AZ inspired trike build starts!

rykola I have a comment on the 3/4 tubing you have used to hold the rear wheel brackets. I can't say for sure but it is possible they may bend during your eventual rides. So just keep an eye on them, I know the roads and bike paths around here can be rough and impart a pounding to a frame. I know when i built my Warrior trike and then added a rear hub motor the frame needed to be braced in a few key spot's.. Partially due to the strain of the 500 watt motor and also the rough terrain I was riding on occasionally.
@Hugh I agree that they may be a point of failure, and I will be watching them closely. One thing I kept in mind in building this was the design of the Lightfoot Greenway trike:


It uses 3/4" tubing all around, even for the crossmembers. It's also rated for 400+lb riders. So, I think I'll be okay. The beauty of steel is that it usually bends rather than breaks, so I'll have an opportunity to refine the design as needed :)
My cranks are a bit up, but it depends also on how you sit on your bike.

The weight is no problem. My trike is a lot heavier then my lightweight city bike and I noticed it alone by driving away. I used my gears and that made it drive good.
When I worked for a shade sail company years ago, I spoke to an engineer regarding the relative strength of round posts compared to square/rectangular posts. He said that square is weaker if the strain is not perpendicular to the flat sides i.e, diagonally across the square section. If diagonal, the post will start to crush and when that happens it becomes closer to a flat strip and is very weak.

There should be stuff on the Internet that explains such things. It all depends on where the stretch, twist, compression, bend is applied. It'll tell you if/when it is not strong enough. Let's hope it is not too much to suffer at the time. One test might be to jump up and down on it.
Yes, round tubes have the advantage that it is strong in all directions, where square or rectangular are in 1 or 2 directions strongest.
But in one direction, square Ore rectangular can be stronger. That is why bikes have in many cases, surten parts in oval tubing. That makes it also stronger in one direction.

By looking from witch direction the forces are put on the tubing, you know what you need.
Thanks for all the concern! For what it's worth, I put two of the wheelstays between boards and then stood on them and bounced up and down. TWO of them, not four. They flexed as intended but didn't bend under my 335lbs. I thought no twice that many will be okay. If not, then I have ideas to strengthen it further.
Got the rear frame aligned just right, but having a tough time with the welding. My welder is really underpowered! I'm going to experiment with adding more windings to the secondaries to see if it helps. Technique is only getting me so far!
After my little rant last night I got thinking about this and realized maybe I just need to work on technique. Then I went and looked at last nights welds. Even the best of them are bad. And I know it's not just technique. This little welder is just not enough. So, I popped the top of the welder to have a look at it to see if I could add more windings to the secondary:


The secondary winding is the black one on the left. I took the wire nut off so I could see what I have to work with for adding wire to it and... ALUMINUM!? Yes, it's aluminum. As are the welding cables. This thing is getting ever closer to the scrap heap. I have to weigh my options here. So far this thing is The Little Welder That Couldn't.
I have a small arc welder from 10 to 80amp.
I use 40 to 55 amp on my build. I only use higher for some 4 and 5mm parts.

As you want a heavier welder, isn't it not easier to get a heavier welder? They aren't that expensive and it is a lot easier than change that one.
Yes I agree with you. I don't mind experimenting and hacking on things, but they have to be with the time and effort. The aluminum wiring has told me what I need to know: it's junk! I draw the line at aluminum wiring!

I also have doubts about the amperage it's putting out. I doubt it's the rated 50A. I never had the problems with the welder I built in 2008, and it maxed out at 70A. There are some inverter arc welders on Amazon that are extremely inexpensive...
When I get my mind set on something, it's hard to derail the idea. A new welder was ordered just a few minutes ago. I've been wanting to buy a new welder for a very long time, but have been avoiding the purchase because 1) I have a hard time spending even $100 on something. I'm not cheap, but I do have a hard time spending money on things for myself. 2) I am my own worst critic: When I look at my welds, I say to myself "You just need to get better at welding!" But my other half says "That may be true, but this welder still sucks and has an aluminum transformer and cables, which are awful and this thing will probably electrocute you. Plus, if you gut the welder would make a great portable ham radio enclosure."

