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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, for a long, long time it has kind of been a dream of mine to attempt to build a custom frame. And while I realized how inexperienced I am at such a endeavor, it still is something that has always been in the back of my mind.

I have thought about attending some of the various frame-building classes that some of the bike mechanic schools offer (and maybe I will someday), but I was just wondering if anyone has ever attempted this or to the framebuilders who frequent this board, how did you get started?

oh, and the type of bike that I would be trying to build would most likely be a lugged steel frame.
 

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Big is relative
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Yamaguchi offers a frame building class that includes lugged. You build your own bike. Paint and decals are not included.

Brew offers a framebuilding class but it is only tig.

The coolest deal used to be the Pegoretti framebuilding tour. Six days at the Peg shop alternating days between building your own frame and riding Northern Italy. Custom fitting was included and they shipped the frame to your home a few weeks later after your included custom paint job was dry. It was around $3K for the week all inclusive except airfare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
bigbill said:
Yamaguchi offers a frame building class that includes lugged. You build your own bike. Paint and decals are not included.

Brew offers a framebuilding class but it is only tig.

The coolest deal used to be the Pegoretti framebuilding tour. Six days at the Peg shop alternating days between building your own frame and riding Northern Italy. Custom fitting was included and they shipped the frame to your home a few weeks later after your included custom paint job was dry. It was around $3K for the week all inclusive except airfare.
yeah, i remember reading about the Pegoretti class a few years ago on their website, guess he doesn't do it anymore though cause of his cancer? But yes, would have killed to do that class.

Thanks for the suggestions, I was kind of wondering if anyone had ever just kind started playing around with frame building on their own, not through a class (though of course I see the practicality of it), and like I said this is just a thought, it is not like I am going out to buy a tubeset, lugs, etc right now.
 

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lousylegs said:
yeah, i remember reading about the Pegoretti class a few years ago on their website, guess he doesn't do it anymore though cause of his cancer? But yes, would have killed to do that class.

Thanks for the suggestions, I was kind of wondering if anyone had ever just kind started playing around with frame building on their own, not through a class (though of course I see the practicality of it), and like I said this is just a thought, it is not like I am going out to buy a tubeset, lugs, etc right now.
I have thought about using my GI bill to pay for framebuilding class when I retire. I sure wouldn't want to do it for a living, but it would be fun to ride my own creation even if I just copy an existing design. It would be nice to live in an area with many cyclists to create a co-op to justify the cost of a jig and alignment table. A couple of avid cyclists sitting around with some good beer mitering tubes and filing lugs on a Friday night. That would be the best.
 

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I ride track with a guy who has built maybe six frames. He does it in his basement and uses a home made wooden jig. He's self-taught.

There are many many home builders and there are forums where they hang out.

This one was built in the garage by a guy I knew ~ Marco in Finland ~ the head lugs and BB shell are lugged and the rest is fillet brazed -
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mike T. said:
I ride track with a guy who has built maybe six frames. He does it in his basement and uses a home made wooden jig. He's self-taught.

There are many many home builders and there are forums where they hang out.

This one was built in the garage by a guy I knew ~ Marco in Finland ~ the head lugs and BB shell are lugged and the rest is fillet brazed -
that is a pretty frame,

any ideas where your friend got directions for a jig?
 

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Worker Ant
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Hot Tubes in Worcester Ma offers one of those build classes. one week, build your frame, ride in the off hours. i can't remember how much they wanted for it. guess you could always go to their site and check it out
 

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I've built 3 frames so far. I bought some 4130 then started brazing together practice pieces first. The thinest 4130 will do. .035/.9mm. I bought the Bottom Bracket, and Dropouts, then built a singe speed first. Brazing is the cheapest way to go.

I have a Henry James Jig, but this looks like a good idea.
http://www.instructables.com/id/The-simplest-bicycle-framebuilding-jig-I-could-com/

Henry James sell tubing kits.
http://www.henryjames.com/ttkits.html

Nova is also a good place.
http://www.novacycles.com/catalog/

You'll need some type B flux
http://www.gasflux.com/paste.html

and co-4 brass
http://www.gasflux.com/brazing.html

If you want silver/brass to do lugs, go back to Henry James

Welding is all about controling heat. experience is the key, I think every welder has their own way to do the job right. some will use a torch with a 00 nozzle, and some a 2 nozzle. either one gets the job done, it just matters what you like. It's all about controling heat.
 

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Hi,
having worked with carbon fiber for years to build my one windsurfing boards, I decided to give it a go and try and build my own carbon frame.
It was fun, the result was decent, but believe me, it is not possible to match the quality you get from a big manufacturer. It is impossible to build a Specialized SWorks, a Giant or a Scott in your garage.
My suggestion is - dont waste time and money - better use that time to ride your bike!
 

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Markus999 said:
Hi,
having worked with carbon fiber for years to build my one windsurfing boards, I decided to give it a go and try and build my own carbon frame.
It was fun, the result was decent, but believe me, it is not possible to match the quality you get from a big manufacturer. It is impossible to build a Specialized SWorks, a Giant or a Scott in your garage.
My suggestion is - dont waste time and money - better use that time to ride your bike!
Then build with Steel, Aluminum, or Titanium? . . . I looked into carbon fiber and I
d agree it's more trouble than the weight savings is worth.

Steel is the most practical material to start off with. You need a TIG welder for Titanium, and Aluminum. actually an AC/DC TIG for Aluminum ($2800 for openers). The problem I found with welding Aluminum is that it doesn't change color the hotter it gets. The only way to gauge the temperature is judging the size of the molten pool in relation to the amount of time your moving. You have to coordinater those two with steel, it's just you have a visual to go along with those attributes. An example is with steel if it gets too hot you steel will become bright red, you see that and you know to back off. If Aluminum gets too hot, it just burns through no visual warning. Aluminum isn't impossible, it just takes a lot more practice . . . Plus it's TIG. Not only do you have to coordinate the actions of both hands working doing different things, you have to also work a foot pedal.

Basiaclly if you just going to do a couple frames it's not practicle to learn TIG to build a couple frames. Oxy/acetylene is the way to go.
 

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bigbill said:
I have thought about using my GI bill to pay for framebuilding class when I retire. I sure wouldn't want to do it for a living, but it would be fun to ride my own creation even if I just copy an existing design. It would be nice to live in an area with many cyclists to create a co-op to justify the cost of a jig and alignment table. A couple of avid cyclists sitting around with some good beer mitering tubes and filing lugs on a Friday night. That would be the best.
Hmm...never thought about that! Did you look into it to see if the VA would actually let you do it?
 

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I would get in the Yamaguchi class in Colorado. There is a guy around here that built his frame there and he says that it was a great experience. I've also heard good things about Fattic and UBI. I guess it really all depends on where you live to be honest. Travel is so expensive nowadays. Another option would be to contact a local builder and see if you could arrange some sort of taught class like that also. The thing about going to an individual builder is that you would learn from one person, so the teaching would be consistent. I've heard other people suggesting to do as much practice before you go to make the most of the class. Lots of cities have welding or brazing classes taught at the vocational or community college schools that the general public can sign up for.
 
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