I can't really find what I want in a rack, so I'd like to try to build one before the end of the year. I figure this would be an easy first project, too.
First, though, is what do people usually use for the tubing? There are a few instrument supply shops here that carry 1/4" SS tubing. Would this be strong enough for rack duty, or would I need to find something else?
I'm also not really sure what to use for a jig. I can't really find any sites that cover DIY rack construction and that topic is one big question mark for me.
You don't need a Jig for a rack, just use the bicycle itself. You will need a 10" nicholson rat tail file. It cuts copes in 3/8". 1/4" would be too thin unless you used massive amounts of bracing. Normally 4130 chromo is used in 3/8". 5/16 4130 is an option. You can use SS, it isn't as stiff but seems to work out. Be prepared for a lot of finishing work on the SS tube, but obviously you save the cost of powder coat or some such. I use 45% silver solder. You can get by with a propane, or MAPP torch though it is easier still to use oxy since it spikes the heat faster and makes the process cleaner. You can also TIG weld. You will probably need a tubing bender. I used a fairly strong one, but a lot of people get by with plumbing or auto ones that can be picked up relatively cheaply. Don't get the crazy cheap versions they will snap. but an expensive plumbing one is cheap relative to most things.