about welders

deacon

minor bike philosopher
Jan 15, 2008
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I rode my bike all over town today looking for somebody to lay down two small beads of weld for me. I mean this is s ten minute job tops.

If I give up and buy my own welder I have questions.

I would probably use it twice a month tops. Weld steel to steel nothing fancy. Knowing me it would look like crap no matter what I used.

okay basic question one.... What is the minimum amps I need to weld a 1/8" bar to a bike frame. Or to weld two nuts together and have them stay together even when being turned by a gasoline engine.

What's the difference between rod and wire welders. I know what a rod is and my neighbor has the wire welder but what is the practical difference in strength of the weld.

Now he as welded this kind of thing for me before and his welds always stay together.
 

Ilikeabikea

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Jan 27, 2008
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Deacon, welding the 1/8 bar to the frame won't be that difficult with a wire welder. It will take some practice though. Welding the two nuts together depends on what size nuts your talking about. But they would be a little more difficult. The best wire welder for the very beginer would be one with infinite heat ranges and variable wire speed. The single and two postion machines are considerably more difficult. I think if you could get someone to get you started and you did a lot of practice you could probably get pretty good at it. But practice a lot on the type stuff you are going to be welding before you do one for real. It takes lots of pressure off it's just practice. I wish you lived closer. In a days time I could have you wire welding. Well heck if you lived closer I would just weld it up for you.......................
 

Venice Motor Bikes

Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles
Mar 20, 2008
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If you REALLY need to get your own for small welds... a small 110V wire feed will work.
If you have 220V in your garage, I would say to get a 220 welder instead, (it has more uses!)
 

deacon

minor bike philosopher
Jan 15, 2008
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I hate to keep asking him. He won't let me pay him so it's kind of embarrassing. What about the older rod welder types. I'm not going to be doing this very often at all.

I only have 110 in the shop but I do have a 20amp circuit out there.

yeah about all i ever intend to do is make drive wheels and weld mounting bars to bike frames. Maybe make a repair to a frame now and then.

I probably am going to have him do this one for me but If I do any more I'm definitely going to buy a welder of some kind.

So what is the minimum amps to make the two nuts stay together under runing rpms.
 

Ilikeabikea

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With 110 you're limited pretty much to wire. Stick rod welding is much more difficult. I have seen some 110 stick machines but they were very hard to weld with..........................
 

Dave31

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Mar 1, 2008
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Deacon, I recomend you go with a 110 wire feed. For your need's I think it would work perfect. I've got a 110 that I got at Harbor freght for $120.00. I was a bit worried about the quality of this welder because it is chinese made. But I just needed something for around the house, going back and forth to the shop was getting a bit old.
I have been using this welder for four years now and I use the crap out of it with no problems. I have 4 sure gotten my money out of it. I think wire feed is easier to learn then stick, but it is just like everyhting; it takes practice.

I love to weld, something about making heat and fuseing two pieces of metal into one really turns me on rotfl The self satisfaction of making that perfect bead is awesome!
 

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Ilikeabikea

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That looks a lot like the machine I have. Mine is Campbell Hausfeld. It works really good. I use it alot. Are you running solid wire or flux core? Mine came with a regulator but as high as co2 is I just use the flux core wire. One thing I have found out too is don't use the really cheap flux wire. I bought some Chicago Electric flux wire and I couldn't hardly weld with it. I switched to some Hobart wire and it was like I had gotten a new machine....................
 

Dave31

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I use flux for the same reason. And yes the Chicago flux suck's, I used it the first time and that will be the last time.

Check this stick welder out. Me and my Dad made it years ago. It used to be a 220 but it burned up. So we used a 400cc Brigg's a Chevy alternator and the control panel and made into a gas powered stick welder. I have done many roll cage's with this guy and it work's great. It is a pain to start with the pull string.
 

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nogoodnic

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Jan 29, 2008
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I can't say that I know much about welding but this is a topic that comes up over and over on diffrent bicycle forums. One thing I have learned from reading these discussions is that a wire fed MIG seems the best way to go for bikes. The general concensus on TIG is that it is too powerful for the thin walled mild steel that our bikes are made out of...Kelly
 

frenchman159

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Apr 19, 2008
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Hi deacon, Just a suggestion. Get your self a 100.00 , 110 volt wire feeder with good flux core wire. Than gather up all the clean scrap steel you get your hands on and weld and weld and weld !! Try different settings as you go along and before long you will understand the basic fundamentals of it. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT hold true. be sure to try to weld only clean metal ( no paint or rust ) with a wire feeder for better results. I have both and use my 110 volt stick when conditions are less than perfect. Have a blast, Its addicting and also a good feeling when you make that perfect weld. :) ( I'm still perfecting it myself !!)
 

Dave31

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Mar 1, 2008
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For beginers I recomend wire feed. Wire welding has a lower skill level requirements, with stick you have to coordinate your hand movements for feeding the electrode rod into the weld puddle.

Which wire?....Gas metal arc also called MIG is the best choice in my opinion for cosmetic appearence, it provides lower spatter. MIG can weld alot of meterials, but you have to use shielding gas. The gas is used to keep oxygen away from the weld. If you have oxygen in your weld, then you have a weak weld. MIG I think work's better for thinner material.

