Frame Building

  • Cromoly Brazing
  • Cromoly TIG Welding
  • Titanium
  • TIG Welding Seminar
  • FAQ

 

Cromoly Brazing Frame Building

UBI Cromoly Brazing Frame Building Class

Who Will Benefit:

  • First Time Frame Builders
  • Career Oriented Mechanics
  • Enthusiasts Desiring to Build Their Own Frame


Prerequisites:

None - this is an entry level class.


What You Will Learn:

UBI Cromoly Brazing Frame Building Class

Since many of the higher quality custom bicycle frames are brazed, it is no surprise to us that our most popular frame building course is our Chromoly Brazing Frame Building class. We recommend it for the avid cycling enthusiast, the bicycle shop mechanic, shop manager, or the student who aspires to become a professional frame builder. Both lugged and fillet brazed frame building is covered.

Though the course is intense, numerous beginners with average mechanical skill or no previous building experience, have completed it successfully. In most cases, every step of the construction is done entirely by the student. If necessary, however, instructors are always nearby and willing to help.

Students may build a mountain bike, road bike, hybrid bike, cyclocross bike, track bike, or trials bike. Students who successfully complete this class will leave with a high quality custom chromoly bicycle frame ready for painting.


Some of the Brazing Topics Covered Include:

UBI Cromoly Brazing Frame Building Class

  • Frame Geometry
  • Frame Fit
  • Lugs vs. Fillet Brazing
  • Tubing Selection
  • Shop Safety
  • Tool Selection & Use
  • Tube Mitering
  • Tube Prep
  • Finish Work
  • Painting Recommendations


Tuition Information

The cost of the two week Cromoly Brazing Frame Building Course is $2,950 with a $150 registration fee required with your signed class application. It is a good idea to call us before sending in your application to verify availability

All materials and supplies necessary to build a high-quality custom frame are included in the tuition price. The choice of tubing used will vary somewhat depending on several factors; primarily the design determined by the student. In all cases the tubing will be high quality chromoly. Each frame will be built with a full compliment of braze-ons and dropouts. If buliding a lugged frame in our brazing class, students will use high quality investment cast chromoly lugs. Lugs are only available for traditional designs.


Class Schedule & Registration:

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Cromoly TIG Welding Frame Building

UBI Cromoly TIG Welding Frame Building Class

Who Will Benefit:

  • First Time Frame Builders
  • Career Oriented Mechanics
  • Enthusiasts Desiring to Build Their Own Frame


Prerequisites:

None - this is an entry level class.


What You Will Learn:

Our TIG Welded Chromoly Frame Building class offers all that the brazing class encompasses, but uses TIG welding as the joining method. There are several specially designed practice welding sessions that will prepare the student to weld all, or part, of his or her own frame.

Welding skill is considered by most people to be more difficult to acquire than brazing skill. Students should, therefore, have at least average mechanical ability and good hand-eye coordination. Good close-up vision is important especially in light conditions that vary to extremes in both intensity and contrast. If necessary, however, instructors are always nearby and willing to help.

Students may build a mountain bike, road bike, hybrid bike, cyclocross bike, track bike, or trials bike. Students who successfully complete this class will leave with a high quality custom chromoly bicycle frame ready for painting.


Some of the Welding Topics Covered Include:

UBI Cromoly TIG Welding Frame Building Class

  • Frame Geometry
  • Frame Fit
  • Frame Design
  • Welding Technique
  • Tubing Selection
  • Shop Safety
  • Tool Selection & Use
  • TIG Welder Options
  • Equipment Setup
  • Jig Setup & Use
  • Tube Mitering
  • Tube Prep
  • Finish Work
  • Painting Recommendations


Tuition Information

The cost of the two week Cromoly TIG Welding Frame Building Course is $2,750 with a $150 registration fee required with your signed class application. It is a good idea to call us before sending in your application to verify availability.

All materials and supplies necessary to build a high-quality custom frame are included in the tuition price. The choice of tubing used will vary somewhat depending on several factors; primarily the design determined by the student. In all cases the tubing will be high quality chromoly. Each frame will be built with a full compliment of braze-ons and dropouts.


Class Schedule & Registration:

View Class Schedule

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Titanium Frame Building

UBI Cromoly Titanium Frame Building Class

Who Will Benefit:

  • First Time Frame Builders
  • Career Oriented Mechanics
  • Enthusiasts Desiring to Build Their Own Frame


Prerequisites:

None - this is an entry level class.


