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Greenhorn
01-07-2009, 11:13 AM
Hello. I have been contemplating trying to build a DIY recumbent for a while and stumbled across the site a week ago. I am fairly good with bicycles but have no experience welding.. I am interested in the HighRacer plans, but without having welding experience, I am a little intimidated. How hard is it to learn welding? Is this a project that a newbie can realistically accomplish? If not, is this something I could take to a local welding shop and pay them to do? My other thought was to do a bastardized version using the metal boom as a "sleeve" for tubing from donor bikes and then drilling and bolting the fork into place in the rear through the steerer tube and doing the same in the front with a downtube/BB from a donor bike.

Is any of this remotely possible, or am I way out of my league? This is my first bike build, so sucess for me is just to have a functional product in the end.

Any comment, suggestions, or chastizements that I am crazy would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

BTW--the design of the high racer looks gorgeous--better than a lot of the $2000 commercial models I have seen.

rickairmed
01-07-2009, 01:24 PM
Hi Greenhorn welcome to the krew welding really isnt that hard to learn I think you'll find alot of the AZ krew here didnt weld before they started building the bikes and trikes here . I have been welding for a long time and taught myself for the most part . There are videos available as well as books to help teach you and most of the guys here are willing to help with tips to get you going.

Rick

trikeman
01-07-2009, 01:44 PM
I second that. I never welded until I bought a welder last year to make my delta wolf. I too am self-taught. It does take some practice, but its really not that hard to make passable welds.

Radical Brad
01-07-2009, 04:59 PM
Welcome!

Soon enough you will be answering this same question as others start the journey!

Brad

Greenhorn
01-07-2009, 07:20 PM
I did a little research this afternoon and it seems wire-fed fluxcore welding is the easiest to learn and (more importantly) less likely to cause injury. Will this type of a welder work? How powerful of a weld machine do I need for this?

But before I go out and burn out my retinas, is my idea of drilling and bolting this thing together totally inane? I realize it would be heavier and not perform as well, but is this even possible?

Odd Man Out
01-07-2009, 07:49 PM
But before I go out and burn out my retinas, is my idea of drilling and bolting this thing together totally inane? I realize it would be heavier and not perform as well, but is this even possible?

Yes it would be possible but with the constant stresses put on the joints, you would have to constantly check them for tightness before each ride. Also (not to put too fine a point on things...) it would be one damn ugly beast. My advice would be to take the plunge and learn to weld. It is a valuable skill that you will take with you through life. Also this "hobby" (better known to us all as an addiction) you are getting into will not be a one time deal. You will want to try other designs and the satisfaction you get when you complete a welded finished product is out of this world. It really can not be described. The building is at least as much fun as the riding. Go for it.

rickairmed
01-07-2009, 07:51 PM
Greenhorn bolting it together would be pretty difficult . I would suggest going down and looking at Tomas's thread here


http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php?t=1817


We talked him into a $100.00 Fluxcore welder from Harbor Freight and he is already sticking metal together on his second attempt at using the machine after some pointers from us . I am sure he will be hunting for stuff to weld in a week after he starts to feel confident in his welds . I would give you the same advice yes a Fluxcore welder is about the easiest to pick up and learn on a stick welder will do exactly that the first several times you try to use it the rod will stick to the metal and drive you nuts :D.


Rick

Greenhorn
01-07-2009, 08:34 PM
Thanks for the encouragement. I feel better knowing I am not the first person to try this who has never welded before. I just have to convice "the boss" to let me go buy a weld machine now. I don't want to spend a whole lot, but would something like this work?


http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00920568000P

I think I will order the plans this weekend and work on coaxing my better half into going along with it. (I always tell her it could be worse, I could be spending more money working on cars).

rickairmed
01-07-2009, 08:47 PM
Greenhorn that welder would work fine . I will tell you to start welding bikes together you are most likely looking at $300.00 to $500.00 in equipment ( depending on what and where you buy ) if you shop at sears expect to spend more if you shop at northern tool or Harbor freight or TSC your dollars will most likely go further . I recomend the hobart auto darkening welding hood that TSC carries . Heres a link


http://www.tractorsupply.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay_10551_10001_44148_-1______14151%7C14220%7C14236%7C44148?listingPage=t rue&Special=false



That is a very good quality hood which you will actually be able to see through :D.


