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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:52 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:51 am
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Location: England
I'm going to train as a welder and am thinking of building my own frame one day. Is there any books out there on the subject?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:00 pm 
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There is the Tony Oliver book: Image not exactly a 'how to...' guide, but lots of information in there.
Library should be able to source a copy.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:56 pm 
Old School Hero
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Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:57 pm
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Location: Suffolk, UK
An interesting read although the subject is 'lugged' frames and not welded, although if I remember there is some mention of fillet brazing.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:27 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:59 pm
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Location: Sheffield
Search google for The Paterek Manual: For Bicycle Framebuilders by Tim Paterek. Pretty much a step by step guide.
Another one to look for is Bicycling Science by Frank Rowland Whitt and David Gordon Wilson, not really building but, does have some interesting points throughout.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:54 am 
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just for you

PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:03 am 
retrobike rider
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Location: A wretched hive of scum and villainy...
The Paterek manual is great and I'd also suggest the Talbot: Designing and building your own frameset book. Again well out of date, but the general sequence is fine. Out of print long ago, but the link goes to a pdf source...not sure how legal, though...

You could also look at some of the blogs etc put up by other builders. I particularly like Suzy Jackson at Little Fish in Australia. She includes step-by step guides and plans for jigs etc. Also supplier and other framebuilder lists.

I don't know of any specific TIG guides, but the design and sequence is the same as brazed frames. The Paterek lugless DVD set should be suitable. I went on a brazed frame course with Harry Quinn about 20 years ago, and in the UK I think only Dave Yates and the Bicycle Academy run any sort of training. Otherwise there's the U.B.I. in Oregon, who do a 2 week TIG frame course. Pricey, but good. I went on their Ti TIG course about 18 months ago. My instructor then was Jim Kish, but I think they use Paul Sadoff (Rock Lobster)or De Salvo now.

Don't worry about using real bike tubes to start with. Get some 1-1.5mm (18-20 SWG) wall steel tube (just clean ERW will do) then mitre and weld away until you're confident enough to be let loose on the basic bike stuff (Seamless Cro-Mo, 4130, T45, Columbus Gara/Thron). Work your way up to the high end Columbus/Dedacciai and Reynolds tube...that stuff can cost up to £50 per tube!

The difficult bit is designing the frame in the first place, the fitting process. There are loads of books and programs, and Martin Manning's amazing Exel spreadheet but there's not much as varied as the shape and requirements of the individual cyclists. Full scale paper sketches are ideal, don't worry about 3D CAD or fancy stuff. There's a free cut down version of BikeCAD available (it's OK, but Pro is much better for $350) but I prefer RattleCAD, free :D. Giles Plunkett's Tubemiter programme saves a lot of time and scrap early on, too, until you get the bug and buy a small milling machine to do the job.

PM if you need any tools, small parts, links or help; I don't build many frames now, but I do still TIG weld for a living.

When I was first interested in framebuilding (1989!), I wrote around to various UK builders after an apprenticeship...none could help but two did have some great advice:
Dave Yates: "Don't try to build the best bike in the world first time...accept that at least your first 20 frames will not be great."
Peter Tansley: "There's a lot of mystification of's really just glorified plumbing."

All the best,

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