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Old 07-01-09, 12:25 AM   #1
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Neo-Retro Art. New Drillium

Drillium fans look and enjoy: http://www.bikeporn.org/collections/drillium/index.html
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Old 07-01-09, 06:59 AM   #2
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I like drillium, but not to the point that it renders components unoperative.
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Old 07-01-09, 07:39 AM   #3
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Interesting eBay business he has going there. I'd be concerned about a component failing with catastrophic results for the rider. Not only would their pain and injury be a concern, I'd worry about the liability.
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Old 07-01-09, 10:21 AM   #4
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I've always like the look of drillium, but as stated there is a fine line where it should end.
My view on any type of 'show' vehicle is that it should be capable of SAFE operation in real conditions, that goes for cars, bikes, trucks or anything.

Many people go home and duplicate things they see at shows, logic generally follows the direction of "they did it, They're proffesionals so they must know what they're doing" It's a lot more common than you'd expect.
I don't know how many times I've had people come in to my shop (closed now) with pictures of parts they've seen at shows to see if I could duplicate it for them. Normally it's something I could easily duplicate, just simply WON'T.

What is REALLY frustrating is when people want you to duplicate steel parts in aluminum. You simply can't win the arguement that it won't be strong enough, because everyone KNOWS that "pound for pound aluminum is stronger than steel" they just can't grasp the fact that you are not building "pound for pound"

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Old 07-01-09, 11:27 AM   #5
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Some of the guys stuff is really tasteful, I like the clover cut outs on the derailleur cage, some of it just looks tacky though, especially when you fill in the holes with multi color paint, looks like xmas tree lights. The crankset was a dumb idea, I'd be scared to ride that even though the drill holes are super small, it just looks ugly too. That rear derailleur pictured on the bike would completely disintegrate being used under anything but soft pedalling.
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Old 07-01-09, 11:29 AM   #6
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Having snapped a stock crank during an out-of-saddle climb, I can attest that drilling holes around the pedal eye of a crank is just plain stupid, if not suicidal/homicidal. Drilled derailleurs, chainrings, and even brake handles are OK, but don't touch things like brake calipers and cranks.
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Old 07-01-09, 11:59 AM   #7
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He has some neat stuff for sure, but I think he's way too impressed with himself. I'm especially turned off by the way he says several times that stuff he got overpaid for should have sold for more. The clover cut-outs he describes as "nearly perfect" leave a lot to be desired when shot in macro. There's a reason, after all, that art jewelers use saws and files, not dremels. I think if he approached it humbly from an amateur hobbyist perspective I wouldn't have a problem with it, but if you're gonna hype perfection, deliver it.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:06 PM   #8
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It looks so skeletal... Makes me want to create a skeletal steed! Looks cool, I can appreciate the work put in, but I don't think I'd ever use any of it.

Also, not to open up the dead horse topic of "drewing" frames, but where does this come into play for you guys? The creator of these items is doing irreversible customization to parts that may or may not be rare. I really don't want this to turn into a discussion of "drewing" frames, but more of where does this type of customization stand within the C&V community?
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Old 07-01-09, 08:57 PM   #9
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Several interesting points here. I've got no involvement other than some email correspondence with the Drilliumist. (I'm sure that's a word)

Drillium has always been dangerous. Acceptable risk means something very different in the 21st Century compared to the 1960s and 70s. The Eddy Merckx hour record bike was a fright with drilled handlebars even. I remember hearing of chainrings folding up and other failures. Those cranks with the drilled pedal eyes are not for anything but show I would hope.

