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    Frame building shop tools

    Over the next two years, I am going to equip a bicycle frame building shop. I am making this thread to solicit help in selecting the right equipment, particularly a welder and mill.

    I will probably buy all of the things from this place http://www.anvilbikes.com/anvil-tools/ that pertain to making 4130 Chromoly steel cargo frames, so that covers the jigs and tube bender.

    I plan to only do TIG. I am taking classes on brazing and Ti, but the frames that I make will be TIG steel. This class is what I will be doing: https://www.bikeschool.com/index.php...frame-building

    I only do this for a hobby. I know it doesn't make financial sense, but I work long hours so I need to get the most out of my limited hobby time. My frame building tool budget starts at $18K, but it is okay if it goes up to $36K.

    I have visited one frame building shop in my life. The guy had a large (metal?) table that he used to repair my frame. He did TIG stainless. I wonder why I didn't see a jig.

    I currently don't have 220V in my garage and I rent, so I might have to power the welder with 110V. I don't even know if that is enough power. It is doubtful that I would put in a 220V outlet in my landlord's house, and renting a warehouse with a 220V outlet is unaffordable.

    I had a link to an appropriate welder, but I deleted the link. Can any of you guys or gals please point me in the right direction for a welder, mill, band saw, lathe or anything else you think that I would need?

    I am starting my welder search here: https://www.millerwelds.com/equipment/welders/tig-gtaw
    Last edited by commuter ebikes; 12-24-2017, 10:18 PM.

    #2
    I wonder if this welder would be enough: https://www.millerwelds.com/equipmen...welders-m30132

    Comment


      #3
      I can't help with specifics, but whatever you get, I'd make sure it works with 220V. I've never done bike frames, but I wouldn't buy a mill, lathe or welder that is110V. Maybe with thin-wall tubing (only), you can get away with it. But it still seems like a huge limitation for possible future uses/projects. If you are spending $18K+, I'd consider the cost of running a 220V circuit (or two, or three) into the cost of outfitting the shop.

      Comment


        #4
        Ambitious my friend. Good luck and much success with what will certainly be an epic experience!

        110VAC no way I’d even consider a semi-serious shop, welder, air compressor, etc., NOT on 220VAC.

        Taken a step further, my brother owns some 3 phase machine tools but operates them in single phase boondock country by using a large battery bank and 3qty not so cheap Outback inverters. Very cool to have commercial power available out in the boonies….

        Wish there was more help here for your questions? Have you found frame building forums to pick some nuggets up here and there? Go sweep floors for a builder to gain some insights? How much hands on with currently outfitted and working environment? That would seem to be paramount, IMO...

        These decisions will play a roll in everything moving forward. If you don’t really have a genuine working grasp of the needs yet, as we’ve learned with eBikes, there’s simply vast numbers of nuances which can/will result in less than satisfactory consequences?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by commuter ebikes View Post
          I wonder if this welder would be enough: https://www.millerwelds.com/equipmen...welders-m30132
          I don't know much about TIG. The stick, MIG, and gas welding I have done is all self taught. I read up a little and found out that Miller you linked to will only do steels. You need AC for aluminum. Maybe read this page over for some info. http://www.welderworld.net/

          My EX son-in-law is a very good TIG welder but we don't talk to much anymore.

          Comment


            #6
            I tend to agree with 220V equipment but you can get away with 110V for most things. I have a 110V lathe, bandsaw, planer, edger, grinders, drill press, and such which work fine for light work, and I used to survive with a 110v compressor and arc welder. The 110 compressor is iffy for any air tool use, just not real efficient.

            Welding on 110V was very limiting. Welders designed for 110 were not very high end. Maybe that changed in the last 20 years, since I upgraded.

            You might consider a nice used generator you can make quiet, invest in that while you live where you do now, and just use for welding, or for any tools on 220? Then sell off again when you move, for most of what you have into it? You will wind up with better tools, if the hassle agrees with your personal goals.
            Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

            Comment


            #7
            Originally posted by commuter ebikes View Post
            I wonder if this welder would be enough: https://www.millerwelds.com/equipmen...welders-m30132
            I think that welder would be fine for your use. I have a 150 STL and it has plenty of power even on 110v to do thin wall tubing. It can also be used on 220v when or if you ever get the power. It has arc on lift feature which means you touch the tungsten to the work and the machine turns on the gas and then the current when you lift off. A high frequency machine would be nice since you do not need to ever touch the work with the electrode, plus you can weld aluminum. If you think you might want to do aluminum in the future, get a hi-fi. If you don't, I would not bother. Definitely invest in the foot pedal remote.

            Comment


            • commuter ebikes
              commuter ebikes commented
              Editing a comment
              I will definitely be using a foot pedal.

            #8
            Thanks for all the helpful responses. I sent an inquiry about getting 220V in the garage.
            Last edited by commuter ebikes; 12-25-2017, 03:20 PM.

