frame building for the cheap bastard

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Ant, Jan 22, 2003.

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  1. Ant

    Ant Guest

    I hope to build one or two frames this year, and am looking for info on materials. the butted bike
    tubing sold as such is fairly expensive for the good stuff, and i thought it would be nice to make
    the first frame with a dirt cheap tube set. however, i dont want to waste my time making a frame
    that cant be ridden at all. for example, a welded bike using the cheapest true temper tubing from
    henry james (i think) comes out to around 100 bucks for a full set. how much cheaper could i push it
    before i end up welding myself a department store bike?

    is there some sort of tubing that is _not_ designated as bicycle tubing that i could still make a
    bike out of? i imagine that im paying a bit of a premium for bike specific tubing, adn thought that
    maybe folks knew of cheaper tubing i could get from MSC or something similar that would do the job
    for the first time round. straight guage? generic chromo? im no metallurgist, and no engineer,
    looking for input.

    ill be TIGing, and want to build with steel.

    i also have a number of questions that i havent found answers to on various excellent amateur
    framebuilders sites, or in the rbt archives, like:

    1) i want to build single speed frames. i like the horizontal rear drops. what is the advantage of
    track dropouts, assuming youre tightening the axle nuts enough. it seems like it would be easier
    to get the chain and wheel off with a forward opening 'regular' rear dropout.

    2) (and now to reveal my naievete..) how exactly do chain and seatstays work in DIY building?
    jigging and welding the main traingle will be pretty straightforward, i believe. however, the
    jigs i see online never seem to show how the chain and seat stays are held on for
    welding/brazing. i have a few thoguhts on a jig system i could make myself for this, but was
    curious what other amateurs are doing.

    further- how are chain and seat stays sold? henry james sells them in 'pairs'. is this a pair of
    thin tubes, or are they pre-bent? how would i deal with making a frame with different amounts of
    tire clearance if chain and seat stays come essentially premade?

    i checked out the framebuilders list, but it either isnt working well for the last couple days, or
    my computer isnt working well. could be either, so i thoguht id try rbt in the meantime

    thanks

    anthony
     
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  2. ant <[email protected]> wrote:
    : I hope to build one or two frames this year, and am looking for info on materials. the butted bike
    : tubing sold as such is fairly expensive for the good stuff, and i thought it would be nice to make
    : the first frame with a dirt cheap tube set. however, i dont want to waste my time making a frame
    : that cant be ridden at all. for example, a welded bike using the cheapest true temper tubing from
    : henry james (i think) comes out to around 100 bucks for a full set. how much cheaper could i push
    : it before i end up welding myself a department store bike?

    : is there some sort of tubing that is _not_ designated as bicycle tubing that i could still make a
    : bike out of? i imagine that im paying a bit of a premium for bike specific tubing, adn thought
    : that maybe folks knew of cheaper tubing i could get from MSC or something similar that would do
    : the job for the first time round. straight guage? generic chromo? im no metallurgist, and no
    : engineer, looking for input.

    I'm no frame builder, so take this advice as food for thought rather than as coming from real
    experience.

    You could check out aviation chro-mo tubing. I'm not sure what sizes it comes in but it may be worth
    a shot. If you live near an airport it may be worth dropping by a workshop to get some advice. You
    may get lucky and be able to pick up some offcuts for minimal cost.

    I've seen seamless high pressure tubing at my local metal suppliers. It comes in a variety of sizes
    and may just be OK as bike tubing.

    You could do something like pick up a large bike at garage sale, etc, cut the tubes from the lugs
    and make a smaller bike. All the braze-on hardware comes with the package so you'd save quite a bit
    and it would be good practice at very little expense.

    Hope this helps, cheerz, Lynzz
     
  3. In article <[email protected]>, ant
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I hope to build one or two frames this year, and am looking for info on materials. the butted bike
    > tubing sold as such is fairly expensive for the good stuff, and i thought it would be nice to make
    > the first frame with a dirt cheap tube set. however, i dont want to waste my time making a frame
    > that cant be ridden at all. for example, a welded bike using the cheapest true temper tubing from
    > henry james (i think) comes out to around 100 bucks for a full set. how much cheaper could i push
    > it before i end up welding myself a department store bike?

