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Thread: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

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    Default Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Thinking of replicating (to some degree) the Fit Kit Systems old alignment table that is no longer made. I was wondering if anyone has any information regarding the size and type of thrust bearings used on the bottom bracket post, as well as any other details on how it worked? I'm trying to decide it it's best to use opposing conical type thrust bearings like those used on an automotive hub.

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    I can't help with bearing specs but have had a few smarter than I people shake their heads at the whole concept of a bearing supported reference surface. I have wondered if a clamped pivot, like Anvil uses on some of their jugs, might be more repeatable then a bearinged pivot.

    Then there's the whole tracking VS bio alignment and whether the Keith Bontrager process is "better" than the whipping post. Andy
    Andy Stewart
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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Good point, and one that I was thinking about as well. I like the idea from a theoretical perspective. However, I really think it introduces an enormous amount of potential problems. I'll work on some ideas more along the clamped pivot line. Thanks Andy.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Fit kit came out with its beam alignment system as a way of solving their problem of not being able to align cleats with their cleat alignment system because many steel frames were not properly aligned. This was in the era when a slot in a cleat fit tightly onto the pedal's cage. The cleat was nailed onto the bottom of the shoe. It didn't move and if it wasn't positioned properly, knee issues could result. But a misaligned frame can also cause knee problems. If the seat tube is not precisely 90 to the treads of the bottom bracket shell, that can cause knee issues too. What happens on a misaligned frame is that the seat tube will automatically go straight up and down when the bicycle is being ridden resulting in the BB threads being crooked. That translates into having the pedal platforms not being level to the ground and for some people this crookedness bothers knees. That was one of the problems the Fit Kit was trying to solve with their cleat alignment system. So they came up with an alignment system to solve the other knee bothering problem. They made it a beam so it took up a smaller footprint and was easier to ship. Not because it was the ideal way to align frames.

    As a framebuilder, I like a full sized table for many reasons. I also believe that referencing the alignment on the frames we build off of BB threads makes the most sense for the same reason Fit kit came out with its alignment system in the first place. Of course we all know that the face of a BB can never be made perfectly square to the threads. I choose the drive side after it has been faced on a whipping post. I think it is within tolerance. It is easy to get into the weeds with frame alignment philosophy. I don't belong to the club that says it isn't that important.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Very interesting, Doug. I started at the end of the fixed cleat era, and remember having to set them up slightly loose to allow the knee to find a natural resting point. I really enjoy frame alignment. I built my own table when I started building, and fashioned it along the lines of a narrow Blanchard ground steel plate simply to save room in a small shop. As you know, the real drawback is having to shift the frame around in order to check all the tubes (not great for accuracy). It really is time to go with a full size table. I have thought about building my own steel alignment table with webbing. However, I've been looking at the pricing of steel vs a granite inspection table, and I'm not sure I would be saving any money by going that route.

    I'm assuming that if I go the granite route, I can drill holes in the table with masonry bits to mount a post? Thanks again.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Craig,

    If you hop onto BidSpotter or other industrial auction sites, you'll often find framebuilder sized surface plates for a ridiculously low amount of money. Post auction, they usually show up on Craigslist for 2-3x what they sold for. Just be warned that some auctions require you to hire a rigger to move heavy stuff off site.

    It took me a little while but I found my surface plate that way.

    Once I had mine in the shop I leveled it as best as possible and used my drill press with a diamond hole saw to cut a hole as close as possible to vertical (plasticine clay around the hole and flooded with water).
    From there I loaded the hole with some ridiculous epoxy I bought from McMaster. A grade 8 bolt (1/2" x 13) was screwed into my whipping post and then wrapped with teflon tape. Then I screwed a knurled threaded insert onto that and pressed it all into the epoxy hole.
    I hoped I could remove both the bolt and whipping post if I ever needed to move. Unfortunately, the bolt is in there forever BUT the post comes off with enough persuasion.

    Table was $200.
    Van to move it was $40.
    Scrap of steel for the whipping post was $30
    Drill bit was ~$15 on amazon
    Epoxy was probably $25.

    It's not perfect but it works well enough for what I do.

    If I need to retire I can open up my own Coldstone Creamery.

    Epoxy was probably $20-ish.
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Great call on the auction sites. I have been watching craigslist closely, and just missed out on a rather large granite table. I'm really looking forward to having a full size table!

