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UBI Framebuilding Course Post-Partum Issues

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UBI Framebuilding Course Post-Partum Issues

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Old 08-17-18, 01:42 PM
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onyerleft
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UBI Framebuilding Course Post-Partum Issues

I'm interested in taking UBI's beginner framebuilding class - enough to have made the trip to meet them and inspect their facilities. All looks good but there is one sticking point: what do I do with these new skills after the class ends? (Sure, you come away from the class with your own frameset (sans fork) but for the amount of the $3000 tuition, I can have a custom builder build a better frame than I can build myself.)

I posed this question to the nice chap from UBI, who suggested going into business as a framebuilder. Sorry, that's not going to happen. I then asked if I could use their framebuilding tools and facilities after the class ends, but he nixed that idea, mumbling something about their insurance concerns.

I'm not willing to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars on tools (I don't have any framebuilding tools),

Thoughts or advice?
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Old 08-17-18, 03:17 PM
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"what do I do with these new skills after the class ends?" Sound to me like you're not the person to take a class for personal growth. Since you're not going to spend the $ for tooling up to be an efficient builder the continued building path seems like it too is a dead end.

So just why were you interested in a class to begin with?

The moment I touched a lug with a file I knew I was going to be doing this thing for a long time. If you don't get some of the same pleasure or feel the passion then don't spend the $ (to take the class). Really it's pretty simple. Taking a class just to say you did doesn't mean much in my view.

Perhaps the different path might be to get to know a builder and create a way to work with them or rent their shop space. This will take a lot longer then a short class but the end results might be far better for your future needs. Andy
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Old 08-17-18, 05:25 PM
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If you want to learn how to build a frame for yourself and perhaps just dabble for minimal cost after then you'd be far better learning how to use carbon or bamboo joined with hand formed lugs.

You don't need all the extras or the knowledge of finicky details associated with heat and metal.
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Old 08-17-18, 07:40 PM
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I think it costs about $10k to have a creditable bare-bones framebuilding shop. So yeah, $3000 doesn't get you there. But if you did want to spend the money to get a decent shop, the school is a reasonable investment in learning how to use it. I always figured it costs me something like $500 to build a frame and get a cheap powdercoat, maybe more. So the costs add up quick.

It's good you looked at the costs first, there are a lot of people that go to the school thinking they will build more frames and never do. It's too bad there isn't a community facility where you can build frames. You would think that there might be a makerspace or two that would do that, but I have never heard of one. And makerspaces are expensive.
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Old 08-17-18, 08:02 PM
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Iíve been teaching frame building classes ever since I quit teaching high school in the late 70ís. This length of time has given me opportunity to know what my students do with their knowledge. It is a majority that choose not to build a 2nd frame. Some realize they donít have the talent or sustainable interest to try again. Others donít have enough money for equipment or space to put them to make more. Many just want to make something for themselves rather than buy it. It increases their knowledge and provides pleasure and pride. They like answering the question of what kind of bike are you riding.

Because of only taking one or two students at a time I have the flexibility to adjust my classes to fit the needs of each student. Some like to be involved somehow but love for me to do the hard parts. They arenít interested in learning how to be a master brazer but still want a professional quality frame. Perhaps this option is one you might want to consider inside of buying a custom frame?

It is possible to trade time for equipment and build a frame with minimal equipment. However even a bare bones budget is going to be a lot more than $200. With time you might get really lucky on Craigslist and/or estate sales. Perhaps your equipment budget can be increased?
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Old 08-24-18, 01:52 PM
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Just so I am following what you're writing correctly, your would like to 1) learn how to build a frame in the class, 2) build additional frames after having completed the class, 3) avoid spending significant money on tools.

There are a few options that I can see. First, you can check to see if your local area has any membership based workshops - these are places where typically you can pay a monthly fee and have access to a large assortment of tools and work area. There are quite a few near where I live (SF Bay Area), and many have metalworking setups which can get you a lot of the way towards what you need to build a bicycle (you may need to bring some of your own tools to cover what they don't have).

You can also look around to see if there are any builders in your area that have tools you can pay to use. Professionals might be wary of their stuff, since it's tied to their livelihood, but as an hobby builder with a jig in my garage, I'd certainly be willing to rent it out to other hobby builders in the area for a reasonable fee. Ask around locally, and you just might be surprised with what you can come up with.
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Old 08-24-18, 04:38 PM
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Rochester, NY has at least two "maker spaces" that are relatively open use "work shops". When I returned to town I looked up the larger one and was disappointed for a few reasons and no longer involve myself with it. First was that their rental agreement/insurance prohibited open flames (sorry you propane/O2 concentrator guys but you're dinged too). Second was that it was much like my youthful experience with the Cub Scouts, the loudest got to play boss for that night. It was obvious that my style didn't fit into their cliqueish manor. Third was that I decided to keep my tooling here at my home where I could use it anytime I wished to.