I don't know if perfection in that craft is the sort of mechanical perfection you could get if you just programmed up a CNC machine to make them. It's sort of a retro craft and needs to be done according to the "guy with a drill press rules." That's my impression, anyway.
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Old 07-01-09, 09:07 PM   #10
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I saw also drilled seatposts and rims. And some Campagnolo headsets came factory drilled, IIRC.
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Old 07-01-09, 09:49 PM   #11
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I don't know if perfection in that craft is the sort of mechanical perfection you could get if you just programmed up a CNC machine to make them. It's sort of a retro craft and needs to be done according to the "guy with a drill press rules." That's my impression, anyway.
No, perfection in that craft is the same as perfection in any other similar craft. Have you ever seen a piece of (good) handmade jewelry, or better yet, a hand made watch? They possess the sort of mechanical and aesthetic perfection that can be achieved by an artisan, but not a "guy with a drill press." Retro craft? what a lame excuse, more like a lack of retro patience.
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Old 07-01-09, 10:21 PM   #12
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I agree with Ron's assessment regarding 'perfection'. I'm biased, however, because I am the guy who made the stuff on Lee's Bikeporn page. Of course, there are degrees of perfection - and there is a difference in getting close to perfection by hand and achieving perfection by computer.

I think all on this forum would agree that a vintage Cinelli frame was produced by an artisan - but if you have had the opportunity to view one stripped of paint it would be obvious that there is a certain amount of 'perfection' missing. For me, that's it's charm - a man did the filing, not a machine.

For those concerned about show only pieces: I get you. I agree, too - but that only goes as far as stuff I do for myself. If others want show only, I am happy to accomodate them. Different strokes... I've always noted 'show only' in my auctions regarding dicey parts, and have contacted buyers after the fact to enquire after their intentions. To a man they have assured me they do not intend to ride, which leads me to believe intelligence is alive and well in the vintage cycling world. I think most people who remember drillium also remember the horror stories regarding breakages.

Like anyone getting into something new, I tried different things. I have gotten better with practise and repetition. I've gone crazy on some parts, staid on others. There's a place for all of it, I believe. I know I can't make everyone happy so I don't try. If there are people out there who appreciate this stuff, great. If not, I can accept their opinion too.

Bottom line is this is a really fun thing for me. I mean it - I really like getting into the 'zone' as I work on these parts. As far as thining the vintage parts herd, naw - I don't think so. Unless it's for a commission, I don't do NOS stuff; just previously used/abused. Since I give those a new lease on life, I have no guilt feelings to speak of!
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Old 07-01-09, 10:48 PM   #13
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Some of the guys stuff is really tasteful, I like the clover cut outs on the derailleur cage, some of it just looks tacky though, especially when you fill in the holes with multi color paint, looks like xmas tree lights. The crankset was a dumb idea, I'd be scared to ride that even though the drill holes are super small, it just looks ugly too. That rear derailleur pictured on the bike would completely disintegrate being used under anything but soft pedalling.
Actually, as noted in the writeup, this derailleur WAS used for some time, and another exactly like it was produced for a friend of mine who rode it for over a year on his vintage Gios Torino. I should add that Carl, the bike's owner, does not hang around when he's on that bike! Note also that those were the earliest attempts - even at 45 I can learn new things and improve with age.

The colors were done to carry the World's theme. I myself think now that it looks a little garish, but what the hey - I'm not going to complain if someone else likes the look. Similarly, I wouldn't think to come off as elitist by turning down a customer who wanted something that was for show-only. Just because I don't put any drillium on my own bike that can't be used doesn't mean I have to apply that perspective to others. To each his own, I say.

As time and projects pass by, I refine things. Black is now my infill color of choice - how's that for classic? Mixing it up is fun, though; it would be boring if every piece was exactly the same, hey?
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Old 07-01-09, 10:49 PM   #14
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^ Glad you signed up and provided some personal insight.
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Old 07-01-09, 10:57 PM   #15
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He has some neat stuff for sure, but I think he's way too impressed with himself. I'm especially turned off by the way he says several times that stuff he got overpaid for should have sold for more. The clover cut-outs he describes as "nearly perfect" leave a lot to be desired when shot in macro. There's a reason, after all, that art jewelers use saws and files, not dremels. I think if he approached it humbly from an amateur hobbyist perspective I wouldn't have a problem with it, but if you're gonna hype perfection, deliver it.
You're not really comparing a bicycle component to jewelry when comparing levels of perfection, are you? I think you took my comments out of context - to clarify, they were meant tongue-in-cheek. I use a Dremel to get the basic shape, and finish off the cutout with files. My personal take is I do a very good job, but everyone has their own idea of perfection. Seeing as I've never had a customer complain, I think I'm delivering in the main.

