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Scary Teddy Bear
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I love tinkering with and working on things....it's just part of my nature. SO with that in mind, how hard would it be to make my own custom steel ride with brazed lugs and all. I WOULD love to try and do that. I've also thought of taking an older steel frame in dire need of some lovin, and cutting it at the welds and then lugging/brazing it and pimping her out. Am I off of my rocker, or is that possible?
 

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Well, start here:
http://www.phred.org/~josh/build/build.html

Then for supplies, here's a list:
http://www.framebuilding.com/
http://www.novacycles.com/

Nova has some pretty sweet tubing sets. Im thinking about getting their Tange Prestige tubeset to make a lugged track frame out of over the winter. I need to make it down to the local welding supply place and see if I can get a couple of brazing classes.
Ceeway has some beautiful lug sets. I like the sets that include the seat lug with the chainstay lug cast into it....Should make things easier the first time around.
Nova also sells carbon rear triangles if you want to incorporate various materials into your frame.
All in all, the biggest issue (cost wise) comes in making/purchasing a jig. Somewhere online there were plans for a wooden one that seemed to work well. Perhaps a day with some angle iron and a MIG might do the trick as well.

Worth a look.
Steve
 

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Scary Teddy Bear
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
But

Steve-H said:
Well, start here:
http://www.phred.org/~josh/build/build.html

Then for supplies, here's a list:
http://www.framebuilding.com/
http://www.novacycles.com/

Nova has some pretty sweet tubing sets. Im thinking about getting their Tange Prestige tubeset to make a lugged track frame out of over the winter. I need to make it down to the local welding supply place and see if I can get a couple of brazing classes.
Ceeway has some beautiful lug sets. I like the sets that include the seat lug with the chainstay lug cast into it....Should make things easier the first time around.
Nova also sells carbon rear triangles if you want to incorporate various materials into your frame.
All in all, the biggest issue (cost wise) comes in making/purchasing a jig. Somewhere online there were plans for a wooden one that seemed to work well. Perhaps a day with some angle iron and a MIG might do the trick as well.

Worth a look.
Steve

can you lug carbon or titanium, I noticed a nice titanium frameset on their site, but to my knowledge you can't really lug ti.....am I wrong?.....same question with carbon?
 

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Carbon I know can be lugged - there's a couple of frames out there. As for Ti, I have no clue. Honestly I haven't looked into it much, as Im a steel kinda guy. That being said, I prefer molten metal over glue.
In addition, for my first time around, I much prefer working with a $90 tubeset instead of a $400 one.
 

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Incredibly slow
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Not only can you lug carbon, it is a very common method, either with external lugs (Colnago C40, C50) or internal lugs (Trek). Most titanium is TIG welded, but there are occasionally Harry Hovaniun (or something like that) Ti frames that show up on ebay, that appear to be lugged.

Another site for insight on building your own lugged steel frame is:

http://www.littlefishbicycles.com/frame/

If you check it out, make sure that you check the links to the subsequent frames she made, as she learned from her mistakes.

As far as taking an older welded frame, cutting it and lugging it, I think that first I would take an older frame, cut it and just practice brazing lugs. After brazing, cut through the lugs to check that you have flowed solder all the way through.
You are better off building with new tubes, since you don't know with an already welded frame how large the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) is, and what it has done to the tube. You will also need to miter the tubes, so if you were to go with your original idea, you would want to start with a frame a fair amount larger than you need.
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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If you know how to braze, the hardest part is probably going to be getting a decent jig together. The wood ones can be used, but there is a definite fire danger--especially for a beginner who's likely to have pretty poor flame control on the torch, or so I'm told.

Here's a link to a guy who made a groovy frame jig out of readily available aluminum extrusion and clamps and stuff.

http://home.earthlink.net/~halcar2000/

I'm considering one myself, but I have to find time for a friend of mine to teach me to braze first. I have an old steel frame that I'm thinking of taking apart to use for brazing practice. Rumor has it you can heat the lugs/tubes enough to flow the brazing medium back out of the lugs. You probably don't want to ride a frame that's been heated and cooled so much like that, but for practice--free lugs and tubes, already mitered!
 

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Framebuilding is a funny thing.......it's only hard when you don't know how to do it.

Even if you know how to braze it's a very good idea to get some cheap lugs and some cheap tube and practice brazing them together. Your first attempts will be less than ideal. With practice you'll get to the point where everything is hooked together well but it's not pretty. With a lot more practice you can get a strong joint that won't take forever to make look good.

I've taught many folks to build over the years and I can say for sure that no one has done stellar work right out of the box. It takes lots of practice.........lots.

Assuming you just want to build a bike for yourself and that you don't care (within reason) how long it takes then it is more than managable. Take your time, measure twice and cut once and cut yourself some slack on the results and you'll have fun.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Dave
 

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David Kirk said:
Let me know if you have any questions.

Dave
So how long do you think it would take me to learn how to fillet braze a beautiful fixte frame like you did for LenJ?

I'm willing to spend most of a weekend on the project. :D
 

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David Kirk said:
Framebuilding is a funny thing.......it's only hard when you don't know how to do it.

Even if you know how to braze it's a very good idea to get some cheap lugs and some cheap tube and practice brazing them together. Your first attempts will be less than ideal. With practice you'll get to the point where everything is hooked together well but it's not pretty. With a lot more practice you can get a strong joint that won't take forever to make look good.

I've taught many folks to build over the years and I can say for sure that no one has done stellar work right out of the box. It takes lots of practice.........lots.

Assuming you just want to build a bike for yourself and that you don't care (within reason) how long it takes then it is more than managable. Take your time, measure twice and cut once and cut yourself some slack on the results and you'll have fun.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Dave
Dave,
Ok, I have a couple of Q's (not to jack the thread...). As stated earlier, a wooden jig and a brazing torch prolly isn't the best idea...Which was why I asked the questions about the 'pin method'. Do you have any insight into this ? Im guessing that you would only need the jig to hold everything in place while you drill and pin the tubes/lugs. From there you can braze it freestanding one joint at a time.

Thanks !
 

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Steve-H said:
Dave,
Ok, I have a couple of Q's (not to jack the thread...). As stated earlier, a wooden jig and a brazing torch prolly isn't the best idea...Which was why I asked the questions about the 'pin method'. Do you have any insight into this ? Im guessing that you would only need the jig to hold everything in place while you drill and pin the tubes/lugs. From there you can braze it freestanding one joint at a time.

Thanks !
Yes it would be safer to pin if using a wooden jig........no mandatory but safer. A sheet of aluminum or steel laid over the jig in the area you are working should be enough to keep the Fire Dept from visiting.

Yes you are right about pinning. The jig locates all the tubes and holds them securely in place and the pin locks everything allowing you to remove the frame. It will hold it's position ( assuming it's pinned correctly) and then can be brazed.

As for the lead time question. It's come down to about 6 months.........the snow this past winter wasn't very good.

Dave
 

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Dave,
Thanks ! My girlfriend is going to LOVE this...Now I can build the frame in my living room without fear of burning the place down (Not like she would see it anyway, I'd hide the oxy torch in the closet until she left for work).
 

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David Kirk said:
Yes it would be safer to pin if using a wooden jig........no mandatory but safer. A sheet of aluminum or steel laid over the jig in the area you are working should be enough to keep the Fire Dept from visiting.

Yes you are right about pinning. The jig locates all the tubes and holds them securely in place and the pin locks everything allowing you to remove the frame. It will hold it's position ( assuming it's pinned correctly) and then can be brazed.

As for the lead time question. It's come down to about 6 months.........the snow this past winter wasn't very good.

Dave
Dave,

Since you have answered this thread - would starting on building a stem be easier as a way to gain greater experience in brazing?
 

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I suppose it would be but I wouldn't go that way. When a frame fails you walk home. When a stem fails you spit out your teeth like a mouth full of Chicklets and get taken home in something with a red light on top.

Practice with scrap or cheap stuff until it's good and then build something to use.

Back in the day at serotta many folks practiced for 6 months or more before they were set loose on soemthing that would be ridden. 6 months, 5 days a week.

Dave
 

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David Kirk said:
I suppose it would be but I wouldn't go that way. When a frame fails you walk home. When a stem fails you spit out your teeth like a mouth full of Chicklets and get taken home in something with a red light on top.

Practice with scrap or cheap stuff until it's good and then build something to use.

Back in the day at serotta many folks practiced for 6 months or more before they were set loose on soemthing that would be ridden. 6 months, 5 days a week.

Dave
well, yes, very good point
 

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OK, I need to ask this:
Why not recommend to newbies building an alum jig over a wooden one?
Alum is very machinable and cheap. Wood grain expands and contracts.
The professional jigs look like art work, but I think getting the right alum,
extruded pieces if need be, could make building a frame jig a very
nice project in itself.
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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Road cyclist said:
OK, I need to ask this:
Why not recommend to newbies building an alum jig over a wooden one?
Alum is very machinable and cheap. Wood grain expands and contracts.
The professional jigs look like art work, but I think getting the right alum,
extruded pieces if need be, could make building a frame jig a very
nice project in itself.
I think there's a question of level of commitment here. Even a homebuilt extruded aluminum jig is going to cost a lot more than a plywood one--probably more than several plywood ones.

And though it's not likely a major factor with the extruded aluminum jigs I've seen, lots of aluminum alloys are very dimensionally unstable when exposed to heat. That could be a factor if your jig is of a design that it might get hot in one or two places.

Mostly though, I think it comes down to how much time and effort you want to put in before you're even sure you really want to build more than one frame. Plywood is very cheap and easy to work with, and disposable, more or less. It doesn't take long to put together a workable one-shot jig. Those nice aluminum extrusion jigs take a lot more planning and fiddling, and are projects better suited to someone who's committed to making a few frames.

All that said, because I like that sort of project and I'm paranoid about burning up a wooden jig, it's entirely likely that I'd build an aluminum jig even for one frame. It's the journey as much as the destination, after all.
 
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