Welding Aluminum Bicycle Frames
Articles Blog

Welding Aluminum Bicycle Frames

October 9, 2019


We’re with Mike Woods in the prototype
shop at Santa Cruz bicycles, and Mike is going to step us through the process
they use here to build a new bicycle frame. Mike, what do we have here? This is a scale size drawing of a V-10 we’re working on right now. The important part is that
it has the location of the head tube, and all the most important geometry aspects
of the bike, including the pivot points of the suspension, and the bottom bracket
location, and the seat tube angle. Since it’s a one-to-one scale, we can lay this
on a flat table, and build the bike directly over the drawing. So what’s the
next step from here Mike? We use a layout on the table to show us where to cut the
tube, and we use a fixture on the mill table to hold the tube at an angle, and in
the right place. Now we can deburr it, put it in the
fixture, and tack the head tube to it. We have a modular fixture system that holds
all the components in place. So this bar right here is spacing the head tube on its proper centerline. The bottom bracket goes in its spot, and all the rest of the components, like the down tube and the monocoque go after. First I’m going to
tack the down tube to the head tube, tack it first here, then underneath here. Then
we’re going to tack the bottom bracket here, then again on the bottom side here. Next I’ll m going to tack the monocoque on,
first here, then here, then here and here, and then I’m going to tack the seat tube
in place. So now that I have everything tacked in
place, I’m going to start welding the rest of the frame, and my first weld will be
right here. So here’s a completely welded frame. Mike, this is absolutely beautiful – you do fantastic work! Thanks! When I go to
complete welding it, I’ll probably skip around to try to hold down some of the
distortion, but it always distorts some, so we put it in the oven, heat it up, and
quench it – then when it get s soft we can align it, and when it’s all done and the
frame is properly aligned, we put in the oven again and heat treat it, and then
after that it’s ready to ride. Cool! Well thank you so much for showing us around
at Santa Cruz bicycles. You’re welcome! you

Only registered users can comment.

  1. So why is it so difficult or impossible to weld disc brake posts for a rear disc brake on a bike that didn't have it? Asked welders and been told 'that is expensive and impossible"? Well then how did they do it in the factory? That's my question…

  2. After seeing this, seeing some of the complexities, I don't think I will learn to make bike frames after all – especially when he says the frames warp and need to be heated, straightened and then reheated. wow

  3. انا عبدالرحمن من مصر اعمل لحام أرجون هل يمكنك أن تساعدني في العمل في اوربا او في أي شركه في اوربا او أمريكا او حتي معك أرجوك أجب علي

  4. Ron which country you are and
    which tig welder you using and
    How many dollar what amp ac/dc please tell me the price. how I can buy thank you regard

  5. sir if i done retrofiting my xc mtb full suspension by installing internal cable does it affects the durability of the frame?

  6. Have you any experience Welding British 7020 aluminum. I believe that number is correct, it was used by Spondon Engineering on their Beautiful round tube motorcycle frames. They have since been bought by Norton and you can see their frames on their v-4 bikes. From one of their old brochures they mention their material could be bent, welded and would stress relieve locally at the weld and age harden back to T6 hardness. To talk about beautiful tig welding you need to see one of their frames. The British also make a High Manganese Aerospace Steel called T6 that is basically their steel for uses we use chromoly for. More forgiving, and can also be used with Bronze welding for lower temp minimum distortion motorcycle frames
    such as those still sold by Harris Engineering. From what I understand both the annealed steel and bronze welding rod have a 85,000psi tensile strength.It was also the same steel used on the jet powered Land Speed vehicle "Thrust" which I believe was Tig Welded.

  7. Hello, I am an Algerian young man. I have a certificate of welding of oil and gas pipes. Tej Inox Mega Mag I need to work in any country.

  8. Hey man, Good video, l have question about, how l need to weld aluminium, you are using mig welder machine, but what Kinde of gas you need, and what metal of comtibution. Because l need weld motorcicle frame. Tks.

  9. Dear Friends,

    I have a VITUS frame that needs to be repaired. I would like to know the exact reference of the material (aluminum?), in order to fix it. Please see attached photos.

    The damage is on the seat tube (see photos at https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage-bicycles-whats-worth-appraisals-inquiries/1126904-how-weld-vitus-vintage-frame.html#post19968579). What is that material? I need that information in order to weld it

    Thank you!

  10. If i was to build a car chassis and need the heat treatment would a specialized facility with a oven allow my work to be done ?

  11. I have a linclon mig welder that also does flux core and a shitty campbell hausefeld 115 70 amp stick welder. I want to build a small bicycle cargo trailer for a mou tain bike. Well i happend to come across 4 bicycle frames that are a youth size and are deffinently peices and parts . A magnet sticks to them . Do i have to tig weld these or will one of the welders i have mentioned work?

  12. UTILIZANDO LA PISTOLA QUE TRAE ELECTRODO DE TUGSTENO Y ESALIMENTADA POR GAS ARGON,PARA QUE NO QUEDEN IMPERFECCIONES EN EL CORDON DE LA SOLDADURA O GRIETAS O POROS ,O FUGAS.

  13. Dont understand why you call the centre piece monocoque, the whole main frame of a bike is monocoque in theory….

  14. I’hate the wavy part of the frame,
    To me that is just excess weight.
    A straight tube is more esteticly pleasing and also lighter!

  15. Hey Ron. Great Video. These Welds are Incredible. Would this work for small steel tubing like Mini Bike Frames, etc ?
    Thank You.

  16. In some case, why my friend has a black colour around welding area? Whats going wrong, and may u give us advise

  17. 1:19 How was the monocoque built? I already know how two tubes are welded together, but I'd love to know how that monocoque is made.

  18. I'm doing some Custom Fabrication on my bicycle that requires cutting parts of the frame off of one bicycle and Welding them onto another. I did not realize until I already start it that one frame is aluminum in one frame is steel. I'm not very experienced with welding to begin with, almost welding is mostly bed frame gauge steel. Usually modifying bed frame material to make whatever I need. The welder I have is just a 110 wire welder I inherited from my father. I do know he has used it for different kinds of welding. I don't know the difference between Mig and Tig, I don't know what gas is he used to make what kinds of whales. I've only used it for straight wire welding with steel. Can anybody tell me what I need to make this wire welder work welding aluminum to steel?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *