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Framebuilders Thinking about a custom frame? Lugged vs Fillet Brazed. Different Frame materials? Newvex or Pacenti Lugs? why get a custom Road, Mountain, or Track Frame? Got a question about framebuilding? Lets discuss framebuilding at it's finest.

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Old 11-25-07, 12:39 AM   #1
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Where to begin?

I know nothing about frame building, and I have never welded anything in my life. I really don't know a thing about any of it. I have built many bikes in my day, but I always pieced them together using existing parts. I never built a frame.

Is there an instructional DVD I can buy or something to get me started on the basics? Or is there a book I can read or something? Or some sort of guide?

I am not trying to do anything major here, but I wouldn't mind building my own chopper style bike from the ground up...

How do most people get started?
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Old 12-24-07, 10:59 AM   #2
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Same boat here. I've heard good things about the UBI classes, but they run a bit more than a DVD or how-to book.

Another approach to the question: How did y'all (the framebuilders on the forum) get started?
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Old 12-24-07, 11:08 AM   #3
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Tons of information on the web for beginners including and the even more active usenet framebuilders group. Google "framebuilding" for a start.

Good luck.
Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(
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Old 12-24-07, 11:40 AM   #4
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Find a framebuilder and see if he'll teach you in small lessons for a fee.

The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!
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Old 12-24-07, 11:26 PM   #5
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the paterek manual is the book you're looking for.

I used the paterek manual + general evening welding classes to build a few frames.
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Old 12-25-07, 11:47 AM   #6
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I used the Paterek manual in conjunction with, as well as and various other tidbits scattered around the internet. Then I got to work ruining tubing and lugs in my garage until I figured it out.

My experience has been that framebuilding isn't the easiest thing in the world, but that it isn't rocket science either. There's a quote from a top custom framebuilder to the effect that "It's just glorified pipefitting". You can definitiely learn it without personalized instruction -- but the learning curve will be longer and you're almost certain to waste some time, money, and materials while doing it.

As for chopper style frames, etc., I think you might be buying even more problems. I'm not familiar with any sources of information for non-traditional framebuilding. I'm afraid Paterek, et al., might be an expensive dissapointment for you, as they deal with classic designs and brazing pretty much exclusively. TIG welding your custom design, or whatever, puts you into pretty rarefied air.
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Old 12-27-07, 03:24 AM   #7
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Chopper bikes are easy, go to He has a book and there are lots of projects on the site. His book by the same name also had quite a few chopper projects and was published by Harpers so your library might have it or borrow it.

There is also:

You can find a lot of good sites via lowrider searches. Chopper bikes tended to spread out from the well developed LR scene also.

Best source for conventional info are the Paternek videos which can be rented online. Both are worth getting: one is on lugs, the other on brazing. One covers machine shop set-ups, the other less well equipt, etc... The only problem with renting is that if you have to rent multiple discs/set, it may not be all that cheap, and you might as well buy from Paternek. I got a Beta version of the DVD, so I can't tell you.
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