New frame (some assembly required)

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christian
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Postby christian » 01 Nov 2011, 16:28

Also known as Christian's adventures in frame building.

I've always wanted to build my own frame and I've finally gotten around to doing it. I'm going for a new fixie frame. After doing some quick calculations and doing a really rough drawing in Solidworks I ordered the tubes and lugs. Now I have the parts I can fix my CAD drawing to be a bit closer to the real thing so I have something to work off. I could have started with a cheap tube set designed for amateur frame builders but I figured I'd end up with something heavy, after all I want to make a bike I'm going to want to ride. So instead I've gone with Columbus Zona. Now the question remains, can I make a frame that is straight without a frame jig? I've got an idea for a very simple jig that should get it spot on, I'll have to make that first.

Here is the first of what will be many pictures, this one is a bit boring. I'll probably not be updating this thread for a couple of weeks as I don't really have time to start it yet.

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 01 Nov 2011, 16:35

This is a jaw dropper thread. Good luck Christian!

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Dougie
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Postby Dougie » 01 Nov 2011, 19:33

ummm......

are you using sticky tape to hold all the tubes together or did you just happen to have a TIG welder lying around in the shed and thought,"hmmm wonder what i can do with this in my spare time?"

Mikejnr
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Postby Mikejnr » 01 Nov 2011, 20:23

yeah boi, super excited to see how it comes out.

christian
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Postby christian » 01 Nov 2011, 20:39

Its a lugged frame so its silver soldered together. TIG welded frames are lugless and thus require a jig or it would be impossible to get it straight.

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marc2131
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Postby marc2131 » 01 Nov 2011, 20:47

Wow, hope all goes well.
Am sure all will work out well and you'd be an expert old skool frame builder in no time.
A Jim Bundy in the making :D
Marc

shrubb face
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Postby shrubb face » 01 Nov 2011, 20:52

Christian has to expand his stomach quite a bit if he wants to be as good as Jim.

timyone
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Postby timyone » 01 Nov 2011, 21:15

wow go son!!!
James is one day going to make a wood frame?!

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marc2131
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Postby marc2131 » 01 Nov 2011, 21:34

I think the only other person in DHBC who builds steel bikes (penny farthings) is Alan Sumner. Anyone else?

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Lizanne
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Postby Lizanne » 02 Nov 2011, 05:34

i would go have a coffee with peter bundy...
maybe invite his dad... and see what they say about building without a jig

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T-Bone
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Postby T-Bone » 02 Nov 2011, 10:07


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Adrian E
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Postby Adrian E » 02 Nov 2011, 10:59

Fantastic news Christian.
In addition to the Bundy's, you could also talk to Dave Bowen from Bobo bikes http://bobobicycles.com.au/pages/blog/
and Suzy (can't remember last name from BikeNorth) see: http://suzyj.blogspot.com/
Have fun ;-)
Adrian

christian
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Postby christian » 02 Nov 2011, 11:42

Its going to be a straight bladed fork, getting them curved the same amount would require me to make a jig. I'm using a fork crown with a 7 degree tilt so I can have straight blades.

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JoTheBuilder
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Postby JoTheBuilder » 02 Nov 2011, 12:29

How did you go with the whole 'Australian Standards' thing? 8)

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Toff
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Postby Toff » 02 Nov 2011, 13:06

Hey Christian. Good to see the project is up and running.

Not sure if you know this, but Zona is essentially a new name for what Columbus used to call Nivacrom. It's great tubing for building bikes, and vastly superior to that old SL or 531 "junk". My Colnago Tecnos bikes are made from the same stuff (although Tecnos tubing is much thinner).

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Postby shrubb face » 02 Nov 2011, 20:53


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geoffs
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Postby geoffs » 03 Nov 2011, 20:38

Congratulations on being brave enough to do this. I'd love to do the same one year.
For bike design software have a look at www.bikeforest.com
Have you thought of using any of Henry James offerings?
What's your timeline for this project?

christian
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Postby christian » 13 Nov 2011, 20:31

Small update. I've completed the frame design in a CAD package. The model is almost up to the point where I'm prepared to put up a picture, just a few small fixes. In the mean time here is a picture of a jig design I slapped together this arvo. I looked at lots of jigs, both commercial and the DIY variety. With this design you can set the chain stay / seat tube angle easily as it rear end support pivots around the bottom bracket. The seat tube and head tube angles relative to horizontal shouldn't be too hard to get right. I'm hoping I'll be able to set the angles off the jig which will enable me to make lugless frames if I ever feel the need.

I wasn't going to make a jig but as I intend on making more then one frame its probably a wise investment in both money and time.


