Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Same as it ever was...

It's been two years since I last visited Taiwan. I'm here to report it hasn't changed. Well, there is one thing that has changed, the high speed rail from the airport to Taichung is way faster than driving. At some points, the speed flashed on a display in the cars indicated we were traveling over 300kph - that's roughly 185+ miles per hour - fast.

It feels like yesterday since I was last here. Maybe Taiwan really is my second home. It will be interesting attending the Taipei Cycle Show after 2 years of not seeing folks I used to see on a bi-monthly basis. I'm looking forward to it.

Say, do you know how that tube in your bike frame was made? Well, we visited a tubing maker yesterday and the process of turning 10,000+ kilograms of crome-moly steel rolls into tubes is pretty darn interesting.

Start with 10,661 kg of SAE 4130 crome-moly rolls.

Load it on a roller and run it through several rollers/dies to change it from flat sheet to a tube in an incremental process.

In one of the final steps, the seam is welded closed, all while the tube is being pulled through at a rapid pace.

The fresh weld is then trimmed leaving very clean outer surface. Those two "reddish" strands being pulled off and up is the excess weld being peeled off the tube in two strips.

What a cool machine. After the raw tube is worked, butted, swaged...the seam is virtually invisible and probably stronger than the rest of the tube.

(What's playing: The Doors Break on Through - day destroys the night, night divides the day)

And hey, Bruce Gordon just pulled up. Gotta go.