Seven Cycles began making custom Ti out of Massachusetts in 1997 and a year later had already made 1,000 frames; but its experience with Ti goes back even further—more than three decades. Rob Vandermark, the Seven founder, was the very first employee at Merlin back in 1986 when he transitioned from art school sculptor to frame builder.
peloton/Images: John Lewis
That’s a fairly well-known story now, but what is less well know is the frame builder that convinced Rob to start sculpting bike frames was Tim Delaney—and Tim is still in residence at Seven Cycles as the company’s master frame builder. When you’re master frame builder at the brand that sets the bar for craftsmanship, not just in Ti but also the entire custom-frame industry, that’s a hell of a business card to have.
Perhaps Rob puts it best: “Tim taught me everything I know about welding, but not everything he knows.”
Tim’s preferred tool is the Miller Dynasty 200 GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) machine. According to Miller, it is “designed for precision fabrication and industrial manufacturing. The Dynasty series offers superior AC/ DC TIG and Stick performance that sets new standards for productivity and weld quality.” Now, we don’t know what TIG and Stick performance is, but Tim has personally welded up 15,000 frames, each one with incredible weld quality.
The TIG torch itself, the item Tim actually wields like a painter across ultra-butted 3-2.5 titanium, has an innocent looking purple-pink nozzle and what looks like a tattoo needle protruding from it. According to the American welding society, a good Ti weld looks like frozen mercury—shiny and reflective. That pretty well sums up Tim’s work.
According to Tim: “This machine is really built for what we do. It’s versatile enough to weld very-thin-walled titanium and steel. It has a pulse feature that makes control with thin-walled tubing very accurate and smooth, and gives us much better puddle control versus older machines. It’s an inverter rather than a transformer, so it produces that perfect arc control.”
And a little warning note: titanium dust from grinding is highly combustible and used in fireworks displays, so the cleanliness of Tim’s welding bench is not just based on his attention to detail, but personal safety!
To see more of Tim’s work check out SevenCycles.com