How to build a better forum?

First of all, THANK YOU everyone for joining, posting, and having fun. You all exceeded my expectations.

I wanted to create this thread to get open this discussion to the community:

What you would like to get out of this forum?
What you would like to see?
How we can build a strong sustainable online community?
Suggestions? Comments? Concerns?

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I know building the forum will be an uphill battle to compete with IG. But I felt like if I don’t try, we can’t complain!

Here are some of the ways I think we could create a sustainable forum:

Co-existing with IG:

I will create an IG account to provide weekly forum summaries and interesting topics on Instagram. This will help convert users and also allow both systems to exist.

I could also write an IG bot that automatically pulls media from IG and links it here (I hope I don’t have to resort to this haha).


I know many of us are here to learn (including me). By creating high-quality educational resources, we can both make framebuilding better, attract new talent, and have a healthy supply of new forum members.

  • high quality tutorials and resources
  • DIY bike kits
  • low cost tooling
  • practice weld kits

Create a Framebuilder Ecomomy:

I know many framebuilders are sitting on design skills, CNC machines, tube benders, etc. It would be beneficial to the community to share those resources and make a little money off it too.
There are other frame-building adjacent services, like graphic designers, bag makers, and T-shirt printers.

Framebuilding Industry Support:

By bringing framebuilding industry partners (people who build and sell things to builders) on board, we can reach them directly, ask questions, request help, and request new products.

Bike Industry Support:

From a marketing perspective, custom frame building punches way above its weight. I hope to get some industry sponsors to advertise on the forum, or provide discounts on parts to people who have built a frame.

Group purchasing power:

As an individual, we don’t have much leverage over designs, quantities, and supply chains. But as a small group, we can design, build, and order what we need. For example, the MOQ for a CNC part in the US is typically ~100 and 300 in Taiwan. Brainstorming ideas:

  • CNC shock yoke
  • 3D printed parts orders
  • custom butted tubing
  • mandrel bent tubing

Friendly online competitions, and community events:

Just an example: Urban mobility challenge

  • We source a high-quality, high-value build kit (with some industry support).
  • Build the best urban bike possible (fixie, cargo, speedy commuter, tricycle, etc…)
  • online judging, pro builder judging, etc…
  • Publish entries to media outlets: radavist, pinkbike, whatever…

I am eager to hear your ideas!


I’m really excited about this forum. I think it is a great idea, Daniel, and sorely needed for our community. I hope that it doesn’t turn into the Facebook framebuilding page which is full of arm chair experts giving bad advice. I hope that people see it as a welcoming community and certain people in the framebuilding community don’t come here just to flex their muscles and tell us we’re all idiots. I can think of one person in particular who honestly has great ideas and scientific data to back it up, but sees themselves as a deity and disregards any opinion other than their own.


I don’t think that the problem with other forums is that they are dying or dead. I think that they are largely complete, at least in terms of analog frame building skills. Most of of the questions that might occur to a new builder have been answered, and often several times, so there is just no reason to contribute to them. I search for the information I need, and oftentimes some frame building legend answered the question ten years ago.

This is a good idea. Discourse is good; so is fostering a more inclusive environment than old VS. There is also a lot of information out there from very experienced builders that I would hate to see lost or ignored if this project succeeds.

I have a suggestion. An off topic category for threads not related to framebuilding. The forums that I have seen carry on strong are usually the more diverse ones.

The main one I follow is which is a general classic/retro car/motorbike forum, however it accepts all sorts of other general interests too.
There are threads for photography, 3d printing, vintage machinery, bicycles, skateboards, house DIY, fishing, hunting, lawn mowing, tractors, gaming, etc etc etc. and I think that is what has made the community carry on.
I have been on it for more than 10 years and in that time a lot of people have come into the community as younger people with disposable income and time and contributed by sharing their car/bike builds. As they get older kids come along, time and money becomes less available and hobby cars get sold. But people who make things for fun generally still have cool projects on the go on a smaller scale and because the forum still has space for off topic and obscure projects they stick around and show what they are up to, and at the same time continue to share their hard won knowledge with the community.

tl;dr: Diversity keeps forums alive, more reasons to post and share is good.


It’s ok to rehash stuff. I feel the main benefit is motivation and positive energy. Yeah, you can find answers to almost anything now. But there’s still new stuff (3d printing! Super slack aggro crazy bikes, full suspension, UDH, etc.) to discuss.

That said it’s true you can find pretty much all the answers for basic steel frame fab all over the place now.

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I like the idea of an off topic section, it’s always fun to see what other projects people are working on, even if it’s not as detailed as it would be in a forum that’s specific to that topic. It’s fun to learn new things and have people to bounce ideas off of!

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Good suggestion. Let me see if I can organize the main page first. The categories used to be grouped together, but the update to discourse 3.0 broke that grouping. Now all the forums appear as a giant list, which is not ideal.

If I can get the grouping back, ill create a new off-topic forum to try. Not sure how long it takes, because the developers would need to fix the grouping add-on first…