I'm thinking of making a lugged bike frame. Tubes will be either steel (brazed) or carbon fiber, like the old Giant Cadex bikes, where carbon fiber tubes are inserted & glued into logs.

I can weld and cut lugs with little improvisation, but I really find designing lug angles quite tricky.

My question is, is there a good / free software to design lugs ? A functionality like printing out a "exploded" view would be very useful, so I can print the design, lay on tube ends, and miter them...

  • 1
    It may be worth migrating this question to softwarerecs.stackexchange.com once the cyclists have had a week or so to answer. It's plausible that there may be other expertise which relates to the software side. Your thoughts ?
    – Criggie
    Dec 18, 2022 at 0:00

1 Answer 1


All you need here is any of the pieces of software that framebuilders use to print stickers for hand-mitering tubes. You input an angle, the diameters, and which tube will be the "parent," and it spits out a printable template that you can adhere to your tube and cut. Since you can make the diameters be whatever you want, the same software is applicable for making custom lugs as for main tubes.

A number of pieces of software can do this. I haven't used the functionality that BikeCAD Pro and rattleCAD have for it, but they both say they include it.

A free standalone option is Tubemiter.exe. That one I've used a bunch and is good stuff. Tips for it: Don't rely on the nominal diameter of your tube; use an exact firsthand measurement. Get proper label stock for your printer so you're not screwing around with tape.

It outputs an image file, so there's nothing stopping you from adding the other elements to your design to that if you want to do the whole thing digitally and then stick on something that basically says "cut here."


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