The art of making something badly-
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  1. #1
    will rant for food
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    The art of making something badly

    At the risk of asking a dumb question...

    Let's say you need to make a mockup of some idea (in this case a bicycle idea), and it's so absurdly unexplored that you don't want to risk much money in the first (and possibly only) iteration.

    In other words, let's say you wanted to make a bike frame at a cost of forty dollars, spelled with letters to avoid typo confusion. Forty.

    Forty dollars does not make a custom frame. Not a good one, anyway. Let's say I want to build a bad one, on purpose, just to see if a given idea has any merit. Like a reverse trike with independent suspension or who knows what. (The current application I have in mind is not a reverse trike, though I do want to build one of those, just, not right now.)

    What materials would you use to make a mockup that can bear human weight while also achieving a modest lighter-than-a-boat-anchor sort of mass result?

    My answer to that question so far has usually been 1x1 lumber, or PVC. I build a stupid thing, then I disassemble it if it doesn't work at all. Or, I build a stupid thing, and it works, and I disassemble it and build a proper one out of quality materials. Or, I build a stupid thing and it's so effective that I leave it in service despite it looking like a mule's butt. An example of the last notion was where I built a rotocaster machine out of melamine, MDF, dowels, and the dang thing worked. Granted, I'd rather have a proper machine, but, if you need to use it twice and then never again...

    Are there any other materials I ought to know about that are similarly stupid, cost effective, and easily separable? I'm content with my current means, just thinking aloud here.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

  2. #2
    Location: 10 ft from Hell Moderator
    Reputation: life behind bars's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Straight gauge mild steel if it's for proof of concept.
    I ncredibly
    M yopic
    B ackstabbing
    A ssholes

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    I think lumber's going to be your best bet. 40 bucks isn't much. I would think creative use of mitering techniques (though in this case, probably flat miters, not coped) and some good epoxy would create a ridable result. Maybe some small screws too, but it's going to be tough not to split the wood.

    I guess you could use plumbing pipe, but you're definitely in the "unusable boat anchor" territory.
    Myth Cycles handbuilt bike frames
    Durango, CO

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Have you looked at electrical EMT pipe/tubing? its cheap and not heavy like plumbing black pipe. It is galvanized though, so if welding it's caustic to breathe in. But for a prototype might be worth a try. 3/4" is 11/8 OD, and 1" is 13/8 OD.

  5. #5
    Reputation: bsieb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    I ride with the best dogs.

  6. #6
    mbtr member
    Reputation: scottzg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    My second frame, frame geometry test mule, was built out of a crash-obliterated SS mtb frame (rear triangle was salvaged), a Huffy DT for the TT, and a straight gauge DT from the scrap metal yard. It probably didn't cost much more than 40$, and it was fast to build.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Like scottzg said, why not cut tubes from junked bike frames. Nothing's cheaper than $0.

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