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  1. #1
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    Default 1200s Frame build chop

    This whole project has totally beaten the shit outta me and it's been a real struggle and i haven't even done much yet. Long story short, I worked my ass off a couple years back and bought this clapped out 2000 1200s sporty from a guy that works at the local dealership. It had a terrible rattle can paint job and some fucked up parts I didn't really care for. I sold the mag's, the forks(ups totally fucked me on that and I basically have them away) the bars, tank, and a bunch of other small stuff. I was in welding school at the time and wanted to throw a Haifley tail on it. So I bought one and then thought that I could do better and wanted to have a reason to push myself farther as a fabricator. So in school I built this frame jig that was honestly a little shakey, and that I had to sneak into lab when the head of the department wasn't there. I'd set up my laser shit in a booth and drag my heavy ass jig into there too. Seriously, that shit was fucking heavy as shit. I built like 75 percent of a frame and then I kinda hated it and its still chilling in my backyard and I throw it around when I'm pissed.

    I ended up taking a break on all that, and worked serious overtime for a company that ended up going out of business and I got fucked on alot of money, which was really my fault for Rollin the dice on that, but it was a gnarly experience and I'm kinda glad I did it. Again, that's a long story, and I was planning on spending a nice chunk of that on my sporty I was gearing up to get back into. Ended up scoring a large I beam and jig materials outta that place which ive got set up right now.

    So now I've spent the last six months going from odd job to odd job and have spent the last couple months making decent money and pulling in major overtime at the place I'm currently at and taking a machining class. Since December I've been drawing up plans and buying parts, and bending tubes and building fixtures.

    All in all I've totally destroyed about five sticks of 1" dom tubing, and alot of other materials and have ended up with two attempts at building the lower frame rails. First attempt was spot on and all the bends were perfect, but the frame looked a little hunched and short. I moved things around a cunt hair and stretched the frame just a tad and revised my prints. I make full scale prints that I draw on paper form the local print shop(very cheap) and go off that.
    I did that and copied the prints. Couple times over, fixing little things, and built another set of rails. They came out great, but recently I found out that my prints get slightly distorted Everytime I copy them, so I ended up throwing those away too.

    I also built some fixtures for pressing tubing for clearance, and one blew apart and the other caused the tubing to bend up.

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    So now I'm basically redoing everything I've done before(a hell of alot of work and materials). I learned how to bend compound angles very accurately with a tubing bender, what to expect when pressing tubing, and exactly what I want out of this frame dimensionally. Also I lost my old book of all my notes, which fuckin sucks, but I refigured most of that out. And I have been carrying ten foot sticks of tubing on my little Honda bike back from the metal store, which was incredibly sketchy, but I just got my truck fixed so that's over. It's been a long road of learning alot, finding out what doesn't work, realizing how much I don't know about bikes, and bribing people at school to make parts of fixtures for my frame jig, but I'm ready to roll. Sorry for the long intro, the story is definitely part of the build.

    Here's a pic of what I'm aiming forClick image for larger version. 

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    And what I've done and threw away
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    I blew up a full scale version of the factory ' 48 print, and went off that for reference. I absolutely love the lines of that frame, and the while idea for this build is based off of that. Almost as if harley continued with that idea and never really strayed too far from it. I've seen alot of really cool sporty chops in stock frames with hardtails, but I wanted to do something challenging and something different. I figured I'd get alot of shit for looking too much like a BT frame, but fuck em. I'm using an undrilled cast shovelhead neck I got super cheap, cast axle plates, and sidecar castings(I'm gonna chop the loops and mold alot of the front).

    I had John at hard tail choppers drill the downtube holes at a more narrow angle(highly recommend John) but recently have found out that what I thought was a mostly finished neck casting, is probably a blem casting from MOON from a while back. The neck cup id is too large, the neck itself is too long, country bar is un machined(doesn't matter to me),and the backbone hole is very close but doable(you have to jam it in there to get it in about 2 1/2 inches). After posting a thread in the American bike section I got schooled pretty hard, and have decided to cut the neck in three sections... Neck, downtubes, and backbone, and reweld it together so that I can change the angles a little bit, and so that I know everything is lined up. The thread is very recent and titled "neck from hell".

