View Full Version : Where should I start?

07-06-2008, 04:02 PM
Thanks for the replys on my first ever thread. I really appreciate your input.

I am on a very limited budget it has no room for error. What should I start to get until I have the money together for a mig. My brother has a really cheap wire welder but he says it is pretty worthless and would be more fustration than help.

After I pay my bills each month I have about 35 bucks. I will be getting uncle sams stimulus check on about the 15th of this month I have an old student loan from a previous experience at a trade school that ripped me off so I am grudgingly paying it off. I am currently enrolled in a really good community college and should be able to get a student loan around September.

My stimulus check will be about $265 I plan to order the following from AT. The books "For the Evil Genius (bike, scooter, chopper)" it has 3 plans in it I would am going to build. "Atomic Zombies Bicycle Builders Bonanaza Book" it has a couplr of chapters that I think would help me out alot. The plans I want are the "Loderunner Trike" & "StreetFighter Cycle Car". I want at least 3 wheels undr me perferably 4. I have a hip replacement, knee replacement, and the other knee and hip are going out on me so I need something very stable so I wont wipe out in my driveway. This thimgs will come to $92 that leaves me with $173. What should I buy with this free money. Instead of paying off bill early I decided to spend it on me. I kniow a little ilresponsible but so what I have been on this crappy budget for 11 years its time for me.

I think I will need a MIG Welder (before my father passed away in april I told him I wanted to build a bike and he was a welder for 52 years and he said that would be the best for me and the easiest to learn. I trust his opinmion a great deal) nd i will need scrap metal and supplies to practice on. What should I concentrate on first. The welder. the scrap metal, old bikes, should i order all those books and plans if not which ones should I order. Lijke I said I should be able to get a student loan in September or October

By the way I will be 41 on Oct 5 thats really important to me because I have AIDS and that means that I have beaton it one more year. I party on my birthday because this year will be the 17th year I have beaten it. YEEHAW!!!!

What should I get the loan for. You all have built before and have been a beginner before too. You input would help me agreat deal.

I have let you know about my health so you would understand why I am on such a tight budget not for sympathy. I am the one fighting it not anyone else and I am proud on how far I have come. My dream is to ride the Oregon Coast Line the Summer before I graduate in 2011.

My last question is there anyone in the Salem, Oregon or even possibly Portand that I could get a hold of and discuss my projects with.

All your input on your ages and how inshaope you are really made think that I can do this and I am very excited to get started.

Here is my school email put "Atomic Zombie" in the subject line.

Thanks to everyone!! :) :D

07-06-2008, 05:37 PM
Treasure hunting (AKA garbage picking, dumpster diving, etc.) at night is a good way to pick up donor bikes and scrap metal. With the price of gas these days, I have found networking to be useful. Tell your friends to be on the lookout for old bikes and scrap metal that have been discarded, and they can either retrieve it for you, or call you to give directions to the find.
It's also a good way to pick up extra cash. There's plenty of flea market vendors, antique dealers and second hand shop owners out there getting "inventory". There's a lot of stuff people throw away that are saleable in yard sales, flea markets and second hand shops. If you don't want to hold yard sales, or sell stuff at a flea market, you could sell to the vendors and the shop owners. I was a vendor at a flea market once in the early '90s, selling vacuum cleaners, bicycles, and air conditioners I found in the garbage. As soon as I started setting up, one vendor came up and said he sells vacuum cleaners, and he'd give me a hundred bucks for the 14 or 15 that I had. Boom . $100, and I hadn't even started. Then another vendor came up and asked if I wanted to get rid if the 5 or 6 AC units I had. I said half price and their yours. Boom another $100. Then another vendor came up, and he had his kids with him. I had three 20" bikes I sold him for $5 each. The rest of the day I made another hundred or so selling a couple of larger bikes, and some bric-a-brac. At the end of the day, I still had a bunch of syuff to pack up. From then on, I would go to flea markets as the vendors were setting up and sell them whatever I had.
When I was a contractor, during the lean times, I made $200-300 a week selling "garbage", like this, and cashing in aluminum storm doors, gutters and leaders, and gas grills brought in another $50-100.
Use your imagination, there are plenty of ways to make a quick couple of bucks.