Truth be told, I was personally astounded by the final values of the first items that went up on Ebay; I think things have calmed down since then and the recent values more accurately represent the true worth of the parts.
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Old 07-02-09, 02:53 AM   #16
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You're not really comparing a bicycle component to jewelry when comparing levels of perfection, are you? I think you took my comments out of context - to clarify, they were meant tongue-in-cheek. I use a Dremel to get the basic shape, and finish off the cutout with files. My personal take is I do a very good job, but everyone has their own idea of perfection. Seeing as I've never had a customer complain, I think I'm delivering in the main.

Truth be told, I was personally astounded by the final values of the first items that went up on Ebay; I think things have calmed down since then and the recent values more accurately represent the true worth of the parts.
Welcome to C&V, we're a friendly group by and large, even if I do get the impression that you came because someone felt inclined to tattle on those of us who had reservations.

Yes, that is the comparison I was drawing. Since drillium parts, like jewelry, exist purely for their aesthetic value what's the difference? The ideal tools for both crafts are the same, the processes are the same, there's no reason the results can't be the same. What it comes down to is what the customer is willing to settle for. C&V is about the only place I know where precise craftsmanship is considered cold and sterile and ineptitude charming. I would argue that anything mass-produced can not be said to have been made by an artisan, even if it is hand-made by a person. That's the difference between your example of a production Cinelli and say a custom bicycle. If you strip your one-off custom and it looks the same as a mass-produced bike you would be justifiably upset. Why is that, if both are made by human hands? The difference is that one presumably expects a true craftsman to be able to construct something closer to perfect than someone who is just working a 9 to 5. I don't find charm in mediocrity, but I am impressed by skill and fine craftsmanship that produces a final product superior to what any machine can provide. That is what I think is the key difference in attitudes here. A lot of folks seem to think if it was made by a person it can't be as perfect as something made by a machine. My take on it is that if it's made by a craftsman it ought to be better than what any machine could do. After all, we are capable of understanding and thought, a machine isn't.

Anyway, like I said before, I don't think your stuff is bad, not at all. I just think that your comments on the gallery photos are really off-putting. You've really back-pedaled your stance a lot in these couple forum posts. You say that I've taken your comments out of context, but I don't see how that's possible. It's not like there was a vast expanse of written material and I left out some key supporting points. You very clearly stated that you felt you deserved more money for one of your pieces. You claim that it was tongue-in-cheek, but there's absolutely nothing that would have made that evident from the limited context.

There certainly aren't any hard feelings on my end about it, so I hope you aren't taking this the wrong way. It seems like you've been a pretty good sport about it. Like you said, different strokes... Obviously you aren't having trouble selling stuff on eBay, but the truth is you can sell anything on eBay and I wouldn't necessarily use that as a gauge of proficiency.
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Old 07-02-09, 07:03 AM   #17
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Interesting, but hard to clean.
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Old 07-02-09, 01:18 PM   #18
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Welcome to C&V, we're a friendly group by and large, even if I do get the impression that you came because someone felt inclined to tattle on those of us who had reservations.

