Re: Silverbear's sidecar
I got some more done on the sidecar today. The first photo shows the arm which slides onto the front mount of the bicycle. From left to right is a sleeve butt joint soldered to an elbow, then a short piece of ¾ heavy wall copper pie, then a female union and a male union (the idea of the threaded section is to give a way adjust the distance between the bike and the sidecar at the front for tweaking as close as I can get to parallel). The male side of the union won’t get soldered, but will be bolted so that the bole can come out and I can give it a turn or two either in or out. It isn’t much, but it’s something anyway. After the male union fitting is another section of straight pipe, then a 45 degree elbow and another straight section followed by another 45 degree elbow, a very short straight section which is really just to be able to join the elbow to the T fitting. Coming off the T to the south (bottom of the photo) is a longer straight section.
The second photo shows what you need to do the soldering work. The felt tip pen is for marking the straight pipe for where it gets cut. The pipe cutter is next to the pen and is the best way to cut the pipe, not very expensive and much better than using a hacksaw. The are two basic kinds of solder. One uses a combination of lead and tin and the other kind is silver and is used for jewelry making and plumbing since lead is toxic. The lead/tin is good for doing stained glass work. Use the silver solder for this and for anything else you might be doing for bike work. Each kind of solder requires it’s own kind of flux. So get the right kind. The torch is propane. Any spot which is going to be soldered must be cleaned first with steel wool, even new fittings should be cleaned and shined up. I used old pipe for the straight pieces and it works fine as long as you clean it up to a shine.
Once the pieces are clean, give a bitof flux to the area to be soldered. The flux is a paste and I just use a wooden match stick to dab it where it is needed. Apply heat to the joint and then stick the solder against the copper. If the copper has been pre heated enough then like magic the solder will flow into the joint… into the copper. Wow! Once you do this you’ll see how neat soldering is.
I have marked the unions with either an x or a – to remind myself that I want to solder the – marks right away and leave the x pieces until the arm is in place and adjustments for height and for parallel are as close as I can get them… then do the X unions. One has an O and that is to remind me that it is the one which will be drilled and gets no solder.
The last photo was taken after I moved the bike and sidecar onto level concrete for getting things as true and level as I can.
Someday when I grow up I will probably lose interest in toys with wheels, but until then...