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  1. #1
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    Beginner with a plan

    I am just about ready to sell/trade my Water cooled Miller 225 Syncrowave with two torches, light weight cables, argon bottles (two) and Miller electronic helmet. Everything is in excellent condition. What I want in return is frame building fixtures and tools.

    Only problem is I have never built a frame so I am totally uneducated when it comes to the relative merits of various fixtures. I will be asking a lot of questions. I have bought and read and viewed the Paterek book and tapes and also Lugged Bicycle ...construction by Chimonas.

    Two last points:
    1) I am an experienced Oxy/Acty welder having done a lot of aircraft welding. But will be a beginner when it comes to brazing bicycle style.

    2)I have no plans or desire to go into business building custom bikes. It is a personal thing

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    good luck. Not sure you can do a swap like that, fixtures usually go for more than a used Syncrowave. All of the fixtures I've seen have merits and most have at least some issues. But most of the issues have to do with how much time and effort it takes to set them up. To begin, you might consider trying to build off of a surface plate. There are a lot of people using fixtures made from 80/20. You can find them on instructables.

  3. #3
    tuz
    tuz is offline
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    I just built one frame so here is my beginner's advice.

    I would not think about making a frame immediately. First I practised hand-filing mitres and brazing. I did fillets, cheap lugs (1$/piece from ceeway), and also steerer-crown joints (a critical joint for safety, and not easy to do from the thickness mismatch between steerer and crown) and chopped them up. I also made a mini-frame to get the idea of brazing a triangle with compound or double, phased mitres. Brazing is the "sticking tubes together" part and once you feel comfortable you can move into making a frame, which involves quite a bit more of know-how then I expected from reading the Paterek manual. So far I've learned from a few mistakes of my first frame. The Paterek manual is good (although there are a few weird methods). I'm not familiar with the other book, but from the you-tube videos of the author, I'm not too sure about it...

    The two fixtures I found quite useful is the fork and rear triangle jig. I made those myself. Otherwise you'll certainly need a surface plate and BB taps. For the front triangle I think you can get away with v-blocks and such. You rely on the mitres for the angles (there are some free bike-CAD software) and generally you only use the jig or blocks to tack. Then you correct with a alignment check and complete the joint. I found it also good to go with subassemblies for the front triangle.

    Anyway that's my story.
    homebuilt commuter, mixte, road and track (+ Ryffranck road)
    bla bla blog

  4. #4
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    My take on it is that fixtures are a totally not required for the guy in your situation. And even if they were, I would not trade a TIG for them. A TIG is way more valuable to even the lug maker. Say you want to be a total lug master, you might still consider tigging some lugs, either totally custom, or in weirdball situations, like the 953 frame we had the other day, or the partial HJ bottom bracket, or making fixtures etc... Or tigging bikes since that is clearly cooler anyway.

    As a welder you could build from that base. Ferret out a T-slot welding jig, or mill table. My first jig was three milling tables assembled. Can do everything, and you can use it for wheel truing, bike stand, fork jigs. All manner of things can be attached to it. There is a thread on velocipede salon along these lines at the moment.

    That said, if you have the big dollars, there are some really nice jigs out there that are just pretty, and would be fun to own. Since I don't need to buy high end frames, I am all for buying high end jigs, if they are purty. There is a new one coming out from Anvil, and another one in beta from a company that I forget the name of. But for the amateur they are toys not necessary tools, while something like a T-slot table will work for you whatever you do, won't loose any value, and will cost a lot less money. I paid like 150 for my three.

  5. #5
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    My first jig was three milling tables assembled. Can do everything, and you can use it for wheel truing, bike stand, fork jigs.
    I would like to know how to true wheels with a milling table. I assume you use some uprights?

    I hesitate to urge someone to learn to build without a jig or surface table, but I was relatively happy building without either. The problem I have now is my eyes are wonky and I don't trust myself.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for responding. Building bikes for myself is a supposed to be a retirement hobby. I love bike touring and racing and doing so on my own creations would be something I could be pleased about. I will have zero issues with mitreing as I have done hundreds (thousands?) of mitres building aircraft. Things I have not done but am looking forward to include silver and fillet brazing and painting. Just today I started building a paint booth. To make room for it, I sold the mill and lathe. I have read that, as you say, fixtures are not necessary and I find the idea of building above a surface plate very appealing. Jerry

  7. #7
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    Turns out 8020 factory and headquarters is just a few miles away. Also, I just looked at the simplified fixtures and techniques on Instructables. Fascinating. Something is going to happen. Either I build a frame or destroy a pile of tubing. Probably both. Jerry

  8. #8
    Randomhead
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    just be careful painting. There may be some powdercoaters near you that are very inexpensive.

  9. #9
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    U. The way I do it is I bought 2 pieces of 2x2 aluminum angle. I milled the bottom of them so that when placed over the slot in the table it would index to the grove. There are pockets at the base of the angles, and standard T-slot hold downs will fix these uprights to the table. The rest is pretty obvious, v slots at the top, and digital indicators or whatever is lying around to determine center. That part was easy, but then I was thinking I need a center gauge, and was going to buy one, or make one like the ones one can buy. But then it hit me I could use the stacking blocks, one on either side of the rim, and just compare the the hub height to the table. The table is over 40 inches wide, and both procedures can be undertaken at the same time.

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