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Thread: A modular frame building system

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    Default A modular frame building system

    This is my prototype frame fixture. It's not a fixture in the traditional sense. It's more of a modular system for holding tubes so that the centres are in the same plane. The hourglass shapes are essentially cylindrical v blocks. They can hold tubes with diameters ranging from 1"OD to 2"OD. Any shape of tube can be held in place above a working surface. Not just straight round tubes, but also tapered or bi oval shapes. It can also handle curved or bent tubes. Odd shaped tubes such as those created by hydroforming or carbon fiber molding can be held as well.

    The system is for front triangles only. A rear triangle system is in development. The parts shown are 73mm in height, so that tubes are automatically centered on a 73mm bottom bracket shell. A spacer is needed for 68mm bottom bracket shells.

    With five 'hourglass' shaped parts(and some simple blocks to assist in constraining the tubes) you will be able to make a front triangle of any shape or size, using almost any type of round or oval tube. I couldn't find a less expensive, more flexible system. So I invented one!

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    IMG_0728.JPG

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    cool,what if one side was set for 68mm BB?
    -Eric
    Eric S. Zimmerman
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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    You could loose the extra blocks and just extra strong rubber bands to hold the tubes to the vertical v blocks. I really like the lateral thinking here.
    __________________________________________

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by Zimmermanbicycle View Post
    cool,what if one side was set for 68mm BB?
    -Eric
    That's an interesting option. For 68mm shells I will just use a 2.5mm spacer to raise the centre of the shell. I like your idea though.

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by devlin View Post
    You could loose the extra blocks and just extra strong rubber bands to hold the tubes to the vertical v blocks. I really like the lateral thinking here.
    I was considering something heat resistant like band clamps or twisted wire.

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    BB shells are usually wider than 68/73 and lugged sheels can sometimes be wider or narrower than than that. you'd be better off keeping the shell above he table and attaching it to the st before you set things up in the cones.

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Matthews View Post
    BB shells are usually wider than 68/73 and lugged shells can sometimes be wider or narrower than than that. you'd be better off keeping the shell above he table and attaching it to the st before you set things up in the cones.
    Simple shims could be used to accommodate bottom brackets that are not exactly 68mm or 73mm. Or the shells can be faced on one side. The tapered cylinders can also be shimmed. It might be necessary to do so anyway if the reference plane is not flat enough.

    I'll miter some inexpensive 4130 tubes and test the system. At least I now have a reasonably precise frame jig to begin with, and it cost me next to nothing.

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by incepi View Post
    So I invented one!
    how long have you been around this gig? i saw my first glimpse of a lugged frames coming together on V blocks atop surface a surface plate in about '81. tubular structures have come together that way for as long as tubular structures have been put together.

    i mean you have done nice work here but invent is a stretch.
    Nick Crumpton
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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by crumpton View Post
    how long have you been around this gig? i saw my first glimpse of a lugged frames coming together on V blocks atop surface a surface plate in about '81. tubular structures have come together that way for as long as tubular structures have been put together.

    i mean you have done nice work here but invent is a stretch.
    Jan Legrand (Presto Bicycles in Hollland) was doing this in the early 1970s when he made the Raleigh Team frames under contract.

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by crumpton View Post
    how long have you been around this gig? i saw my first glimpse of a lugged frames coming together on V blocks atop surface a surface plate in about '81. tubular structures have come together that way for as long as tubular structures have been put together.

    i mean you have done nice work here but invent is a stretch.


    I am already aware of several designs that use v blocks or clamps to elevate tubes above a flat surface. I don't claim to invent that concept. What is original about my idea is that the tapered cylinders can accommodate a variety of sizes, curvatures, and profiles(including tapered shapes), and that one cylinder can position two tubes simultaneously from different angles. I have not seen that before.

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by incepi View Post
    I am already aware of several designs that use v blocks or clamps to elevate tubes above a flat surface. I don't claim to invent that concept. What is original about my idea is that the tapered cylinders can accommodate a variety of sizes, curvatures, and profiles(including tapered shapes), and that one cylinder can position two tubes simultaneously from different angles. I have not seen that before.
    It's a nice effort and I look forward to seeing its evolution. From experience I will suggest that the tube centerlines are more important. Keying in on surfaces, or O.D.s, or tube shapes, can compound all the linearity errors you'll find in every pipe you pick up. In short, they're not straight. Locking down a series of pipes (that aren't straight) will introduce stresses at all the interference fits and junctures. To my mind, again writing from experience, it's unavoidable.
    Last edited by e-RICHIE; 07-18-2015 at 10:51 PM.

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by incepi View Post
    I am already aware of several designs that use v blocks or clamps to elevate tubes above a flat surface. I don't claim to invent that concept. What is original about my idea is that the tapered cylinders can accommodate a variety of sizes, curvatures, and profiles(including tapered shapes), and that one cylinder can position two tubes simultaneously from different angles. I have not seen that before.
    I made one of those to hold the seat tube in my fixture. I don't remember where I got the idea, but I poached it from somewhere else. Good effort, though. It's a nice, simple package that should handle just about anything you want to put in it. Are you going to do smaller cylinders on a vertical rod for chain and seat stays?
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    It's a nice effort and I look forward to seeing its evolution. From experience I will suggest that the tube centerlines are more important. Keying in on surfaces, or O.D.s, or tube shapes, can compound all the linearity errors you'll find in every pipe you pick up. In short, they're not straight. Locking down a series of pipes (that aren't straight) will introduce stresses at all the interference fits and junctures. To my mind, again writing from experience, it's unavoidable.


    It's not difficult to fixture the head tube centerlines with cones. The same is true for the top of the seat tube.

    The other tubes usually have to be held by the outside. As theoretically imperfect as that method may be, it is a practical(and commonly used) solution. If they are not held by the outside, then they are dependent on perfect miters to line up their centers with the centers of the adjacent tubes. So it's a trade off between imperfect tubes positioned("locked down") by their imperfect exterior geometry, or imperfect tubes positioned by their imperfect miters.

    Whatcha gonna do?

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    I made one of those to hold the seat tube in my fixture. I don't remember where I got the idea, but I poached it from somewhere else. Good effort, though. It's a nice, simple package that should handle just about anything you want to put in it. Are you going to do smaller cylinders on a vertical rod for chain and seat stays?
    I have not decided on the design of the rear triangle system. I may use small cylinders, or go with something more traditional.

    I was considering something similar to the system used by Rock Lobster for the rear triangle. Instead of attaching to the seat tube, I would use the bottom bracket.

    The method is described here. I like the economy and simplicity of it.
    what's up in Santa Cruz: Here's how I use my rear triangle jig

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by incepi View Post
    It's not difficult to fixture the head tube centerlines with cones. The same is true for the top of the seat tube.

    The other tubes usually have to be held by the outside. As theoretically imperfect as that method may be, it is a practical(and commonly used) solution. If they are not held by the outside, then they are dependent on perfect miters to line up their centers with the centers of the adjacent tubes. So it's a trade off between imperfect tubes positioned("locked down") by their imperfect exterior geometry, or imperfect tubes positioned by their imperfect miters.

    Whatcha gonna do?
    What to do?
    Don't hold them at all. With the head tube and seat tube in place, you don't need to hold the other two. The miters locate them against the areas they're mated to. The path they take from one end to the other doesn't really matter as long as the biomechanical axis (seat tube) and the steering axis (head tube) are secure and in plane - and placed there without stress or force.

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    What to do?
    Don't hold them at all. With the head tube and seat tube in place, you don't need to hold the other two. The miters locate them against the areas they're mated to.
    A few years ago I developed a modular set of cones and holding blocks(centered on a 73mm bottom bracket module, like the tapered cylinders) to hold head tubes and seat tubes internally. Here is a photo of my original system combined with the new tapered cylinders. I think the two methods together will give me everything I need for building a front triangle. Some would suggest it's more than I need. I can't disagree, but I still like the idea of holding tubes individually, even if it is arguably redundant.

    Perfect or imperfect, it's time to build a front triangle!

    IMG_0739.JPG

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Quote Originally Posted by incepi View Post
    A few years ago I developed a modular set of cones and holding blocks(centered on a 73mm bottom bracket module, like the tapered cylinders) to hold head tubes and seat tubes internally. Here is a photo of my original system combined with the new tapered cylinders. I think the two methods together will give me everything I need for building a front triangle. Some would suggest it's more than I need. I can't disagree, but I still like the idea of holding tubes individually, even if it is arguably redundant.

    Perfect or imperfect, it's time to build a front triangle!

    IMG_0739.JPG
    Geez Man.
    Listen to what Nick and Richard are telling you....for FREE.
    Use their wisdom that they take time from their lives to GIVE you.

    I made fixtures, similar to your cone thingies, to build CF frames on in the eighties. I mounted your cone things on standoffs to define the center plane of the frame. The CF tubes were quite straight but I still used the method Richard describes. Let the TT and DT float. Tubes/tube miters are not perfect at all. The BB needs to be perpendicular to the main plane. Don't use the BB face as a datum. Use the BB cylinder axis as the datum. You are on the right track, just buff your idea a bit more. Make some standoffs.
    Mark Dinucci

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    You'll want to elevate them off of the table a little more. 5" seems to work well.

    Untitled by William Neide Jr., on Flickr

    Untitled by William Neide Jr., on Flickr

    Great creative for the rear end:

    by William Neide Jr., on Flickr

    Untitled by William Neide Jr., on Flickr

    Versatility:

    Forks:
    Untitled by William Neide Jr., on Flickr

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    Untitled by William Neide Jr., on Flickr

    Untitled by William Neide Jr., on Flickr
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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Also, put your tube holders as close to the ends as possible without interfering with your abilities to tack the frame. This puts the center lines of the tube where they need to be and any "bowing" is in the center. Also, appropriately check your tubes for bowing and align the bow in plane if it isn't excessive.
    Will Neide (pronounced Nighty, like the thing worn to bed)

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    Default Re: A modular frame building system

    Put heavy duty rare earth magnets on the bases and mate them to one of my Alignment tables.
    Hinmaton Hisler

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