They may be experts in welding lightweight exotic steels and alloys into artforms, but many framebuilders refer to frametubes as 'gas pipes' and the craftsmanship that goes into each bike as 'plumbing'. Now there's a place on the web for this self-depracating humour: launched over the Easter weekend and has already attracted professional and hobbyist framebuilders from the US, Canada, Australia, Italy and the UK.

Gas pipe gassing was created as an internet meeting place by Neil Hassan of Billato/Volare UK.

As well as framebuilders, Hassan believes the forum can be the "place for the bike fitter and product manager to exchange knowledge, ideas and opinions."

To date, UK representation on has been low, surprising for a country with a rich heritage of bespoke frame manufacturing. Hassan hopes his forum can arrest the decline in UK framebuilding.

"Frame building is where I started in the bike trade, and I’ve witnessed first hand the demise of the frame building community in the UK. I hope the forum will help keep traditional framebuilding skills in the public eye and encourage those involved to carry on in the face of mass-market global brands.

"At the same time, I’m not approaching it from a Luddite point of view; I hope the forum will stimulate diversity into new materials.

"All this of course depends on Frameforum’s members; if there’s no-one there to stimulate debate, encourage beginners, share knowledge and challenge opinion then there’ll be no forum."

Soon to be a mainstay of the site is an online collection of help files for Bike CAD Pro, a 2D drawing program for custom framebuilders, designers and fitters devised by Brent Curry, a Canadian software engineer and frame builder.

A version of this CAD software is available at . (Bike forest is the home of the couch-bike, a lighthearted, two-person recumbent-with-difference. And the difference is it’s a real couch).

Product support for Bike CAD Pro will be via the forum.

"With any CAD program, to get accurate results, you need a basic knowledge of frame construction. For example, to get the rest of the frame to fall into place, you have to establish the fork length, from dropout centre to crown seat. Not all forks are the same, and the info is not widely available," said Hassan.

"I’m putting together a database of fork specs. Other factors, such as tube profiles, BB shell diameters and other stuff that’s not widely accessible will go into the resources available in the forum."

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