DIY Bike-Welding Jig

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DIY Bike-Welding Jig

Dave Heisserer and Dillon Hodapp of Minneapolis, MN, are building the Jiggernaut, a crowdfunded bike-welding jig:

Dave and I have wanted to build our own bicycle frames for years. Being bike enthusiast as well as handy people, there’s just something about a unique, hand crafted frame that resonated with us.

While researching frame building, we discovered that there’s a tool called a frame jig that is really nice to have when building your own frames. Basically, the frame jig holds all of the tubes in 3D space while you fit and weld them. We found some pre-made frame jigs for sale, but they were over a thousand dollars, which was more than we wanted to spend on a hobby that we’d never tried before. We racked our brains for ways to solve the problem and realized that we could probably build one out of MDF (inexpensive and flat) and have the pieces CNC routed (automated manufacturing). After prototyping a few jigs and building our first frame we knew that there had to be other people out there in the same boat as us.

The guys’ Kickstarter campaign has been funded but you can can still grab a jig for $299 including shipping, or $499 with all the tube you need to build your own frame.

18 thoughts on “DIY Bike-Welding Jig

  1. Jon D says:

    Neat! (Side note: in welding, machining, or woodworking parlance, that’s a fixture. Jigs guide tools. Fixtures hold parts.)

  2. Wilson! says:

    Jon D – It may be a “fixture” in those spheres, in the bike framebuilding world, it’s a Jig.

  3. Hank says:

    Before someone says “But MDF can burn…” I regularly make welding jigs out of plywood and MDF for TIG, MIG and SMAW (stick) of low production welding (runs of 1-25 finished parts) with zero issues. Slag and sparks are so hot they char the jig material before flame has any real chance of catching essentially becoming self-extinguishing. If you are designing such a jig a good design tip is to use hole saws and bore strategically placed 2″ to 5″ dia. holes under your weld zones to allow slag and sparks to fall through the jig to the floor.

    – If you are using MDF/plywood jigs at home use them outdoors
    – Don’t use MDF/plywood jigs for open-flame torch brazing
    – Do not paint MDF/plywood jigs
    – Do not store unused MDF/plywood jigs in a welding area
    – Design the jig to keep weld zones at least 1″ away from jig material
    – Use mechanical fasteners to build such jigs and never glues or adhesives
    – Take a tip from industry and have a properly PPE’d friend keep an eye out for fire while you weld and for a full 30 minutes after the last spark is generated
    – Always keep a fire extinguisher within arms reach
    – Always have an preplanned clear exit route if there’s a fire
    – If you’re fighting a fire that’s gotten bigger than 2 five gallon pails in volume you’re done! Leave and call 911!
    – If you’re at home and you empty your fire extinguisher and think you put out the fire better to be safe and call 911 just in case the fire starts back up again
    – And ALWAYS wear your welding PPE!

  4. Pott says:

    Amazing, you are so clever.

  5. Andrew says:

    While I do find the idea of building my own bike interesting, I’m thinking that purchase of this “fixture/Jig” is the only thing I’d buy as buying the tubing is just copying something someone has already built . That is unless the tubing comes uncut so that one can vary the design.

  6. Noah Thomas says:

    I like this idea in theory, but I’m currently building a frame and used some wood to stabilize the head tube while tacking it, and the wood was burning almost instantly. It seems like the mdf is a little close to those welds to hold up for much more than 1 frame build. The design might be better suited for being made out of steel.

  7. MAKE | Reclaimed Bowling Lane Table says:

    […] Hodapp of 1.21 Jigawatts (who also created the DIY Bike Welding Rig) wrote in to share his Bowling Lane Table […]

  8. Reclaimed Bowling Lane Table says:

    […] Hodapp of 1.21 Jigawatts (who also created the DIY Bike Welding Rig) wrote in to share his Bowling Lane Table […]

  9. Craig Elliott says:

    Are these still available? The website seems to be down….

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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