View Full Version : Where to get 1.5' 0.0625 wall 1010 square tubing?

04-26-2014, 09:36 PM
Where can I get this stuff? Making a Kyoto Cruiser. Searching the web for days. Making my first bike and can't seem to find 1010 carbon steel 1.5" square tubing, or any thin wall hard steel square tubing. Chrome Moly square can only be in 1 inch square or smaller and the 1" tubes cost $210. Ouch. 1010, 1028... or any carbon hardened steel seems to not come in square. All I can find is mild steel but why make it heavy and flimsy? or is this good enough? Could I be searching for the wrong term? So many different grades of steel, A53, A500, A513. A513 square can be had in type 1 (mild steel), but not type 5 hard steel in square.

04-26-2014, 09:57 PM
In order to help with "where can I find" questions, it is useful to know where you are...

As far as carbon steel goes, all of those grades are common mild steel grades and used for square tube. All of the steel suppliers that I have bought from do not specify which grade they have on hand because it varies from day to day. Unless you have a specific application and want/need a specific grade of 10xx then you probably will have to special order it to ensure that you get what you want.

One online supplier is www.onlinemetals.com


04-26-2014, 11:17 PM
Mild steel is what all of Brads plans call for. If built to plan they are not flimsy.
As Bill said not know at least a state it is hard to suggest where.

Welcome to the group.

Also not knowing your weld capabilities just wanted to advise you anything but mild steel requires knowledge beyond the plans. Knowing it stresses and abilities. The plans were developed via Brads experimentation. Anything other than mild steel will question is it too brittle does it need special tempering once welded. We don't know. Does it need to be Tig welded or is there a arc rod to support it or will standard l-65 mig wire work.
In Arizona I go to a supplier of steel for fence material. There are also recycling centers that also sell new mild steel and aluminum.
They collect scrap material so that is a yellow page search for you.
Good luck in your search.

04-26-2014, 11:26 PM
I live in Oregon, USA. I was going to braze. Although my welding and brazing experience is limited I understand brazing temperatures do not effect the strength of the hardened steel so much, unlike MIG welding. I've been practicing on Chrome Molly scraps off butchered bike frames and I seem to have it down. If I go with mild steel will 1/16th" walls be strong enough? Light is nice.

04-27-2014, 12:19 AM
16 gauge is just fine. Brazing maybe an issue as like the metal selection Brad uses an Arc welder. I cannot advise on brazing as structural welding. Brazing bicycles use lugs to hold the frames together. These are specially designed to hold the frame in place. Welding melts the frame pieces into one piece of metal. I won't say it can't be done but it is not advised.

04-27-2014, 04:18 AM
...Brazing bicycles use lugs to hold the frames together. These are specially designed to hold the frame in place...

here we go again...
there are lugged frames which are brazed and brazed frames which do not use lugs - both are perfectly fine

...Brazing maybe an issue...I won't say it can't be done but it is not advised...
AZ bikes are designed for welding
you cannot replace welding with brazing without changes to frame design
if you know what you are doing - fine...

BTW - my bike is brazed without any lugs :taz:

04-27-2014, 04:33 AM
About 40 years ago I owned a just post WWII Racing frame , with metal still being short the frame was fishmouthed and brazed together

But you cannot mixed brazed bits and weld on them without a lot of preparation

Making them an nonviable part to use .

regards emma

04-27-2014, 08:18 AM
If you take a look at the 15,000 (you read that right) Moulton (http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/models.html)bikes they are all "brazed" geodesic frames.
Stainless Steel & silver brazing are a perfectly sound combination (Lugs not necessarily required).

Nothing wrong with quality brazing, its the equivalent of the "glue" used on modern Carbon-Fibre bikes.



04-27-2014, 01:51 PM
If you post up some pictures of your practice welds so far, I'm sure that Bambuko can give you some feedback and tips. I think there is another member who brazes but can't remember who off the top of my head.

Also, what kind of testing of your brazed joints have you been using to validate their strength?

As for a local source your best bet is simply to use maps.google.com and search for "steel near <your address or city" like "steel near portland, or".

Looks like there is a Metal Mart near Portland, so if you are in the Portland area you should be set as they welcome hobbyists. My local owner can get pretty much anything I want, but you are better off asking what they currently have in stock and possibly using a very slightly different size. Also, be aware that it is normally cheaper to buy a full length of steel of 17-24 feet. With some of them the full length is just a little more than about 10 feet worth and you want to make sure that you know what you are being quoted, price/foot or price/foot4length.


04-27-2014, 02:11 PM
I can say that my practice brazing on Crome Moly scraps were strong joints. After making a 90 deg elbow, a 90 deg T intersection and a 60 deg T (more like a y) I put the pieces in a vice and went to town on them with a sledge hammer. The Crome Moly tube consistently bent before the braze joint would fail. The strength of the crome moly was also impressive. A 10 pound hammer just bounces off the bend. It took at least 10 swings before the joints start to bend. If I cut the scrap close to the braze and clamped the vice on this edge of the tube rather than around the whole tube I could beat on it and get the braze joint to separate from the base metal but here all the force was applied to one edge of the seam not the entire joint. I must say I was impressed with the strength of the joint. I made healthy fillets and that is probably important. My first attempt was sloppy and the mating of the two pieces had a gap that allowed the (to hot for the job) torch flame to literally burn up a small part of one tube. After getting a small (size 0) torch tip it was easy to make the fillets beautiful as long as I could rotate the piece hence controlling the filler from dripping or running down away from the joint. I suspect on a larger frame like my Kyoto I might have problems tipping it at the right angle to make the fillets pretty but gaining experience should help me too. I used Acetylene/Oxygen. My friend who had made bikes in the past says he uses MAP/air it isn't as hot so is easier to control the process and the brazing rig is cheep, a hand held can from the hardware store. I also want to put in a plug in for that free tube miter program. I used it to miter the T connections. That and a 1/2 round file and they fit like a glove, because of this I might try making a Warrior in the future with round tubes. Below are the beaten brazed joints.

04-27-2014, 04:04 PM
... I'm sure that Bambuko can give you some feedback...
only very reluctantly and only if specifically asked for - people are too easy to upset :elvis:

... I'm sure that Bambuko can give you some tips...
yes - spend some time reading, for example: this excellent framebuilding forum (http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum/f10/) and practice, practice, practice, practice ... practice :cheesy:

04-27-2014, 04:21 PM
As others have said, there are a gazillion bikes that have been brazed in the world, both with and without lugs. Take a look at some of AtomBikes or Recycled Recumbents builds on BentriderOnline, for an example of some fine lugless brazed builds. I have machines to do both stick and oxy-acetylene welding. I got rid of my MIGs, since they seemed redundant and overly complicated once you know how to stick weld, (My opinion only) and still brazing is one of my favorite techniques.

As far as 4130 steel in large diameter square sizes, you are correct its hard to find because most serious racing car frame builders and aircraft home builders use round. One the other hand, 4130 in 0.065 or even 0.049 thickness in up to 2" round diameter is easy to find at places like Aircraft Spruce for $8-10 a foot. If you going to go to all the trouble and expense of using 4130 you might consider using round, since it looks a lot better (to my eyes) and is stronger per pound in large diameters than square.

A lot of us here weigh 200+ pounds and have not had any trouble with the strength of simple mild steel tubing in Brad's designed 1.5" 16ga steel from our local steel yards. I haven't bought any in a few years, because I have a nice stash, but the last time I did, my supplier (IMS Georgia) was selling mild steel (in pretty much any shape) for about $1 per pound with a 1 stick minimum only (about 20').

If you decide to braze one of Brad's designs, you will need to modify the joints to some extent to account for the brazing. Either you will need to devise some lugs, or build up enough brazing material without lugs to hold the joint together. You're on your own there, since that isn't the way Brad designed em, but it can be done with sufficient thought.