Brian DeFord's Adventure
Building a Reverse Trike

Chapter 4

Tools

With the basic design started, I began purchasing some tools and parts I would need to fabricate the frame. I found some plans online for a simple hydraulic tube bender and bought the tube bending die and steel frame parts to build it locally. I also purchased a horizontal band saw from my local Harbor Freight store, a larger drill press and a Lincoln 180 MIG welder from the local big box hardware store. OK, first admission - I have never welded anything in my life. I always wanted to learn but never had the opportunity. Well, here's my opportunity! I thought I would "learn" by welding together my tube bender but came to my senses and realized I wanted the tube bender to actually work if I was going to be building all the tubing parts with it! So I contracted the frame welding to a local craftsman. I cut all the tube and steel parts and bought the air over hydraulic cylinder from Harbor Freight. After the welder completed the frame, I put it all together and bent my first couple of pieces of 1-1/2 inch DOM (Drawn over Mandrel) steel tube. Cool!

Tube Bender
Tube Bender Die
First Bend

I also bought some 2 inch square steel tube, flat triangular steel plate, and some hardware to build an adjustable frame jig to assemble the chassis on. I use this to make sure the chassis is level and square and it is a great reference for measuring critical dimensions. The jig is basically a rectangular shape that is made rigid by bolting the corners with the triangular flat sheet. An adjustable bolt is atatched to each corner as well to allow me to level the jig in each direction. I then lay the chassis tubing onto the frame and square it up prior to tack welding.

Framing Jig
Framing Jig corner