It'll be a few days before it's here. This will give me time to give my workshop a clean and get some other chores that I've been ignoring done :p

Here's what I ordered:

I read all the reviews of it, and watched 2 or 3 youtube videos about it. One guy was burning 1/8" 7018 rods with it on a 110v 15A circuit. I have 20A circuits, so my 1/16" 6013 sticks should do just fine.
The new welder will be here next week, so I've got time to contemplate rather than weld :) I'm considering the front tube that connects to the head tube. I built a Meridian and it was fine, but the LodeRunner uses a different design. @Radical Brad can you help me understand the differences between these, and why I'd choose one method over the other? The Meridian looks simpler.



Thanks :)
I had some nagging doubts in my head about the welder I ordered. "Do you really need it?" and "What if it's just your lousy technique and you're solving the wrong problem and wasting money?" I don't like leaving questions like that unanswered, and so after work today I grabbed some spare steel of the 1.5" and 3/4" square varieties, the very kind I'm having a problem with, and welded and ground down the welds over and over again to try to figure out what I was doing wrong. I was finally able to get a firm weld, but not a lot of penetration. There's just not enough heat in the arc to get penetration on both pieces at the same time. But, it was good enough for tack welding. I ground down the bad welds on the frame and re-tacked them using the method I figured out. I still needed to cap the 1.5" tubes, so I took care of that too. This welder is GREAT for small stuff like that. I'm still not very good at metal working, and so if this is going to look pretty there will need to be some Bondo involved :p

The inner wheel stays still need welding, and the frame needs to be finish welded rather than just tacked, but here's where I got tonight:


It doesn't look any different before except for the tubing caps and fewer clamps. This weekend is going to be pretty busy, so I won't have time to work on the bike. I still appreciate any input on the head tube question above.Thanks a lot :)
I'm gonna take a guess about the head tube question. Possibly the Lode Runner might be a bit stronger given that it goes through the main tube. Sort of a brace compared to the marauder. They are both probably ok though. But I always tend to overbuild whether its a jeep or a trailer or a bike and then it get's somewhat abused.
I wish I could report progress, but none has been made. The new welder isn't here yet, and I've been out of commission for the last few days anyway. My right shoulder's been acting up and it's directly related using it so much in the bike build. I injured it when I was a kid and it hasn't been the same, and in fact it's the very reason I switched to recumbent bikes. I've been resting it the last few days and only yesterday did it feel the least bit better. It needs more rest, and I've got a busy week lined up anyhow.

Of course I'm still building it in my mind. One thought that came to mind was that in an effort to keep the CG low, I could lower the cranks below the main frame boom, rather than raise the seat so much higher. I'm trying to decide how to go about that while keeping cranks adjustable.

The other thing that I realized is that the rear wheels have different hub widths, and so this means that the center of the frame and the center of the wheels will be slightly offset to the right! Definitely an unintended consequence of my design. As I go through this, I'm seeing more and more that the Lode Runner design is superior- but I didn't know this until I got this far already, and there's no stopping now :)
Taking a good look at the picture of the rear wheel enclosure I'm gonna assume you have used on the left a rear wheel with the gears and on the right a front wheel. The different width of the hubs being due to the gears. One possible solution is move the main boom of your frame slightly to the left. Check it by measuring from the center of each tire, marking the middle and welding the main boom at the spot where center is. As to lowering the cranks below the boom, tough to do if you need to mount a derailleur. One possible solution might be to make a 45 degree cut in the main boom say about 10" before the location of the crank then adding a short piece of whatever length needed to let you get the depth you need then a straight section long enough to give you room enough to adjust the boom. You could even extend the straight section out front far enough to attach the front wheel mount. If there would be concern about strength a small brace could be added.
Taking a good look at the picture of the rear wheel enclosure I'm gonna assume you have used on the left a rear wheel with the gears and on the right a front wheel. The different width of the hubs being due to the gears. One possible solution is move the main boom of your frame slightly to the left. Check it by measuring from the center of each tire, marking the middle and welding the main boom at the spot where center is.

Yep that's the issue, and also the intended fix. The main boom will have to actually be offset to the right a bit, because it's the left wheel that farther over since it's the wider hub. But yes, I'm going to measure wheel center and work based on that :)

For the derailer mount, I have some ideas. We'll see how it goes when I get to that part of the build.
Your welder is good for thinner materials and for the tubes you use, it is good.

For tour build i would choose the blue image for the steering.
I'll be doing a full write up, but I got the new welder, unboxed it, and set it up. The short version: whoa. I did't know how gutless my old welder was! At 50A I'm getting full welds and blowing holes in things! I've got more learning to do ;-)