Richie Rich
07-06-2008, 05:51 PM
Greetings....Welcome the the AZ Krew.

The first thing I would acquire while accumulating some cash would be some welding skills. Get your brother's welder and start burning some scrap metal with it.

Let us know what make and model welder it is. Perhaps it's not such a bad welder as he may think. None of us here were born experts and it took awhile to become proficient. Once you've got the basics down, you can build just about anything.

To keep your building costs down, keep an eye out for junk bikes on trash day, at Police auctions, at places like the Salvation Army, and on websites such as Craigslist and Freecycle.

As for which plans to buy, that's strictly a matter of personal choice. Will it be used as a daily commuter? Are weight and storage space issues? These are questions only you can answer before making your choice.

Whatever you decide upon, just know that you've got a wealth of knowledge available for you here on the Forums.

Best of luck with your project...

.....Richie Rich >>

07-06-2008, 06:25 PM
Back2Life - As I think I said somewhere before, I agree with the recommendation to borrow your brother's wire welder and give it a try. Do let us know what kind it is, as a lot of guys here started with some welders that most professional welders would consider trash - and built some pretty nice bikes with them. You have nothing to lose going that route at first.

The most bang for the buck on welders are simple AC arc machines, commonly known as buzz-boxes. They are harder to learn on, but they weld anything you can find if you practice. Brad himself uses one for all his creations. Don't let him fool you - He is a talented welder, so it may be more difficult for you, but its doable. I have seen used Lincolns, Hobarts and Millers for $100 on Craigslist, if you are patient. AC/DC models are easier to weld with, but cost about $50 more. Most do require a 230v circuit to run them.

Several of our members have been satisfied with welders sold by Harbor Freight in the $100- $200 range. I will let them chime in about that, since I have no experience with them. I do know I was very happy with the cheap 1/16" 7014 stick welder rods I bought there. They were almost as easy to use as my wire welder.

You have nothing to lose by trying out your brother's machine, and we all stand ready to answer questions if you run into problems. If he really thinks its a piece of trash, maybe he will just give it to you. Be sure to get the helmet and gloves too. It can't be worse than this guys setup



I buy most of my donor bikes for between $6 and $30 at my local thrift store. Some people just give them to me, or I find them on the street during trash day. Exercise machines sold at thrift stores can be a great source of scrap steel to practice with or build a bike with if need be. Friends will usually give you things like old swing sets, exercise machines, bikes, etc. if you ask.

You will also need a $10-$15 angle grinder and some flap discs or grinding wheels to clean up steel with.

As much as I like seeing Brad and Kat sell stuff (it keeps the plans flowing and the site up), if I were on as limited a budget as you are right now, I would not go overboard buying plans and books. Pick one and get either the plans or book that covers it. When you complete the build, buy another.

Good luck and keep us posted.

07-06-2008, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the advice you all hinted that i trim down my idea a bit so i think i am only going to buy theBike, Scooter, Chopper Project for the Evil Genius it has 5 plans it I would like to make. Ill look at craigs list and free cycle

again thanks to everyone

07-06-2008, 07:10 PM
Back2Life, welcome. If you are having such a hard time with a budget, maybe I could help with that. Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey (http://www.daveramsey.com)? My wife and I lead Dave's Financial Peace University classes all the time, and I also help out on a website called Living Like No One Else (http://www.llnoe.com). I have a ton on spreadsheets for doing budgets at my website (http://www.jimnkim.net) too. It's not in the best shape right now, but it is still functional, and all the pages work last time I checked.

I'm sorry about your life situation, but I'm glad you're hanging in there. I know I don't know you from Adam, but it really would be better off if you paid off the bills and set up a budget to get stuff you want. Even a minimalist budget can have some 'blow' money in it. If you're interested check out some of the sites I listed and let me know if you want some help. Anyone one for that matter!!

