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Brand newbie! Building a lugged steel frame need advise

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Brand newbie! Building a lugged steel frame need advise

Old 10-22-16, 03:17 PM
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Smm6888
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Brand newbie! Building a lugged steel frame need advise

Ok. Brand new to the site. I have thrown parts on carbon frames but that's it. Want to make a steel lugged frame road bike now. I have extensive know how in metals and brazing and welding as its what I do for a job. So won't need much help in that department. But obviously have no clue as to tube lengths and dimensions and such. That's what I'll need help on. And lots of help.lol. I started with a tube set and lugs. I bought a Tube set and lugs from Richard Sachs. Looking at building a road bike with a 55cm top tube. After I figure out my head tube height does that automatically make the downtube and seat tube a certain length because of how tight the tubes fit in the lugs? Any and all help will be much appreciated.
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Old 10-22-16, 03:30 PM
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Get your Brazing skills together first .. I was in Metal Arts and then made my self a frame Columbus Aelle was Tolerand of my less than expert skills.

lay out the tube lengths and angles full size on a sheet of Paper .. You can Use the centerlines of the tubes ..

Half round files can cut the Miters in the ends .. I visited a Guy in UK (when I Toured There) he professionally Made frames with hand tools.
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Old 10-22-16, 03:36 PM
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Yea not worried bout the brazing part. I braze and Weld 60 to 95 hrs a week for the past 21 years so I'm good their. Question is if I pick a top tube length and head tube length does that basicly set the seat tube length and downtube length because of how tight the tubes fit in the lugs?
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Old 10-22-16, 04:05 PM
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I do like the idea of using paper to draw it out tho makes sense. Thanks
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Old 10-22-16, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Smm6888 View Post
Yea not worried bout the brazing part. I braze and Weld 60 to 95 hrs a week for the past 21 years so I'm good their. Question is if I pick a top tube length and head tube length does that basicly set the seat tube length and downtube length because of how tight the tubes fit in the lugs?

No. The lugs get massaged to fit your geometry, not the other way around.


You are at the start of learning about frame geometry and drawing is a very good method to discover the interplay between aspects like Bb drop, seat tube angle, tire radius, crown thickness, lug center to face and more dimensions not usually mentioned in common people's discussions.


Most start with their existing bike that rides close to what you'll build in steel. Then change ONE element and see how that shifts all the rest. After doing this a bunch of times thinkers will begin to be able to "see" the directions of certain changes in their minds.


If you don't want to go through he drawing exercise consider looking at BikeCad. Andy.
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Old 10-23-16, 01:24 AM
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Ok thanks. All I have is carbon bikes right now. I have a ridley noah sl that fits real good. But obviously that won't be the same type of geometry. So where should I start? Sachs sent me a tube set and fork seto and lugs. The rear drop is 68 degrees. Based on what he thought I should be riding. My top tube I'd like at 55cm for my reach. That's a touch less then my noah. As far as dimensions from their I'm lost.
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Old 10-23-16, 01:25 AM
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I'll try the bike cad
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Old 10-23-16, 06:43 AM
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There is a book called Lugged Bicycle Frame Construction from M. Chimonas which explains all the basics... I can highly recommend it.
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Old 10-23-16, 03:50 PM
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Is their anywhere I can find dimensions on well known lugged road bikes
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Old 10-23-16, 06:48 PM
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Most manufactures publish their frame specs, whether they follow or you believe them is a different question (because specs change and published anything lags behind actual in hand stuff). Bikes out of production can sometimes be referenced through various on line searches. Bike mags often state the specs of a tested bike. Really in this interweb world it only takes a little while at your key board to find out more then you can digest. Andy.
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Old 10-23-16, 09:04 PM
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Ok thanks guys. I'm sure I'll have many more questions as I start my build.
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Old 10-24-16, 05:40 AM
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Do a google search for "bicycle geometry project". You'll find a spreadsheet of over a hundred frames from different eras listed.
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Old 10-24-16, 05:44 AM
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Wow thanks
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Old 10-24-16, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by busdriver1959 View Post
Do a google search for "bicycle geometry project". You'll find a spreadsheet of over a hundred frames from different eras listed.

