Old dog learns new trick...Welding!

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by silverbear, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Thanks for the suggestions and comments, you guys.
    I do have some extra frame to practice on. I'll also look around for some sort of rod to clamp in place to weld to. What about a bolt with the head cut off? Then dial down the welder some and do it in little spurts, allowing it to completely cool down. This can take all day. How long it takes doesn't matter. That it gets fixed does. I can weld for a few seconds, shut it down and go do other stuff. Come back, check to see that what I did is sound, clean it up with a wire brush and do a bit more.

    Baird, I was thinking about a half sleeve welded to the outside edge of the chainstay and somewhat longer than the problem area. That way I wouldn't lose any clearance to the inside. And just tack it so it doesn't build up too much additional heat stress. if this is a bad idea, someone say so, please.

    Allen, brass and aluminum is an accomplishment for sure and something I know nothing about. One thing I've learned in the little exposure I've had to soldering and now a little bit of welding is to appreciate those guys who really know their stuff with welding and brazing... understand the different properties of metals and how to work with them.

    I have long been amused at how white collar people will look down their noses at mechanics, welders, machinists, tradesmen of one kind or another. People who get their hands dirty. Little do they understand how much these people know not only about their trade, but in general about the real world away from board rooms and academia. A good mechanic is a good detective.
    SB
     
  2. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

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    I think it might be possible to just fill in where the frame was worn away by welding & grinding it smooth... Try to keep the heat down by not to welding for too long & just let it slowly air cool between welding sessions. (never force cool a weld)!
    If you think it still needs some extra reinforcment after it done?, just weld a small bar over the area.

    Also... when you let it cool between welds; only let it cool for a minute... Better weld penetration is achieved while the metal is still hot.
     
    #122 Venice Motor Bikes, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  3. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Venice,
    You are quite right as that's what I'm doing. I started this morning pretty early and have been at it in little spurts since. Initially I used small bolts to give me something to weld to. Now the end is in sight and it should be done with pictures to follow this evening.

    Yes, I just let it air cool and never did let it get very hot. Then I'd work on stripping the frame of paint or go work on the gas tank for awhile. Then back to clean it up and give it a few more zzzts. I'm very pleased actually. Looked kind of hopeless when I started. This welding thing is a kick!
    SB
     
  4. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    The photos tell it all. Starting out with what looked to me like an almost hopeless situation...

    I set the Hobart on the lowest amperage and wire speed settings. I also cut off some small diameter all thread sections and with vice grips clamped one into the void on the chain stay. ZZZT and some more ZZZT. Then clamped another and another. The fender stay repair only required one.

    I never did allow the frame to get very hot and tried to be very careful about that. After each spurt of welding I cleaned up the spatter with the wire brush. Once the welds began to build up I also did some grinding with the side grinder to tell how the fill was going. In between the welding I worked on the gas tank and stripping the paint off the frame in preparation for paint.

    Eventually I decided enough was enough. I'm very pleased with the repair and confident that the frame was not weakened by my welding and that the repair is sound. Time well spent as my Panther lives again!

    The palm sander blew up as I was nearly done sanding the gas tank. Black and Decker, which used to be made in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. Who knows where this one was made. I can do the rest with a little block sander by hand. Can't decide if I should leave the edges super crisp or round them off a bit. Bondo is pretty fragile stuff where it's thin, so I think I better round the edges.

    Thank you guys for the welding repair tips and good advice on the gas tank, too. The Panther will have new paint pretty soon and a spiffy new gas tank in the frame. Is welding cool or what! Wohoo!
    SB
     

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  5. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Correct that... maperage was on the lowest setting, 10 I thing, but the wire speed was not at the lowest speed. I adjusted it to what felt right. What a great little welder.
    SB
     
  6. tooljunkie

    tooljunkie Member

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    i think with some practice,you will find the welding get easier,reading what the setting needs to be and will get the penetration.
    once you learn what it takes to burn holes,and backing off from there and getting to see the metal flow as you weld will yield gooder results.
    i misplaced my glasses the other day,it was like i was blind when it came to welding.
    guess i need another pair to leave at work.
    i need prescription ones as one eye is different than the other.
     
