[CR]lug production


From: "dave bohm" <davebohm@home.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 20:40:02 -0700
Subject: [CR]lug production

As a lug nut, I just wanted to clarify a few things about the production of lug modern lugs. As I see it the "technology" capable of producing an investment cast lug was around far before bicycles ever existed but seems to have been reserved for the production of fine accoutrements such as jewelry. The general lack of investment cast lugs until the 70's was most probably just based on the extra cost to manufacture.

Investment casting any object to a high degree of precision is not easy. Many factors have to be considered. Shrinkage of the material in question, which is different for different alloys, size of the object, sprueing or multiple sprueing, air vents to allow full flow of the molten material. There is no special magic to making them thin or anything like that, they certainly had the technology back then. It is called a die sinking electronic discharge machining. In today's world one would just computer model it, and have the original made using stereo lithography or CNC EDM.

. As Mario explained it, the molds cannot simply be a female of the male model. They have to be distorted for the part to be undistorted when cooled. Also, he had ways to make the steel thinner than had been done up to that time.

It would be highly unlikely that Mr. Confente had the necessary tool and die machining and wax carving skills to accomplish this on his own. and "he had ways"; everyone has ways.

His prediction soon came true as our $80,000 investment in developing the tooling to produce the lugs was soon being used by other major Italian manufacturers. We were the first company to put into production the fully investment cast lugged tubed frame.

80,000 might be stretching the truth a bit. 30,000 maybe. Right now a full lug set (three lugs) with a small production run made in the U.S might cost 30K, Less in Taiwan. The original tooling always remains the property of the original owner, until sold. Other manufactures most likely saw the benefits for themselves and reproduced or made their own investment cast lugs but probably did not just use the original Masi lugs. As in many endeavors many people are thinking of doing the same thing at the same time, kind of like a absolutely new idea on the internet.

One last question. Was Masi really the first company to make a investment cast luged frame? Did no one do it before, even on a small scale? Maybe Hetchins etc? I would be interested in finding out.

Dave Bohm
Bohemian