New Bullitt Deck Plate!
For many bike shops in the northern hemisphere fall and winter are the slow months. Here at Splendid Cycles, it hasn't exactly slowed down but we are still compelled to focus on projects when the weather gets ugly - an old habit that neither Joel nor I can shed in our new business. So, while I'm planning and doing exciting bookkeeping tasks, Joel is creating. "I like making things," he says. And I like what he makes.
This week his project has been creating a new deck plate option for our Bullitt cargo bikes. Bullitt makes a fabulous deck plate - lightweight, tough, well-engineered. However, it's not cheap (but, you do get what you pay for) AND until our 2013 shipment of plates arrives in January, we're running low on inventory.
Hence, Joel starts thinking...materials, production, jigs: all part of his creative process. Thinking done, he springs into action. And after a few trips to the hardware and metal supply vendors he has results.
The result? A lightweight, tough, and attractive new Bullitt accessory that's a great alternative for those on a budget. It retails for $125 compared to the Bullitt deckplate for $250.
Here's the story in annotated pictures:
All good DIY folk know to save everything. You never know when the hinges left by your home's previous owner might come in handy.
Besides these hinges, the jigs for this project used some old cabinet doors and a little plywood left from the build-out of our store.
Materials used for the deck plate: aluminum diamond plate.
Looks like some kind of crazy snowboard at first glance but it's really the cut-out plate. Several sheets of diamond plate were stacked together and then cut using the template jig; edges were then ground, sanded, and polished.
Joel created two jigs. One to serve as a template for cutting the deck plate, the other to bend the plate to the desired angle
The finished bending jig(right). You can see where Joel used the turquoise hinges.
Building the jig took the most time in this project, by far. Getting the proportions and registration position for the plate just right was a matter of measure a dozen times, cut once.
The diamond plate is placed in the jig, secured, and ready for bending. To bend the plate, Joel simply steps up on the jig, grabs the handle (a re-purposed strip of metal) and commences bending. Having a built-in a stop point that coincides with the correct amount of bend for the Bullitt deck, he produces a precise bend in the plate. The plate is ready to remove from the jig.
Installation is easy, using the template jig, holes have been pre-drilled for the bolts that will secure the plate to the bike. Dense foam padding, recycled from packing materials are placed between the plate and the frame. Bolts inserted and nuts are tightened and Viola!
And that's how we spend the time between customers here at Splendid Cycles.