What You Will Learn:

Our TIG Welding Titanium Frame Building class offers all that the TIG Welded Chromoly class encompasses, but uses titanium instead of chromoly for tubing materials. A special emphasis is placed on proper cleaning and purging of titanium tubes, titanium machining problems and solutions, and proper titanium welding techniques. The specially designed practice welding sessions will prepare the student to weld all or part of his or her own titanium frame.

Since welding skill is considered by most people to be more difficult to acquire than brazing skill and since mistakes are more costly with titanium materials, students should have better-than-average mechanical ability and good hand-eye coordination. Good close-up vision is important especially in light conditions that vary to extremes in both intensity and contrast.

Students may build a mountain bike, road bike, hybrid bike, cyclocross bike, track bike, or trials bike. Students who successfully complete this class will leave with a high quality custom titanium bicycle frame.


Some of the Welding Topics Covered Include:

UBI Cromoly Titanium Frame Building Class

  • Frame Geometry
  • Frame Fit
  • Frame Design
  • Welding Technique
  • Tubing Selection
  • Shop Safety
  • Tool Selection & Use
  • Purging Methods
  • TIG Welder Options
  • Equipment Setup
  • Jig Setup & Use
  • Tube Mitering
  • Tube Prep
  • Finish Work


Tuition Information

The cost of the two week Titanium Frame Building Course is $3,400 with a $150 registration fee required with your signed class application. It is a good idea to call us before sending in your application to verify availability.

All materials and supplies necessary to build a high-quality custom frame are included in the tuition price. Each frame will be built with a full compliment of braze-ons and dropouts.


Class Schedule & Registration:

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TIG Welding Seminar

UBI TIG Welding Seminar

Who Will Benefit:

  • First Time Welders
  • Career Oriented Mechanics
  • Brazing Frame Builders Who Wish To Learn Another Method


Prerequisites:

None - this is an entry level class.


What You Will Learn:

This TIG Welding Seminar is designed to introduce TIG welding to prospective frame builders, or builders with brazing-only experience. This class is usually offered immediately following a Chromoly Brazing Frame Building class. Students taking both classes have an opportunity to learn the two most common construction techniques used by frame builders today. Though not required, some students take the TIG Welding Seminar as additional preparation for one of the TIG welded frame building classes; chromoly or titanium.

The seminar covers, in detail, equipment selection and use. A special emphasis is placed on producing strong, cosmetically appealing weld beads in bicycle frame joints. As with all of our classes, plenty of hands-on practice is combined with lectures and demonstrations. Students will learn the importance of accurate tube mitering and will have the opportunity to weld numerous chromoly practice joints during the seminar.


Tuition Information

UBI TIG Welding Seminar

Our two day TIG Welding Seminar tuition is $550 with a $50 registration fee required with your signed class application. Please register early! Our TIG Seminar usually fills within 30 days of the start of each class. It is a good idea to call us before sending in your application to verify availability.


Class Schedule & Registration:

View Class Schedule

View Registration Information

 

Frame Building Class FAQ

Below are the most common pre-class questions students have asked about our frame building classes. If you have any additional questions, please contact us at any time.


1. Are there any prerequisites for any of the frame building classes?
    No. We assume you have no prior knowledge or experience. Students who have at least average mechanical ability and reasonably good hand-eye coordination tend to do well. Corrected vision needs to be at least fair in the medium to close-up distances. Students must be at least 18 years old to enroll.

2.What is the class size?
    We limit the class size to eight students. Our student/teacher ratio is 4:1.

3. Should I take a welding or brazing class prior to taking a frame building class?
    No prior knowledge or experience is assumed, but evening or weekend brazing and/or welding classes can be helpful. UBI offers a weekend TIG Welding Seminar specially designed for frame builders. The TIG Welding Seminar focuses on equipment selection and setup with extensive hands-on welding practice. The practice is specifially designed to teach the skills necessary for you to TIG weld bicycle tubing.

4. I'm signed up for the brazing class, should I also take the TIG Seminar?
    If you are interested in TIG welding, or simply want to find out more about it, the class is a great introduction to the practice, though it is not required. The TIG Welding Seminar is sometimes offered immediately following the brazing class primarily so students can learn both brazing and TIG welding skills. Learning both skills is particularly helpful if you wish to be a frame builder. You may also take the TIG Welding Seminar as a standalone class at any time in the future.

5. What kind of tubing will I use to build my frame?
    In our steel frame building classes, we use high quality, butted, chromoly tubing. In the titanium frame building class, we use certified 3/2.5 titanium tubing.