    Joe Bringheli sells Dedacciai Zero Tre 8-piece tubesets for about $45 - http://www.bringheli.com

    > is there some sort of tubing that is _not_ designated as bicycle tubing that i could still make a
    > bike out of? i imagine that im paying a bit of a premium for bike specific tubing, adn thought
    > that maybe folks knew of cheaper tubing i could get from MSC or something similar that would do
    > the job for the first time round. straight guage? generic chromo? im no metallurgist, and no
    > engineer, looking for input.

    Bicycle tubing can be more expensive if it is a high-strength alloy (which allows for thinner walls)
    and manufactured so that the tubes are thinner in the middle than at the ends - to save weight.

    But you can certainly use 4130 sold by the aircraft suppliers - Aircraft Spruce
    (http://www.aircraft-spruce.com) or Wicks (http://www.wicksaircraft.com), for example. You won't get
    tapered chainstays or seatstays if you go this route and you can easily end up with a heavy frame
    unless you select the lighter tubes, but you might be able to get away for $25 or so.

    Check here also: http://www.fairing.com and http://www.ceeway.com

    Another amateur framebuilding page with good links:
    http://www.angelfire.com/ma4/racine/framebuilding.html

    --
    Tony Rentschler New York, NY
     
  4. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

    On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 03:15:58 -0500, ant <[email protected]> wrote:

    >is there some sort of tubing that is _not_ designated as bicycle tubing that i could still make a
    >bike out of? i imagine that im paying a bit of a premium for bike specific tubing, adn thought that
    >maybe folks knew of cheaper tubing i could get from MSC or something similar that would do the job
    >for the first time round. straight guage? generic chromo? im no metallurgist, and no engineer,
    >looking for input.

    Back around a hundred years or so ago when I was building race cars we used to get "chromo" tubing
    from Ryerson. I just checked their web site and although they list 4140 seamless in both annealed
    and Q & T forms, I can't find chromo in less than 2 1/8" diameters. Perhaps I'm missing something.

    There were plenty of appropriate sizes in carbon steel, but then you'd be building a department
    store bike. :)

    jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
     
  5. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

    On 18 Jan 2003 11:22:24 GMT, Lindsay Rowlands <[email protected]> wrote:

    >ant <[email protected]> wrote:
    >: I hope to build one or two frames this year, and am looking for info on materials. the butted
    >: bike tubing sold as such is fairly expensive for the good stuff, and i thought it would be nice
    >: to make the first frame with a dirt cheap tube set. however, i dont want to waste my time making
    >: a frame that cant be ridden at all. for example, a welded bike using the cheapest true temper
    >: tubing from henry james (i think) comes out to around 100 bucks for a full set. how much cheaper
    >: could i push it before i end up welding myself a department store bike?
    >
    >: is there some sort of tubing that is _not_ designated as bicycle tubing that i could still make a
    >: bike out of? i imagine that im paying a bit of a premium for bike specific tubing, adn thought
    >: that maybe folks knew of cheaper tubing i could get from MSC or something similar that would do
    >: the job for the first time round. straight guage? generic chromo? im no metallurgist, and no
    >: engineer, looking for input.
    >
    >I'm no frame builder, so take this advice as food for thought rather than as coming from real
    >experience.
    >
    >You could check out aviation chro-mo tubing.