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jbcow
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Postby jbcow » 17 Nov 2011, 20:07

I'll be watching this thread with eagle eyes, go for it Christian.

christian
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Postby christian » 27 Dec 2011, 11:43

Its been a while since the last update, work on this project staled for a while whilst I renovated my kitchen. Now its time to get stuck into it. The jig is finished, and I must say its jigtastic. There are a few modifications/additions I have thought of, but they can wait till I'm back at work and have access to a lathe. I think the stand is a little high, but I can always stand on something. The tube cutting and mitering will start this afternoon, soldering will start tomorrow when I get my replacement acetylene regulator.

Here is the jig in all its glory

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geoffs
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Postby geoffs » 27 Dec 2011, 14:01

Looking good Christian

Where did you buy the aluminium sections from?

christian
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Postby christian » 27 Dec 2011, 18:18

The extrusions and aluminium brackets came from 8020 (8020.com.au) and cost a small fortune, that bill was about $330.

Its been a busy afternoon, the main triangles tubes are all cut and mitered, all but the seat lug are filed out and cleaned up on the inside. I'm doing the mitering using a program that prints out the tube profile, then you just stick it on the tube and away you go. I'm not goint to be able to do this for the seat stays but I can generate from the CAD model. Having a CAD model has enabled me to cut all the tubes without having to solder any of it together to check the lengths. I've put the seat tube, down tube, head tube and bottom bracket in the jig to see how it all fits. The jig isn't the easiest thing to adjust but its not to bad as I have a digital protractor.

Top tube marked out and ready to cut


Close up of the template for the miter


Finished miter


Part of the frame in the jig

shrubb face
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Postby shrubb face » 27 Dec 2011, 22:26

Looking good. I might drop over tomorrow afternoon for a quick closer look. Oh and to laugh at you about the mtbing injuries.

christian
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Postby christian » 29 Dec 2011, 20:56

I've been busy. Its a good thing I like a challenge, it has definitely been that. Its been about 20 years since I did anything substantial with an oxy touch, its coming back to me. I started with something easy, the internal cable guide for the brake cable, getting the brass tube though the hole wasn't as easy as you'd think it would be, its not even remotely flexible. I put a curve in it by bending it over the edge of the bench then persuaded in though the holes (read hit it with a hammer in a controlled fashion). The rest of the operation when as planned but I did discover how easy it is to over cook the flux with oxy-acetylene.

Hole in the top tube ready for the brass tube


Moving right a long and since I has all the tubes cut I put it all in the jig, took it out, fluxed up the top two lugs and gave it my best. I was given some good advice by Peter Bundy, "just keep feeding in the filler, you need something to file off", well the filler, which is 45% silver isn't all the cheap, but its only money. The first two are not what I would describe as my finest work, but its not going to fall apart. You would normally start by soldering the seat tube into the BB shell, but as the BB shell has a lot of metal in it its a bit harder to do, thus starting at the other end. As my head tube and seat tube angles are the same you can get the down tube BB combo in after the top half is together.

That was yesterdays effort, today, after a ride I put the bottom half of the front triangle together. There had been a few issues with getting it to line up in the right place with the required angles, something was out slightly. After a closer inspection I filed a bit more of the down tube at the head end to correct the angle, the lug was slightly out, buts that nothing a hammer can't fix. I got it all together, pinning the down tube into the BB shell with a nail, drilling a hole first of course. This was to stop the down tube slipping whilst I soldered it. The frame needed to be pushed into the jig to get it to align, I didn't see this as a problem.

Starting with the lower head lug with it clamped to stop it sliding down the head tube I soldered half of it, this was so I could beat it into submission and correct the angle. After all they are castings and don't have that much metal in them so I may have bent it when I was filing out the inside surfaces. With that fixed I moved onto the BB, which went off without a hitch. I'm getting better at this.

So I let it cool down in the jig hoping that when I took it out it would remain straight, and would you believe it, it stayed straight. Now just a whole lot of filing to clean it up.

Here's the finished pics, don't look to closely, I'll be cleaning them up a bit more.






Here is the frame back in the jig with the rear drop outs in the jig. I bent the dropouts so the exit angles are correct (or close to) as they are cut from plate and are flat. Next job is the rear triangle, starting with the chain stays. The chain stays are a bit long, it may have something to do with using track dropouts, they are a bit longer and the stays can only be pushed so far into the BB shell as they are only round at the end, ovalised in the middle, so the stays need to be cut down from both ends. Luckily I'll only need to cut 15mm off the back so I don't expect the internal diameter to change that much so attaching them to the dropouts shouldn't be a problem.




