Monday, 12 April 2021

My FreeCAD preferences

I've used FreeCAD, on and off, for a while. Usually for specific tasks that it is better suited to. Recently I have started to use it more frequently, so it is worth my time setting it up how I like it.

This page is a reminder of how I prefer to configure FreeCAD. It is a work in progress and I will update this page from time to time.


There are many ways to move the view of the objects on the screen and everyone has their own preference. I find using a middle mouse button uncomfortable and sometimes use a trackball. With a trackball, I find mouse button combinations are not always easy to operate while also trying to move the ball. Therefore, I prefer Pan, Zoom and Rotate to be somewhat independent of the mouse buttons or only use the left mouse button.

Luckily, FreeCAD has a pre-configured setup, called 'Touchpad' that does exactly what I want. 

In Touchpad mode, the Pan function, is to hold the SHIFT key while moving the mouse.

The Zoom function has multiple choices, including, PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN as well as a CTRL + SHIFT combination. I find the mouse wheel quicker. 

The primary Rotate option, in the Touchpad mode, is to hold the ALT key while moving the mouse, however, I prefer the alternate method of, SHIFT + LEFT MOUSE BUTTON combination. By just covering the shift key, all the operations can be carried out easily.

It's easy to swap between modes, using the dropdown on the Status bar.


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Fox shock air sleeve service

Shelley's Merida originally came with a remote lockout for the forks and shock. That set the climb, trail or descend (CTD) mode. The remote was troublesome and I removed that not long after she got the bike. This left the rear shock permanently in the descend setting.

I've been looking for a way to convert that to have the shock mounted levers for control. I eventually found out, from the exploded diagrams, that there is not a conversion, it needs a complete replacement top. To that end I've been on the lookout for a compatible shock at a low enough price to be a donor. I bought a 200x50mm Fox FLOAT shock of the same generation, off of eBay, that will do the job.

I've carried out an air sleeve service but swapped parts between the two shocks as I went. There is an easy to follow official service video on the Ridefox site for the service.

I removed the mounting hardware.

The service was as easy as it looks in the video.

The original shock is a 190x50mm but by swapping the air sleeve, I've ended up with a 192x50mm, which I think is close enough. It'll add about 5mm to the height at the rear. That will easily be lost when the sag is adjusted.


Saturday, 3 April 2021

Bike build - Part 9

This is it. The final bits of the bike build.

Index the Gears


Before the bike gets dirty :-)



I decided the steerer tube looked too long, so I cut it down.


I got Shelley out so I could setup the suspension and other parts to suit her. It was supposed to be a spare bike but she's claimed it :-)

Pump up the suspension.

Angle the saddle.


Before I'd finished checking it over, Shelley decided to take it for a shakedown ride.

When she got back, I adjusted the brake levers and reduced the tyre pressures to her normal preference.

I also took it for a short ride.

I am pleased with it and so is Shelley.


Friday, 2 April 2021

Bike build - Part 8

 It's nearly finished.


Gear Cable

Before the cable was attached I adjusted the H-limit screw.

I like to use silicone grease on the cable inner.

Now was a good moment to give the frame a good polish with Silicone Oil. This had to be near the end because it is very difficult to get anything to stick, once it's coated in this stuff.


These are DMR V12's. I find these pedals have lots of grip and I have the tools to maintain them.


The common method of getting the right chain length requires the suspension sully compressed to get the longest length. The easiest way is to disconnect the shock.

Round the largest sprocket and chainring but excluding the derailleur.

Two rivets past where the chain could be joined.

Tension the chain to click the master link in to place.

Set the B gap using the new style SRAM tool.

The bike looks complete but it needs to be setup. That's for another day.


Bike build - Next instalment

Bike build - Previous instalment

Bike build - Part 1