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Happy Holidays to everyone. I have been watching the posts on this forum for a while. I have a very specific project I want to build. This project will certainly be an art attempt but I want it to also be functional as well. The point of my question is I am starting from scratch and am going to need to purchase a welder a jig and have th ability to miter tubes. Anyone have any ideas of what costs I should expect to incurr to get started? Please keep in mind I really don't want to cut corners and compromise doing it right, but I am not getting the keys to a home depot for a shoping spree any time soon. Thanks.
 

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without knowing specifically what you want to do, it's hard to say.

* of course you can buy a quality used welding machine for 1k-1.5k.
* Wiring for welding machine? a few hundred. try to get a 220 machine if you plan on welding outside of an industrial environment.
* Gas, tank... $200
* hole saws cost about $12 each from MSC
* hose saw arbor from paragon. 1 of each size = 2, $25
* files, saws, vises, bech, lights, shelves, grinder, chair, emery, dremel, etc.= a few thousand.


jigs and fixtures really depend on what you are working with and what you need to get done. what's up?
 

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Alot....

I'm kinda in the same boat. Trying to do this weel, but also on a budget.
There are the obvious things like welder (or torch), gas, jig etc.
But then all the little things come into play which really adds it up... Tungsten, grinding wheel, vise, blocks, files, hack saw blades.
I'm finding it adds up real quick.
 

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It can cost a lot. I have a lot invested in it but.....It can be done for relatively little money.

Things like a bench, vise,etc are things that any handy person really should have. Heck it is as good for fixing the kitchen sink as for building bicycles.

As far as the specifics, you can really get away with very little. Fancy jigs, heck any real fixturing is not a necessity for framebuilding on a singular basis. I could build just off a flat surface and some simple tools like a straight edge and string.

Even a new smith torch is 150 dollars. Find tanks and regs off a craigslist. Miters? all can be done with files. No mills, or PVD's hose saws or anything like that:D

The rest can be had from you local hardware store.

If you start talking TIG welders, professional fixtures, milling machines, lathes, and the myriad of other stuff it can cost a ton. A full pro frame shop can run 25k and up. 50-100k is not unheard of. So to answer....between 1 and 100k;)

Dave Bohm
Bohemian Bicycles

P.S. After a bench, vise and files. My tube blocks are a must have!

http://www.bohemianbicycles.com/tchotchke.html
 

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dbohemian said:
It can cost a lot. I have a lot invested in it but.....It can be done for relatively little money.

Things like a bench, vise,etc are things that any handy person really should have. Heck it is as good for fixing the kitchen sink as for building bicycles.

As far as the specifics, you can really get away with very little. Fancy jigs, heck any real fixturing is not a necessity for framebuilding on a singular basis. I could build just off a flat surface and some simple tools like a straight edge and string.

Even a new smith torch is 150 dollars. Find tanks and regs off a craigslist. Miters? all can be done with files. No mills, or PVD's hose saws or anything like that:D

The rest can be had from you local hardware store.

If you start talking TIG welders, professional fixtures, milling machines, lathes, and the myriad of other stuff it can cost a ton. A full pro frame shop can run 25k and up. 50-100k is not unheard of. So to answer....between 1 and 100k;)

Dave Bohm
Bohemian Bicycles

P.S. After a bench, vise and files. My tube blocks are a must have!

http://www.bohemianbicycles.com/tchotchke.html
Actually he is right, I was just kind of "venting" when I wrote that because I don't have the money for the things I want/need...lol :madman:
 

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Want vs. Need

I like to refer to what gets done and how in third world countries as to what is truely needed to get a job done. After that it's all want.

Example: I only hand file mitres when forced. I'll use hole saws on a milling machine. Need to, no. Want to, yes.
 

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Bike Dork
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Start with the cheap stuff and get better stuff as you progress, IF you progress. I started with a $500 jig built by a guy in Texas as a project. I spent maybe another $500 on everything else to build my first 2 frames. I built 2 other frames on that same jig then sold it and bought another. The second jig I got I had for a couple years and sold it. After buying and selling and trying out various other framebuilding stuff It's all paid for itself and I know what I like and need. Now I have everything including a Nortac jig and at a cost of $0 and some time and effort.

Used stuff is just falling out of the trees right now, so go grab some.
 

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Who turned out the lights
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10" & 12" Warding files - $25
8, 10, 12" half-round bastard files - $40
Bohm tube blocks - $100
Wilton vice and brass inserts - ?
O/A setup (victor J-28 handle, 0 tip, gauges, tanks) - $750
Jig - $400 if you build your own out of 80/20, $1500 for Bringheli, $3500 for Anvil
Needle files and emery cloth - $100
Good hacksaw and multiple blades - $50

The rest of it all goes in the 'want' category. Pick and choose wisely to save yourself time/effort/money. I don't love hand filing miters, but I will until the old lady lets me spend more money. I'm still working toward completing my list, but I'm getting there.
 

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Eric the Red
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I have about 100$ in my jig made out of 80/20. Granted, some of the parts were made in the machine shop where I work for free. I've made all my own fixturing, and I've had as much fun building it as I have building the frames. So from a cost/benefit perspective, making the stuff to make frames with is a better value than making frames;)
Mitering with files isn't as bad as some would lead you to beleive, I actually like it. It prolongs the build process a little, but when I finished my first frame I was actually sad because I had enjoyed it so much and didn't have the cash to start another right away. Don't get me wrong riding my new bike was great, but if I'd only wanted a bike, I could have just bought one and gotten that instant gratification that is so popular these days. Besides, if you're just getting started it's a lot easier to tear stuff up with machinery. Get a hacksaw and some files to crawl with before you run with scissors :)
 

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Non Dual Bliss
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A tubeset, a handful of files, a sturdy bench vise, and patience is all you need if you just want to build a frame or three. If you want to make a living at it, that's a different question.
 