            Comment


              #9
              My Dad is a retired electrician & he is coming out tomorrow to put 220V in the garage. He said it will cost about $200-$300. Does anybody know how much current I might need? I think the house now has two 50A breakers.

              I already have a good 110V drill press & cutoff saw.

              Comment


                #10
                50A would be nice but most likely 30A will be easiest. 30A 220V is still 4x power Watts as 15A 110V.

                Comment


                • commuter ebikes
                  commuter ebikes commented
                  Editing a comment
                  We will shoot for 50A and settle for 30A. Thanks.

                #11
                I have a Miller Mig 185 and it runs fine on 30/220.
                Last edited by commuter ebikes; 12-31-2017, 12:39 PM. Reason: I changed "Ming" to "Mig".

                Comment


                #12
                Originally posted by NOBLNG View Post

                A high frequency machine would be nice since you do not need to ever touch the work with the electrode, plus you can weld aluminum. If you think you might want to do aluminum in the future, get a hi-fi.
                Actually that STH machine with hi-fi in the above link will NOT do aluminum as it is DC only. You need a machine with AC output to do aluminum

                Comment


                  #13
                  I will not be welding any aluminum or Ti. I plan on only using 4130 Chromoly.

                  I will know more after I take the framebuilding classes in April, but I don't even know why I would need a mill. I also don't even know if I will need a lathe. Good thing I am taking the classes.

                  I can see that the Anvil order will be a financial apocalypse. I plan on getting the following:

                  Journeyman frame fixture (jig) (http://www.anvilbikes.com/portfolio-item/t4/ or http://www.anvilbikes.com/portfolio-item/t3/),

                  Universal tube holder (http://www.anvilbikes.com/portfolio-item/uth/),

                  head tube pucks,

                  bottom bracket adapters,

                  main tube metering fixture (http://www.anvilbikes.com/portfolio-...orizontal-mtm/ or http://www.anvilbikes.com/portfolio-...ering-fixture/),

                  seat stay metering fixture (http://www.anvilbikes.com/portfolio-...ering-fixture/),

                  chain stay metering fixture (http://www.anvilbikes.com/portfolio-...ering-fixture/),

                  tubing bender (http://www.anvilbikes.com/portfolio-...ing-rodriguez/), and

                  iso mount front and rear disc brake tab fixtures (pictured below).

                  Just the Anvil order will have me working nose to the grindstone for at least two years, making sure not to spend money on anything else.

                  It would seem the first step in this process is just to work and save. I already told my boss to max out my OT for the next three years.

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	feng-shui-400.jpg Views:	1 Size:	35.6 KB ID:	54042Click image for larger version  Name:	phrunt-shui-400.jpg Views:	1 Size:	38.7 KB ID:	54043
                  Last edited by commuter ebikes; 12-25-2017, 07:24 PM.

                  Comment


                    #14
                    I watched a long, detailed video series about the mill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imc3Kii2Ut0 and it looks like just this one tool would take up 15-20% of my entire garage. It weighs over 2500 pounds. As a renter, this would be difficult to move every time my landlords want to sell their houses (which has been about every 6 years). I will have to get a mill which takes up less space and not so hard to move.

                    I still don't understand why I need a mill to make bike frames, but I guess I will find out when I take the classes.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	mill.PNG Views:	1 Size:	391.3 KB ID:	54068

                    Comment


                    • Poco Askew
                      Poco Askew commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Looks like overkill, but I don't do bike frames.
                      Definitely don't buy ANYTHING until you know why you need it. ;)

                    • commuter ebikes
                      commuter ebikes commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I am definitely only going to buy what I need. The frame building tools will be pushing my garage space and budget to their limits.

                    #15
                    Originally posted by commuter ebikes View Post
                    I watched a long, detailed video series about the mill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imc3Kii2Ut0 and it looks like just this one tool would take up 15-20% of my entire garage. It weighs over 2500 pounds. As a renter, this would be difficult to move every time my landlords want to sell their houses (which has been about every 6 years). I will have to get a mill which takes up less space and not so hard to move.

                    I still don't understand why I need a mill to make bike frames, but I guess I will find out when I take the classes.

                    Click image for larger version Name:	mill.PNG Views:	1 Size:	391.3 KB ID:	54068
                    I wanted to build a sand rail years ago and found the Eastwood Co. Could their products work for you because they are vastly cheaper, smaller, and used for the same thing.
                    http://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-tub...e-saw-kit.html

                    They also have power coat kits.

                    Comment


                    • commuter ebikes
                      commuter ebikes commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Wow, that tubing notcher and hole saw looks like it could save me loads of money. I never even knew that tool existed.

                      I did a lot of business with Eastwood Co. back in about 2004 with auto body work. I found them to be a professional operation with great products.
                      Last edited by commuter ebikes; 12-26-2017, 10:07 AM.
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