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Boston Biker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone make one or two frames at home or is the fixturing too difficult? I'm curious if it is doable. I'd need a tube set and I imagine a difficult set up.

I'd like to try to replicate a circa 1968 Lygie with extra long (comfortable) wheelbase, long back stays, short top tube perfect for touring. Likewise I contemplate a weather proof commutor with lights, fenders and enclosed chain.
 

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♥'s Bicycles
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There are people who do this but it isn't cheap.

Another option is to enroll in a "frame building school" where you can use someone elses equipment. (there are a few out there, try a google search).
 

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I can put you in touch with someone that can build your frame for you. To build a jig, and buy the welding equipment and other necessary tools would cost more than a custom frame. Then there's the skill issue too. If you want to build a bunch, then it's worthwhile.
 

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I can put you in touch with someone that can build your frame for you. To build a jig, and buy the welding equipment and other necessary tools would cost more than a custom frame. Then there's the skill issue too. If you want to build a bunch, then it's worthwhile.
What this man said in spades.

You need a sound jig. This piece of gear is of more value than 100 frames and more difficult to build in the first place. Then there is the welding. I've been at steel frames for 4 years now and I'm just now getting decent.

Worthy project, difficult task.
 

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Boston Biker
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I value your thoughts and trust all the offered advice.....but, ever the contrarian, what if one wanted to copy an existing frame? What do you suppose finished tolerances should be on lengths and angles for different parts of a frame?

Couldn't I, er, one build a jig very simply, even with foam or blocking to position tubes and finished lengths? I'd need four inch long lugs to hide poorly cut miters and un-wetted brazes, at least that is what I should have had when I brazed-up a tandem frame from a couple of bikes when I was a 14 year old.

I guess I am regressing. As long as I’m day-dreaming, I wonder where “one” could find lugs, tubes and fork ends?
 

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I guess I am regressing. As long as I’m day-dreaming, I wonder where “one” could find lugs, tubes and fork ends?
Have you tried the internet? :D When I was doing some research on new steel tubing, I found several companies selling tube sets, lugs, etc.

A quick search shows that Henry James offers all the goods you'd need. Note that his jigs can be had for $2,800-3,600.00, depending on your needs.
 

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Oneway: Look for a book of basic machine principals. Any library will have such. Internet should yield also. Most of the parts you long for can be made at home with basic tools - no CNC required. The men in my group have shown me how rear dropouts and front fork ends are pierced from flat stock of the proper thickness. Steel stock, alloy and carbon fibre can all be cut to shape. My shop makes all its frame bits. Of course most of these are produced on machine equipment now, but that was not how it used to be. A determined man with a jeweler's saw and a Swedish mill can make most anything.

It's helpful for the curious cyclist who yearns to build bike bits to learn of the techniques that go into modern metal and polymer shaping. There is lost wax and sand casting of metal. CNC machining. Sintered metal pressure forming, and liquid metal injection molding. These last two techniques are fairly new compared to wax and sand casting.

Working of polymer-based reinforced materials is essential in today's bikes. Read of fibreglass working. Make some small object of glass. Make a carbon fibre seat post. Yes, you can buy one. But what will you learn of it?

I cheer the maker of homebuilt bike parts.

(Swedish mill is a file)

Ian
 

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I suppose you could make a frame jig from wood. I'd use something like laminated oak plywood cut into strips and screwed to more plywood. You only need the jog for tacking it all together.
 

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Boston Biker
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Now this is open, inquisitive, adventureous thinking! I knew if I tossed my lump of mental clay out there bright people could shape it. Thank you gentlemen. More good insight is welcome. With an interesting challenge, winter doesn't look quite so cold.
 

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. . .Then there's the skill issue too. . .
As a weldor, I can assure you that getting good at welding isn't easy. Then getting good at welding pipe or tubing is in the realm of a Master Weldor. (PS. a weldor is human, a welder is the tool)

In my opinion, I think it would be easier to master a MAPP torch and use it to braze together lugs and tubing. And in addition, I would trust it holding together better than a welded frame unless you have absolute faith in the weldor's skill.

Steve
 

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Boston Biker
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Steve,
Good advice. A long time ago I was ok with brazing and arc welding but I'd think silver soldering would be the safest for a rookie because of lower temperatures less likely to damage the temper of the steel.
 

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You should consider the fact that most welding processes involve high heat and anything like wood or plastic that releases gases when hot is likely to screw up the welds. I have known some people who did one offs. They used clamps and a flat surface wherein fire bricks could be used to hold frame elements in place. One must take great care in setting up the piece with the proper angles and stability and then welding it without knocking it out of alignment. This is a little easier if you are willing to use lugs. They add some stability to the setup. I like the idea of long stays by the way. I built my custom Romic for maximum comfort. Here's a photo. There is enough space between the wheel and the seat tube to pass your closed fist through it.
 

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Steels

Unless you are using a propreitary or high grade national tubing (Reynolds, Comubus etc.) good brazing will not significantly alter the characteristics of the steel. While done at lower temperatures soldering requires that the workface be scrupulously cleaned. Even the tiniest bit of hydrocarbon will screw up the weld. Also in either case arrange your ventilation so that you don't breathe the fumes. They are not good for you.
 

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Boston Biker
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
novice one off

Shiboleth, good advice. I appreciate thoughtful, knowledgable discussion. Good forum stuff. I am more inspired. The long stay photo is beautiful.
 

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retromike3
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274 Posts
frame building

I have built a few frames and the book I would recommend is called the Paterk bicycle frame manual. He gives pretty good instructions on what you need for Brazing steel tubes together and he gives tips on how to make jigs for the rear triangle ect. I built my own jig out square tubing and still have a bike that I make with it.(the drop outs where never quite right though.) I now have a old NORTACK frame jig and use that to put together frames when I have the inclination. The hardest part for me was getting the design right. I have a old MAC that uses a 2d C.A.D.D. software that I use to figure out what I need to do for the angles All in all its a lot of work, but when your done you have something you can say is yours.

P.S. don't expect the first few frames to be grate works of art ether.

Mike Frye
 
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