Flux-core wire.... The flux in the wire keeps the oxygen out just like the gas. Flux is better for thicker materials then MIG. And if it's appearence that you are worried about flux may not be what you are looking for. Alot more spatter with flux. I use flux on everything, it's cheaper then buying gas all the time and you dont have to worry about dragging a tank around.

MIG on materials that are 24 to 12 gauge. Flux down to 20 gauge, of course your welder output will determine how thick you can weld.

Tig welding or tungsten inert gas I would not recomend for begineers. I think TIG is more for aluminum, magnesium, stainless steel ect. I dont have to much experience with tig so I really dont know. It is alot more dificult then wire feed.
 

deacon

minor bike philosopher
Jan 15, 2008
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well I still in the research phase but thanks for the wire tip. I will go that way for sure. How about the amps. Is there anything I should avoid that way.
 

Dave31

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Mar 1, 2008
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well I still in the research phase but thanks for the wire tip. I will go that way for sure. How about the amps. Is there anything I should avoid that way.

I would not go less then 90amps, anything smaller and you are really limited to what you can do. Having a welder is like having a motorized bike, you find any reason to go for a ride. You will find any reason to weld something once you've got it.
 

UVsaturated

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May 15, 2008
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I can't say that I know much about welding but this is a topic that comes up over and over on diffrent bicycle forums. One thing I have learned from reading these discussions is that a wire fed MIG seems the best way to go for bikes. The general concensus on TIG is that it is too powerful for the thin walled mild steel that our bikes are made out of...Kelly
Not at all. Actually I have been a machinist and shop welding for many years and I can tell you what actually works best.

The 120V MIG's are the best overall purchase for the average guy for ease of use and a short learning curve. They require no improvements to your electrical load panel and can be flux core or solid core wire feed, depending on the make and model you buy and how much you want to spend.

The drawbacks are that 120V welders tend to be weak on the amount of penetration they provide, depending on the manufacturer, which is why you'll hear some people praise them and some people can't get good results and think they are terrible at welding when in fact it is just because the welder is not adequate to what you're working on.

With that, I am not expert on whose product is the very best, but I have never heard complaints about Miller or Hobart products.

For the types of work most of the people here would be using them for, you actually have several excellent options depending on your skill level and the thickness of your wallet.

TIG is actually the very best welding process for anything other than production because it allows very fine control over the heat (torch) and the amount of filler material (rod). You can weld very thin material with TIG because you can shape the electrode tip to a fine point like a pencil and control the heat so low that you can lay a bead that is merely 1/16th inch across or less (yes, I've seen this done with some good equipment).

I have owned a couple TIG welders and have had excellent results with them, however you have to learn how to use it or it is no use to you. It also offers more variety of welding non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, copper, brass, etc. so long as you can obtain the proper filler material.

Stick welding is okay for general purpose welding but you do not have as much control over the heat of the weld arc and it is extremely difficult to weld thin material with. Additionally, you have to deal with slag caused by the shielding chemicals on the rod that must be chipped away and cleaned after you make a weld. Stick welders on not recommended on thin materials.

Probably the most overlooked and cheapest welding is gas welding. It is as cheap as a small wire feed MIG welder and the process is similar to that of TIG welding except that you are using a gas-flame instead of an electric arc.

You do have control of the heat, like TIG but not on the fly. You actually have to get acquainted with the flame cone and know which areas are hotter than the other and to get a feel for where to place the tip. But you still just add filler material to the work as you heat up a small molten pool of metal. You can even use uncoated wire coat-hanger to weld with. You may also use brazing rod and a brazing tip on your torch to weld parts together. It is not quite as strong, and technically not a weld but many bicycle frames are brazed together and hold up quite nicely.

For anyone doing this, I would recommend learning to solder copper fittings together first so they understand how to heat metal and get a feel for how solder will flow into a joint using flux, for this is much the same as how one would braze metal together.

Hope this helps.
 
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Bikeguy Joe

Godfather of Motorized Bicycles
Jan 8, 2008
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Nice post- especially the last part about gas "welding" Very controllable and more than strong enough for a bike frame when done right. A lot of homebuilt aircraft are gas welded framework.
 

Jemma Hawtrey

New Member
Dec 29, 2007
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Essex, UK
I rode my bike all over town today looking for somebody to lay down two small beads of weld for me. I mean this is s ten minute job tops.
Exactly the same as I did the other day for that exhaust manifold :( . Where did all the small engineers go? I even asked my father whether he knew of anyone (he's been in the agricultural trade for years) and he could remember people but no-one left around today...

I am beginning to understand what people mean about globalism... it forces out all the small people who would actually do what your average person might need and just caters for the average in everything :(

anyways, rant over lol

Jemma xx
 

deacon

minor bike philosopher
Jan 15, 2008
8,117
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north carolina
It's a fair rant. I went to an auto body shop where i know damn well they do welding but I couldn't even get them to talk to me. The job wasn't going to profit them enough. the real service station that had a welder in the old days is now a mini market.

Life goes on but not always improves.