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Article And Photos By: Chris Callen
Originally Published In The September 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Last month we decided to build a frame fixture live on the Grease & Gears Garage stage at the Laconia Roadhouse. I know that it’s called a fixture now… not a jig…because Evan Favaro reprimanded us for using the wrong word. Anyway, we had a four-speed frame to hardtail and rather than have Will drag his fixture up from New Albany, IN we got a kit from the guys at Chop Source for their Rotisserie jig. It was actually two kits, the full jig for around $300 and the Rotisserie kit for another $200. All told, by the time we bought the metal it was a little over a fivehundred- dollar investment. However, having a frame fixture that you can flip a frame 360° on in final welding, for me, is priceless.
The whole deal started with some prep work before we rolled up to Laconia. A trip to Metco in Leechburg, PA to get some 2×3 box tubing with .120 wall thickness. Chop Source provides a nice materials list, including lengths and quantities needed to build this thing.
In our case, the guys at Metco are more than happy and adequately equipped to cut the steel to length. This makes it a whole lot faster to get on with the good part.
Here you can see a completed assembly of what we are going for. The instructions come with a complete diagram to help you keep track of what goes where.
Back at Flat Broke, we drill two pilot holes in the ends of both uprights, one at 1 inch from the end, the other at four inches from the end. With the pilot holes drilled, flip the tubing over and do the same to the other side.
Now take the trusty step drill and take those pilot holes out to 7/8’s of an inch.
In the 7/8’s through holes that you created, tack weld in the spacers that will hold the rotisserie. Be sure to leave1/2 inch sticking out on the inside.
With everything verified on all sides, finish the step with final welding. This whole process is usually step eight in their instructions, but we were building this one the road, so we had to jump ahead.
Next, is to assemble all the brackets and hardware to get an inventory of what you have and if anything might be missing.
Mark starts by assembling the two uprights with the rotisserie bracket.
Next, he uses two small pieces of the same box tubing to serve as temporary spacers and sets up the two parallel sections of box tubing that will be the base of the rotisserie portion
He then attaches the upright to the base with two base clamps.
While Mark is getting the top part of the structure set up, I start welding the feet and cross brace hardware to two sections of 2×2 tubing.
The 2X2 rails get 1/2 inch holes drilled one inch from each end of the tubing on one side and a centered half inch hole on the other. The nuts on the feet and center braces will get welded into place here.
At this point Mark is assembling the rear axle plate upright. Again, this uses the side plates with four bolts.
You can see the rear axle plate sits on top of the upright and is shaped like none of the other components.
Now, we take the longest sections of the 2×3 box tubing and make ready the base of this deal. Before we bolt on the feet we slide in some small 2×3 box tube to keep it spaced right. You want to be able to slide your uprights in and out of this frame.
We bolt on the feet and cross braces first, we make sure to keep checking alignment.
Now we can put the top section down on to the base and tighten all the side clamps. At this point the frame fixture is basically done.
In the case of getting this ready for our Shovelhead hardtail project, we still need to make some motor mount locators. We start with some of the same 2×3 box tubing and some 3×3 angle iron. When we first got to town I asked Wayne of ACME Choppers if he could machine some 1/2 steel plates for me with the appropriate size holes to locate the motor mounts and he was Johnny on the spot. Thanks man!
With this welded into place and the frame bolted down, we were ready to cut and chop! Notice the t-bolt bars that hold the motor mount locators into place. Additionally, we make our own system for bolting down the frame rails as well. This set holds Sportster or Big Twin.
Here you can see the brand- new fixture in action just a day after it was completed. By keeping known points in exact position (motor mounts, tranny mounts, neck & axle plates) we can be sure that no matter what our frame design, this bike will ride straight and true.
Like I said at the top, a five or six hundred dollar investment if you plan on doing more than one or two of these, isn’t a bad deal at all. Go check them out at chopsource.com and tell them the Cycle Source sent you.