Great find! Andy.
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Old 10-25-16, 04:38 PM
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A full size drawing is definitely in order. The lugs themselves will dictate certain things, such how far the head tube will extend down below the junction with the down tube. Other things you need to know include the fork length, the head set lower stack height, your desired bottom bracket drop, chain stay length, seat tube length, etc. Good fun figuring all that stuff out.

You can build the frame reasonably well working off a basic surface plate. You need some way to suspend the frame parallel to the plate though. It's common to mount the frame by the bottom bracket so you can tweak the alignment during the build. There are all kinds of ways to do things so don't be afraid to bounce ideas off the guys here. I'm sure someone will tell you if you get too far from the norm.

Good luck
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Old 10-26-16, 12:01 AM
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Doesn't mater what your bike is made of, generally, position is what counts. You contact the bike at the pedals, the bars, and the seat. The bike is supported via the wheels. If you are perfectly fit to your current bikes, and they are the same kind of bikes, then you should go from there.

Forget all these other frames, they were not built for you. A custom bike is a process of improving your ride by taking yourself, not the market into consideration. If you don't think your current bikes fit you then you have a basic problem, and should consider the services of a bike fitter, or at least some online fitting software.

But lets assume you have access to 3 bikes for the same purpose that you ride currently or can borrow back. Measure them up. What you want to know is seat post angle and height, head angle, fork offset, wheel size with applicable tires, bb drop, the position of the saddle you intend to use over the BB CP, The near lower edge of the head relative to the BB. What you are trying to locate is the position of axles, seat, head tube to each other, that simple.

So for instance let us say you want to change saddles, well you could swap that saddle into your current bike at the same height and offset for your current saddle, ride it a bit, make sure your knee over pedal position didn't change/is correct, log that seat over BB measurement. Then you buy the seat post you want, it has whatever offset, if it is different than the old one, or if the new saddle has a different mounting sweet spot, you need to make an adjustment to get the same saddle over BB dimension.

Lets say you made up for a short top tube with a long dog bone. You want to set that right by buying the shorter one and actually measuring it, and the new bars, and adjusting the head position for the new reality.

So you want to create simple 2d cad drawing, Bikecad is a marketing tool, you can get all the info you need off free cad in 2d. Measure all your bikes and take the fore and aft position of the wheels to the BB, the bb drop, the seat post angle, and the head tube position. With that info you can compare your bikes, make sure they are consistent. that your fit assumptions make sense, tweak the points, and then with a few parallel lines drawn in you have all the info you need to build a bike. This works either because the dimensions can be taken directly to a tube cutter, or used for patterns from an online miter program (easier if you have skills and are not making a lot of multiples.)

Keep in mind that you do not need precise miters for all the joints in a luggedbike frame, some play through intersected tubes. (you need to examine your lugs to understand how they will fit together and influence your tubing positions. Look up a 73/73 classic frame, lugged, and it will become clear.

There are free versions of the Paterek manual on his site. Everything you need is in there, but the problem is so is a lot more than you need, but worst case you can get the info you need even if he makes it too complicated. People want to pretend that execution wise this is a machinist level activity, it is pipefitting, the parts are not precision, and the heat beats everything up, and pretending tool room standards apply is just the ignorance showing through. But you probably are comfortable about that kind of thing, so it might be the best thing for you.
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Old 10-26-16, 12:12 AM
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You may have a lot of brazing experience, but is it with aircraft tubing? No problem I made stuff successful out of the box, so you will be way ahead. But if you are not typically working with 20-35 thou of 4130 it may be somewhat unfamiliar. 4130 is not supposed to be brazed which makes things a little more interesting. I just mention it in case coming from regular work you run into that on the way over here.

Actually that is aircraft/EAA/FAA stuff. Now that there is serious testing going on in Euro, there must be some science on the whole thing about brazing 4130.
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