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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 12-05-12, 02:30 PM   #1
greaper007
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Finding lugs for english 3 speed type frame

Hi everyone, I've been kicking around the idea of building a frame for a few years now. I'm about ready to take the plunge but I'm running into a bit of a problem. I've decided to make an English 3 speed type frame because I've always loved the style of these bikes, it seems virtually impossible to buy a new production bike in this style made of steel, and once I buy all my tools there will be very little money left for expensive components.

Here's my issue, it would seem that all the lugs made by the major manufacturers are only in road bike angels (70ish degrees) the English frames seem to be in the 67 degree category. I realize that I could fillet braze a frame with custom angles, but that seems like a difficult road to hoe for my first endeavor. I have a lot of experience with sweating copper pipes and hope that skill will transfer over to lugs. Beyond cold setting, what solutions do you guys/girls think I have?

Thanks
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Old 12-05-12, 03:21 PM   #2
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You can fabricate bilaminate lugs to custom deminsions but that is going to be even more difficult than just fillet brazing. Factory lugs definitly do impose limitations on what can be done and is exactly why there are so few lugged MTB built. A lugged bike built with geometry to match available lugs is probably a much better first-time project.
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Old 12-05-12, 03:28 PM   #3
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You can bend stamped lugs several degrees to accommodate non-standard angles.
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Old 12-05-12, 04:00 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. Is 4-5 degrees possible John? And can you only bend stamped lugs, or can you do the same thing with investment cast?
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Old 12-05-12, 04:19 PM   #5
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Hi everyone, I've been kicking around the idea of building a frame for a few years now. I'm about ready to take the plunge but I'm running into a bit of a problem. I've decided to make an English 3 speed type frame because I've always loved the style of these bikes, it seems virtually impossible to buy a new production bike in this style made of steel, and once I buy all my tools there will be very little money left for expensive components. Here's my issue, it would seem that all the lugs made by the major manufacturers are only in road bike angels (70ish degrees) the English frames seem to be in the 67 degree category. I realize that I could fillet braze a frame with custom angles, but that seems like a difficult road to hoe for my first endeavor. I have a lot of experience with sweating copper pipes and hope that skill will transfer over to lugs. Beyond cold setting, what solutions do you guys/girls think I have?

Thanks
Some almost English bikes ones here of the style you have pondered on. But didn't see much lugged though (not unexpectedly);

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/city_bikes.htm

If you really, realy want to have lugs in styles or angles not available in production lugs, they are not hard to make;

- Just go ahead and get all the tubes cut, mitered and jigged up as if you were going to fillet it or TIG it.
-- Then scrounge the box of tube trimmings for a piece of tubing one size larger than each of the tubes you actually used (ok you could plan for the project and just buy the oversize pieces when you order the main tubes...).
-- Then miter the pieces just like you did the main tubes.
-- Slide each mitered piece of stubble over it's respective tube and clamp it at the tube intersection.
-- Put 3 or 4 small TIG tags at each intersect to keep the two pieces together (you could use a MIG and then take to a bud or shop with a TIG machine for finish welding).
-- Then take everything out of the jig and you now have a pile of mitered tubes and a rough set of lugs needing only finish welding and what ever trimming, thinning and sculpturing you need to do to make them pretty enough for the project.
-- Put it all back in the jig cleaned and fluxed up, make that final judgement, and fire the torch toward your favorite binding agent.

- Worth noting that should you have a TIG welded frame and really want it to have lugs (and new paint);
-- Then just design, weld and finish the above lugs from measurements you take carefully
-- Split them down the middle on the bandsaw (think about which cut in the best).
-- Cutting them such that you can sandwitch them overtop of each joint
-- Pin or clamp them into position for brazing or silver solder (silver recommended to minimize heat on already welded joints unless the tubing is of the thicker variety).

Cleanup work to get it ready for paint isn't really that bad -- no worse than a regular lugged bike build.

Note that the above method is very doable to make lugs for odd joints on tandems, mixte's, trikes, quads, etc. After you get the feel of it, they roll out pretty quickly and can free a builder from limitations of current supplier of lugs. If you keep a few lengths of chromoly straight guage tube about (I keep 1mm wall thickness), it can become a lot of nice lugs where none would have existed before.
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Old 12-05-12, 04:47 PM   #6
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Great post ksisler, I guess I hadn't been on the bikes direct site for awhile. Those bikes are hard to beat for the money, I could strip one down and build it up with decent parts and still be ahead compared to building new...

I like the method for custom tubes, and when I advance in this hobby (and buy a TIG, you gave me a great reason for one) I'll have to look for a way to employ that method.

