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  1. #1
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Copper Tubing - is it Safe?

    Got kind of a weird question.

    I believe I saw a pic on another bike forum (I think Rat Rod Bikes but I can't remember) that had a cruiser with a handlebar made with copper tubing. I haven't seen a seatpost made with copper yet but is this material too soft? I can see doing a handlebar somewhat since there is not so much weight on but I was wondering if a copper seatpost would be doable (I weigh about 185 lbs). I'm wanting to make a layback seatpost for my cruiser since I can't seem to find any for sale anywhere.
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    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    I'm sure there are folks on this site more well versed in metallurgy, but I would advise strongly against it! Way too soft. The only copper bikes I found when I googled copper bike were copper plated steel.

  3. #3
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    Just looking into it, if you made it out of brass it would need to be about 1.5x thicker and thus 4.5x heavier than an aluminum bar of similar strength. Copper would need to be 2x thicker and thus 6x heavier.

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    Senior Member ibikestickers's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think you're looking for a copper plated alloy seatpost, if you can find one. http://www.thecoolist.com/madison-st...cycle-company/

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Steel bike , then get it copper plated ./. think bronze baby shoes they're actually copper plated ..

    only elemental metals .. elements electroplate not alloys ..

    Copper will easily cling to clean steel , its the 1st layer of a good Chrome Plate job, Nickel the 2nd.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-30-14 at 04:45 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    only elemental metals .. elements electroplate not alloys ..
    You're not saying that aluminum can't be plated, are you?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Steel bike , then get it copper plated ./. think bronze baby shoes they're actually copper plated ..

    only elemental metals .. elements electroplate not alloys ..

    Copper will easily cling to clean steel , its the 1st layer of a good Chrome Plate job, Nickel the 2nd.
    steel is an alloy

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy View Post
    Got kind of a weird question.

    I believe I saw a pic on another bike forum (I think Rat Rod Bikes but I can't remember) that had a cruiser with a handlebar made with copper tubing. I haven't seen a seatpost made with copper yet but is this material too soft? I can see doing a handlebar somewhat since there is not so much weight on but I was wondering if a copper seatpost would be doable (I weigh about 185 lbs). I'm wanting to make a layback seatpost for my cruiser since I can't seem to find any for sale anywhere.
    Commercial copper tubing (ie. water pipe), isn't nearly strong enough for handlebars. But I wouldn't consider it unsafe because copper is very ductile and will bend early on letting the owner know it isn't going to work. In desperation, it might be OK for cosmetic restoration, or even for a "special event" bike that will be gently ridden, but won't survive any kind of normal use.
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  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    steel is an alloy
    Aren you dense? not talking about what you are applying the plating onto , just the metal being electro-deposited on the outside .

    check your periodic table ..

    If the object is aluminum the plated coating is typically more aluminum, AKA anodizing.

  10. #10
    Strong Walker martl's Avatar
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    Some copper alloys have a tensile strength comparable to those of the more common low-alloyed steel (which is used in many bike parts). The E-modulus is in the range of titanium and about half that of steel, so a copper tube is twice as flexible as one made from steel with the same dimensions. Also, i imagine finding copper tubes in the dimensions needed for a bike handlebar might prove difficult, so copper-plated steel part is more feasible, if you want the looks. I doubt it will stay shiny for a longer time, copper oxidizes fast.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Aren you dense? not talking about what you are applying the plating onto , just the metal being electro-deposited on the outside .

    check your periodic table ..

    If the object is aluminum the plated coating is typically more aluminum, AKA anodizing.

    maybe i am dense
    or maybe your vague and hard-to-understand writing is at fault
    again

    and reading back we see that grand bois thought you were saying that aluminum couldnt be plated
    but maybe we are both dense

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the medium for electroplating is a metallic salt dissolved in an Acid,
    and that is the conductor of the sacrificial metal in the anode, to the deposited upon item the anode.

    It so happens once there is a bit of copper suspended in a bath of weak acid,
    often used to clean off fire scale after soldering or annealing..

    the act of putting a piece of steel in the bath will result in there being some copper deposited on it ..

    additional copper in the acid, and the electric current between cathode and anode transports more metal
    with the current flow ..
    better writers here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroplating

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