fabricating your own steel frame- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    fabricating your own steel frame

    this idea has been sloshing around in my head for a while. I am thinking of buying lugs and tubes and brazing them myself. I am comfortable cutting the tubes part (metering), but brazing is something I have no knowledge about. I know it involves lower temperature than arc welding, and tubes are less prone to heat stress. I am thinking of silver or bronze brazing. Anyone have any ideas? I am looking for a how-to to brazing a bike frame. At this point I would like to know how difficult it is.

  2. #2
    drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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    Check out this previous post:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...18575#poststop

    Quote Originally Posted by girishji
    this idea has been sloshing around in my head for a while. I am thinking of buying lugs and tubes and brazing them myself. I am comfortable cutting the tubes part (metering), but brazing is something I have no knowledge about. I know it involves lower temperature than arc welding, and tubes are less prone to heat stress. I am thinking of silver or bronze brazing. Anyone have any ideas? I am looking for a how-to to brazing a bike frame. At this point I would like to know how difficult it is.

  3. #3
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    I say go for it. The lugged method is much easier. Here's my one and only frame I made in about 90/91 at the shop I worked at. All my brazing was done using our vise as my jig - with a lot of alignment between steps. I bought a Tange #1 tubeset and a set of lugs I can't remember and went to town - after a little practice with some spare tubes and lugs since I had never used a torch previous to this. A frame builder friend did help make sure the brass was evenly disperced. I would suggest brass over silver even with the higher temperature for brass. Easier to work with for beginners. The ultimate compliment I had paid to this frame was by Brian Bayliss when upon a casual glance he asked "Masi?" I think this was because of the s/s tips and attachment point I used was similar to a Masi Gran Criterium.
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  4. #4
    sufferer of a.d.d.
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    ^^looks like you run some pretty low psi in those tires

  5. #5
    Witty McWitterson
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    If you're really interested in following up with this, there's been a great conversation about frame building on the BIKE Board. http://forum.bikemag.com/cgi-bin/ult...c;f=1;t=002995 There's been a few builders throwing in an opinion or two as well as us normal hacks. There's been tons of really good links posted too. I'm really interested in this subject as well, and hope to actually get around to building sometime later this year. I've got a lug source, and I'm just waiting till he gets them instock. Good luck!

    marty

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by girishji
    this idea has been sloshing around in my head for a while. I am thinking of buying lugs and tubes and brazing them myself. I am comfortable cutting the tubes part (metering), but brazing is something I have no knowledge about. I know it involves lower temperature than arc welding, and tubes are less prone to heat stress. I am thinking of silver or bronze brazing. Anyone have any ideas? I am looking for a how-to to brazing a bike frame. At this point I would like to know how difficult it is.
    If you're going to use silver, you really need to use lugs. Silver (56%) has a lower tensile strength than low-fuming bronze (brass) and is suited to lugged use. (problem with lugs is the limited availablity of the desired angles and tube diameters; mtbs are almost impossible to build with lugs) Many beginners start with fillet brazing and the bronze i mentioned. This material is used to build up a fillet between the tubes to be joined and the material is then filed and filed and filed and filed until you get that Varsity look.

    Night classes at your local vocational school or community college are a tremendous way to pick up the needed skills. they're cheap and allow you to burn through a ton of supplied materials, as you make mistake after mistake on THEIR equipment! I've taken machining and welding classes and highly recomend it.

    The Paterek video is another great reference for someone wanting to build a lugged frame. i don't know that he touches on Fillet brazing, but I have seen the lugged construction portion. That may be available at www.henryjames.com .

    Some say that you shouldn't ride your first few frames. Bah! I did, and it was fine, but i built it with the help of a pro builder, so you need to be pretty sure that you preformed all of the processes correctly and have your insurance paid up

    Finding/making fixtures may be the biggest hurdle you face, but I think you should try it.

    Where are you, BTW?

  7. #7
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    other links

    I've been thinking about building my own frameset too - maybe a track frame. I'm reading the book, Designing and Building Your Own Frameset by Richard Talbot. Apart from taking a class, it's pretty much the best source I've found so far in planning it out. I live in San Francisco so if anyone knows of a good course on brazing or a local source to buy lugs and tubes, please let me know. Also, here's another site that I found very inspirational.

    http://www.atnf.csiro.au/people/Suzy...beginning.html

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lml1x
    I've been thinking about building my own frameset too - maybe a track frame. I'm reading the book, Designing and Building Your Own Frameset by Richard Talbot. Apart from taking a class, it's pretty much the best source I've found so far in planning it out. I live in San Francisco so if anyone knows of a good course on brazing or a local source to buy lugs and tubes, please let me know. Also, here's another site that I found very inspirational.

    http://www.atnf.csiro.au/people/Suzy...beginning.html
    The Talbot book has been around for a long time and is a good resource. Nova Cycle supply is in the Bay area and sells tubing and lugs....it's where I bought the lugs and tubes for my frame above years and years ago. http://www.novacycles.com/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by lml1x
    I've been thinking about building my own frameset too - maybe a track frame. I'm reading the book, Designing and Building Your Own Frameset by Richard Talbot. Apart from taking a class, it's pretty much the best source I've found so far in planning it out. I live in San Francisco so if anyone knows of a good course on brazing or a local source to buy lugs and tubes, please let me know. Also, here's another site that I found very inspirational.

    http://www.atnf.csiro.au/people/Suzy...beginning.html
    Just wait until she adds the part about how she decided to silk screen her own decals... and was successful. Suzy kicks serious a ss.

    She did a fantastic job on her first bike and really focused on the details. few beginners have that kind of focus.

    Buy your plane tickets now, have the ring in hand, and get yourself to Australia immediately!

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