Framebuilding Links
edited by Damon Rinard
updated September, 2015 by John Allen

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Several people have asked me if I know of other amateur frame builders on the net, or sites that would be of interest to frame builders. This page is the result!

There is a framebuilders' Google group, where framebuilders converse about their craft.

Amateur Framebuilders

I probably should start my list with myself, of course! You can see thumbnail photos of my first composite frame while it was under construction, or read the long version (with sources). I'm currently (as of the year 2000) making my second composite frame.

Chris Root has been doing a little framebuilding. Getting information and sources for supplies can be difficult since it is a somewhat obscure thing. So if you're interested in getting started yourself, he's put some links at his web site so you don't have to do all kinds of searching. He has a page (last updated 2003) listing suppliers, other framebuilders and frame painters and his projects.

Stephanie Monfrey's Framebuilding Website is an excellent summary of jigs and fixtures, tooling, tubing and lugs, and helpful resources on line (but last updated around the year 2000).

There is a page (in German, with photos), about a carbon fiber-recumbent, the second of three that Özden Terli has built. Lots of nice photos taken during construction!

From the Netherlands comes Langhors, a composite recumbent touring tandem. The archive page has no photos, but there are some on another site. Quite unusual!

Dimitris Katsanis completed his Bachelor of Engineering degree studies at the University of Plymouth, and continues with his work in the design and construction of highly sought-after composite bicycle frames for sprint racing. His composite bicycle; the university program, more recently.

Jim Gourgoutis's page (archived now, and no photos) is a writeup of his conversion of a rigid mountain bike to full suspension, along with an archive unsorted) of old rec.bicycles.* and rec.crafts.metalworking discussions on brazing and frame building. He is on facebook and still working on bicycle projects.

Terry Zmrhal wrote a good hands-on description of the processes other than brazing, and gives a good feel for the sort of work involved. This is no longer available online, but Terry (also the originator of the Warm Showers hospitality network) can be found with a Web search.

Josh Putnam built his own lugged steel touring bike and has put up an excellent site to help others do the same.

Rickey Horowitz has a treatise on building your own recumbent trike on the International Human-Powered Vehicle Association site -- very detailed and with good descriptions of technical issues.

Richard P. Talbot's book Designing and Building Your own Frameset is about steel frames. Currently out of print but available used.

Not strictly for amateurs, Tim Paterek's page is a resource for all custom framebuilders. He also sells a framebuilding manual. As of 2000; 2004; 2015

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Testing and Theory

Cycles LaMour's table reproduces the results of VeloNews's tensile testing of several frame tubes.

Shimmy or Speed Wobble, explanation by Jobst Brandt with additional comments by John Allen.

EFBe has fatigue tested twelve high-end racing frames made of carbon, aluminum, titanium and steel. Translated into English.

Josh Putnam's primer on steering geometry.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission publishes requirements and test methods for bicycle frames, forks, and other components. These standards are commonly assumed to be insufficient for high performance bikes, but they are still a good starting point if you want to see how your home made carbon frame stacks up. ;-) .

Tubing, lugs, dropouts



Henry James lugs

Courtney Custom Cycles has photos and weights of various dropouts.


Edward C. Zimmermann's sizing site is interesting because he uses many famous methods and compares the results.

Proper Bike Fit for Triathlon-Specific Bikes, according to Dan Empfield of, formerly of Quintana Roo. also has a wealth of newer information on bike fit.

How to Fit a Bicycle, by Peter Jon White -- Peter White is a custom frame builder. He covers crank length, saddle height, saddle angle, fore-aft saddle position, handlebar position, etc. without measuring body parts!

The Myth of "KOPS": An Alternative Method of Bike Fit, by Keith Bontrager.

Sheldon Brown has several fitting articles on his Frame page.

Paquette's Cyclery has what looks like the C.O.N.I. method. Three measurements are required: pubis bone to floor, shoulder to the wrist fold, sternum to the pubis bone.

Sheldon Brown's article on saddle adjustment.

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Aircraft Spruce sells metals (like round and streamlined cromoly tubes) and composites (like carbon and epoxy). Catalog is very informative, too!

Aerospace Composite Products sounds like some huge conglomerate, but is really a small, friendly dealer of composites for the radio controlled airplane folks. Got my vacuum pump here.

Anvil Bike Works makes custom frames, and also sells jigs, a tubing bender and other tools for frame builders.

Bike Machinery, like Marchetti, makes tooling for large scale production.

Bringheli: Tools & Jigs, B.B. Taps, Fork Brazing Jig, Fork and Frame Alignment Table, Dedacciai Tubing sets, Walter Investment Castings, Dropouts, Braze-ons, Frame repairs, and Paint jobs.

Gaerlan Custom Cycles was geared for the travelling, commuting, touring & recumbent cyclists plus amateur frame builders but has reinvented itself: Gaerlan Custom Cycles; leaving;, appears to be the same as; Gaerlan on new site; reinvention; 2015 site.

Nova Cycle Supply sells tubing, dropouts, bb shells, fork parts, etc. in steel, aluminum and titanium. There is a minimum order or they charge you an extra fee.

Henry James lugs, crowns, tubing, jigs.

Marchetti is currently the largest producer of bicycle and motorcycle production machinery worldwide. Good pictures of jigs and other tools.

Prairie Designs / HPV Supply, for owner-built and production recumbents, but now closed; closing

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The Bicycle Forest links to a collection of free Java-based frame design tools that should be useful for anyone wanting to build a single or tandem bike.

Tubemiter.exe by Giles Puckett; also here. Version on his own site may be newer. Quickly plots a filing guide. Tubemiter.exe runs on Windows 95 and 98 (and probably 3.1 as well). Tubemiter.exe is small enough to run on a floppy disk. Here's how simple it is to use:

launch iconLaunch tubemiter.exe, then choose Settings from the File menu. This brings up the Tube miter settings dialogue box shown below.
settings icon

Type the dimensions of your tubes into the four fields:

  • Mitered tube diameter
  • Wall thickness
  • Mating tube diameter
  • Angle

...then click on OK. Note: be sure to use a period (.) as a decimal, not a comma (,).

plot icon

The result is a plot of the miter line as shown to the right. It is "unwrapped" to be printed on flat paper

The pointed line represents the theoretical miter line (as if the wall thickness were zero). The curved line represents the actual miter line for the given wall thickness. File to the curved line.

print iconTo print, choose Print from the File menu . This brings up the familiar Windows Print dialogue box. Click on OK, cut on the curve, tape it onto the tube and you're ready to start filing! It really is that easy.

Here is the text file Giles wrote to go along with Tubemiter.exe:


A tube mitering program for Windows to print on any printer. The other one is a Hypercard application for Macintosh, and once I dug up a Mac and a PostScript printer, it was very useful. However, it doesn't take wall thickness into account, which is important when doing small angles or equal sized tubes. My program also deals in metric units.

File/Settings... puts up a dialog box. You input:

* Diameter (in mm) of tube being mitered
* The wall thickness of this tube
* The second tube diameter (the one it abuts up to)
* The included angle in degrees.

It paints the picture on the window, and File/Print... prints it on any connected printer.

There are two curves - the dotted one is the template you would cut if the wall thickness were zero (similar to the HyperCard program's output) and the solid curve is the template corresponding to the requested wall thickness.

If the mitered tube diameter is greater than the second diameter, then the second tube passes through two holes in the mitered tube. This situation is handled by continuing the template on the other side. Small gaps may appear in the curves; this is a known "feature" of the way the program works.

Giles Puckett

Thanks to Josh Putnam for his help in putting this page together.

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