Old 08-21-16, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Ride-Fly View Post
I knew about Japanese frames being built by hand. I meant the robot thing for the Taiwan and Chinese "made in Asia" frames such as Soma, Surly, All City, etc.
Those frames are made by hand as well. They are fabricated by hand by very skilled welders in Taiwan. And TIG welding is not an easy skill to learn, whatever aesthetic qualms you may have about it. I'm sure they would not be too happy if they heard that people thought that robots were constructing these frames.

As far as I can tell, the only areas in bicycle production where robots are used is painting and component fabrication. Frames, whether metal or carbon, require a lot of hand-work from human beings. Although 3-D printing will be changing that very soon.

I think the whole marketing term "hand-made" has mislead a lot of people about what the real difference is between a small, custom workshop and a larger production operation. All of these frames are made by hand. The actual difference is how divided up the labor is. In a small workshop you have a handful of workers each individually seeing a frame through from beginning to finish or at least doing large parts of it. In a larger production setting the frames are still "hand-made" but the labor is divided up such that one person does the mitering, one person tacks, one person welds, one person does the finishing sanding and polishing, etc...

Last edited by TenGrainBread; 08-21-16 at 11:00 PM.
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