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  1. #1
    Scrooge fan Scrooge Fan's Avatar
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    Newbie with question

    Hi, everyone. I'm 65 and finally have a little time to do useless projects. I recently purchased plans to build a recumbent bike from the frames of 10 speed bikes. Here are the plans as listed on eBay:

    http://search.ebay.com/search/search...2.1&category0=

    I have no welding skills. However, brazing doesn't seem all that difficult-heat both parts to cherry red and apply brass and flux. I'm sure it's not that easy. Question one: Is it likely that I can teach myself to weld bike frames together so that the parts are in proper alignment and strong enought to carry the load?

    Question two: Would I be able do the welding with a $30.00 work shop torch from Home Depot with Map Gas?

    The guy selling these plans - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...3165&rd=1&rd=1 - says he did it.

    I am reasonably handy with tools. (Better than I am at spelling.) I'd like some feedback on the likelyhood of a complete amature successfully completing one of these projects.

  2. #2
    Scrooge fan Scrooge Fan's Avatar
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    Should I have posted this in the Alt bike Culture area? Is it taboo to post in two areas?

  3. #3
    Senior Member keraba's Avatar
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    This post is a week old so I don't know if you're still there but...

    Lots of people have made homebuilt recumbents by brazing. Just do a google search and you'll find tons of examples.

    I haven't made a frame (yet) but I've done lots of brazing and the welds are plenty strong enough for a bicycle. To give you an example, you can braze a foot long piece of electrical tubing to another, say, 5 foot piece about a foot from the bottom and you can stand on the one foot section. Even hop around. If that doesn't break (and I can't break mine), a frame certainly won't.

    Technically speaking, the welds are stronger than the surrounding material (assuming you've made a decent weld) so I don't want to give the impression that you can build a bicycle out of paper thin steel. If you're following a plan, you should be fine.

    That cheap mapp-ox set-up will braze just fine. Just realize that you'll go through a few oxygen tanks making the frame. (One mapp tank ought to suffice, not that I know what I'm talking about.)

    I think the important thing to realize about building a frame is that the actual welding part takes about five minutes compared to the jig-building, measuring, cutting, filing, polishing, cleaning, etc. You get the picture.

  4. #4
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    Long wheelbase "Tour Easy" clones made from two diamond frames are relatively easy to build. The Recycled Recument web site http://www.recycledrecumbent.com/ has quite a bit of detail on how to build one. One of the big advantages is that you can use an existing rear triangle and fork so some of the trickier assemblies are already done. You can also do "slip" fits with 1 1/4 and 1 1/8 tubing and "glue" them with brass.

    I built one with a MAPP-air torch using a homemade jig (piece of plywood with blocks of wood, shimmed with washers and scrap metal). One trick I learned is to have a reflector to contain the heat from the torch. I used a steel paint can that I cut in half. Other people have suggested using stainless steel flashing. Aluminum won't work - it melts. The first recumbent I built I used a hacksaw with a bimetallic blade (cuts much better than high strength steel) and a round chainsaw file. I rented a hand conduit bender to shape the forks. I got one of the bikes from a police auction and one was given to me. I had a local bike shop chase the threads on the bottom bracket after I brazed the tubes to it. I painted it with Rustoleum spray, but have since gone to the liquid and sanding (much less mess from overspray.)

    Bentech offers both short and long wheelbase plans on their web site http://www.bentechbikes.com/ as well as tubing kits, and frame kits.

    If you a a little handy and have the time it is not that hard. Good Luck

  5. #5
    Scrooge fan Scrooge Fan's Avatar
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    Wow. Thanks for this information. Both sites were very helpful. I think I need to do a little more study before beginning this project. For instance, what is "chase the threads?" Is that just recutting them to spruce them up a little, or is it cutting new threads to fit differently?

    What do you mean that you have gone to liquid and sanding?

    Do most cranksets fit into any bottom bracket? One set of plans I am looking at calls for using the frame from a cheap 20" bike in front. Would the crankset from a 10 speed Schwin be likely fit into that crankset?

    Again thanks for the useful info.

  6. #6
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    hey scrooge........there are basically 2 types of cranksets.........one piece and 3 piece..........the 3 piece comes apart ............as long as your changing the same type it should work...........but i havent worked on that many bikes to know em all so make sure it fits before you rely on my advice

    one piece to one piece or 3 piece to 3 piece should be ok

    hope this helps

  7. #7
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by keraba View Post
    I think the important thing to realize about building a frame is that the actual welding part takes about five minutes compared to the jig-building, measuring, cutting, filing, polishing, cleaning, etc. You get the picture.


    +1!

    That goes for PAINTING a bike as well!

    All the "grunt work" of disassembling the bike, stripping the old paint, cleaning, primering, fixing all the little pits & dings, sanding...and more sanding, cleaning, sanding, masking, primering, and did I mention sanding? Might take DAYS.

    Then BOOM, it's color, clear, DONE! Might take the better part of 2 hours.

    BTW, Good on ya there, Fan of Scrooge, for building a recumbent. I really like my Tour Easy (Worlds Fastest Bicycle, says so on the sticker) with the Cobra seat. It mimics my first (and only) foray into "framebuilding". (pic attached) And it's a stink of alot FASTER than that old Schwinn!
    But they're BOTH comfortable to ride.
    If your knees are good, you might look into buiding a tadpole trike, like a Greenspeed. They used to sell plans too. They sit very low, so may be hard to get on or off of, but once seated, you'll never find a more comfortable pedaling device that isn't stuck in a mirrored room! And you don't ever have to take your feet off the pedals until you get where you are going. Great fun!
    Just a thought for your 2nd build project.

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