.  Hopefully I can have these for you guys by the end of summer!