Rick

rickairmed
01-07-2009, 08:58 PM
Greenhorn heres a welder to go with that Hood also at TSC it is a Maxus which I have only mine is the 180 AMP 220 Volt unit . I am quite happy with mine and it compares to a hobart in its abilities. This would give you a welder and good hood for less than the Craftsman so you still have some money for clamps and magnets :D.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay_10551_10001_100356_-1______14151%7C14220%7C14238%7C100356?listingPage= true&Special=false



Rick

Greenhorn
01-07-2009, 09:09 PM
Thanks. How thick is the steel boom used on the highroller?

rickairmed
01-07-2009, 09:18 PM
I am pretty sure the beams in most of Brads plans call for 1/16 thick steel which any of the welders mentioned will handle easily.


Rick

Richie Rich
01-07-2009, 09:53 PM
Don't be afraid to try welding, Greenhorn. Every one of us here were beginners at one point and as you can see by the number of bikes in the 'Gallery', we learned to weld quite well.

It's like riding a bike....once you learn how, you can do it forever.

Good luck with your projects and remember to take LOTS of pictures along the way....

....Richie Rich....
.

greenevegiebeast
01-08-2009, 12:32 AM
welders are your freind, they just take respect and pratice.

:rockon:

John Lewis
01-08-2009, 08:39 AM
Hi greenhorn,

Welcome to this madness. Once you start you just can't stop so be warned.

I too am totally self taught at arc welding. I use a stick welder. My first efforts were rough but they held together. I was a bit worried when I started my DeltaWolf but it turned out fine. I learned by my mistakes as all of us here have.

I'd say just make a start. Have a go and I'm sure you'll surprise yourself.

I built the Wolf with a cheap $90 hobby stick welder. The one thing that helped me most was getting an auto darkening helmet.

Good luck,

John Lewis

SirJoey
01-08-2009, 08:56 AM
The one thing that helped me most was getting an auto darkening helmet. Same here. I'm not much of a welder, in fact, I suk, even after a year & a half,
but without the AD helmet, I'd be TOTALLY hopeless!


http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/7131/sirjoeysigmedij1.gif

theDude
01-08-2009, 02:28 PM
without the AD helmet, I'd be TOTALLY hopeless!

Me too. Before I got my AD helmet I would sometime be 1/2" into a great looking bead of weld before I realized I was a couple inches away from where I was supposed to be :rolleyes4:

pcorbett
01-08-2009, 06:09 PM
Hi greenhorn,

Welcome to this madness. Once you start you just can't stop so be warned.

I too am totally self taught at arc welding. I use a stick welder. My first efforts were rough but they held together. I was a bit worried when I started my DeltaWolf but it turned out fine. I learned by my mistakes as all of us here have.

I'd say just make a start. Have a go and I'm sure you'll surprise yourself.

I built the Wolf with a cheap $90 hobby stick welder. The one thing that helped me most was getting an auto darkening helmet.

Good luck,

John Lewis

What he said.



Just to add just a bit more...... We seem to forgotten the way of the ancients. I learned my carpenter skills from them, boatbuilding skills from them, and working with your hands from these wise ones. They all had one thing in common, they couldn't see crap! Bad eyes and bad whiskey, maybe but they knew how to shed light on their work. A saw sharpener would set up on a bench near a window to cast a glare on his work, a boat builder would set up his shop with windows that he could use the horizon of the sea as a level, and Pete uses a light to cast a shine on his welding. The light bounces off and creates a contrast. I noticed long ago that SJ and his Magic Bus :hippy: was a great setup for a shop 'cause of the windows, hope it works for him.

My light was made from what looks like an old boom style mike stand with steel casters. I welded two small lengths of seat stays on the end of the boom and attached two swivel lights from a floor lamp. I can adjust it over seven feet to down near the floor. Great for under a car hood. Still I need to improve on my welding skills but at least this helps.

Hope this cast some light on your builds. Good luck!


Pete

SirJoey
01-08-2009, 06:43 PM
I noticed long ago that SJ and his Magic Bus was a great setup for a shop 'cause of the windows, hope it works for him.Well Pete, that was pretty much the case before the fire, which neccessitated moving the magic bus to it's new location.

Now my lighting is TERRIBLE! The bus sits alongside my barn, only about a foot away, so the barn blocks most of the light on that side.
On the other side, is the woods, only a few feet away, so most of the light is blocked on that side as well! Bummer!

http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/9008/dsc04521cx7.jpg

The only good thing about the new location is the convenience factor, since it's next to the barn & close to the house.


http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/7131/sirjoeysigmedij1.gif

pcorbett
01-08-2009, 08:21 PM
Move the barn! :builder2:

Pete

Greenhorn
01-09-2009, 10:47 AM
Purchased the plans and I am ordering the welding equipment tonight. Looking over the plans, this is going to be a bit of a challenge. I thought I could do a couple of mods to make it easier though. I don't have much experience grinding or cutting steel, so I want to minimize that. also, i would like to minimze the welding as much as possible.

Looking at some of the bikes in the gallery, it looks like it is possible to insert the donor forks right into the end of the boom and weld it that way (rather than cutting off the forks and welding them to the side of the boom). Also, the instructions mention that if you are using the same sized wheels, you could just drill a hole into the boom for the headtube rather than welding the two boom pieces to the headtube. Last, would there be any problem of using 3 rectangular pieces for the carriage bracket, so instead of one shaped like a "U" it was shaped like this: "[_]" and then weld the BB to the flat part?

I am going to go look for a donor bike this weekend and try and find someplace I can get the steel tubing.

I am very excited about doing this and after reviewing the plans, it looks very challenging but doable, I think.

I'm sure i will have tons a questions along the way, so hopefully I won't become too annoying here.

Thanks for the help and encouragment so far.

rickairmed
01-09-2009, 11:31 AM
Greenhorn one thing I dont remember seeing is what part of the workd you are located in that might help us in helping you find a steel supplier . Ok now onto your questions in looking at the Bike in question online I dont see a problem with sliding the forktube into the end of the main boom for the rear of the bike . I would recomend fishmouthing ( notching ) the main tube so that the forks themselves sit up into the frame slightly . This can be done with a half round file rather than a grinder ( it takes longer this way ) but it is a more precise way of taking the metal down slowly until you have a good fit . The headtube will depend on how wide your maintube is compared to the headtube itself as long as the headtube is not as wide as the maintube this shouldnt be a problem . The carriage assembly that holds the bottom bracket on I would suggest trying to make like the plans show . You could get the two pieces cut into rectangles then drill them for the 2 holes the bolts go through then actually bolt them tegether so you can rough them out together . This could be done by using the grinder to get the general shape and then using a half round file again to make them fit nicely on the bottom bracket ( again time consuming but more precise ) . I would also recomend getting ahold of some scrap steel usually called drops at steel suppliers and practicing your welding on the scraps before you actually start to build the bike itself .Harbor Freight and TSC usually carry reasonably priced File sets which would include a half round file . You can also practice grinding on scraps before jumping in headfirst into building the bike.Most steel suppliers will cut the rectangle pieces needed for your carriage bracket for you for a couple bucks . They wont cut the fishmouths for you just the basic rectangles. I think much like Tomas whose thread I refered to earlier after about a week of practicing your welding you will be ready to tackle the welds on the bike itself . Working slowly and patiently I think you can make most of the parts without to much trouble so my best piece of advice take your time and enjoy the building you will end up with a much more proffessional looking bike in the end and one that you will be proud of becouse you learned how to do new things while building it.