    Of course, see:

    http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/mepages/4130tubing_short.php

    and ignore my previous post about Ryerson.

    jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
     
  6. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "ant" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    > I hope to build one or two frames this year, and am looking for info on materials. the butted bike
    > tubing sold as such is fairly expensive for the good stuff, and i thought it would be nice to make
    > the first frame with a dirt cheap tube set. however, i dont want to waste my time making a frame
    > that cant be ridden at all. for example, a welded bike using the cheapest true temper tubing from
    > henry james (i think) comes out to around 100 bucks for a full set. how much cheaper could i push
    > it before i end up welding myself a department store bike?
    >
    > is there some sort of tubing that is _not_ designated as bicycle tubing that i could still make a
    > bike out of? i imagine that im paying a bit of a premium for bike specific tubing, adn thought
    > that maybe folks knew of cheaper tubing i could get from MSC or something similar that would do
    > the job for the first time round. straight guage? generic chromo? im no metallurgist, and no
    > engineer, looking for input.
    >
    > ill be TIGing, and want to build with steel.
    >
    > i also have a number of questions that i havent found answers to on various excellent amateur
    > framebuilders sites, or in the rbt archives, like:
    >
    > 1) i want to build single speed frames. i like the horizontal rear drops. what is the advantage of
    > track dropouts, assuming youre tightening the axle nuts enough. it seems like it would be
    > easier to get the chain and wheel off with a forward opening 'regular' rear dropout.
    >
    > 2) (and now to reveal my naievete..) how exactly do chain and seatstays work in DIY building?
    > jigging and welding the main traingle will be pretty straightforward, i believe. however, the
    > jigs i see online never seem to show how the chain and seat stays are held on for
    > welding/brazing. i have a few thoguhts on a jig system i could make myself for this, but was
    > curious what other amateurs are doing.
    >
    > further- how are chain and seat stays sold? henry james sells them in 'pairs'. is this a pair of
    > thin tubes, or are they pre-bent? how would i deal with making a frame with different amounts of
    > tire clearance if chain and seat stays come essentially premade?
    >
    > i checked out the framebuilders list, but it either isnt working well for the last couple days, or
    > my computer isnt working well. could be either, so i thoguht id try rbt in the meantime
    >
    > thanks
    >
    > anthony
    >

    I've bought straight gauge 4130 tube from hobbyist aircraft suppliers for special projects. It's
    cheaper than some bike tube. Blades and stays are usually preferable to plain tube for all kinds of
    joining/clearance/aesthetic reasons but you _could_ make seatstays out of
    1/2", 9/16" or 5/8" plain tube if you are so inclined. Chainstays _could _ be fabricated similarly
    but factory-shaped chainstays are pretty cheap and fit well as delivered for most bicycle designs.
    You make the call but yes plain tube can be made to work.

    Stays and blades come plenty long so you'll consult your drawing before trimming the ends to end up
    with appropriate clearances.

    Yes, forward-facing frame ends are often preferred but there's no consensus on that. Both work.

    You ask about "bent" chainstays. This is common now for MTB wheels. Again, consult your drawing and
    if a bent chainstay is required I'd just buy a pair. Slightly ovalling/denting chainstays for
    chainring/tire clearance is one thing but curving them would be quite another. A fixture for curving
    fork blades is easily fabricated from a section of steel pipe (12~18" diameter) but you might also
    consider having that done at your local frame service shop along with final alignment ( much as a
    home engine builder sends out valve grinding).

    In fact a visit to a local frame service shop might be a good use of an afternoon before you begin.

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  7. Ant

    Ant Guest

    "A Muzi" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > You ask about "bent" chainstays. This is common now for MTB wheels. Again, consult your drawing
    > and if a bent chainstay is required I'd just buy a pair. Slightly ovalling/denting chainstays for
    > chainring/tire clearance is one thing but curving them would be quite another.

    hm. i guess i was looking at my surly cross bike when i was wondering about bent stays (surly has a
    LOT of tire clearance, and hence the bends i believe)

    however, id like to build road ss frames, so i imagine i prob wouldnt need to bend them to get
    clearance for a 28c tire. and you say i dont need a taper, so that answers that question.

    and i suppose the indent on the driveside chainstay is unncessary with unbent stays as well. right
    now my 48t (ss) ring fits into that indent, but if i was using unbent chainstays they wouldnt get in
    the way (i think..)

    one more stay question: are the little cross pieces between the chainstays and seatstays structural,
    or are they just for fenders and brake mounting?

    thanks,

    anthony
     
  8. Jeff Wills

    Jeff Wills Guest

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