These are photos of my first attempt - and only so far - at building a bike frame. Built in 2003, it's racked up at least 20,000 miles since these photos were taken! If you scroll on to the right, I've included a few photos of the building process.
As of January 2013 the 000,000,001 has been retired. It has gacefully weathered ten years riding, several crashes and a couple seasons of racing without a single creak or groan, but he old Campy seatpost was made of steel and has slowly rusted, becoming one with the seat tube. It's not as though I really needed to change the seat height, but that was my excuse for getting a gorgeous new titanium job...
|My first frame, hence the #000,000,001 serial number. All steel, all lugged - built of Dedacciai Zero main tubes, Uno fork blades and Walter Pavessi (sp?) lugs from Joe Bringheli. I borrowed geometry clues from Torelli, Colnago, Bianchi, steering advice from Bill Boston, sizing calculations from the Hinault/Genzling method graciously posted by Andy Newlands on his StrawberryBicycle.com website. The beautiful paint is by Gene Powell...||Silver brazed all the lugs but used nickel-silver at the dropouts. I learned a great deal of what I needed to start by cyber-attending Freddy Parr's On-Line Framebuilding School. He lets any idiot with a computer enrol, but the tuition is cheap... Got what else I needed, knowledge and advice wise from Josh Putnam's wonderful Framebuilder's list, and all the resident masters of the craft there. Went all european components where I could (except for a US headset). No offense to the Japanese who make lovely stuff of course, but with Italian tubes and lugs...||The dish in the seat stay is a scrap of seat tube, nickel-silvered in place, and then silvered onto the side of the seat cluster. There are still some learning gouges visible through the paint, and some gaps along the shoreline, but next time all will be smoother, maybe... All the joints were pinned and silver soldered following Richard Sachs excellent photo examples... BTW this is a steel seat post, a Campy Centaur, and it fit without reaming, though really snug.||Now I know to taper the points down, so these look a little clunky... My headset press had not arrived from Holland at the time of this photo so I slapped things into place best I could with a piece of all-tread and wrenches. The apparatus hurt my hands, so I quit before it was done...||I didn't do any cold setting to straighten the frame, though by no means is it so straight it couldn't use some. I haven't checked alignment with anything more elaborate than calipers and the surface of my table saw, and string - but it rides gooood...... Did all "pre-setting" with solid bar anvils and a brass rod "drift" at this lug especially.||This is the second brake bridge I installed. The first one got cut too short because I didn't think to put a spacer in at the rear dropouts - with the spacer in place, the seat-stays spread apart ever so slightly and let the bridge slip up too high...||FIRST time I took it out on the road, a guy pulls up alongside with his window down and hollers, "Hey, where do you go to get a "Dougherty" frame?" How cool is that? Here you can see the fork crown is not yet tooled for the headset bottom race; I rode it like this for 500 miles before the new tools from Holland arrived. Don't recommended it. It screws up the steering geometry a little, the proper functioning of the bearings a whole lot.||This is the bottom bracket after angles were set and openings filed to fit. The nails are for "pinning" the joints prior to brazing.||The tube ends are shaped to fit using an angle grinder, a die grinder and then file. Then they're dry assembled into the lugs and drilled for pins.||Even with lugs, the tubes need to be fit closely into each other so you get a good bond at the ends. Brazing material is drawn into the joint and forms a filet on the insides.||To get tube lengths and angles correct, I laid out a full size drawing of the frame over my table saw. The bottom bracket is clamped to the table on top of it's spot in the drawing and tubes are set in place and measured using the engineer's angle (out of focus) sitting at the back in this photo. The table's machined flat surface is perfect for aligning the frame. if the tubes are parallel with with the table-top, they're parallel with each other.||The tools. A drill press would have been nice, too. I've got one now..... The steel bars at the right are for use as anvils inside the lug throats to set the tube angles to your design. Lugs come from the store pretty close to what you need, but there is usually some adjustment required. They didn't make the photo, but there is a brass rod "drift" and hammer for use with the anvils. Also not showing is the torch, just a basic oxy-acetylene set-up in this case, though beautiful light-weight handles are available, too.||Pins in place and slathered up with flux, inside and out. And not nearly enough, either, BTW. If you're as stingy with your flux as this, you get little burnt resin edges that are a bi-otch to sand out later. The top of the seat tube is left un-cut at this point so your torch heat distributes more evenly. File it flush with the lug after brazing.||You can't see it here, but the head tube is left a little long at both ends like the seat tube was. Not enough flux! The stuff aint gold.....||The bottom bracket. The ends of both tubes extend into the bracket shell and are ground away after brazing - one is notched to allow the other past... Nail heads are gound flush, too.||Front drop outs, right after brazing, and after filing smooth. I should have shown aligning the fork blades in the crown - you can lay it across the table saw top to verify all four corners lay flat, meaning the blade ends at the tops and at the drop-out ends all touch the surface, no rocking.||Rear drop-outs. The ball-ends allow your seat-stays to angle to where you need them. From here they go into the bottom bracket sockets. When you're sure these are set to the correct length, then you move on to fitting the seat stays. I used a wheel I trusted to verify alignment, though a jig made for the purpose would be less unwieldy.||Top of the seat stays. The dish is cut from a piece of left-over top tube. I used brass here, and silver later on to join the finished end to the seat cluster - because brass melts at a higher temperature. Supposedly you can do it using the same filler at both, though I worry that as you're making the seat cluster weld, the end piece will get hot and drop off - or shift a little at the very least. There's no photo showing it, but I drilled through this dish-end and pinned the top of the stays to the cluster, so there's a mechanical joint as well as the weld.|