Rick

Greenhorn
01-09-2009, 12:04 PM
I'm in Madison, Wisconsin, braving a snow storm at the moment.

rickairmed
01-09-2009, 12:18 PM
Greenhorn if you go into User Cp which is in the blue bar that runs across the page just above Chopzone and the video links and books . Then go into edit profile you can add your location to your profile and then it will show up every time you post over next to Join Date and post: . That way you wont have to keep reminding us you live in the great white north :D. I did a little google hunting and found a steel supplier in your area :D.


http://www.local.com/details/17748765/madison-wi/dicks-superior-welding-and-metal-sales.aspx


I also noticed its 13* there right now we have warmed up to 30* although the windchill is still in the high teens :D. Tell the supplier you are learning to weld and ask for drops for practice and he should take care of you with some decent drops to practice on .


Rick

Greenhorn
01-11-2009, 02:40 PM
Went to the Madison Bike Swap yesterday. Scored a couple of old steel road forks for $10 a piece, a Mavic front wheel for $20.

rickairmed
01-11-2009, 04:05 PM
Greenhorn keep an eye on your local craigslist . I get alot of bikes off of there the last batch netted me 8 18 - 20" bikes for $15.00 bucks . Dont get me wrong its ood you are collecting parts but I think you be able to get alot more cheaper using local resources . Hows the welding practice oing :D.


Rick

Greenhorn
01-13-2009, 12:38 AM
Is this sufficien steel for the project, taking into account I will probably mess something up at some point?:

T11116 1 X 1 X 16GA (.065 wall) A513 Steel Structural Square Tube
4.0 Ft. 1 In Stock $6.44 $6.44
_________
S116 16 GA. (.060 thick) Steel Sheet Hot Rolled Steel Sheet 1 X 2 Ft. 1 In Stock $12.50 $12.50
_________
T111216 1-1/2 X 1-1/2 X 16GA (.065 wall) A513 Steel Structural Square Tube 6.0 Ft. 1
In Stock $17.10 $17.10
__________
Shipping
(UPS Ground)
(Residential/Farm Address) $20.68
Total: $56.72

rickairmed
01-13-2009, 12:41 AM
Sounds like you have the steel figured out . Did you get a chance to check out the local steel supplier I linked to in your area?


Rick

Greenhorn
01-13-2009, 12:56 AM
Not yet--I am planning on calling him tommorrow. Am I right that I want hot rolled steel as oppossed to cold roll?

Also, I am going to have to go with a Lincoln Electric welder as there is no TSC nearby and they don't sell the maxus online.

I was thinking I should first build some sort of jig out of 2x4s to ensure my wheels will track properly

I've got some leads on the local craigslist for donor bikes.


I just have to space out the expenditures though--and try and build it into another "budget item" to hide the cost from the misses.

rickairmed
01-13-2009, 01:03 AM
LOL Greenhorn I understand the Missus or as we call her on another board SWMBO ( she who must be obeyed ) . Lincoln makes good welders so you will be fine there and yes you want hot rolled steel cold rolled is more expensive .


Rick

Greenhorn
01-13-2009, 01:05 AM
Possible donor352

trikeman
01-13-2009, 01:06 AM
Greenhorn - I don't think you will need any jigs to put together one of Brad's creations. That is one of the advantages of using square tubing - everything is easy to align. We usually tack=weld stuff together and then tap it into shape (if need be) before the final welds are done.

rickairmed
01-13-2009, 01:12 AM
Greenhorn if that donor is free there are useable parts on it if not I would pass.



Rick

Greenhorn
01-13-2009, 01:24 AM
Its not free, but I don't have tons of square time to go scrounging around the dump. suppossedly it is a new, modern BB in it. I'm going to look at it later this week.

rickairmed
01-13-2009, 01:34 AM
Greenhorn I just looked through your local craigslist theres alot of good stuff on there under $50.00 . The Raleigh mountain bike frame looked pretty good for $30.00.


Rick

rickairmed
01-13-2009, 01:39 AM
Theres also some good deals under tools a porter cable sawzall $25.00 and a Dewalt angle grinder $15.00 and even further down a Miller Thunderbolt stick welder for $350.00 :D.