As far as this site goes, I'm getting some great advice for building my Street Fighter. All I have right now is the plans, but I'm looking to start acquiring parts and a welder as soon as I can find a decent one at a low price...the guys here will help out a lot with all the welding and scrounging advice you can handle!! Good luck!

07-06-2008, 07:15 PM
Never been to Financial Peace University, but Dave Ramsey's radio show is great. None of your web page links work.

07-06-2008, 07:20 PM
Fixed all the links, sorry.

Richie Rich
07-07-2008, 06:51 PM

Here's how you can use the best tools available for your project for very little cost.....RENT.

Whenever I need a one-time tool for a special job around the house or the car, I head for the nearest rental store.

When I first started building bikes, I didn't want to lay out the bucks for a complete set of conduit benders, so I rented a bender for the day for 5 bucks.

Depending on the size of the store, you may find welders, grinders and other hand tools for your project.

In my area, the Home Depot store has a Rental section, so you could start there.

.....Richie Rich >>

07-07-2008, 08:25 PM
And at Auto Zone, they lend you tools for free when you buy auto parts. I needed a belt tensioner when I bought a belt for a neighbor, and asked the clerk if he had them for sale. He looked at me funny, and asked why I would want to buy it when they would lend it no charge. Since then I've borrowed tie rod forks and other tools whenever I needed them. I go there often for paint and routine maintenance parts, so now if I need a tool without needing parts, I go there and they lend me tools just to keep me as a customer.
Now if you tell them you need a welder to assemble a new exhaust system...

Richie Rich
07-07-2008, 09:26 PM
Right. And in addition to removing tie rod ends from your car or truck, those 'Pickle Forks' are great for removing crank arms from 3-piece cranksets.


07-07-2008, 11:17 PM
Good to know. Thanks for the tip.

07-08-2008, 01:19 AM
I never thought of renting. I have a home depot 10 blocks from and a rental center about 2 miles away Ill go over to them this week and see what I need to do to rent.

Thanks for the tip!!!

07-08-2008, 01:34 PM
The thing about 'borrowing' tools from the auto parts store is that they typically ask for a 'deposit' - usually $20 - that you get back when you return the tool. If you never return the tool, you just bought it, for $20. Doesn't matter if it's a spanner or a specialty tool, it's $20. Usually pretty crappy stuff, too, so you wouldn't really WANT to own it, but it'll do for you in a pinch. The upside to it is, if you break it, no big deal, you still get your money back.

A lot of good suggestions here, I can't really add to it. Good luck, keep us informed of your progress!

07-08-2008, 03:23 PM
Has everyone else been really really jazzed up waiting to buy their first plan to build their dream bike? I have been calling around to find the prices on tools I think I'll need or to people who might have that tool. I have been drewling over tool and welders for the past month.


Now for a question. Does the power assist plans let you pedal until you need them? I have been sick for so long that I am extremely out of sape.

Oh ya my brother said I could use his welder. There is one glitch he has to move within the next month and a half and he doesn't know what his shop will look like. He takes after my father he loves to build things and he said he would love to help me. I said great but he has to let me do as much as I can. He agreed. So it looks like evry thing is coming together. He also has alot of the tools I will need. But I am still going to keep on looking for my own because if its as addicting as you all say Ill end up build another my other brother has already ordered one from me.


07-08-2008, 03:41 PM
Great news on the welder, the tools, and the helping hands back2life.

07-12-2008, 01:36 PM
Keep fighting the good fight man.

MIGs are arguably the easiest to learn on. I learned on a MIG. The problem is cost, power, portability and consumables.

MIGs tend to use 230, and they need gas cannisters which need proper storage, ventilation, etc.

They do work VERY well and I love them. Wish I had one.

I got a little Lincoln WeldPak HD and it works great. You have to a bit more "honest" when welding with it, but it is cheap, portable and not a bad way to start.

07-12-2008, 02:11 PM
You don't need gas with a MIG if you use flux core wire, and they are available using 110v. Here's a link for refurbished Clarke welders, $135 for the 125EN: (Click on the Welding link)


07-12-2008, 03:58 PM
You all have been so helpful with your advice, tips and places of getting info and tools. You are making me even more excited to build my first bike.