Yes, that is the comparison I was drawing. Since drillium parts, like jewelry, exist purely for their aesthetic value what's the difference? The ideal tools for both crafts are the same, the processes are the same, there's no reason the results can't be the same. What it comes down to is what the customer is willing to settle for. C&V is about the only place I know where precise craftsmanship is considered cold and sterile and ineptitude charming. I would argue that anything mass-produced can not be said to have been made by an artisan, even if it is hand-made by a person. That's the difference between your example of a production Cinelli and say a custom bicycle. If you strip your one-off custom and it looks the same as a mass-produced bike you would be justifiably upset. Why is that, if both are made by human hands? The difference is that one presumably expects a true craftsman to be able to construct something closer to perfect than someone who is just working a 9 to 5. I don't find charm in mediocrity, but I am impressed by skill and fine craftsmanship that produces a final product superior to what any machine can provide. That is what I think is the key difference in attitudes here. A lot of folks seem to think if it was made by a person it can't be as perfect as something made by a machine. My take on it is that if it's made by a craftsman it ought to be better than what any machine could do. After all, we are capable of understanding and thought, a machine isn't.

Anyway, like I said before, I don't think your stuff is bad, not at all. I just think that your comments on the gallery photos are really off-putting. You've really back-pedaled your stance a lot in these couple forum posts. You say that I've taken your comments out of context, but I don't see how that's possible. It's not like there was a vast expanse of written material and I left out some key supporting points. You very clearly stated that you felt you deserved more money for one of your pieces. You claim that it was tongue-in-cheek, but there's absolutely nothing that would have made that evident from the limited context.

There certainly aren't any hard feelings on my end about it, so I hope you aren't taking this the wrong way. It seems like you've been a pretty good sport about it. Like you said, different strokes... Obviously you aren't having trouble selling stuff on eBay, but the truth is you can sell anything on eBay and I wouldn't necessarily use that as a gauge of proficiency.
I joined this forum on the suggestion of another member after I received commentary similar to yours on another forum. It was suggested this one might be better with less people like the one I ran into on the other. So, no, it was not as a result of somebody tattling on somebody else.

I respect your opinion, just as I stand by mine. We simply have differing views. I used to question whether my work would hold up under close scrutiny and was reassured by my pal Carl that surely it would. I realize that for a lot of people, this stuff looks great. For others, they are looking for more. That's cool, because it means everyone has their own standards. I'm sure there are others that are amazed that this work can even be done with a Dremel. It's just all about perspective; no, I don't think you have any hard feelings about it, just a different standard.

My comments were on photos I shared with friends on Facebook; I can assure you they were not meant to come off sounding high and mighty. I made the comment regarding the Colnago front derailleur way back when my other parts were going through the roof, but I never lost sleep over it; as I noted in an earlier post, I realize now that the prices are down to a more representative level, and that price-shift was probably reflected in the end price of the Colnago derailleur. I hope that background serves to illustrate why the comments were made.

And I still think the prices paid early on for the other pieces were WAY over what I expected - however, I can't say they were too much. I mean, if someone was willing to shell out that much, who am I to question it?

I should post a link soon to show examples of more recent, refined work - all useable at that. Just as with any undertaking, time improves the technique. That's certainly been true in my case.

One last note: my first buyer noted he really loved the piece because, for him, he appreciated the fact that he could tell by the work that it had been done by hand, with a lot of work done to produce the final product. His take is also mine: sometimes something can be made almost TOO well by a machine. The small imperfections inherent in hand-work are actually endearing to someone like him. I thought that was the nicest compliment because that's where I come from, too. I mean, I strive for perfection - or at least as close as I can get to it - but I don't beat myself up if I fall a little short.

Thanks for your feedback and keep the rubber side down!
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Old 07-02-09, 09:25 PM   #19
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Welcome to C&V, we're a friendly group by and large, even if I do get the impression that you came because someone felt inclined to tattle on those of us who had reservations.
I invited him over after I'd seen the bike porn and before I posted the link.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:00 PM   #20
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yeah. using extreme drillium is kind of suicidal. But...crap, riding a bike in traffic is suicidal. I like your stuff. It is very tastefully done and period authentic, I think. I wouldn't race on it, but if my wife ever lets me decorate a room with a bike in it I'll come looking for you.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:20 PM   #21
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Here are a couple of recent works. The levers were commissioned; the brake lever was done for my currently-in-restoration '73 Colnago Super.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:34 PM   #22
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Sometimes drillium turns into sillyum.
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