Rick

theDude
01-13-2009, 02:02 AM
That looks like a lugged frame to me. I would pass unless you want to spend a LOT of time filling in the holes.

Greenhorn
01-13-2009, 02:55 AM
I sawthe raleigh, but i don't think it is steel and I was planning on doing
700cc wheels.

rickairmed
01-13-2009, 03:02 AM
I will aree with The dude on the one you showed after taking a second look at it it looks like a luged frame which from what I understand isnt really optimal for hacking due to the way they put them together . I think I would keep watching craigslist for more options also check Yahoo groups in your area for Freecycle and Cheapcycle . I belong to both here and have actually gotten basically new bikes off of freecyclelouisville. One even still had all the tags on it including the paper disk inside the spokes on the front wheel . The Raleigh could be aluminum but I doubt it one thing to carry with you when looking for donor bikes is a small magnet quick way to tell if its steel or not.

Rick

rickairmed
01-13-2009, 03:08 AM
One good place to look for donors is goodwill you can do an online search to see stores near you then simply call the stores and ask if they have bikes in stock if they do go check them out if they dont call back in a week :D.


Rick

theDude
01-13-2009, 03:43 AM
I have been able to pick up quite a few from the local goodwill for $5 a pop.

pcorbett
01-13-2009, 07:15 AM
That looks like a lugged frame to me. I would pass unless you want to spend a LOT of time filling in the holes.


I agree with the Dude. I was posting on this fact when I noticed that the dude had hit that point. Granted there are sometimes parts you may be able to use. Iv'e got parts plenty and do get a little picky now and then. If it ain't free, let it be.


Wow looking ahead in the post everyone else hit on this these points with the same advice. I've either got to stay up later or get up earlier:sleep1:

It"ll be one fast machine. Enjoy your build.

Pete

Greenhorn
01-13-2009, 10:09 PM
Ordered the steel today. Online was about as 1/2 as cheap as local dudes.

Got some leads on some frames from C.L.

rickairmed
01-13-2009, 10:40 PM
Good deal Greenhorn you might still check with the local guys about drops usually they sell drops pretty cheap and it gives you something to practice welding and grinding on without wasting your good steel you just paid decent money for :D.


Rick

Greenhorn
01-15-2009, 12:36 PM
That looks like a lugged frame to me. I would pass unless you want to spend a LOT of time filling in the holes.

So I guess I should pass on a $50 Schwinn World Sport then? Isn't it hard to find steel roadbikes that aren't lugged? I thoght most manufacturers lugged their lower-end roadbikes until the end of the 80s?

rickairmed
01-15-2009, 12:42 PM
Greenhorn the only major problem with Lugged frames is the parts you need such as the head tubes and bottom brackets will have large holes to fill in them as compared to a nonluged frame which will have holes the size of a pencil eraser or smaller to fill . I personally look for mountain bikes and BMX bikes for donor parts as they usually dont have lugged frames.


Rick

moejosteve
01-15-2009, 01:44 PM
Hey Greenhorn! Check your local cop shop's property room for abandoned and stolen rides. They often have el-cheapos with usable materials.

Greenhorn
01-17-2009, 08:23 PM
found a frame at goodwill for $25. It is a green GT outpost with Shimano Axcera components. The sticker on the seat tube said ChroMo on it, When I got it home and removed the water bottle, I saw the full sticker says "ChroMo Main tubes" I am assuming this means the rear triangle is aluminum and will be useless to me. Anyone know if the BBshell and/or headtube on this bike is steel?

rickairmed
01-17-2009, 08:32 PM
Greenhorn a refrigerator magnet will tell the tale of steel or aluminum :D.


Rick

trikeman
01-17-2009, 09:13 PM
Greenhorn - I doubt the rear triangle is Aluminum. Even on many aluminum labled bikes, the rear frame is often steel. The main reason they usually label only the tubes are ChroMo is because ChroMo is more expensive and they use as little as possible on less expensive bikes.