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NOOG
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Postby NOOG » 02 Jan 2012, 15:41

...and then?

christian
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Postby christian » 02 Jan 2012, 19:52

I've been a bit slack with the photo taking. Next to do was attaching the rear dropouts to the chain stays. I shortened the stays by 15mm and then cut a slot in the wheel end. Next the drops were cleaned up and then I brazed them using a nickle bronze filler as I needed to fill up the gap in the end of the tube.

Ready to braze


Brazed and ready to be filed


I forgot to take a picture of it all cleaned up. Next the stays were put in the jig with frame and the length to the other end was measured and marked. The stays were cut to length. There is lots of putting it in the jig and taking it out in this job. With the stays the correct length (or as I had thought) they were put in the BB shell all fluxed up and then aligned then soldered. When I took off the BB clamp I discovered that when I measured the length they were in fact not sitting in the correct place and now protrude into the BB shell by about 3mm. This isn't a major problem as I'l just file them down to the level of the thread then the BB tap will take care of the rest.

I stuck a wheel in it to check the clearance on the seat tube. Obviously not going to be using this wheel on this bike.


Next was the seat stays, now my desire to have a fast back arrangement for the seat cluster turned into a monumental pain in the but. My first attempt, not so successful. Luckily I had ordered some seat stay ends but had decided not to use them. It looked like I'd be using them after all. I filed them down so I'd still have blended seat stays. The mitering was far from perfect but I have managed to get it to work, there is just a bit more filler in the joint then I had wanted. I'm not concerned about this as the stays are in compression and the is enough steel to steel contact.

Left to do is the brake bridge, not sure if I'll get to it before the weekend. I'll post some more pictures tomorrow.

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AlexD
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Postby AlexD » 03 Jan 2012, 08:31

Very impressed by this. I've always wondered how difficult it would be to build your own frame in your garage - this makes all the finer challenges quite clear!

What was the issue with the fastback stays? Was the seat tube clamp not already made to suit them?

And what head tube and seat tube angles did you end up using? (Or are these to be shrouded in secrecy?)

christian
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Postby christian » 03 Jan 2012, 19:57

First of all to answer Alex's questions there are very few seat lugs that contain sockets for seat stays, the ones I'm using do not. The idea was to miter the seat stays so they joined the seat lug just below the clamp bolt. The problem occurred when I did a bad job at a miter. I had decided to just cut and file it into shape and I managed to fail. Lesson learned, its hard to guess complex miters, next time I'll take advantage of my CAD model and print out a miter template. There is nothing secretive about the angles I'm using as these are determined by the available lugs. This frame has a 72 degree head and seat angles. The BB shell has a ST CS angle of 64 degrees which is a few degrees more open then a lot of road BB shells giving me a higher BB.

Now on to the latest pics/work. I have almost finished the seat cluster going with a blended stay design, some filling was required. After quite a bit of filing and cleaning it up I had discovered they are not exactly square. One is sitting a touch higher then the other, about 2mm. Now this may not sound like much and I doubt it'll change how the bike rides but I know its there. I'll be taking a lot more care with this part next time. Once its painted you'll probably have to look quite hard to notice it, but of course now I've said what the problem is you'll all be looking for it. As the stays line up at the bottom the amount they will be out at the location of the brake bridge should be less.

This has been a learning experience, I'll make sure I list all the major lessons learnt at the end.

Seat cluster


Here is a pic of a cleaned up rear drop, the one on the other side has only had the CS cleaned up so far.

christian
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Postby christian » 15 Jan 2012, 16:11

Its been a while since I've posted an update, construction hadn't stalled, I have just been too lazy to put the pictures up. The next job was to put the brake bridge in. I carefully worked out where it had to go, worked out the miter angles and set to cutting it down. My seat stays are quite close together as the rear spacing is 120mm for a track wheel so the bridge is quite short. I had to cut it down a fair amount. Learning from my seat stay experience I first cut it a little over length but with the correct miter so I could sit it in the frame. With the frame upside down gravity held it in place. Then I set to shortening both sides slowly until it sat in the correct place. It was set with two clamps, fluxed and soldered.



That was the last bit of oxy work to do on the frame, not its all cleaning. I have done a fair amount of filing over the past week. This usually happens when I walk past the frame and file it a little bit so I have no idea how long this has actually taken.

The head tube is still to be cut in this picture.


The frame is now out with Peter Bundy to have the BB faced and tapped and the head tube faced. I don't have these tools so I have to get someone else to do it for me. The final frame is quite light, I'll be weighing it once I get it back this week so I know the actual weight then all it needs is a coat or two of paint and it'll be ready to go. I've decided to not bother making a fork as I have a carbon one on my current fixie that I can use. I may be the only one in the club to have multiple bikes with threadless 1" forks.

