Intro: Caltrain Bicycle Station Tag
Folks who carry their bikes on Caltrain use station tags to help one-another know where to "stack" (or not) their bikes along the parking rail inside the train car.
I decided to make a robust station tag for my bike.
I'm starting a new job on Monday up in Mountain View, so I've decided to use my bike to ride to-and-from Caltrain, instead of parking my car at the Caltrain station for $5 per day.
I live about 1.5 miles from the Santa Clara station and the new job is about 1.5 miles from the Mountain View station.
I made this at TechShop in San Jose.
Step 1: The Parts to Build
The aluminum tags are reversible, in case I want to head up to San Francisco on the weekend.
Here're the parts for the bike tag:
8 of 3mm/.5 x 12mm screws
8 of 3mm/.5 nylock nuts
2 of 3" x 3.2" anodized aluminum tags
Step 2: Cut the Leather
I had to attempt this a couple of times to make a leather strap that could accommodate the cross bar on my bike and the holder for the station tag.
Overall the leather strap is about 12" x 4", and the "windows" are about 3.1" x 2.6".
I may eventually add another half-inch to the strap, since it was a bit tough to get all the parts assembled. I may also change the size of the rectangular "window", since there's very little leather holding the aluminum tag in.
The leather.eps file attached will do the trick. I used 7oz. (about 1/8" thick) leather for this.
Step 3: Mill the Aluminum
The aluminum "C" was milled by a friend for me. I could have done the milling myself, but this was a faster option.
Here's the design of the "C" that supports the aluminum tags. I left one end open to make it easier to change the station tags when needed. It's about 4" x 4". The holes are about 1/8", and accept 3mm screws.
Step 4: Cut the Blue Anodized Aluminum
I used a pneumatic shear to cut the ~ 3" x 3" aluminum.
Regular shears would also work, of course. Though I did not do so because of a time constraint, I'd like to add chamfers at the corners to make it easier to insert these into the leather strap.
Once I had the pieces, I used a laser engraver to raster the text and images onto my tags.
Each tag has Santa Clara / San Francisco on one side and Santa Clara / Mountain View on the other side.
I used two tags to make the station names visible from each side.
Step 5: Assemble the Pieces
I used nylock nuts to make sure the screws and nuts would keep things together.
The sandwich of pieces is as follows:
1 side of leather
metal "C" frame
1 side of leather
Since there is an opening at the rear end of the tag holder, there is room to slide the anodized aluminum tags into the frame, and only one screw needs to be loosened to change the tags.