How It’s Made: Frame Tech

The Twisted Tea Chopper At Led Sled Customs

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Chris Callen And Matt Reel

Originally Published In The January 2017 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

So last month we covered twisting steel square stock and explained that it was for the purpose of building the Twisted Tea give-a-way chopper. This month we headed out to Dayton Ohio to the shop of Led Sled Customs to get started on making a frame. We knew the stance we wanted for this bike and that we wanted to incorporate some twisted elements into the frame so with a van full of stock, a rough drawing of the bike, Mark , Matt and I split for a two-day intensive. The guys at Led Sled are masters at frame building so we knew that they would be able to make short work out of what we had in mind. Joe started by setting up their frame jig to accommodate the basic variables of the frame we would be building. We would begin by twisting some steel stock in various patterns to see what we thought would be a good design for what we wanted to do. This is where the personality of the whole bike will come from so we wanted to make sure it had a good look, and one we would carry through.

While we started to cut lengths of the square stock, Joe set up the Led Sled frame jig. The neck is set to 40.5 degree rake and the axle plates are locked in.

After a few quick measurements we decided on the length of our twisted frame components and Mark started to cut the stock.

Each of these sections were then twisted with an agreed upon pattern.

Here are the few patterns we worked on. In the end we decided that the loose twist with an additional tight twist pattern was the best for this build.

A stick at a time Joe started to bend the 1.125 inch – .134 thickness tubing with a hydraulic bender.

And then he notched them accordingly on a Mittler Notcher for a nice tight fit.

Mark and Joe are shown here getting the inch and a half backbone in place. We had to build most of the frame the same as a conventional one would be built…

And still figure out where to fit in the prepared sections of twisted steel. Here, Joe is sizing up the 2 inch section of twisted stock for the seat post.

For the other sections of square stock, Joe prepares the ends to slip fit into the round tubing. This would be the same as if it were standard slugs between two sections of round tubing.

Here, you can see a close up of the lower motor mounts bolted into the locators. Once the frame rails are in position they are welded to them.

With the square stock ready Joe completes the bends on the lower frame rails and tacks them into place.

Then the twisted components are slipped into place to connect the round downtubes to the lower frame rails, and tacked in place as well

We decided to cut out two sections of the upper frame rails on the rear section to incorporate twisted stock. Same slip fit procedure as the downtubes.

Each one of the connections gets a butt weld and a rosette weld. The rosette weld starts with a 3/8 inch hole drilled through the outer material.

This provides that the inner material can be welded to the round tubing, adding strength and insuring that it doesn’t rotate.

Joe continued to move around the frame performing tach welds until the frame was sturdy enough to come out of the jig for finish welding.

From here the frame is looking pretty sweet but it still has a way to go to be the type of finish we want. RJ Powell from Cutting Edge Customs came into the picture here to give some time on finishing.

A while back the guys from Three Two Choppers hooked me up with the knowledge of a Harden Pipe Sander and I lent mine to RJ for this part of the project.

As you can see, the results were extraordinary. We achieved seamless transition from the twisted square stock to the round tubing, almost as if it was one piece.

Here is the roller mocked up for the purpose of making the front end measurements. Has a bitchin stance and already looks the part.

From here we have a ton of work to do, oh… and I didn’t even mention the wheels we made at Led Sled yet. Guess you’ll have to tune in next month for part two of that episode.

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