    Im fairly ready to roll again, and after I fix the neck I will post a how-to on what I have learned from bending tubing, which I'll go thru everything from step one and the little tricks I've learned in the past two months. Feel free to tell me what I'm doing is retarded and why i should do it another way, I'm in this to learn and am pretty tired of having to redo shit three times but I guess that's how it goes sometimes

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    Here's some pics of the neck.
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	100063. It had super cadywompus 1" holes drilled into it so John sluged, welded, and re machined it. I can't wrap my head around how he changed the angles to around 14 and a half(included angle), but he did it spot on like a mill wizard.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    He drilled them at 1", so I had to make some slugs to accept 1 1/8 .120 wall Dom. I'm in Tucson Az, and I did it a Xerocraft, a makerspace. Their lathe sucks balls, but I did it. I tried to machine a steering neck over there and couldn't do it, that lathe is kinda wonky, and I'm a very crappy machinist. Check that place out if your from Tucson, you can go for free a couple days out of the week, and the dude that runs it works on NASA stuff and he's pretty smart.

    I used the 48 print to figure out where the centerline of the downtubes meet so that I could figure out what angle I needed.
    Last edited by Scoobydude; 02-09-2020 at 3:31 PM.

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    I spent a good chunk of time playing with bending tubing on my protools 105, and have gone thru a lot of tubing. I was having a hard time trying to figure out how to make all my bends perfect and how to do compound angle bends. I watched a couple vids on YouTube and on a write up that gets alot of attention on pirate 4x4.com, but I was not getting the same results. It seems like alot of people are using a pre bent 90 degree peice of tubing and using the "bite" mark from their bender to decide where a bend will start, and marking the die at that location. It works for people, but I think it's nonsense. What I like is to build a 2d or 3d version of what I want and pre bend the exact angle and lay it where it goes on my paper layout. I'll mark it beforehand and line that mark up with the edge of my die.

    Here's a pic of my layoutClick image for larger version. 

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    I've got a mash up of newer and older pics, and I changed the "guide" for the tube that goes in the vertical plane from wood to metal. I've recently the lower rails of this thing four times. First time came out great then when I mocked stuff up, I changed the dimensions slightly. Second and third time I screwed it up and now it's on the money.

    Chopper Builders Handbook says clean the inside of that tubing! I use acetone soaked rags, and push them thru with small od plastic pipe.
    Last edited by Scoobydude; 02-23-2020 at 10:26 PM.

  5. #5
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    After drawing up the layout on paper and lining up my vertical portion of the layout with the rest, I had to figure out how to calculate compound angles. First I tried to learn trig, which wasn't going to happen. I found a tutor and he was saying, he doesn't even know how exactly you would calculate how many degrees you would have to "roll" the tubing to bend into a xz plane from an xy one. So instead of that I bent two separate pieces, one for the flat portion and one for the vertical portion of my layout.

    Since I didn't know what the vertical portion was, I bent up some tube and layed it in and then took it back to the bender and kept bending little by little until it fit my layout exactly.now, I worked for a guy that always told me not to put bent tubing back in a bender, because it won't come out right, but that's a bunch of crap. If you have your bend start marking, you just line it back up.
    Verticle peice...Click image for larger version. 

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    Horizontal peice...Click image for larger version. 

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    So now I have two peices of tubing for the compound section. I have a splice line drawn in between the two, and I cut both tubes at that section. Since I'm using .120 wall 1" tube, I threw some .76ish solid bar in them both and now I have an adjustable tube thing with both bends.


    With both tubes joined, and lined up in the layout fixture and on paper, I scribe a center line connecting one to the other. I use another 1" tube beside it and drag a file over both so that the line is even and dead nuts vertical.


    Two tubes joined and scribed, ready to roll to find angle of rotation...Click image for larger version. 

