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Old 02-17-14, 04:05 PM
Andrew R Stewart 
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Originally Posted by COLROADIE View Post
I have also been wondering this and curious if anyone has any insight to my questions. I have spent the past 6 months searching for a frame building course. I was fairly close to committing to one when the instructor told me I will have to use a lugged bottom bracket for my brazed road frame. He explained that taking on a bottom bracket is very extensive for a 2 week course and it's too much for a first time builder. To me, this is a pretty integral part of frame building and shouldn't be skipped over. That being said, I do have 9 years of machining aircraft parts and am a certified welder (TIG) in 7 different types of metal. I also have a very good working knowledge of brazing and soldering. Can anyone shed some light on this and explain if the bottom bracket is truly so difficult that I couldn't be taught in a 2 week course, or if my experience will lend itself to self instruction afterwards?

Also, aside from what I have read in the Paterek book I do not know how to size an individual for a frame or really even know how to begin building. I am not opposed to purchasing materials and teaching myself but am more wondering if it is worth the money to attend a school to learn these things or if they can be self taught as well.

Any help will be great.

I suspect that i know who you were thinking about taking a class from. If I'm correct then you would do very well to listen to his reasoning and follow his advice. He (and most other framebuilding instructors) have invested a lot of time and effort to be able to teach a class. They likely have taught many students before you (the one I won't mention directly started teaching back in the 1970s...) and know that to insure a completed frame they have to limit the range of possible styles/processes that they will offer. Unless the instructor has already been shown your skills and attitude he has to think down to the lower common denominator. The guy has offered more advanced sessions for those that he has previously taught or have previous experience that he can accept.

The reasoning to not offer a filleted or welded BB shell in a first timer class is that to join 5 tubes at all the right positioning relationships in one structure is not very easy. Having locating sockets and using a low temp flow brazing process reduces the distortions, errors, speeds up the process and does not take anything away from the ride quality.

I suspect your question is kind of a "i don't know about what I'm asking about but how hard can it be" one? This in it's self is not a wrong question or desire to understand. But when you're the instructor and you're dealing with three students all at once then time/focus/attention needed for one to do their dream process can and does take away from the experience of the other two students. I don't think the instructor said you can't do a lugless BB shell, or that you shouldn't but just that for his classes this process is not covered in #101 .

Where ever and from however you do find instruction i hope it only furthers your passion and interest in building. A good class should offer the basics needed to go and continue to grow more. Once you have the basics down and see the whole process it's FAR easier to try new styles and methods. I strongly suspect that in your machining aircraft parts you have learned a thing or two after the first one you made. I also suspect that you started with a simple design or plans to produce from and increased your skill levels with each part there after. This is what most building classes assume on. That they will teach you proper understandings, skills and appreciations of framebuilding for you to build on in the future.

So my suggestion is to not take the instructor's limits on what he offers in his #101 class as an insult, but as a precaution to insure your frame is as good as two weeks can produce. Andy.
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