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The garage frame building journey

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,786
4,729
Champery, Switzerland
How are the frames coming along fellas?

I got some 44/56 head tubes for the next builds. A guy named Brian from Equinox Bikes made them for me. I was using 44/44 head tubes up until now. It’ll be nicer for using my angled headsets.

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And this is currently my favorite one so far. It’s steeper, less progressive and has a higher bb than the others. I can run a softer rear spring rate with more damping and without bottoming out. It corners real gud. I’m surprised I’m enjoying a 64* head angle.

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Neko’s geo is very close to my latest one. I put it in the jig to see how close.

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He forgot to send me the right shockmount so I made one.

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And one riding shot of me.

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buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,786
4,729
Champery, Switzerland
@HardtailHack I use a horizontal mill and tube blocks in a swivel vise.
A lot of very good frame builders use those. They are a bunch of mods people do like make them stiffer or auto feed for example.

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I think a drill press with tube blocks and hole saw arbors is probably better than a tube notcher like the one you showed. You probably have access to a drill press, no?


 

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,786
4,729
Champery, Switzerland
@buckoW - what is going on here exactly? I'm not sure if you are planning to cut off the seat tube and carbon in a new one, or if you are making aluminum pieces to tweak the angles?
I won't say bad, but certainly ambitious.
I dont think.... I could make that happen in a way I wouldn't hate.......
Your skills and tolerance may vary lol
Two bike engineer friends and I had a bbq. Things escalated and then we made….

The Dangler

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HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
6,745
5,638
That is impressive.

I'd never heard of Kress Tools, their batteries sound insane, eight minute charge times with 3000 cycles!
 

englertracing

you owe me a sandwich
Mar 5, 2012
1,581
1,075
La Verne
How are the frames coming along fellas?

I got some 44/56 head tubes for the next builds. A guy named Brian from Equinox Bikes made them for me. I was using 44/44 head tubes up until now. It’ll be nicer for using my angled headsets.

View attachment 195424

And this is currently my favorite one so far. It’s steeper, less progressive and has a higher bb than the others. I can run a softer rear spring rate with more damping and without bottoming out. It corners real gud. I’m surprised I’m enjoying a 64* head angle.

View attachment 195428

Neko’s geo is very close to my latest one. I put it in the jig to see how close.

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He forgot to send me the right shockmount so I made one.

View attachment 195433View attachment 195434View attachment 195435View attachment 195436

And one riding shot of me.

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Looks rad.

Re the 64ha on a DC bike watch out for the pitch fork wielding folk coming out to say that's way to steep and they haven't owned a bike that steep In years, and it defeats the purpose of the bike being a bike
 

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,786
4,729
Champery, Switzerland
The steeper, higher bb one with longer CS is my current favorite. It’s a handful sometimes in some of the steepest parts but for 95% of the time it’s easier for me to corner and carry speed. I think 63.5* might be the perfect mix for me.

Yesterday in Champery on a trail called Chevreuil.
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The slacker and lower one.
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Anybody make any progress on their builds?
 

shirk007

Monkey
Apr 14, 2009
500
357
I have made refinements to my Linkage model and now translating that into CAD. A few weeks back I got some steel bar stock needed to make some bits in bobs, and ordered some bushings. With the Linkage settled I ordered a TTX2M.2 yesterday. So the pre-work progress is happening again.
 

shirk007

Monkey
Apr 14, 2009
500
357
The steeper, higher bb one with longer CS is my current favorite. It’s a handful sometimes in some of the steepest parts but for 95% of the time it’s easier for me to corner and carry speed. I think 63.5* might be the perfect mix for me.

Yesterday in Champery on a trail called Chevreuil.
View attachment 200560

The slacker and lower one.
View attachment 200561

Anybody make any progress on their builds?
How much higher is the bb?

Changes from my last one to the next one are steeper, taller bb, and less progression.

Current one was supposed to be 63.5 ha but it ended up at 62 as the front was built then it sat for ages before the return end was done and I messed up by jig settings.
 

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,786
4,729
Champery, Switzerland
How much higher is the bb?

Changes from my last one to the next one are steeper, taller bb, and less progression.

Current one was supposed to be 63.5 ha but it ended up at 62 as the front was built then it sat for ages before the return end was done and I messed up by jig settings.
5 mm higher bb but I run a softer spring so it’s probably running a similar bb height dynamically.

The front wheel pushes wide if I’m too slack. I played with shorter offset crowns to try and tame that but it tucks more than I’d like with the shortest offsets. 48-52 mm of offset with a 29 front wheel on a DH fork and a 63.5 seems like my spot.

@sikocycles what are you going to make? Full suspension?
 

lobsterCT

Monkey
Jun 23, 2015
278
414
I have not been working directly on the frame for a while, but spent some time on shop tools.

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I put a power feed on x axis of mill. You can't do everything on the x axis, and better machines have power feeds on all axis, but this is great when you can use it.


I put a DRO on the lathe. This was a lot of work. Building, and modifying bracketry to mount the scales. I got magnetic scales. They were easy to cut to length and square up on the milling machine.

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I made one major fuck up with the DRO install. I mounted the head unit on the back of the lathe's electrical panel. It makes a lot of vibration in the machine when using the lathe in the upper half of the RPM range. Im going to hang the head unit from the ceiling instead of off the back of the lathe to correct the problem.