In the mean time I've done a bit of practice with fillet brazing, I actually find it easier then soldering lugs its just the filing at the end is very time consuming. The next frame may be fillet brazed instead of lugged. I also have Alex's crashed 29er which has now had the rear triangle cut off ready for a new front and a slight size change, this is going to involve fillet brazing as it was originally a TIG welded frame.

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Toff
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Postby Toff » 16 Jan 2012, 11:49

Wow. That last pic shows how thick the seat stays are. They look massive! Is that standard Zona stay tubing? It reminds me of a Pegoretti...

Also, I have 2 bikes with threadless 1-inch forks. :mrgreen:

christian
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Postby christian » 16 Jan 2012, 17:02

They are the standard Zona stays, 16mm diameter at the top with 0.7mm walls. Spirit is even bigger, 17mm but with 0.5mm walls so it works out lighter and they are a slightly different material.

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Camilla
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Postby Camilla » 17 Jan 2012, 11:05

very very impressed Christian.

christian
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Postby christian » 22 Jan 2012, 17:35

The frame has come back from Bundy's and with a little tip he gave me to straighten up the rear triangle. The back end wasn't out that far and I had to move one of the dropouts down about 1.5mm. This was pretty easy to do. Next is the paint, I decided to spray it with a rust inhibitor first, inside and out then with a filler undercoat so I could hide some file marks. This is what they do on cars and I'm sure there are some professional frame builders that do the same thing. Bike frames are a pain in the but to spray. I just painted this one flat black with automotive acrylic. I didn't see too much point in spending $200 to get it sprayed as its my first frame.

Here it is hanging on the clothes line drying, I didn't actually spray it outside next to the sheets.


It has come in at 1.85kg, which isn't too bad for a steel frame. To put it in perspective I have a fairly high end aluminium frame just sitting around and it is 1.45kg. I'm already planning the next one and have already ordered the tubes. I'm done with lugs, the next one will be fillet brazed, a road bike made from Columbus Spirit. I picked up an Easton EC90SL fork for it cheap this week.

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Lizanne
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Postby Lizanne » 22 Jan 2012, 20:07

oooo. when are you making me one?... i'll even get the disclaimer that i can't sue written in pink pinstripes on the top tube if i need to!

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Toff
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Postby Toff » 23 Jan 2012, 11:55

Mmmm. 2 sets of bidon cage bosses! This has 2012 Fixie Century written all over it. :mrgreen:

christian
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Postby christian » 19 Feb 2012, 10:59

Ok, its been a while since the last update and I actually rode the bike to Waterfall this morning. I've been told I should put up some pictures of the finished product. It doesn't ride too bad, I think it feels a bit whippy, this could be due to the fact it doesn't have a chain stay bridge as you need the space to be able to move the wheel. Also my last fixie was an incredibly stiff track frame, so anything else will feel whippy, that and I haven't ridden a light steel frame for a while. All up I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I've already started construction of the next one but don't expect to see it on the road till late April due to lack of time and work commitments.



My attempt at blended stays which turned out better then I thought they would.


Internal brake cable routing, the professional touch.

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Julio
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Postby Julio » 19 Feb 2012, 12:40

I want one, Christian make it happen.

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Eleri
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Postby Eleri » 19 Feb 2012, 14:41

Top work Christian and the stays are really beautiful. I'm so impressed that you built that yourself.

Nice colour too. :)

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Karzie
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Postby Karzie » 19 Feb 2012, 20:30

I was very impressed also. Prodigious skills.

Don't like the colour. Cherry red my man!

and put your name on the next one.

christian
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Postby christian » 05 Mar 2012, 21:50

Here is a fine example of the next construction method I'm going to use. This one is stainless tubing so it can be polished, not so easy with steel. I like how they have left the file and sanding marks in the tubing.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/pho ... ter/210481

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Karzie
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Postby Karzie » 08 Mar 2012, 07:59

Nice, tho' the bottom fillet isn't perfect and they're experts. I suppose that polished stainless doesn't mark easily, but I reckon it looks a bit ordinary.

The brushmarks from polishing stainless can look pretty awesome, like they're in 3D, but you need more area.

You can't beat a dense colour, baked enamel with a clear finish.

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Postby shrubb face » 12 Mar 2012, 10:06

http://prollyisnotprobably.com/2012/03/ ... rack-bike/

This is what Christian is aiming for.

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Karzie
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Postby Karzie » 15 Mar 2012, 09:05

OK, I almost like it....

As a matter of interest, there's a great little relevant app been developed

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jbcow
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Postby jbcow » 29 Mar 2012, 19:50

Excellent work Christian!!! You've got put the rest of us to shame.

sent from tapatalk using my samsung 8.9


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