Could anyone point me to a book or site that gives a good explanation for fillet brazing. As much as I'd love to attend a frame building class, I don't really have time right now. I'd love to just do some practice brazes in my free time and build up my skills for an actual bike.
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Old 12-05-12, 04:54 PM   #7
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buy 6 feet each of 1" diameter and 1 1/8" diameter 4130 .035 wall tubing. Cut the 1" tubing into 2" long pieces, miter it to the 1 1/8" tubing and fillet braze. Rinse/repeat. Then you can fillet braze any angles you want. Building a frame is really horrible practice for learning to braze because it costs more than $150 just for 12 joints. You can probably cut the 2" pieces off of the 1 1/8" tube and reuse it 5 times, so that's 180 joints for $80
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Old 12-05-12, 05:25 PM   #8
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buy 6 feet each of 1" diameter and 1 1/8" diameter 4130 .035 wall tubing. Cut the 1" tubing into 2" long pieces, miter it to the 1 1/8" tubing and fillet braze. Rinse/repeat. Then you can fillet braze any angles you want. Building a frame is really horrible practice for learning to braze because it costs more than $150 just for 12 joints. You can probably cut the 2" pieces off of the 1 1/8" tube and reuse it 5 times, so that's 180 joints for $80
That's exactly what I wanted to do, I was just wondering if there was a good resource to learn some of the skills involved. Flame control, working with the flux etc. I've searched for videos on youtube and it seems to be pretty thin.
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Old 12-05-12, 05:32 PM   #9
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We have built Dutch style of bikes for oversees projects similar in design to an English 3 speed. You actually don't need to have your angles go to the extreme of 67, 71 parallel will work fine. You can make 73 seat and top tube lugs work by slopping the top tube a couple of degrees. 2 degrees of slope isn't all that obvious. The challenge will be getting the down tube lug to be acceptable and probably a Henry James 62 will to the trick. I actually have some Nikko one piece head tube/lug combination that will also work. I don't recommend a beginner trying to bend lugs very much. Almost all of my framebuilding students struggle with anything more than one degree of change. The resulting gaps between the lug and tube are problematic for them to braze with clean shorelines. Pros can change lug angles without much difficulty.


Now as the teacher who has taught framebuilding classes in the States for the longest period of time, I'll going to offer some unsolicited advice based on observing students learning to build frames. It is an extremely rare student that doesn't need constant attention to keep them from going off the rails. You would do better than most since you have already had some kind of brazing experience. I offer a once a year 3 day class for those that can't or won't spend 2 or 3 weeks for a regular class (where you would learn how to do a bilaminate lug). It is much easier to understand how to braze with a demonstration/instruction than reading about it in a book.
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Old 12-05-12, 05:39 PM   #10
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You can do the tig process mentioned above, and use brass to braze the lugs together. Then you braze the lugs to the tubes with silver. The melting point for brass is a lot higher than silver, and the melting point of brazed brass is higher still than the raw rod. This is said to work fine. I haven't tried it as most of my work uses silver or tig. The one thing I would want to explore is whether the heat differentials are enough for someone who does not know how to braze, because that normally requires a lot more heat, as one bounces from mistake to mistake.

You can make these lugs out of crew tubing since lugs are not normally 4130. However, 4130 is more available to me, and about the same price. For practising brazing the 4130 is closer to the tubes. I am all for practising on small pieces, however, the heat has nowhere to go if you cut small pieces. This probably will not be a big deal with A/O, but if you are doing something like brazing with Mapp, it will not give you a representative sense of the product. So you might consider brazing, then cutting the part free. Idealy you could do all this in a way to yield some lugs...

You can tip head tubes way back so long as you don't mind a tipped back seat tube, a slopping top tube, and can use a bottom bracket of the type that is set up to braze on the chainstays.
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Old 12-05-12, 09:43 PM   #11
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Lots of great advice gentlemen, I appreciate all the responses. Doug, if I was still near Michigan I'd take you up on your offer in a heartbeat, I e-mailed a local frame builder here in the Denver area and he wanted $400 for a one day brazing lesson (not including material). I used to be a flight instructor, so I appreciate how much one's time and knowledge is worth. But, that's just a little too rich for my blood right now. If there's anyone in the Denver/Boulder area that runs a group class, I'd be all over it. Especially if they needed the services of a MEI, CFII, it would be great to work out a trade.

Thanks for the idea Massive, I plan on using oxy/propane so I'll take your advice to heart.
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Old 12-06-12, 02:00 AM   #12
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Search e-bay for bicycle lugs. There are a couple of sets that come up. The mixte lugs are definitely stamped so you could mess with the angles, don't know about the others. You'd still need the BB shell though. Nova has some stamped lugs if I remember correctly.
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Old 12-06-12, 09:27 AM   #13
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That's exactly what I wanted to do, I was just wondering if there was a good resource to learn some of the skills involved. Flame control, working with the flux etc. I've searched for videos on youtube and it seems to be pretty thin.
Tim Paterek sells a four DVD set on fillet brazing (lugless framebuilding).
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Old 12-06-12, 01:57 PM   #14
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Thank you bus driver and scooper, I think I'll pick up those DVDs.
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Old 12-06-12, 01:58 PM   #15
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I always thought you should be able to blacksmith lugs out of mild steel, but I've never been tempted enough to actually try. There were some pretty crude lugs BITD.
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Old 12-06-12, 06:23 PM   #16
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The mixte lugs in the photo on E-Bay are now a part of my wife's bike. They cleaned up well and were easy to shape.
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Old 12-10-12, 03:07 PM   #17
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That's exactly what I wanted to do, I was just wondering if there was a good resource to learn some of the skills involved. Flame control, working with the flux etc. I've searched for videos on youtube and it seems to be pretty thin.
unterhausen advice is spot on (as usual). Get some pieces of cheaper tubes and get your skills building there just as he describes. The DVDs by Paterak are excellent and are far better than an uTube posting. See the Sticky: Framebuilding Suppliers for sourcing for tubes. For practice purposes, just shop for price for non-butted stock --- the size doesn't matter that much. From 25mm to 400mm will do the trick, although a mix would be instructive also.
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