Reviews Posts

Introduction to Milling – another Axminster skill centre course

Introduction to Milling – another Axminster skill centre course

At the end of November I attended a two day course as an introduction to using a milling machine. This will be another machine to complement the lathe in producing custom bicycle parts. Now I will be able to make things that are not only round, which is the limitation of a lathe. The milling machine enables the cutting of shapes that are square or curved or stepped, together with slots, so I should be able to make various types of dropouts and no doubt other things. It can also be used to mitre tubes. The course costs £275, including lunch and refreshments, a slight increase on last years fees. There were 4 students to one tutor and I was lucky enough to be taught by Bob Rolph who had previously taught the small lathe course.
Students use the Axminster SX3 machines for the course (other machines are available) and there is no hard sell to purchase Axminster’s own products.

Introduction to the small lathe – course review – Axminster Skill Centre

Introduction to the small lathe – course review – Axminster Skill Centre

This month I attended a two day course on operating a small engineering lathe prior to purchasing said item to enhance my frame building capabilities. Axminster tools offer several courses for prospective metalworkers from their skill centre in Axminster in Devon. Rather a long way for me to travel but I could find no one else able to offer a suitable course. The course runs from 9am to 5pm with a short break for lunch. Refreshments are provided. The course costs £250, which I think is very reasonable for what is provided.

Frame Building at Downland Cycles

Frame Building at Downland Cycles

By David Cabourn

I wanted to let you know about my experience as a novice frame builder when I took a course with Downland Cycles, who also exhibit at Bespoked in Bristol each year.

I had always dreamt of building my own frame and one Christmas decided to see just how practical making that dream come true would be. After a little internet research I decided not only was it achievable it was also within the modest budget I had available to me.

Downland Cycles in Canterbury run a five day frame building course at their dedicated workshop in Canterbury with the additional option of building a fork on the 6th day. So I booked my course and began dreaming of the bike I was going to hand build.

Bike Fitting and BikeCad at The Bicycle Academy

Bike Fitting and BikeCad at The Bicycle Academy

 

In March 2014 I attended a one day course on bike fitting and the use of the computer aided bicycle design software BikeCad which appears to be the market leader. I was unsure as to whether I wanted to purchase this without seeing it in action first as the online version would not run properly on my computer and in any case is limited in function. The idea of the course from a bike builder’s perspective is to learn how to fit a person to a bike and then transfer that information into the BikeCad program to design a perfectly fitted bike.

Book Reviews

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The Paterek Manual for Bicycle Framebuilders Third Edition 2004.
available direct from the author http://www.timpaterek.com/tpmanual.htm
Acknowledged as the most comprehensive modern guide to traditional framebuilding. Covers all aspects of lugged and fillet brazing frames and includes tandems. Does not teach you how to braze and assumes this you should learn this elsewhere. His method is probably not the one most framebuilders now use as he builds on a table with full size drawings otherwise using fixtures for sub assemblies. However all the information is still relevant to jig builders. I purchased this before I built my first frame at home and found it invaluable, enabling me to tackle aspects I was unsure of with confidence. It was nearly as good as having your own tutor at home. Well worth the money

SNH

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Zinn & the Art of Road Bike maintenance Third Edition.
Leonard Zinn
A standard maintenance text,now in its fourth edition. Comprehensive and readable. No photo’s and excellent line drawings. Guidance on basic bike fitting and wheelbuilding. Covers stuff such as v brakes etc for cross bikes as well as the usual road biased equipment. Also does other books in the series for Mountain Bikes and Triathlon Bikes.
Very good value for money.

SNH

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Lugged Bicycle Frame Construction, A Manual for the First Time Builder.
Expanded Second Edition.
Marc-Andre R. Chimonas
I read this book before building my first frame at home and rapidly decided I needed to buy the Paterek Manual, a book acknowledged by the author. Another American book written by someone who taught himself framebuilding. Though not bereft of useful information it does give guidance only on the use of silver solder and a torch powered by canisters of MAPP gas rather than the use of oxygen.
It tends to be rather prescriptive of how to build, building a bike entirely determined by the angles of the lugs. It also tends to be repetitive and is stuffed full of acronyms. I have some sympathy for the author’s assertions that framebuilding courses are expensive and in the USA may be prohibitively far away, but that hardly applies in the UK. A fourth edition is now available which apparently covers oxy -fuel methods.
The third edition is still available from Amazon for nearly £100! You may be able to track down my edition in a charity shop in Chorley much more cheaply.

SNH

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Creative Bicycle design and Framebuilding.
Ed Foster , La Suprema Handcrafted Steel, Tucson, Arizona
http://www.edsbikes.us

This is a self published book printed by Amazon from another Framebuilder from the USA. I admit to being rather disappointed with my learning experience from reading it, but it is easy to read and gives a lot of sensible, if rather philosophical, advice on the ethics of frame building. It takes a common sense approach and includes black and white photographs of some of the methods and stages of the building process. The author is reassuring in his assertion that no one method of manufacture should be taken as gospel but his preferred methods seem to follow a lot of the teaching from the Paterek manual and often in less detail. He openly states he has made a lot of fixtures from the Paterek plans and uses similar methods including building with reference to full size drawings. Whilst a frame jig is used in some of the process there is little reference to using full jigs, rather concentrating in a more piecemeal approach in fixtures and using a truing table. He also makes extensive use of a milling machine and other machine tools reflecting his own commercial practice. For someone just starting out it will be a reassuring read but it is a long way off being an instructive frame building manual or text book  and does not really update the Paterek manual for the UK frame builder.

SNH