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    Now I take those tubes and place them on the table and let them both roll down so that they are both laying flat in the table. I clamp a small peice of plate on the tube I need to move back into position, and place a digital angle finder on it and hit "zero". Once you rotate that tube back up to its true position, by lining your scribe marks up, you have your "roll" amount.
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    once you put your tube in the bendwr, and you are going to bend into another angle, zero out on your die and match a known plane to that. Then once your in the correct plane throw an angle finder on the tubing and roll it to the desired angle.

    Zero angle finder off die, then line up with known plane...Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
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    Find your roll angle...
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    For added insurance, I double check with the two sluged tubes and confirm correct position.i have fucked a peice this way, bending two right sides...Click image for larger version. 

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    Mine ended up real close, but never exactly perfect. I usually had to persuade them a 1/16" or so to be exactly where I wanted them. I made some clamps that I could clamp the peice down to my layout and slip a tube over the peice and pull or push a bit. Also had some luck opening angles up by smacking them a bit on a hard surface.

    The motor fits pretty snug so that I could get the lines I want on the frame, so I made these press fixtures so that I could indent Click image for larger version. 

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    I also made a really large one for the backbone, but have already tore it apart. On the backbone one, the fixture busted apart and the tubing deformed and got squished, so on the second one I used 1/4 wall 2" dom tubing and welded the shit out of it. It was pretty tight, and the press die was 9" long and the backbone got stuck in the fixture, so I had to cut it out.


    Should only need 1/4 " minimum to be able to take the rocker off to move the motor out of the frame. I've heard Tc bros hardtails have this much clearance.
    Last edited by Scoobydude; 02-23-2020 at 10:40 PM.

  7. #7
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    Here is the leg(drain bolt and engine clearance) and backbone(rocker clearance).Click image for larger version. 

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    After pressing, they both did bend slightly, which I had to persuade back.
    Last edited by Scoobydude; 02-23-2020 at 10:11 PM.

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    Now I'm waiting till Thursday so I can bum a mill to start making the motor mounts, I've got something a little different in mind for them.

    I had a little extra time today, so I coped the "intermediate backbone" or whatever it's called for the neck casting. I don't ever do the software coping thing or anything else other than by hand with a grinder. I lay out my angles on the table and tack "rails" for them to line up. Also tacked some 1/4 inch to the tube , since it's 1" and mates to 1 1/2 ", thus centering it.
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    I get it pretty close, close enough that if I press it into the 1 1/2" , it will locate itself. Then I wrap sand paper around the 1 1/2 and slide back and forth to get a perfect fit.Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9

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    I have never built a frame but modified a couple. I like your endeavor but can hardly see the pics. The coping joint looks great but I think ya gotta bevel the out side of the tube where its coped for better penetration for welding. I hope more experienced individuals will chime in. I like it tho keep up the battle looks like you are doing right. I knew an experienced machinest and he always said it took 3 to get 1 LOL

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    Awesome work so far dude. Way to keep on pushing thru all the bullshit and still not just taking the easy way out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatman View Post
    I have never built a frame but modified a couple. I like your endeavor but can hardly see the pics. The coping joint looks great but I think ya gotta bevel the out side of the tube where its coped for better penetration for welding. I hope more experienced individuals will chime in. I like it tho keep up the battle looks like you are doing right. I knew an experienced machinest and he always said it took 3 to get 1 LOL
    Sorry about the pics, Ill try to get better ones, I know some are smudgy. You are def right on the tube, I get it to where I can't see any light coming thru( I always have a lightbulb behind the cope to check), and when I'm satisfied with fit I will knock the sharpness of the edges so that I'm not welding a sliver of metal to tube.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloudSalvage View Post
    Awesome work so far dude. Way to keep on pushing thru all the bullshit and still not just taking the easy way out.
    Thanks for kind words, I have been a total hermit the past two months really trying to do it right. Lots of time and money in the hole. It's such a drag to keep redoing stuff, but so nice to get something down to a science.

  13. #13

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    get it down to a science and maybe make frames. businesses have been built on less. Maybe start making handlebars? I like what you have going alot. Keep at it!

