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I want to start framebuilding!

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I want to start framebuilding!

Old 10-08-09, 06:08 PM
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This deserves to be a sticky.
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Old 10-08-09, 06:17 PM
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When buying a torch, what should a beginner consider?
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Old 10-08-09, 11:43 PM
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I'm assuming any beginner wants to buy good equipment. You can buy something like a Victor kit with regulators, torch, hoses and other things for a little over $200. Or you can buy an "aircraft" torch like a Smith AW1A and tips for just under $200. Good regulators and lightweight teflon hoses will get you up in the $500 range before you are ready to braze. Esab and Victor make similar torches. The difference is weight and convenience. Lightweight torches make heat control a lot easier; you can flick the flame away quickly. These torches have the valves up at the tip end, that makes adjustments a lot easier, and the knobs don't get in the way. I've done a lot of work with a huge WWII era military surplus torch. Not an easy thing to deal with.

Last edited by unterhausen; 10-09-09 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 10-08-09, 11:48 PM
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You're assuming too much
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Old 10-09-09, 09:05 AM
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there are some people that are serious about craft and want to use good tools. For them, this is a very common question. If someone wants to do things as cheaply as possible, there is a search function.

The full answer to "what torch" can be found here
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Old 10-09-09, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
there are some people that are serious about craft and want to use good tools. For them, this is a very common question. If someone wants to do things as cheaply as possible, there is a search function.

The full answer to "what torch" can be found here
Sadly my browser displays that link as:

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Old 10-09-09, 10:56 AM
  #32  
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I dunno, it came up for me at work with IE and shows up here with Safari. I feel your pain though- a lot of times I get to read comments on pictures and all I can see are little Xs.
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Old 10-09-09, 12:11 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by AllenG
Sadly my browser displays that link as:

<gibberish>
Allen, here's what I got using IE:

Doug Fattic
Subject: [Frame] Torch handles
Date: 3/26/2008 9:57:45 PM
List: Framebuilders

I see that my chart did contain a mistake on the published length of the Victor J28 torch handle. I reported it was 8 1/2 inches long but when I double checked in the Victor catalog, it is 6" long. So the revised chart should read:

Manufacturer Weight length
Smith AW1A 6 1/8 oz 5 3=8E4=B2
Victor J28 8 1=8E2 oz 6=B2
Harris 15-3 8 oz 5 3=8E4=B2
Purox (sold by Esab) W200 8 oz 6 1=8E2=B2
Uniweld 71 8 oz 6=B2

The light weight of the Smith is why it is my first choice. I thought about including the Victor J40 which is essentially a handle just long enough for knobs and a tip holder. It doesn't have enough length for the hand which would also cover part of the hose as well. It may be what someone would want but that percentage would be small so I don't have it on my list of recommended torch handles. The Meco also has a flat short handle with the knobs pointing towards the tip (instead of coming out of the sides like every other handle). One of my students brought one and liked it but again its unusual shape means a low percentage would probably prefer it so again I left it off my recommend list.

I should also add that the hose connections can either be the smaller (and therefore lighter) "A" or the bigger "B'. Since we are more interested in brazing than demolishing ocean liners, the smaller and lighter hose attachment makes more sense for what we do.

Essentially what we are after are handles with knobs at the top (where the tip is instead of the bottom where the hose attaches) with A hose fittings. These are usually referred to as "aircraft" handles so there smaller size can get into tighter spaces.

On my setup, I have a 3/16" rubber hose (there are bigger ones) with B connections coming off the regulator. I have a Kevlar A and B hose with the A end attached to my Smith AW1A torch and the 2 B ends of the 2 hoses connected with a B attachment fitting. I have the hose going to the ceiling from the regulators so that the Kevlar hose is not dragging on the floor. A drop of hot flux will burn right through it.

Doug Fattic
Niles, Michigan
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Old 10-09-09, 12:14 PM
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Thanks Stan.
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Old 10-09-09, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by banjo_mole
This is indeed fantastic information.

Torch. Regulators. Tanks. Lugs. 4130 tubing. Black Flux. Bronze solder.

And, of course, a book somewhere would be great.

-Nick
Not a book, but you might find this thread useful;

https://www.bikeforums.net/framebuilders/399311-how-build-lugged-steel-frame-pics.html
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Old 10-09-09, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Cassave
Not a book, but you might find this thread useful;

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=399311
That thread is now a sticky here in Framebuilding.
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Old 10-15-09, 07:33 AM
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Get these glasses

The green ACE IR glasses were/are the single most important thing I purchased a year ago when I was exactly where you are. They let you see through the IR flare of the flame and you can actually see what is happening with the puddle. They are like having xray vision:

https://www.visionarysupplies.com/sto...CategoryID=340

And, like xray vision, they aren't cheap.

A couple of other points: Call Henry James and get the blue paste flux and the gas flux rod in 1/16". Clean the rod with sandpaper before you use it. Clean the tubes inside and out prior to brazing. Clean the sanded tubes with picklex20 or acetone, or thinner or something before brazing. When brazing, follow the rod with the torch. Stop to reposition the work often...use gravity to your advantage. You want to keep the puddle in that state between liquid and solid. Adjust the flame so there is a nice defined cone within the flame. Get right in there with the flame...nice and close. Of course, preheat the whole joint to get the brass flowing. Remember the brass will follow the heat, so you can pull it around once it gets going.

Do a bunch of practice joints. Then make something. A kid's bike. A ladder. A chair...anything. Make something to match the dimensions you've perviously laid out.

