Drilling holes for a steel frame?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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wath
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:48 pm
Location: Los Angeles

by wath

I'd like to know if it's safe to drill holes in my frame to run internal cabling. Please don't tell me how pointless it is, trust me, I already know. Also don't tell me about how much of a pain it is to replace the lines, because I couldn't really care less.

I can't stand how the brake housing dirties up the clean lines I'm trying to accomplish on my W.I.P. I'm just wondering if its safe and what would be the most conservative locations to drill. I've read on the web that unbrazed holes can create stress marks and become a possible point for failure but everyone on the internet is an "expert," so I don't know if that is just theoretical or realistically plausible.

Image

I'd love to hear an opinion from someone who's actually qualified on the subject if possible, or has experience on the topic. Banter is fine too, though :mrgreen:

Thanks :D

(P.S. Circa 2000ish computer will come off as soon as I can afford a nice, new Garmin. This is a budget W.I.P. mind you, thanks.)

KB
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Location: HULLGARIA UK

by KB

Back in the early 70's, Merckx was doing it, but this involved drilling components more tahn anything. The one place where it was done was in the bottom bracket shell, which I assume by the look of your bike it would be possible, i.e., being lugged. I've also seen the odd bike with holes in the top tube.

by Weenie


ticou
Posts: 459
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:31 pm

by ticou

The blow hole/moisture entry point on my steel is in the L drop out. It's the only one, and that's where it's staying.

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wath
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:48 pm
Location: Los Angeles

by wath

KB wrote:Back in the early 70's, Merckx was doing it, but this involved drilling components more tahn anything. The one place where it was done was in the bottom bracket shell, which I assume by the look of your bike it would be possible, i.e., being lugged. I've also seen the odd bike with holes in the top tube.


Hmmm... I'm aware of the "drillium" fad that plagued beautiful componentry during that period (and unfortunately still today) but I'm specifically referring to the frame. The Colombus Matrix tubing is relatively heavy but the walls still might only be about a milometer thick so I'd like to be sure first.

And I wouldn't want to drill into the bottom bracket just to shave a few grams, my only goal is to hide my disgusting brake line. :thumbup:

ticou wrote:The blow hole/moisture entry point on my steel is in the L drop out. It's the only one, and that's where it's staying.


Is this because putting holes elsewhere would be unsafe? Or just because you wouldn't want to do something irreversible to the frame?

ticou
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:31 pm

by ticou

Both. When rain get's trapped within a steel frame, often without the rider knowing, it starts the corrosive process. Best to not open Pandora's box for mere vanity.

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Cyco
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2002 4:49 am

by Cyco

I wouldn't drill and leave the holes plain for 2 main reasons:

The hole if not perfectly smooth will be a stress riser that could lead to frame failure

The thinness of the material will cut the brake outer to shreds and cause the cable to rust.

A tube to guide the cable can be silver soldered in fairly easily, and with little paint damage, or you can for for hole reinforcing such as the Silva 141 http://www.framebuilding.com/Braze%20ons.htm
Success is how far you you bounce back up after being knocked down

ticou
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:31 pm

by ticou

I've only been cycling for 30 years Wath, but the early concensus would tend towards a definitive, solid gold NO!

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stella-azzurra
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Location: New York

by stella-azzurra

First, I believe that frame is too large for you.

Second, I have 2 frames with the holes drilled for the rear brake cable on the top tube: a trek 1200 aluminum and a colnago master steel. Those were factory drilled.

Both holes are at an angle probably 30 degrees. Both holes are not just plain holes that are drilled. On the steel and aluminum frames the holes are smooth and have a bit of steel/aluminum surrounding them so that the cable will sit in the hole without being cut when it moves around as you ride and it provides stress relief.

If you want to attempt it you would need the frame in a jig to hold it firmly and a drill press. You cannot do it right holding a drill in your hand. Probably drill a small hole them progressively widen it at different angles until you get the desired result. I would probably practice on similar steel tubing first.

Either way my advice for you would be to sell that frame and get the right size frame with the holes already drilled.
I never took drugs to improve my performance at any time. I will be willing to stick my finger into a polygraph test if anyone with big media pull wants to take issue. If you buy a signed poster now it will not be tarnished later. --Graeme Obree

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SWijland
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by SWijland

wath wrote:I've read on the web that unbrazed holes can create stress marks and become a possible point for failure


It is not safe to do. Many high end builders had trouble doing internal cable routing trough the top tube back in the days. To strengthen the hole many ended up brazing on an additional plates.

Why not go for sealed cable housing, like Gore of Aktiv8?

nspace
Posts: 323
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 3:08 am
Location: Milton, Canada

by nspace

Frame definitely looks the wrong size. I wouldn't just drill holes. Get a builder to drill them and braze on a lug for routing the cables internally. I had this done to one of my frames. Of course, you are going to want to repaint anytime you do something like this.

Image

foofighter
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Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:19 pm
Location: Norcal

by foofighter

Running without a rear brake would be smarter than drilling holes in the frame to conceal it.

bikedoc
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:16 pm

by bikedoc

If you have to do it i guess going in to the front of the headtube would be the safest bet but not sure where you could bring it out, i would be tempted to drill through the back of the seat tube and seat pin and take it straight out there.

That not a suggestion backed with any knowledge just a guess as to the safest place.

As for it being the wrong size, dont agree looks right to me apart from the seat pin being backwards it looks great.

craciunptr
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Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:32 pm

by craciunptr

here guys i've ben doing that for a while . been riding the frame for a year now nothing happened to it yetImage Image

here you go hope this helps you make up your mind :) i had the same problem everybody is against it for me it works well :) and yes i'have jumped curbs and potholes with it still sturdy as an bridge

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Wingnut
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:41 am

by Wingnut

Stress riser city...? :noidea:
"It's not the destination...it's the ride!"

by Weenie


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prendrefeu
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by prendrefeu

Does it whistle when you ride?
Exp001 || Other projects in the works.

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