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Instead of making an xmas list and spending thousands all at once, try to find some little projects that you can do. Add a disc brake mount to an older frame. Convert a frame to horz drops, or even sliders. Add some braze-ons. Add canti bosses to an old road frame with room for 32 tires.
Ask your friends, these projects will come out of the woodwork. Ask for a 6 pack as payment and they won't fuss if your brazing is globby or if you rattle can the paint.
Do some frame repairs. Replace a cracked cs, or an ovalized headtube. Last year I filled a dent in a TT with some silver and added a disc brake mount. Completely resurrected an vintage old steel Kona. Very satisfying to give a bike new life.

What you gain here is some confidence and a realistic idea of what tools YOU need. You will also be forced to build some of your own tools as you go. I did this for a few years before I ever got around to actually building a complete bike.
 

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Anti-Outsourcer
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I'm going to slightly hijack this thread, but not too bad...
Say one would like to dive in head-first and produce a half dozen or so DJ hardtails out of 4130 over the next year. Minimal welding experience, but the need for hours upon hours of practice are understood. Basic shop tools like files, hacksaws, small drill press etc. are already present. What specific tools would one need to produce a couple durable (read: "ugly") frames on the semi-cheap?

PS:I do some knife-making so I have basic metal-working tools, and I've done my fair share of painting so the finishing process is all taken into account already.

PS: Yes, I read the sticky about this sort of thing, but like the thread starter, I'm looking for a bit more depth before writing up my shopping list and shelling out the bulk of my start-up capital.

Thanks for any help fella's.
 

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local trails rider
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... another tangential question ...

How is the cost between gear for welding and brazing?
What about difficulty of producing solid joints with each method, assuming no prior experience?
 

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CheeseSoda said:
I'm going to slightly hijack this thread, but not too bad...
Say one would like to dive in head-first and produce a half dozen or so DJ hardtails out of 4130 over the next year. Minimal welding experience, but the need for hours upon hours of practice are understood. Basic shop tools like files, hacksaws, small drill press etc. are already present. What specific tools would one need to produce a couple durable (read: "ugly") frames on the semi-cheap?

PS:I do some knife-making so I have basic metal-working tools, and I've done my fair share of painting so the finishing process is all taken into account already.

PS: Yes, I read the sticky about this sort of thing, but like the thread starter, I'm looking for a bit more depth before writing up my shopping list and shelling out the bulk of my start-up capital.

Thanks for any help fella's.
I think that you should go back and read some of the threads posted on this forum in the past. What you are asking is just stupid. With no experience to production frame builder. It makes no sence. It's not a smart start.
 

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Does DJ stand for dirt jump? Sorry, I am out of touch.

I have mixed feelings about this kind of guy. Sorry but you are about to get stereotyped.:thumbsup:

I get at least two calls a year and I even had a relative in the business that some really enthusiastic BMX'er type wants to build frames. I love the energy but it is always and I mean always like they have never thought it past the daydreaming stage.

My relative? oh he went out of business too. You just can't compete when an expensive frame in that industry is 350 bucks, usually a lot less. They all seem the same, oh they change up the seat stays or something, but that is not enough to differentiation to sell anything.

So the question is why six frames? what do you want to design that is different than the rest of the stuff? You can still build six, one at a time for cheap, just will take a while. Gearing up at all will cost you a lot more than just buying six premade frames like that. A lot more.

Make one for yourself for fun is my advice.

Dave Bohm
Bohemian
 

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perttime said:
... another tangential question ...

How is the cost between gear for welding and brazing?
What about difficulty of producing solid joints with each method, assuming no prior experience?
Generally speaking, brazing will have notably lower startup costs.
Either method will produce a solid joint. The difficulty in doing so, and the time it will take, depends on how much you practice and your ability to pick your chosen method up.

Good luck!
 

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That depends

The equipment for fillet brazing or lug work is generally quite a bit cheaper, but it's possible to find used TIG gear on craigslist and such.

So if you're buying new, O/A is the way to go, for sure. Much much cheaper, and useful even if you decide to get a TIG setup in the future. If you can find used stuff, get whatever you prefer - I'm sure with some patience you can score a complete used TIG setup for <$1k. You can probably get a set of O/A tanks, regulators, torch, etc, for even less if you haunt Craigslist for long enough.

As for the actual joining, I feel that it's a little bit easier, though not much, to make a safe fillet joint as a beginner than a safe TIG joint. Making a nice fillet joint is much harder, of course, but if you don't mind some lumpiness or are willing to spend a lot of time filing, fillet is the way to go.

That's just my opinion. I am not much of a fillet person, so my expertise there is pretty limited. It took me a LONG time to get decent at TIG.

-Walt

perttime said:
... another tangential question ...

How is the cost between gear for welding and brazing?
What about difficulty of producing solid joints with each method, assuming no prior experience?
 

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At least for me TIG welding was a lot longer process to learn than fillet brazing or lug brazing.

TIG welding is a more expensive process up front and stays just about as expensive as brazing because of consumables and purging gasses. Of course, those that do become proficient need almost no post welding work. Brazing always has some amount of soaking the flux and whatever finishing work you want to do.

Dave B
Bohemian
 
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