Greenhorn
01-17-2009, 09:48 PM
DOH.....


As one of my high school teachers used to say: "You have to be smarter than a toilet to flush it." :rolleyes4:

The bike is indeed steel--main tubes are chromo, the rest is HiTen. It is a female bike so it actually has 2 rear triangles.

I think the frame should work out nicely. The components suck, but I was planning on getting new ones anyways.


Now the fun part: I get to start hacking it apart!! :punk:

Greenhorn
01-19-2009, 01:24 PM
Choices Choices Choices.

The time has come to make some design choices. I have a smattering of parts and cannot decide whether to use MTB parts or road parts.

On the road bike side
I've got a entry level mavic front wheel 700cc. 2 Road forks; functioning caliper brakes

On the MTB side, from the old GT I salvaged, I got: 2 26" wheels that are heavy and need to be trued, a mtb fork, Shimano acera components. Oh, and I have a set of 26" 1.5 "road" tires (only 80 psi)


I'd like to make this bike as light and as fast as possible, but that is going to mean buying all new parts/or finding a somewhat modern road bike with working components and a rear wheel not made of steel.

I could use the components from the GT, but they seem pretty crappy and the wheels seem heavy. However, the major problem I see is the brake issue. If I use road forks with 26" wheels, I'm not going to be able to get the brake to reach. I'd have to fabricate some form of brake extender mount for the front wheel.

If I find a new rear 700cc, i'm likely going to need all new drivetrain components, as the GT i salvaged is a 7 speed w/ MTB gearing.

I'm also a little concerned with the height issue. Will I be able to get on and off of a bike with 700cc wheels? I am 5'9" and plan to have the seat very reclined.

Any thoughts?

rickairmed
01-19-2009, 01:51 PM
Greenhorn I am pretty sure from reading posts here that 700CC wheels would be a stretch for reaching the ground at 5'9" which is also my height . I myself am planning a marauder build so I wont have any issues reaching the ground on it :D. I have to of course finish the BabyTadploe first and I already have my 15YO son wanting o build a full sized tadpole so mine may be put off longer as he wants to help build his and as long as I can keep him interested in welding and fabbing I will help him on his project. I have helped him learn the basics of welding but he hasnt gotten to run the chop saw yet :D. I would go for the Mountainbike parts myself but then again I am not looking for maximum speed just something comfy to cruise the neighborhood and bikepaths on .


Rick

pcorbett
01-19-2009, 04:27 PM
I already have my 15YO son wanting o build a full sized tadpole so mine may be put off longer as he wants to help build his and as long as I can keep him interested in welding and fabbing I will help him on his project. I have helped him learn the basics of welding but he hasnt gotten to run the chop saw yet :D.

Rick

You are a good Dad.

I'm about the same ht. as you guys and I go along with Rick. Seems my highroller with 24" wheels is higher in the seat than the Meridian. I'd like to see a 700 done to Brads plan before I would do it. It would be some fast though. Makes me want to spec my bikes now for reference.

Pete

rickairmed
01-19-2009, 04:58 PM
I just watched the video on the highroller and knowing Brad uses 26" wheels on pretty much everything and also knowing he is a short buger like us :D. I also noticed his toes are what hits the ground at the end of the video ( he is not flat footed on the ground ) . I would say you would have to be 6'+ to use 700 wheels on a highroller and feel comfortable stopping it . Thank you Pete for the compliment although they might argue that with you somedays :D I can be a harda$$ as far as school and learning goes .


Rick

Greenhorn
01-19-2009, 05:38 PM
Thanks guys. Thats what i thought-- I'll stick with the 26 ers.
Plus, it will be easier on the wallet-I just want to get the bike to work now, i can always upgrade components later after I upgrade my bent "engine."

rickairmed
01-19-2009, 06:25 PM
No problem Greenhorn . Remember you can always start your build with the metal rims and keep your eye on craigslist and the goodwill stores for a decent set of aluminum 26" rims :D.

Rick