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    IMG_0810.jpg
    I got a cast aluminum 32" X 48" table with underneath webbing from the Wolverine Bronze company near Detroit. It has served me well as a 2nd table for my students for years. It cost under $2000 including the SS shipping post. The advantage of this table is that it is much lighter than either a steel or granite table. I think the top without the removable legs weighs around 175 pounds. It is easily movable with 2 people or one person with a dolly. Many of my framebuilding class students don't yet have a permanent shop and a thousand pounds of table can be problematic to move. Of course granite is much cheaper. And sometimes a real deal can be found on a cast iron one. There is a lot of luck involved in finding one of those however.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Doug, am I correct in assuming this is one of their standard fixture bases? If so, was the surface ground when they shipped it to you, or did you grind it after shipping? Also, have you ever considered hard anodizing the surface to protect it from measuring instrument? Do you find it strong enough to perform cold setting tasks? Thanks.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    It is possible to order these fixture bases in almost any size configuration. My choice would be 34" X 48" because my Ukrainian made fixture can fit comfortably on that size. The table is ground both underneath and on top by the Wolverine Bronze company. They drilled the hole too for the post. The legs are removable. They extended the pad underneath to give more support for the post. While Aluminum is a softer material than either steel or granite, it holds up very well under normal use. My students are just not as careful as I am and yet my table has no damages after a dozen years of use. Keep in mind that the webbing underneath makes it more than 2" thick where the pads and webbing are located. This is the perfect table for when weight is an issue and it will want to be moved either around the shop or to another location. While not cheap, it is affordable and doesn't require luck and a fork lift to find and move a good used cast iron towel. The advantage of steel or cast iron is that they can be used with magnetic hold downs. I'm fussy with alignment and believe alignment tolerances should be held to within less than a mm all around. To have it be more is just sloppy inferior work. All my framebuilding students can keep within that tolerance on non-heat treated tubes on their 1st frame so there is no reason for not having tight tolerances except for laziness or inadequate building knowledge.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Doug, this sounds like a very realistic option for me. Do the tables include the legs? Did you ship this directly to Ukraine from the manufacturer? I just purchased a house in the Apennine Mountains in Italy, and might be looking for a second table. I'm assuming you special ordered the table with the drilled hole for the post, as well as the pad underneath the post? Is the reinforced pad part of the actual casting? Also, are you still teaching framebuilding here in the States? I would love a Marchetti alignment table, but don't think it's in the cards.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Craig, yes I ordered the cast aluminum table directly from the Wolverine Bronze Company near Detroit, Michigan with instructions on where I wanted the hole to be drilled (they did the drilling) and they also extended the length of the pad underneath to include where i wanted the hole. They had several options for legs and I chose the kind that were removable and bolted on to the corner pads. They also did the machining on the pads for the legs. I also paid extra for attachments that allowed shelving to put placed under the top. My picture didn't show them. Since I live in Michigan (although on the other side) I drove over and picked up the table myself.

    The table I have in Ukraine was made by the same Ukrainian company that laser cuts and etches my fixture. It is a Blancard ground slab of steel. I did have them do CAD drawings for a steel table that came apart and had 3 top sections that could be tuned flat. The idea of this table was the same as the aluminum table. By making it able to come apart, it is movable and shippable. I never had one made to test to concept. Their machinist had to join the Ukrainian army so hopefully he lives and can resume work for them. The did ship me a brand new fixture in May of this year (2022). I'll attach a picture at the bottom of this post.

    I am still teaching framebuilding in my shop in Niles, Michigan. I won't be teaching as many as I have in the past but I'm not stopping. I've really gotten a lot of inquiries lately. I've taught a few shorter classes at our little shop on a college campus in Bucha, Ukraine. Who knows when it is possible to do that again? The Russians did break in and take general tools but left all of our bicycle equipment. This week both 60 minutes and PBS's Frontline did specials on the citizens of Bucha. It was really hard to watch.
    IMG_4460.jpeg

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Another lightweight option is an optical breadboard intended for laser alignment.

    M-SA2-23_400w.jpg

    The grid of m6 holes makes attaching tooling very simple.

    A 600mm x 900 mm plate is a little under $USD1k direct from Newport: https://www.newport.com/f/sa2-solid-...adboard-plates but they can often be found cheap on EBay.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Hi Mark. Yes, that does appear to be another good option. I will probably be moving in the next year or two to another location, so I would like to reduce the weight on some of the tooling.

    Doug, I very much hope your friend does make it through the war, and you are able to return and do training. I'm sickened by the Russian invasion.

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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    Seems like this surface might need a foundation to support its weight and maintain flatness. Or is the board's material especially stiff? Andy
    Andy Stewart
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    Default Re: Fit Kit Systems Alignment Table Design

    I just sit mine on the work bench and check the flatness with a grade 0 straight edge.

    This might seems like extra work but I've worked for years in laboratory environments where standard practice is to calibrate the measurement equipment before use.

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