Whats even cooler is my brother with the welder and the other tools I prob will need is getting excited too. He loves to build things thats why he started a heating and air installation and maintenence business. H e has been in biz for 2 and a half years now and the fist six months he broke even the second year he made 15000 last year he made 35000. The entire family is very rpoud and excited on well he is doing. Dont worry he said I could tell you all. He hates the computer so you cant find any info on him online anyway.

But the thing I started to say before I started bragging about him is. Since he started his biz he hasn't had much time to do other things then stuff for the biz. So he promised me every sunday after I get my fist package suplies (welding wire my own mask and gloves) he will start to teach me how to use his welder. His 2 kids are a little gelous but he told him some personal things about me and him and they agreed it was ok. You see we used to be evry close. But when I started getting sick 11 years ago he didnt know what to do so he starting to stop doing things with me. Him and his wife started haveing kids and now the biz we just semmed to drift apart. But in the last 4 years I have been getting better and better and now I am going to college to relearn my old profession and if *** is blessing me like I think he is I will gardute in 2011 and go back to work full time after being on disability for14 years. So he is seeing all of the impruvements in mylife he realize how much he missed our bs sessions and building things to gether. I heard that my Dad a couple of weeks before he died said to Milo my brother that he wanted him to keep an eye on me. I am the youngest of six he in the middle I live with the oldest of us kids. But Dad want Milo to start building things with me. He reminded Milo of all the fun we had making forts in the vacant field behind our farm and all the weid inventions we had come up with.

I am telling you all this because I have been in Intensive care at the Veterans Hospital in Portland Oregon 6 times in the last 9 years. I have been home bound for 5 of those years. So me getting out of the house and doing things to improve my life. Things like going to coffee shops on my own to relearn how to sociallize, deciding to go back to work, going to school and finally wanting and getting it all together to build one of these bikes (there are two good things about these bikes the ovious excersize I am really out of shap but best of all that I get to build something that will inpact my life a great deal but giving myself a since of accomplishment, learning new and usefull things, one more thing to get me out of my depression and best of all getting to know my brother again!!!!)

Please dont feel sorry for me and dont think that I am going to ask alot from you you all. I will never ask for money, or for you to send me stuuf for free, and ask you to do any thing inmoral or illegal. I am just telling you all why I am so excited about these bikes they will really improve my mental well being and my physical to.

All I ask that you all keep chatting with me and making feel like I have friends that are not sick and unhealthy like I am. I will never tell why I am sick unless yiou send me a private email. Lets just say I did something 18 years ago and I am paying the price for that put I am not gicing up.

Well no more of my story telling I just want to thank everyone for all their great adbvice and true concern on wanting me to build one of these machines.

Thanj you aal and live well

06-27-2013, 11:44 AM
Hi AZ.
I just Down loaded my plans to build two warriors. Is there a place in the plans that gives me a parts list or what i need to make the bikes? for example, how many doner bikes i need or how many feet of tubing i need... Also what tools would i need ect. Maybe there is an introduction section i over looked...



06-27-2013, 12:24 PM
No, the plans purposely leave this stuff out. Material wise you will need 1.5 inch square tubing (plans call for 16ga, but 14ga will work) and various bits and pieces of plate. At minimum you will need at least 1 donor. How i see it: 1 donor gives you at least a bottom bracket; 2 donors give a bottom bracket and 2 kingpins for the wheels; 3 donors give a bottom bracket and 2 kingpins for the wheels and 1 under seat steering made from the fork tubing.

If you go the donor bike route you would need 6 donor bikes for 2 bottom brackets, 4 kingpins and 2 under seat steerings.

Main reason I see that the parts list isnt included is because you can do things differently and need less donor bikes (or no donor bikes at all if you but the individual pieces!) and figuring things out on your ownhelps flex your fabrication imagination muscles which comes in handy if and when you run into an issue.

06-27-2013, 12:42 PM
Please start a new thread of your own instead of resurrecting old threads. The search function above is a handy tool. You will often find that your question has already been asked and answered: