5 Boro Bike Tour Tandem Trike: The Frame

written by JerseyJim on February 8, 2015 in Projects with no comments

frame-pano1I made good progress today. I measured and cut all of the pieces of the main frame. One thing is for sure, this is a long trike. I couldn’t even fit the whole thing in one photo. I had to stitch 2 photos together. Of course, I knew it would be long, but seeing it in real life is different than reading dimensions. Be aware of this if you’re going to build this beast. You’ll need to have a space ready for something 11 feet long or even longer.

The key to this step is accurately measuring angles for the cuts. Brad from Atomic Zombie states that all of his creations can be made with only a handheld grinder and an arc welder. To cut tubes, he just fits a cutting wheel on the grinder and off he goes. I appreciate the can-do approach of the Atomic Zombie crew. While I could have gone with minimal power tools, I’ve collected a few tools over the years and I use them whenever they can save me time or do a higher quality job than an alternative method.

All of my tubes were cut on my chop saw. The saw makes a nice clean cut and it has an adjustable guide for making angles. Adjusting the guide for accurate angles is the most time consuming part of the process. The actual cutting goes very fast.

Since my tubes were in 60 inch lengths, I also had to work out a cutting sequence so I wouldn’t waste any material. That wasn’t hard but it took a bit of thinking. Whenever you build a project it’s always worth saving material whenever you can.

I also cut out the rear fork legs. Technically this is out of sequence with the trike plans. According to the plans I should weld up the main frame parts before cutting out the rear fork legs. However, there’s a method to my madness.

It has been a while since I’ve welded so I want to practice a bit before doing the critical structural welds. The rear fork legs need to have the tubes capped off and the welds will be ground smooth. Capping the tubes does not require a critical or structural weld. I can make an ugly or bad weld and it won’t matter since I’m going to grind it smooth. If I really screw it up I can grind it down and go over the bad spot without worrying that I made the frame weaker.

By the time those parts are done I should be confident enough to weld the main frame. If not, there are other parts I can practice on until I feel ready.

So that’s where we are – weld and grind and weld some more.