Rolling chopper chassis
Building a motorcycle is a rewarding experience
Building a motorcycle in your garage or small shop with minimal tools is not an easy task. But it can be done and hobby bike builders are doing it with success, even on their first try.
You can build a helicopter frame on your own. The satisfaction you will get from building the frame is only difficult to put into words.
In the article I am going to cover many topics that cover in detail what is required to build a quality helicopter frame. I will cover:
- manufacturing processes,
- welding, and much more!
If you want to build a motorcycle from scratch, you will start with the frame (or chassis).
Some first-time motorcycle builders like to start with a pre-built or rolling chassis and then build the bike little by little from there. And that’s a good idea because it will give you the experience you need when building from scratch.
But we want to build a helicopter frame, so let’s start there …
This hand-built Bobber:
Chopper frame template
Mounting and welding templates
Although it is possible to build a frame without a template, it is not a good idea. A template is a great help in the frame construction process because it holds your frame together while you do the mockup and welding. Without a jig it is very difficult, time consuming and much more likely to bend the frame.
Commercial mincer frame templates are very expensive. The starting price could be from $ 5,000 and up for an adjustable template. The template would have to adapt to the design of the bike or be infinitely variable. In any case, the cost would be prohibitive for the small shop or the individual builder.
To build a jig yourself, and I mean all the machining and other work yourself, you will have to invest $ 200- $ 700 on materials alone. If you do this work yourself, remember, it will always remain a “work in progress” as you build your frame. To the right above is an example of a constructor template.
Take a look at the settings available for the steering neck, rear axle plates, and seat post. There are four leveling adjustments on the feet that extend from the parallel rails. As long as the jig base (parallel rails) and vertical assemblies are perpendicular to the parallel base rails, frame accuracy will be achieved. Many builders use real major components like the engine, transmission, rear wheel, and front forks to ensure alignment accuracy.
Just because you have a template to set up the pipe for welding does not guarantee that you will have a perfect frame. The tubing should be mitered and snug so that the joint fits easily. If you have to force it, you have done something wrong.
These tools come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. One supplier of tube benders and tube cutters is Pro-Tools of Tampa, Florida. The link to their site is in the RESOURCES section of this document. Another supplier of tube benders is Williams Lowbuck Tools, Inc. in Norco, California. You will also find several other providers in the RESOURCES section.
A common question is whether a tube bender can be used to bend tubes. The answer is… no if the inside diameter (ID) and pipe are measured by the outside diameter (OD). Another difference is the thickness of the wall.
For our example projects, we are using pipe with a diameter of 1.25 “and a wall thickness of 0.125”. Some tube bending machine suppliers emphatically state that you cannot use a tube bending machine for tubes. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can use a tube or conduit bender to bend tubes. The pipe is pipe and the pipe is pipe, and the two will never meet!