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I modified my tube bender to make it more usable. The stock "anchor" that holds the back end of the tube during the bend, can't let go once the tube is bent. Too much friction to pound the pin out of the anchor, and the rachet only goes one direction, so even if you disengage the mechanism, you can't overcome the friction to move it backwards. (at least with 2" OD tubes).

So, l only get one chance at a bend, then would have to cut the back end of the tube to get the piece out of the bender. I made a new "anchor" with bolts I can back off to ease the tension so I can get the tube out of the bender without cutting it.

So, I can also put the tube back in, and bend it a little more, if needed instead of 1 and done.

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New anchor on the left, stock on the right. Milling 1.25" steel is a lot of work on a hobby mill.

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I have to finish up a boat project, but looking forward to jumping back into the frame build.

Glad to see all you guys are still pushing forward with your respective projects.
 

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,786
4,729
Champery, Switzerland
@lobsterCT I’d love to put a DRO on my lathe and horizontal mill. Any advice on where to buy one? I see them used on the local equivalent of Craig’s list. Besides the brackets was it difficult to set it up? I’ve never used one.

That’s a nice bender you got there. Some people make handle bars with that style bender. Nice upgrades!

I have a power feed on the X axis of my little horizontal mill but I’d like a power feed on the Y axis for mitering tubes.

I’m currently working on a new garage to move all my frame building and bike related tools over into. Concrete floor and more room will be a nice upgrade.

We celebrated 24 years together last week by doing laps on our steel bikes. Good times! She was sending it!
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lobsterCT

Monkey
Jun 23, 2015
278
414
I would say the DRO install was more tedious than difficult.

I got this set from precision matthews. You can get a similar set from dropros.com. Or touch DRO has a kit that comes with an android display tablet, and talks to the scales through bluetooth.

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There is cheaper stuff on amazon, etc. for $200- $300ish, but as per Blondihacks on youtube, the cheaper stuff sometimes has a time lag updating the display, so it isn't in real time with the movement of the machine which can be problematic in some instances. She has an episode installing a DRO on her lathe that was helpful to watch. The DROpros also have some pretty good youtube.

I saw in a Travers catalog the other day, they had some 2 axis DRO kits made in Japan by Mitutoyo. If I was starting over, I would probably get one of those because I love my Mitutoyo calipers, micrometers, etc.

The biggest choice you have to make is optical glass scales or magnetic scales. The magnetic scales are easier to cut to length and are not bothered by cutting fluid, which over time will screw up optical scales. The optical scales are a little easier to set up (as per Blondihacks), you don't have to have it exactly right to get a reading. If the magnetic scales are not spot on, they don't register a signal with the head unit. She mentioned about 1/2 thousandth for mag scales and 5 thousandths for glass scales.

I had to drill and tap 10 holes in the lathe to install the DRO. (plus 1 extra hole with a broken tap in it!)

Leveling the long scale was the hardest part. The end caps of the scales that bolt them down were not machined well in the slots where the screw goes. Combine the poor machining with the bolt hole being hand drilled and not exactly perpendicular, and the scale would walk about 20 thousands of an inch when the bolt was tightened. You wan't it within about 1/2 a thousandth to work well. So I milled out the end cap slots to accept M6 bolts intead of M4 bolts, and used leveling washers from a fox disc brake adapter. This got the scale walk down to about 2.5 thousandths, and was pretty repeatable. So i set the scale 2.5 thousandths low, and tightening up the bolt brought it almost to zero. Its a really sensitive set up, so I mounted the chip guard to the lathe instead of the normal mounting on the scales themselves, in case I bump it with a bike handlebar or whatever.

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The leveling on the long scale was such a pain in the ass, that I used a different approach for the small scale, and made bracketry to force it level with the precision ground table of the cross slide. This worked perfectly and I didn't have to fiddle fuck with a test indicator to get the scale set well enough to talk to the head unit. Once i machined the parts, it took about 2 minutes to install.

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One problem I had with the small scale was that the carriage lock bolt was placed precisely where the scale should reside. Its hard to see in the picture, but I lathed down the head of the bolt, so its about 1/16" tall and sits under the scale. I can reach it from the side through a slot in the chip guard to use the lock.

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I guess the last point to address is that scales come in 1/1,000,000 resolution or 5/1,000,000 resolution. I'm not sure of the point of one or the other, as the display only displays out to 1/10,000 and the 1/10,000 spot on the display only ever reads 2, 4, 6, 8, or zero, so in reality the display only shows 1/5,000 resolution.

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I'm not sure why the display is the limiting factor rather than the scales. Maybe the chip in it doesn't have the computational power for more? Maybe it would just be irritating to people if it had more decimal places and the small ones were always jumping around from wind, heat change, humidity, bumping the machine, etc. and never sit still.

Anyway, Good luck with the new shop!
 
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buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,786
4,729
Champery, Switzerland
Started to put a new one in the jig yesterday. I chopped off the front of one that I made too short and too progressive to harvest the seat tube assembly. The tapered headtube is kinda tricky to get the DT miter right but I think it’s going to work out. I’m using a hole saw right in between the top and bottom measurements and it’s looking very close.

Bending the down tube to clear the piggyback at bottom out.
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BB miter getting started.
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Harvested seat tube assembly
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Tricky tapered head tube (44/56)
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I didn’t get very far since I was also working on a river gap for the finish line for DH Worlds in Champery in 2025.

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buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
3,786
4,729
Champery, Switzerland
Chopped off the old tt and dt. It was too short and too progressive before.
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I got some runs on my new one and I like it. Right in between my last two which is what I was going for.

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Some pics from yesterday.

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