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Thread: Taking it to the next level (Level 2, that is)

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    Default Taking it to the next level (Level 2, that is)

    First time poster, recentish lurker.

    I would like to build my second bicycle but now is not the right time for me to buy a jig. What are my options?
    I live in Melbourne.

    I built a lugged bike on a course last year. I bought an oxy/propane torch two months ago, built a porteur rack with it and have been trying to figure out fillet brazing on some straight gauge 4130 tubing (I've not yet figured it out).

    It's all immensely satisfying and deeply rewarding, but I feel like I need to ease into the hobby a bit more before I really commit and buy a jig.

    I thought maybe an alignment table would be more cost-effective, but I've found very little info and it feels like the US or UK is probably a better place to pick one up second-hand. I assume that getting one new (and transporting it) would end up being similar money to a jig.

    Is it feasible to prepare a lugged frame on top of blueprints and sweet-talk someone into letting me tack on their jig?

    I'd love to build a new bike, but I'm also open to anything practical that will advance my skills in the right direction (more racks, stems, lug carving etc).

    IMG_2595.jpeg
    Mike Veroni

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    Default Re: Taking it to the next level (Level 2, that is)

    I would suggest a flat surface before a jig. The jig will only reduce the time it takes to set up and build the frame, NOT that the frame is well aligned. The surface plate will do the second and CAN help the first with the right tooling. So I would decide which is more important. A quickly built frame that is sort of straight or a straight frame that took a few hours longer to make?

    Alex Meade offers some neat frame tooling based on a flat surface. While a 2'x3' surface can do consider a 3'x4' as it will allow the rear triangle to be over the surface while the main triangle is too. Andy
    Andy Stewart
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    Default Re: Taking it to the next level (Level 2, that is)

    Mike, if you're just at your first steps, I would highly suggest to forget about jigs or whatever other expensive bits which are not 100% necessary, specially if you build lugged frames.
    Keep the money on other stuff (practice tubes, torch and consumables, frame parts, etc) and beyond any other thought, get yourself deep into understanding what are the needs to build a sound frame, so you'll see what steps and tools might be doing the job to keep the tacking process aligned.
    There're plenty of vids and pictures of jigless frambuilding ideas, mainly flat surfaces with height blocks, but you can also do it building yourself some simple 8080 flat sections to keep the lugged sections aligned or even go a step beyond and find your very own process to keep things straight, don't feel restricted to whatever is mostly used, find something that make it right for your own process with whatever is reasonably available for you.

    The main difference on having jigs and other specialized tools is speeding up the process and making it easier on a repeteable basis, but being at your first steps none of these should be on your top priorities.

    By using that money on much more useful things for you now (tubes, etc) you'll learn much more about framebuilding and get a better idea of what your own building process is about, then would be the right time to decide which jig suits better your needs, or maybe make your own, or (hopefuly not) decide framebuilding is not your thing (and look at your 10k$ investment laughing loud in the workshop).

    Best advise I've ever read comes from Richard "Donwsize the fantasy". Do not start the house from the roof, make solid foundations and grow from there.

    If none of this is your cup of tea, then I would definetly look for some real world feedback from any of your country's framebuilders, which are quite a few and as good as it gets, they might even have some old jig or flat surface lurking around you might get for a right price, no need for unnecesarily expensive overseas shipment costs.

    Good luck

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    Default Re: Taking it to the next level (Level 2, that is)

    I agree with the previous comments-- a jig probably shouldn't be your next purchase. Andy's idea of you getting a usable surface plate of some sort will help you make straighter frames, later a jig can speed the process up. As he mentioned, Alex Meade makes a good set of simple tools to let you build frames off of a surface plate. Not quick to set up but very good for the new builder learning his/her chops. I'm at 30 frames myself and think using the jig started making more sense about ten frames into the process. Enjoy the journey.

    Bill Bryant
    Santa Cruz, California
     

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    Default Re: Taking it to the next level (Level 2, that is)

    Quote Originally Posted by Amaro Bikes View Post
    you can also do it building yourself some simple 8080 flat sections to keep the lugged sections aligned or even go a step beyond and find your very own process to keep things straight
    A good source of 8020 sections in Melbourne is the CNC and Cupcake shop. I think their Ebay ID is Silvers 123.

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    Default Re: Taking it to the next level (Level 2, that is)

    A window works a treat for aligning the seat and head tubes and a piece of string around the head tube and some careful measuring gets the dropouts centered and in the right place. And the price is right.

    There was a great video that I think eRichie posted a few years ago about an English shop that showed how they checked alignment by eyeing across the seat tube/head tube. Really helped visualize it.

    Now, I've only built five frames, so consider the source. But using the window method really helped me understand how to get my miters correct (or, at least not as screwed up) and numbers two through five all turned out more than straight enough.

    Pinning the joins once I get everything straight seems to make life a little easier as well. Plus there's something old-school about building a bike with nails in it. :-)

    My feeling has been that I've learned more by building without a jig. Maybe after I get 20 or 30 frames under my belt I'll look at a jig, although by then I'll be 107. YMMV.
    Will Outlaw, Amateur
    Build it. Ride the hell out of it.

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