  7. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

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    SB... You shouldn't be worried about doing longer welds; Lay down a good 1/2" at a time, then let it cool... Those little 'zzzt zzzts' don't penetrate very well & make a very weak weld. :/

    Tooljunkie has very good advice~ "once you learn what it takes to burn holes,and backing off from there and getting to see the metal flow as you weld will yield good results". ;)
     
    #127 Venice Motor Bikes, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  8. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    So, do you think I should add a rod to the outside edge of the tube to strengthen it? Or give it a half round of pipe to beef it up?
    SB
     
  9. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

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    Grind it back down a little & lay down some longer (hotter) welds to fill it & then smooth it! (^)

    Leave it 1/16" heavier than the frame tube originaly was. ;)
     
    #129 Venice Motor Bikes, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  10. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Ah man, I didn't want to hear that. But I appreciate your being honest about the welds. It matters if it is weak.
    SB
     
  11. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

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    If you want to?, you can practice on a dead frame, & practice laying down small tight 'corkscrews' to cover what you have now. You want to just cover everything & build it up 1/16" to beef it up.
    Just do what Tooljunkie said & practice how far you can go (on the dead frame) until you blow a hole in the frame.
     
  12. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    I'll give it a shot...
    SB
     
  13. tooljunkie

    tooljunkie Member

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    snot my place to criticize someone's welding,'cause i know how it feels.

    my welding was mediocre at best in the beginning.
    but there was someone right there helping me sort it out.
    same as my arc welding a couple years ago,it was booger welds at best,grind and re-weld many times over.i didnt mig weld for about 6 months just so i could get a handle on the stick weldin.
    dont give up just yet,you will get it.

    bet you could crank it up a little and not have much trouble.but still need to let it cool
     
  14. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    tooljunkie,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I understand now that for one thing I was being too worried about heat. Too much and weaken the frame by making it brittle, too little and there isn't enough penetration for the welds to flow into the metal. So, once I have ground away some of the weak weld, and after I've done some practicing on a donor frame laying a corkscrew line I'll try it again. I think it best if I remove some so that I can still maintain close to the same profile of the tube... if I had clearance issues before it won't help if I add to the problem, so best I subtract before I add.

    The advice you guys are giving me is much appreciated. I'll make it better.
    SB
     
  15. MEASURE TWICE

    MEASURE TWICE Active Member

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    I'll be wanting to weld some nuts or couplers with like 1/4-20 threads for my skeleton frame (modular design so it can revert back to off highway woods motor bike) for the art cover on my motorized fish mobile. I have started on a cover of the other kind, sheet metal to cover large fast moving pulley and had a problem with punch through. Nothing other than a sucky way I figured out. I had the volts at least setting and even held the nossel farther back than what is right so that the little bits would accumulate and create a thicker area where welding was being done to attach two thin sheet metal parts. Then went over again with feed rate at slowest and the nossel at proper distance and tried to melt is smoothe. Not too sucessful, but is plenty strong. Maybe Bondo over. Don't have a TIG where I can just add heat so thin sheet metal is not being what I think a MIG welder does too easy or maybe some other hints on what I am doing wrong.

    I forgot what had been said about using a copper sheet underneath to spread the heat out and the copper does not stick to the two piece of thin sheet metal steel. I can try that another time.

