This is a really, really cool update. Probably the coolest update you’ll see besides the bike being finished entirely honestly.
I was thinking about paying a shop to do my bends just to save myself the embarrassment of messing them up, and the time it takes to mess them up. I did order enough material that I could screw it up once though, and after spending a bunch of money on my car I decided to try to save some here.
Man am I glad I did. The bends came out awesome and it’s gonna be neat to be able to say “I built that”.
I spot welded plates to the end of each tube to block them off, but not seal them in case there was moisture in the sand which created steam. I used 6-8 spots per plate. Then filled with sand, pound sand down with hammer, fill, repeat until you can’t compress it anymore. Then I cut a tight wooden dowel for each and pounded that in until it stopped, plugging both ends.
As for the actual bending, I had considered making a whole jig type thing that would give me some easy repeatability, but in the end I did the farmer thing and bolted an old wheel to the drawbar of a tractor. I bent around the wheel and wedged the end of the tube into the tractor. You can kinda see it here.
So I’d stick the tube in there and put the other end on a chair and heated with a rosebud. Once it was nice and hot I’d shut the torch down quick and grab the bar, make sure it was locked into place and bend it looking down for a mark I had on the floor to approximate where to stop. The first two come out great, the second two I had to bend a bit further/tweak. Honestly though, I think they came out amazing. It saved me 150 bucks and it was a lot of fun. Easily one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
Everything mocked up pretty good so next step is going to be clamping these into place while I come up with the final shape for the axle plates and get those ready. Then I’ll be cutting into the frame next to actually add the hard tail!