I have often suggested various alternatives, like art studios, establishing relationships with local builders (I've had a couple "students" in the last few years) and creating one's own shared space/tools. A local welding supplier did offer evening classes in brazing but this stopped soon as the interest didn't reach the critical mass needed. Andy
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Old 08-24-18, 05:47 PM
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onyerleft, I never took a class, however I do have a high level of mechanical ability so I just jumped in and purchased a set of tanks, regulator, hoses and tips. About $500 in 2001. The hand tools are ones I have had for about ever including files from a neighbor that he had forever and are now about 60 years old! In no way could a pro-level shop operate on this equipment, but it is enough to build a frame or two a year should you have time and willingness to do it. I have built one frame, repaired 3 and helped a buddy build one for himself. Currently I am on a second frame that has taken 8 months thus far and am getting close to being done. Was going to build a track frame for my son, however I don't trust my abilities enough to handle the high stress of the track racer. It is all good fun.
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Old 08-24-18, 05:59 PM
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Having taken the UBI course, I can tell you it was one of the best 2 week experiences of my life. YMMV, of course.

I've done as many others have done, and made a second frame for a friend who was foolish kind enough to trust me. It was a great 6 month experience, and I came away with a reasonably decent frame building jig - he bought the jig and his frame materials in exchange for my labor.

I will tell you that you'll never get back the money and time you'll put into a framebulding class + tools if you look at it financially, no matter how much you dive into it. For the time and effort there are so many other more lucrative ways to make a living.

I work at a corporate gig, have been for almost 30 years. I am well paid for my time, and have already made my retirement "nut" although I have at least 5 more years to go until I can retire (two kids to get through college). But it does nothing for my soul.

I do the bike thing as a small side business, using this next 5 years to improve my skills and make connections so I can really get into framebuilding when I have the time. It feeds my soul.
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Old 08-26-18, 07:30 AM
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Well gentlemen, thank you for your frank and thoughtful responses. I purposely moved away from the big city to an isolated area because of the good road and off-road cycling it offers. There is nothing like a communal "maker space" here. The only two framebuilders here are well known (NAHBS winners, etc.), and they're snooty; they politely but firmly turn me away for repair projects. (One of them doesn't even want to initially engage customers directly, but wants customers to first go through a local bike shop!) There is no way in heck that they will let me share their space or tools, and I don't even want to ask.

All of which is a long winded way of saying that regretfully, I won't be joining your club. I do like to make things, though, so there's a kit guitar in my future.....
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Old 08-26-18, 10:54 AM
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guitars are another crazy hobby of mine. If you think framebuilders are equipment-happy, luthiers are nuts.
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Old 08-26-18, 02:18 PM
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Onyerleft, I'll say it again another way. If you enjoy making things and you enjoy bicycling you can make just your own frame in a class. You will get a lot of satisfaction out of it for a long time and you will get positive comments from family, friends and - if you did a good enough job - even strangers. This is the main reason most of my students years ago took my class - to make something that just fit them. They didn't plan on making more. And for many of them it had a pretty big effect. Besides the personal satisfaction they got every time they looked at their own handiwork. they also have a better fitting and riding bike than whatever they had before. There is no reason after class you have to buy tools to make another. I've had students take my class twice so they didn't have to bother getting equipment to make a 2nd frame.
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Old 08-27-18, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
guitars are another crazy hobby of mine. If you think framebuilders are equipment-happy, luthiers are nuts.
Especially if they're in the Dan Erlewine school of thought.
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Old 08-27-18, 11:53 AM
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after I learned Brazing Skills, in a Metalsmithing Arts series of classes , I tackled a DIY frame in 1975..
learned things , like heat distortion effects , on tubes with lugged assembly,
chasing, facing, reaming in build prep* made the parts fit.
in my Bike shop time, Famed name frames expected the Selling Shop to Do *This..
helping sell a lot of frame prep tool sets..

but it still is a rideable bike .. today.. light touring style ..

never made enough money to own a house with a garage to take it any further..


bike # 2 was in co-operation with a frame building shop, he did some, I did some .
and I got to try out my own design adaptation of cargo bike/tandem frame materials..




...

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Old 08-27-18, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
guitars are another crazy hobby of mine. If you think framebuilders are equipment-happy, luthiers are nuts.
first up drum sander......
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Old 08-27-18, 05:22 PM
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A long time friend of mine builds banjos. Simple works of complex art is what I call them.
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Old 08-27-18, 09:46 PM
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When I was young and just before starting my building I roomed with a wanna be guitar maker. he bought all kinds of wood and spent a lot of hours sanding just so before butt gluing the back face. he never got past that before our young lives changed and we moved on to other things. Just like so many current maybe frame builders. Andy
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Old 08-28-18, 08:48 AM
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For $3000 one could buy pretty much all the tools you would need to build frames (old skool build method). From there you would have to figure out how to build frames on your own though; with the internet and youtube you have access to a lot of good info these days. I took this path a number of years ago and managed to come through the other side, although in truth the first few frames weren't long for the earth. I did have a small lathe back then and of course a garage to work in. The lathe was particularly useful in making tooling parts. If I had a mill I would have made a proper jig but that's a discussion for a different thread. At any rate, there are options if you want it bad enough...

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Old 08-28-18, 09:21 AM
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I'll add that investing in specific frame building tools (be they home made or bought) can be a good one because there's a market for used tooling. So if you crap out you can resell and not loose your shirt. ndy
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