Cut List

To help make life a little easier, each set of plans includes an itemized cut-list table.

With the cut list table, purchasing the right lengths of steel is relatively straightforward. The lengths you have to purchase in the table are printed in bold type. Any profile that has more than one line item has been totaled at the bottom. Above is the cut-list table from the Jetrike MkII plans. I have highlighted the bold items to make them easier to see.

You will need to make an allowance for the cut-off saw, so I recommend purchasing 10-20% more than the total length listed in the table, just to be safe. There is no point trooping all the way into town just to pick up an extra foot of metal. The stock for any machined parts like the Drive Train Pivot and Rocker & Swing Pivots bearing housings should have an extra 100mm added so they can easily be held in the lathe and cut off when done.

Cut First

I always start by cutting out everything first. I find it is much quicker than doing it piecemeal.

For acute angles you can use a piece of angle iron in your chop saw vice then clamp the end of your section to it. This works quite well, but you must apply gentle pressure to start with or the abrasive wheel will bow, and your cut will not be square.

When performing this task always wear:

  • A dust mask (abrasive cut off saw dust is the new asbestos -- keep it out of your lungs),
  • Thick leather gloves,
  • Eye protection,
  • Ear protection.

Machine Next

Once I have all my pieces cut out, the next job is to machine all the small pieces. This may get a bit tedious, especially when you are itching to start welding, but if you are like me, and you have limited workshop space, it is quicker when you perform one activity at a time, otherwise you are constantly packing things away t make room for other things. I also find that I get better and faster at the job at hand the more I do it, so even though it is repetitive, when I machine everything in one go I do a better job, and its done in half the time. Obviously this only works if you have a set of plans to follow!

When performing this task always wear:

  • Thick leather gloves,
  • Eye protection,
  • Ear protection (as required).

Debur and Wire Brush

If you don't have a deburing tool, get one. Most industrial supply stores stock them. Alternatively a bench grinder with a heavy wire brush on one side works well, but its slower and awkward on larger pieces than the hand tool, and burs inside box sections are tricky to remove. Grind off the burs first then wire brush them. I debur members as soon as I they are cut, otherwise burs have a nasty habit of turning up right under my fingers and cutting them like butter.

Good preparation practice is one of the best ways to improve weld quality.

Just before you start clamping and welding you should wire brush every surface. I do this to descale and prepare the surface for painting. Once the stuff is welded together it is often impossible to clean it up. I have a dedicated angle grinder with a heavy duty wire brush for this job. Then with my other grinder I lightly grind the edges that are going to be welded to expose the bright metal. This ensures the best circuit for the weld, so make sure to do it.

When performing this task always wear:

  • A leather apron (you don't want cast off wire sticking out of your leg).
  • A dust mask,
  • Thick leather gloves,
  • Eye protection,
  • Ear protection.


When welding always wear:

  • Good leather boots,
  • Long pants and a long sleeve shirt made of heavy cotton drill (or you will get sunburnt from the arc),
  • A leather apron (don't want holes all over those nice new pants now),
  • Long leather welding gloves (don't scrimp on these),
  • A fume mask,
  • A baseball cap worn backward to protect your head (hair really stinks when it burns),
  • Clear eye protection (bug eye goggles, so when you mask is up and you are chipping slag your eyes are still protected),
  • A full face helmet with an automatic eye shield.


Despite every precaution, things can still go wrong. Here is a burn I received some time ago when a ball of molten metal that dripped off a vertical arc weld managed to get caught in a fold on my pant leg -- it burnt right throught them and my sock before giving me this nasty but fortunately small third degree burn on the side of my shin. The chain of smaller burns occurred while I was trying to remove the hot ball of metal with my gloves. A leather apron is a must!