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    Not a big update on this beyatch, I'm in between jobs and temping at this gem place moving crates of rocks around and it's been wearing me out. But anywho, I re re re re re bent my left lower rail, to get the press area perfect where the primary drain bolt area and worked a bit on my motor mounts. Im just learning how to use a mill at the local makerspace, and have ruined two end mills already( one I dropped, the other one was a two flute I murdered on steel). Click image for larger version. 

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    The goal is add another tube peice around it and make it look like a casting, maybe add a peice of half round bar across it for looks, I'm not sure yet.

    I also took my seatpost and tacked it at the angle I wanted to a peice of bar stock and used it as it's own fixture in a vice in a mill and used an end mill to cope it.
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    When I calculated(eyeball + drawing out on paper) what angle was going to work on my lower rails to be able to go into the sidecar castings and downtubes,... I was a little off. With the frame all in the jig and all peices together, I noticed the downtubes seemed pinched a bit and tight between the neck and sidecar castings. I'm really nervous about having anything forced to be somewhere when I weld it, and having it move when I take it out of the jig. Especially since I'm using that chopsource neck fixture, it's not super rigid. So, i cut my castings and was able to twist them out a hair and also lessen the angle. Now the downtubes do t have any stress in them.
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    Here's what its lookin like so far Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Scoobydude; 03-08-2020 at 10:17 PM.

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    I spent a while yesterday plating with lazers and string lines and all that and am trying to get a good hold on keeping my neck aligned. I would kill to have some super heavy duty neck fixture, but I know all in all, it's just a positioner. I'm using an old craftsman manual adjusting Lazer and lining it up with a string line centered on the center of my jig, then removing my plumb line and centering up the Lazer on the all thread. For extra assurance I threw a peice of 3/4 id tube on it and its lookin really close. I mean, there's only two points of contact, but I wonder if anyone has anything to say about this. I'm hoping to weld most of it up this weekend, just looking for any tips.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quit a shitty job last week, so hoping to get this frame welded up this week. Made the last big peice for the frame today. Spend two days building two different rear sections. I basically copied that area of a knucklehead frame, but it didn't look right. After alot of thinking and playing around, I made a second version that I'm really in to. I figured I'd post some pics on how I set everything up, so I could cope it. Lots of weird compound angles coming together, so I drew it out on paper and then set it up it 3d to cope(took forevvvurrr).

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    After I scrapped that here's what I ended up making
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    Chopper builders handbook was totally right in saying that after welding up your x brace on your rear legs, it will pull in about a 1/4". That's what happened when I took the peice I tacked on to my first peice off. I'm wondering if heating it up might receive the stress?any tips on that?

    I used my homemade 7" CLR wooden die for the bends on both peices(minus the knuck copy one in the farthest bend back towards the axle plates). It gives a nice smooth radius. Got the idea from Cristian Newman, I went and copied the hole placement by taking a protools die to kinkos and copying it on their copyer. It doesn't have the spring back screw thing, but you don't really need that if your cool with always keeping pressure in your bender handle. I've done shitloads of bends with it. It's two peices glued together, and then sandwiched between plate and bolted tight
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    If you normalise all the welded joints before removing the construction tacks it will simplify your life a lot. Since you already cut it loose normalise all the joints ( heat to dull red then allow to air cool) then if it's still not aligned draw it straight.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxzV9VeUpLY When I was much younger I straightened Roto mill cutters 28" od X 8' and filled with lead that warped when welded and filled by drawing with a pair of rosebuds and a bucket of water had to get them within .020 of straight.
    Dusty

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    Flame straightening is badass. I don't get to work with the big stuff but I practiced some on scrap and it's fun.

    I watched that video the first time ya posted it. Every weldor should unless they're already in that league.

  20. #20

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    Just keep at it. You're not making any more mistakes than most people do and you're learning a hell of a lot. If it'll help you I'll send you the big twin and sporty plans I have. Just send me mail.
    As to that neck I'd trash it. I can see from the closeups that it's way warped and twisted. Johns Necks are expensive but well worth it and worth waiting for one. You've got a jig, a motor, forks. If it becomes necessary to build a new frame you're only out the cost of tubing and is in the long run a cheap chopper education.
    https://chopperbuildershandbook.com

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