I’ve been kicking around with a large track frame since early summer. It’s time to make that final push and that big step is the dropouts. Myusual dropouts are socket style which work really well and build an incredibly functional rear end, they rock, but I’d be lying if I said I was pushed skill wise or I was leaving any kind of artistic DNA. There also doesn’t happen to be any rear facing socket style drops unless they are semi rare(to the USA) Keirin pieces. So I’m using the mother of all track dropouts, Campagnolo, which have been out of production for more than a handful of years. When I started this journey into framebuilding a pal (I won’t name drop, but you know who you are) impressed upon me that being a frame builder took an attitude that sometimes you have to show the metal who’s boss. These frames don’t go together like plastic models, pieces are rarely made to fit together without work. The drops are that way, they’re crude.
My first step in working these is to sharpie an initial shape I’m comfortable with. I like rounded corners and smooth transitions. This is just the initial shape as I’ll make changes under the file before and after brazing.
Once I get the shape nailed I start attacking the drop with a file and sanding drum attached to a die grinder. I could probably do the whole thing with a die grinder but frame builders are supposed to file. I usually file short of where I’ll end up because it’s easier to take away later than to add.
After about 20 minutes on the second drop I have a usuable pair. When the drops are brazed to chainstays and seatstays I’ll plot how to finish the shape up. They will have the same organic shapes but the seatstay tangs will have smooth transitions and junctions with the stays.
I’ll update the next sequences later on down the road but this frame should be supported with wheels this weekend.