6. Why can't I build using the super light, heat treated tubing?
    Even the best students do not develop enough heat control during a two week class to be able to build a safe bicycle using very thin heat-treated tubing.

7. Why can't I build with aluminum or carbon fiber?
    Both aluminum and carbon fiber offer challenges to the beginning frame builder that make them inappropriate for learning frame building.

8. What type of bicycle can I build?
    With the exception of tandems, full suspension bikes and recumbents, we do not restrict you from building any particular type of bicycle. As long as the available fixtures and lugs can accommodate your design, you can build the bicycle. Past students have successfully built road, mountain, hybrid, touring, cyclocross, trials, BMX, fat bikes, and track bikes.

    In our brazing classes, traditional bicycle designs work best. Small bicycle designs offer the greatest challenge to the frame building student. Traditional bicycle designs usually include normal seat tube angles (73 or 74 degrees), and normal head tube angles (71 degrees for mountain bikes and 73 or 74 degrees for road bikes). Though traditional road bikes often have a horizontal top tube, mountain bikes can be built with almost any slope if it is fillet brazed, or a slope of seven degrees if it uses lugs.

    In our TIG frame building classes, you certainly can build a normal-size, traditional bicycle design, but you could even build a not-so-conventional design. There are limitations, but as long as the fixtures can hold the tubes together, and you have adequate access to TIG weld the joint, then it's buildable. Even so, the normal-sized, traditional bicycles are easiest to build.

9. Why can't I build a tandem or a recumbent?
    Fixtures is the biggest problem. Non-traditional designs require specially designed fixtures. The fixtures that are used are often custom fabricated by the builder to accommodate a specific design. They are not commercially available.

10. Why are my geometry choices more limited when I build with lugs?
    Lug availability. Lugs are made for specific frame tube sizes and angles. They are not made for every tube size, and they are not made to accommodate every tube angle. Lugs are made for typical tube sizes and angles.

11. In the brazing class, what type of lugs are used?
    We use the high quality investment cast, chromoly lugs.

12. Can I build an elevated chainstay bicycle?
    No. The reason is fixturing.

13. Do I get to build a fork?
    No. There simply is not enough time in a two-week frame class. You can order a fork through a distributor during your time at UBI.

14. How much of the work do I get to do myself?
You will have an opportunity to do all of the work on your own frame. In fact, most students do every single step themselves. If you do need help, a UBI instructor will gladly help you anywhere along the way.

15. How are the days structured during class?
    Class days run from Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the weekend off. Weekday class sessions will begin each morning with a lecture and demonstration, followed by an afternoon work session. Lunch breaks are one hour long and usually begin between noon and 12:30 pm.

16. What does tuition include?
    The tuition includes practice material, tubing, dropouts, lugs (if applicable), bottom bracket shell, braze-ons, use of the UBI facilities and tools during assigned times, instruction, and handout materials. Certain frame components like slider dropouts may carry an upcharge.

17. How much of the work do I get to do myself?
    You will have an opportunity to do 100% of the work on your own frame. In fact, most students do every single step themselves. If you do need help though, a UBI instructor will gladly help you anywhere along the way.

18. Will I be able to finish my frame?
    Most students have no problem completing their frame. In many cases the frames are ready, or nearly ready, for painting at the conclusion of class. Frames that aren't quite ready for painting usually require various amounts of filing or sanding to make them ready.

19. What about the tool discount?
    For every class you complete here at UBI, you are entitled to one order at wholesale prices from the United Bicycle Supply catalog. Your purchase may be made anytime before one year from the last day of class. Some restrictions apply. You will be given a complete Tool Discount Sales Policy handout before you complete your class.

20. Can I buy components for my frame from UBI?
    There will be an opportunity for you to purchase a parts group at a significant discount during your attendance. We will discuss the policies and restrictions for the group purchase in class. Also, while you are attending UBI, you may buy individual components from a selected distributor at a significant discount. Orders must be made, received, and paid for while you are in attendance at UBI. There will be no backorders, and parts will not be shipped to your home.

21. Will I be able to paint my frame at UBI?
    No. Painting could easily be a one or two week course itself. We will supply you with a list of frame painting companies.

22. Do I receive a certificate upon completion of the class?
    Yes. All students who successfully complete any of our classes receive a Certificate of Completion.

23. Can I get a job building frames after my graduation?
    Though many students have taken our frame building classes with a desire to build just a single frame for themselves, others have taken the class with professional aspirations. Many past graduates have gone on to become successful custom frame builders. Some have acquired jobs with large bike companies. Check the job listings area of our website.