Alumni Frame Building Class FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Below are the most common pre-class questions students have asked about our Alumni Frame Building Week. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.

1. Are there any prerequisites for the alumni frame building week?
    Unlike our other frame classes, this class is open only to students who have received a Certificate of Completion from a UBI frame building class. There are no exceptions. 
2. Can I build a frame using a different process or material?
    The frame you build in the Alumni Frame Week must use the same process and material in which you have already been trained. For example, if you have only taken the brazing class at UBI, the frame you build in the Alumni Week must be brazed. If you have previously taken both brazing and TIG classes, then you can choose either method. If you want to build a titanium frame, you must have completed the titanium class. The sole exception: students who have taken a prior titanium class can choose to build a TIG welded steel bike.
3. What does tuition include?
    Tuition includes staff supervision, shop access and all consumables (welding/brazing rod, gasses, flux, etc.), but DOES NOT include the cost of tubing or frame parts (drop outs, cable stops, etc.). Students may purchase tube sets and frame parts from UBI, or from other suppliers prior to the start of class. Time constraints only allow for two hours of practice during the first day of class. Students must pay for practice material.
4. What are class hours?
    The Alumni Frame Week will meet Monday-Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Any frame work not completed by the end of class on Friday will be the student's responsibility once he or she returns home.
5. What if I can't remember all the steps in building my frame?
UBI frame building instructors will be on hand in the shop to supervise mitering, fixturing and joining your frame tubes, and prepping the finished frames. However, class instruction time will be kept to a minimum to allow you the maximum amount of work time. Instruction will be limited to brief refreshers on equipment operation and safety.
6. Will there be time to do a frame drawing?
    Students must arrive with a full-scale frame drawing already completed. Frame drawing time will be limited to the first morning of class, and typically will be for minor alterations or corrections suggested by UBI instructors.
7. What type of bicycle can I build?
    With the exception of tandems, full suspension bikes and recumbents, we do not restrict you from building any particular type of bicycle. As long as the available fixtures and lugs can accommodate your design, you can build the bicycle.

    You do not have to build the same kind of frame as you built before. For example, if you built a road frame before, and want to build a mountain frame in the Alumni class, that is fine as long as you use the same building process (see question 2, above).

    For brazed frames, traditional bicycle designs work best. Normal sizes for mountain bikes are from 16 to 21 inches, and for road bikes (with 700C wheels), normal sizes are from 19 to 25 inches (48 cm to 63.5 cm). Particularly small bicycle designs offer the greatest challenge to the frame building student. Traditional bicycle designs usually include normal seat tube angles (73 or 74 degrees), and normal head tube angles (71 degrees for mountain bikes and 73 or 74 degrees for road bikes). Though traditional road bikes often have a horizontal top tube, mountain bikes can be built with almost any slope if it is fillet brazed, or a slope of seven degrees if it uses lugs.

    For TIG frames, you certainly can build a normal-size, traditional bicycle design, but you could even build a not-so-conventional design. There are limitations, but as long as the fixtures can hold the tubes together, and you have adequate access to TIG weld the joint, then it's buildable. Even so, the normal-sized, traditional bicycles are easiest to build.
8. Why can't I build a tandem or a recumbent?
    Fixtures and distractions are the biggest problems. Non-traditional designs require specially designed fixtures. The fixtures that are used are often custom fabricated by the builder to accommodate a specific design. They are not commercially available.
9. How do I apply?
    Submit a UBI enrollment application with the $150 registration fee. We will send you an application kit that includes a questionnaire, frame design supplement and materials form. The questionnaire and materials form must be returned no later than 30 days prior to the start of class. If your application is accepted, the $150 registration fee is NOT refundable. If your application is rejected by UBI, your $150 fee will be refunded.
10. When do I do my drawing?
    Your full-scale frame drawing must be completed before you arrive at UBI.
11. Can I build an elevated chainstay bicycle?
    No. The reason is, once again, fixturing.
12. Do I get to build a fork?
    Yes, if you are building a brazed bike. However, forks will be built last to allow you the maximum amount of time to complete your frame. UBI instructors will determine whether you have enough time remaining to safely build a fork.
13. Can I build a full suspension frame?
14. How are the days structured during class?
    Class runs from Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch breaks are one hour long and usually begin between noon and 12:30 pm.
15. Will I be able to complete my frame in just 5 days?
    This depends on how efficiently you work, and how well you have prepared before you arrive. UBI instructors will provide guidance along the way for efficiently completing each step in the frame building process.
16. Does this class qualify for the tool discount?
    For every class you complete here at UBI, you are entitled to one order at wholesale prices from the United Bicycle Supply catalog. Your purchase may be made anytime before one year from the last day of class. Some restrictions apply. You will be given a complete Tool Discount Sales Policy handout before you complete your class.
17. Can I buy components for my frame from UBI?
    No. We cannot offer gruppos or components to students at prices that are competitive with established distributors. We can sometimes order forks at discounted prices for those students who are not building a fork.
18. Will I be able to paint my frame at UBI?
    No. Painting could easily be a one or two week course itself - that's without considering the health and environmental hazards to those taking such a class. We will supply you with a list of frame painting companies.
19. Do I receive a certificate upon completion of the class?
    Yes. All students who successfully complete any of our classes receive a Certificate of Completion.




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