10 February, 2010

There's A Reason You Save All That Leftover Crap

Several months ago, I had downloaded instructions from ( on how to build a PVC work-bench bicycle stand ( The author's nickname on Instructables is imarunner2. So, thanks, imarunner2. It was a nice project. I thought it might come in handy some day. You know, one of those projects that probably will never get built, but seem like it might just be a good idea.

So, anyway, last Saturday, while the Corozal Men's Group was meeting here at our place, Dianna and Vivien had ridden their bikes over to Karen's to spend the afternoon watching chick-flicks, not something productive like we were doing - that of solving all the world's problems, or something similar.

Anyway, around 5:00 PM, here came the two intrepid cyclists up the road, Dianna's bike apparently becoming harder to ride with every rotation of the peddles.

Which it was too. You can tell that at the end of the video, the rear wheel isn't even turning. I had to carry it into the workshop.

All this to say, that, wow! This was a great opportunity to dust off that old Instructable (I keep those and all sorts of other stuff in a projects folder, as you do.) and see if I could assemble something similar.

So, that Monday, I hot-footed it down to Villa's Imports, one of several hardware stores in Corozal. Their specialty is stocking several items not generally available at the other stores around the area. I found everything I needed on the parts list. I already had all the tubing and some of the fittings on hand in my spare parts stock.
Complete Parts Assortment Neatly Laid Out
The one thing I was sure I was never going to find down here was the furniture clasps. I had already paid for everything else and was on my way out of the store. I just happened to glance over at one of the shelves. Lo and behold... There it was right there. The exact part I needed. In fact, there were two of them in the packet. I was living large.

I got home and promptly began cutting tubing and making sure I understood how everything went together. This was almost as much fun as assembling a Revell or Monogram kit of a plastic jet fighter back when I was a young boy.
Laying Out Hinges Prior to Drilling & Cutting
The most involved piece, as shown above and below, was the tee that becomes the clamp that actually holds the bicycle up. You cut the tee in half along the top of the tee, install cabinet hinges and drawer clasps.
Fitting Hinges to Tee Parts
Assembly of the stand was fairly easy, if you can follow "Put part A into Slot B" sort of directions. Apparently, I can't. I started to assemble the thing. I glued an elbow to a base tee, lining them up so they looked nice and uniform. I then glued up and assembled the other elbow to the other side of the tee.

Ooops. Major malfunction here. The elbows are supposed to be heading 180 degrees from what I had assembled them. I'm not sure what directions I was following, certainly not the printed ones. I managed to force the second elbow into the correct configuration. But, the first - Well, it was stronger than I was. This necessitated a trip the following morning to Lano's Hardware to buy a replacement tee and two elbows - not to mention the three pieces of PVC tubing that had to be re-cut. Ah, well. If it was easy, it probably wouldn't be any fun.

The image below shows the assembled stand in action, holding Dianna's bike up as I work on it.
 Dianna's Bike On the Rack
It turns out that there was a good reason her rear wheel had stopped turning. The rear tire had actually had a structural failure, not just a blow-out. About 9 inches of the tire's bead, the part that is fairly rigid and helps hold the tire on the rim when the tube is inflated, had separated from the tire, This caused the rubbing against the rear fork of the frame and subsequently caused the tube to blow.

Here's a couple of closeups of the tee with the hinges and hasps in action, doing what they're supposed to do.
Two Views Showing the Tee-Mod at Work In the Newly Commissioned Stand
Two Views Showing the Tee-Mod at Work In the Newly Commissioned Stand
The inner-tube blow-out. Actually, I don't think it blew out, as such. I think it got over-heated because of the tire failure and the rubbing on the frame and the heat caused it to fail. The end result, of course, is the same. I now have an assortment of rubber bits to use for heavy-duty rubber bands, and a whole variety of other uses.
Hard to Hold the Air In the Tube
To be honest, I almost threw the tube away. Then, I got to thinking, "There must be something you can use an old inner-tube for. So, naturally, I spun up the computer and checked on the Intertubes. I swear, there must be something on the Tubes for every topic under the sun. I entered "uses for old inner-tubes" and immediately Google came back with three or four websites listing literally hundreds of ideas using bits and pieces of old inner-tubes. i didn't have to wrack my brain at all.

Without wracking my brain, after I used the stand the one time to fix Dianna's bike, I realized that some sort of padding inside the Tee-Mod was an absolute necessity. Well, having stimulated my brain with the many teasers showing uses for inner-tube rubber, I thought that would be a great way to pad the inside of the tee.

I grabbed some contact cement, smeared it on the inside surface of the tee and on four inner-tube pieces I cut. After waiting a bit for the cement to get somewhat dry, I slapped the pieces up on the inside. I'll trim them a bit more tomorrow to clean things up.
 Inner Workings of Tee-Mod Showing Rubber Additions
 Last, but not least, here's the stand, finished (except for the padding, above).
 Looking Good
I thought about painting it, but that might just be getting too carried away.


Julian in SC said...

Nice job, Dave. If I ever get Karol to get back on a bike (we have hills here) I may have to try something like that... *grin*

One question -- from the pictures I can't see how it doesn't fall over towards you. Is there some kind of way you hold down the back pipe?


Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian, Thanks. Dianna is just beginning to re-find her biking legs after many years.
There's a couple of conduit clamps screwed to the workbench top that hold everything in place. I'm looking for some sort of metal threaded 'holes' that I can install in the workbench and use a bolt to just tighten into place. I don't know what those are called yet. I'm sure the screw hole in wood will strip out after a time... Not that I do all that much bike repair in the first place.

Julian in SC said...

We used to call the thingy that you put in an engine block where the spark plugs go a helix coil. This when you had stripped out the threads in the block. Might google that and see what you get. Might even find something like that at your car mechanic's place.

With Karol I think I'll have to start with walking first. Does Dianna go on any of your morning trips with the other "girls"?


p.s. 46 days to go....

Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian, I stumbled on exactly what I was looking for at - they're called 'tee-nuts'.

Not a chance. Two reasons 1) It's too early in the morning and she hasn't had her coffee yet, and 2) We walk almost 4 miles... "Out of her league", she says.

Julian in SC said...

The tee-nuts are neat... hadn't see them before... similar idea. Price is ok. I'm not in your league either, only go for 2 miles at a time.

Darn... just looked and the latest snow storm is about to hit us up here in the Upstate. I really, really, really don't like cold weather!!