Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Claremont, CA
Bikes: Fuji Team Issue, GT tandem, Couture (bet you never heard of this one)
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I started building lugged frames in the early 80's after wanting a custom criterium frame that I couldn't afford to buy, so i decided to learn to build. I ended up building about 15 frames, including one for a guy on the national track team. I could have built many more, but it was a lot of work (to make a really nice frame) for not much money so I decided to move on. I never tried MIG ior TIG welding.
It's really not that difficult to build a frame that works fine and last (i.e. the joints don't fail after a season), but it does take skill and practice to get them to look nice and time to set up and learn. The tools are fairly inexpensive and you can build your own jig for next to nothing if you're creative.
I still have my first frame. I would say it has close to 20K miles on it. I don't ride it anymore, but it was the best crit bike I ever rode.