    MT
     
  16. tooljunkie

    tooljunkie Member

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    actually,a copper block,like 1/2" thick to absorb the heat,and weld wont stick to it.
    the farther you hold the mig torch away,the worse the weld.butt joints need to be tack or spot welded and allowed to cool between tacks.center out about 1" apart and cool,keep tacking and cooling.can grind welds a little to clean them up.
    i prefer to lap as the welding doesnt need to be solid or continous.

    there are many variables,
    type of welder as in make/model/age
    gas or no gas
    type of gas used
    wire thickness
    metal type and thickness really old cars have kinda funky metal.new cars have very thin sheet metal and some body parts are really hard to weld.
    rusty metals are harder to weld than shiney new stuff.

    gaps to fill if parts dont fit very well.

    welding towards ground clamp vs away from ground clamp can sometimes affect welds too.

    when welding two different thickness metals,start on the thicker stuff and work onto the lighter material.

    most important-good welding helmet,good gloves and an apron or welding jacket.
    good gloves permit you to help steady the torch to the workpiece,a decent helmet of course helps you see,and the jacket keeps the sparks outta your shirt and or shorts.
    i prefer the leather apron if i am sitting while welding.

    always be in a comfortable work position,no hoses,cords or old 2x4's to trip on while walking around the work area.
    i use a welding table and a tee type stand to rest my arm on at a comfortable working height.


    the more practice,the more comfortable you are the betterer the welds.
     
    #136 tooljunkie, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  17. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Well boys, after a good bit of rainy weather I have something for show an tell.

    Following as best I could the advice from you guys, I did some practicing on a chunk of donor bike frame of the same vintage and made some incredibly ugly boogers of welds. I fiddled with the amperage until I was indeed blowing nice holes in the frame. Turned that down some. I also fiddled with the wire speed, the angle of the stinger to the work, the distance of the stinger to the work, how long I lingered as I tried to get weld to flow in a circular motion... and then... by George I got it!

    So I ground down some of the previous welds on the Panther frame and went at it. I'm confident now that this time around I have good penetration and have made right what was wrong. Thanks for telling me what I didn't want to hear.

    I stripped the frame down to bare metal with a wire wheel on the side grinder and hung it up in the donor lot for painting, first with a good primer and later with VanSickles tractor paint in gloss black. Love that paint which I'll show in the next batch of photos. It lays down nice, covers well and doesn't want to run unless you are really heavy handed (I'm borderline and not a very good painter, so need all the help I can get from the paint itself). Looks very much like powdercoat in luster. Today I'll tack weld the center kick stand which no matter what wants to eventually work itself loose enough to be aggravating. A few tacks from the welder should keep it in place along with the original mounting hardware. Then I'll touch that area up with paint and in a couple of days will shoot it with Van Sickles clear coat. I'm anxious to see how it looks of course, but more interested in how it looks after the next thousand miles of abuse. We'll see. It probably won't be the last time I paint this bike.

    The tank is coming along. I found my 3M glazing putty and did a passable job of filling in the little imperfections in the Bondo. Once it was in primer I could still see some flaws, but figured it is good enough, as they say, for government work. I'm going to ride this and spill gas on it and bonk the front fork against it even when I try not to. And it will again start looking like what it is, an old bike that gets ridden. So I'm not going crazy with trying to be perfect.

    I did lay down too much finish paint on the tank and it looks wrong in a couple areas so I'll do some sanding on that today, re shoot some finish coat and then leave it alone for a few more days as I start to address the other parts of the bike that need attention... such as new engine mount rails so that I can offset the engine a bit to draw the driven chain away from the repairs. By then I can clear coat the tank and by the time it's ready to mount the new gas tank it should be pretty well cured inside and out. If it leaks I'll just say goodbye now before shooting myself.
    SB
     

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  18. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Tom,
    I meant to tell you that the tank sealer I poured back into the can is still a liquid. I give it a shake when I think of it to see how long before it is chunk style. So there's a good window of opportunity to use this for something else or even another tank.
    SB
     
  19. tooljunkie

    tooljunkie Member

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    looks good,SB.
    keep it up,its good incentive for all the amateur builders out there.
    by sharing your experience,others will benefit.
     
  20. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

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    Your re-weld repairs look excellent! Other than the extra shine of them they seem to disappear in the photos.
     

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