Practice filing miters. Keeping the miters in the center of the tube and in the correct phase from end to end, and at the correct angle. Get a protractor.

Practice filing your fillets with a small, fine bastard file. Keep the file on the brass...try not to nick the tube. Once it is close to fair, use sandpaper wrapped around the file to finalize the fillet shape.

Then save up some $$$ (beyond the ones you've already laid out for torch/tank/regulator setup and files and raw materials and measuring tools and a vice). Get a surface plate...look on Craigslist. You need like 2' X 3' at least. You already have a workstand right? Resist the urge to buy a fancy-pants jig (you're out of $$$ anyway). Build jigless...solving the alignment issues is part of the learning. Bring this frame to the LBS to get the HT reamed and faced and the BB threads chased.

Save some more $$$ for the BB threader/facer and the HT reamer/facer and the dropout alignment tool. Dream up fixtures to help you build the frame off of your surface plate...you can make them for far cheaper than buying a jig.

Plan on spending hours daydreaming about framebuilding. I'm designing frame #11 now. It's an addiction!

B
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Old 10-16-09, 03:45 AM
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a couple of questions... i figured i would ask them here since they don't really warrant their own thread.

do i need a jig? i want to make more than a few bike frames, and possibly sell one or two at some point (after a ton of practice obviously). i want to make bike frames out of not only lugged steel, but aluminum as well. i also want to use oversized and aero-shaped tubing (after a ton of practice, obviously). will i need a jig to be able to weld aluminum frames, and will i need a special / weird jig for the oversized/shaped tubing?

if i do need a jig, what should my jig be?

i really want to build a frame out of aero aluminum tubing. this is obviously not how i'm going to start with building frames, i am learning TIG welding first and will practice mitering 1,000,000 aluminum and steel joints before i try a frame. but what's needed to build bikes with weird tube profiles, out of aluminum no less?
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Old 11-20-09, 01:28 PM
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There is a book. Richard P. Talbot; Designing and Building Your Own Frameset 2d ed 1984. It was self published and is now out of print. Some libraries still have a copy and it is available on E bay at ridiculous prices. Richard Talbot used to live in Needham, MA, but moved away in the mid nineties and I have not been able to find out what has happened to him. I recommend it as a book to read before attempting to build a frame, or having a custom frame built for you.
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Old 12-27-09, 12:43 PM
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Hi man,

I think you should go back to school buddy. Weld first and then think about it because it's a real skill, it's a lovely idea but there is a **** load to do, to learn. Forget the cost at the moment. A good friend of mine builds frames, may he could help you but he lives in Perth, Western Australia. You need your gas bottles, a jig, materials, space i.e. workshop and a steady hand! etc. etc. Don't give up the fight! Steel is real!

Bryan
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Old 01-12-10, 10:22 PM
  #41  
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I agree with old and new on learning first things first. Welding/brazing - learn it. Be Professional grade. Learn to be the best you can be. Weld shop...local college or trade school. So what if it takes you a course or two...you will learn how not to screw up ANYTHING you buy. You will also learn all about all of the metals you will be working with and methods to make them be what you want. (and become a "tweakMaster" by fudging here and there on the tricky stuff)

I plan on doing the same after finishing my degree this year. I am considering machine shop also to learn how to make my own lugs and bb. I know a guy who did same thing as I suggested to you...he has his own custom Ironworks shop now making custom fencing. He isn't there half the time...as he has employees who work for him. He trained them all...and lets them do the work for them. Not bad for junior college weld shop and a little motivation!
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Old 02-19-10, 03:02 PM
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i have a question regarding the best way to scribe my miter lines at various angles; where the down tube connects to the head tube for example. i am GTAW welding a steel frame, so i can use the inside of a lug to get my miter lines.
Any suggestion would be helpful
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Old 02-19-10, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Tej
i have a question regarding the best way to scribe my miter lines at various angles; where the down tube connects to the head tube for example. i am GTAW welding a steel frame, so i can use the inside of a lug to get my miter lines.
Any suggestion would be helpful
tubemiter.exe is a Windows program that prints miter patterns that are then taped to the end of the tube to mark the miter lines. Inputs are miter angle, wall thickness of tube being mitered, and tubing diameters of both the mitered tube and the mating tube.
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Old 02-20-10, 01:37 PM
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wow, sounds great... thanks alot
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Old 03-11-10, 03:30 PM
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Some great resources in here, thank you.

I've been researching this a bit lately and have been compiling a bit of a resource list on Google Docs.
Here's a link
https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0A...Y2ajhzcg&hl=en
Add links you want with a brief description.

going to get some contact info for a local builder today.
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Old 03-12-10, 06:28 PM
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to practice using lugs, buy some 1"x.035" wall tubing and some 1 1/8 x .058 wall tubing. Cut the 1 1/8" into pieces, clean them up and braze them onto the 1" tube. If you are a rank beginner, you may want to cut some 1/4" or 1/2" pieces of the 1 1/8" and use those until the process clicks. You should be able to do this with 1" or 2" long sleeves before moving on. As always, everything should be clean and you should start with shiny or sandblasted metal. A degreaser followed by a die grinder or a Dremel with a 1/2" drum sander will clean things up sufficiently. You are looking to pull the braze material from one side of the small piece to the other. Only feed from one side of the sleeve. This is how lugs and crowns should be done anyway, so start doing it now. When you are done, soak the flux off and section the assembly to see if you got full penetration. Just pulling from one side to the other doesn't mean you got full penetration, you have to make sure to feed radially around the sleeve as well. You can feed from multiple points around the circumference to avoid using up all the flux in one area.
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