Welding advice needed

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Cabana Springs
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Welding advice needed

Post by Cabana Springs » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:30 pm

Hey - ye'all

I want to weld bicycle frames together to make a funky BM bike thing. The problem is that I don't know how to weld. I inherited a Lincoln ARC Welder but I wonder if that is to much power. Would that work with some practice or should I buy something else? What's the differnce between a MIG welder and a wire feed welder and which of all three would be easiest to use/learn.

Can you help? Thanks in advance.
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Dork
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Post by Dork » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:50 pm

MIG and wire feed are basically the same thing. The difference is the MIG process blows inert gas over the weld. Wire feed uses a flux core wire instead. If you buy a "MIG" machine, you can use it for either type of welding. Using the gas will give you a little more precision and cleaner welds. Wire feed is a little cheaper to set up because you don't need the gas tank or hookups, and can be better if you're welding outside in the wind.

MIG is pretty easy to learn. I just picked up a machine and a book and got to work. My welds aren't pretty but they hold. If you want to get good faster there are tons of classes you can take.

I've never used an ARC welder, but I believe they're a little harder to learn on. If you do buy a MIG, I'd recommend getting a decent brand like Miller, Lincoln, or Hobart rather than a cheap Campbell Hausfeld or no-name. I got a cheap one initially and it worked, but had a frustratingly low duty cycle and was a little inconsistent. When I eventually sold it I got very little money for it. A good brand will hold its value quite well.

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Re: Welding advice needed

Post by lapeer20m » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:55 pm

Cabana Springs wrote:Hey - ye'all

I want to weld bicycle frames together to make a funky BM bike thing. The problem is that I don't know how to weld. I inherited a Lincoln ARC Welder but I wonder if that is to much power. Would that work with some practice or should I buy something else? What's the differnce between a MIG welder and a wire feed welder and which of all three would be easiest to use/learn.

Can you help? Thanks in advance.
you can weld bicyle frames with an arc welder. I didn't know how to weld when i got my first welder. I ordered a book to read about the welding process, different welding rods, ect. In the mean time, i got some scrap steel and started trying to stick 2 pieces of metal together. It really isn't rocket science, but takes a little practice. Especialy when practicing, it's nice to have metal that's at least 1/4" thick. The bicycle frames are more like 1/16" and a bit more difficult to weld without burning holes in them.

I went to a welding supply store and told them i had no clue how to weld and wanted some rod that was easy to use. They were very helpful.

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Post by Teo del Fuego » Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:28 pm

I think a MIG welder is an ARC welder, it just uses an inert gas as a "shield" for the welding spot. For the beginner, a wire-feed ARC welder is a helluva lot easier to use than a "stick" welder. I may be wrong, but I recently have been asking the same exact questions and doing a lot of research in anticipation of buying my first welder for the purpose of making mutant bikes.

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Cabana Springs
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Post by Cabana Springs » Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:11 pm

My first go with the Arc Welder the rod kept sticking to the bike frame so I turned it up and burned a hole in the metal - like a hot knife through butter. So I spent the next twenty minutes cutting up the frame. That was loads of fun but not too productive.

My next line of action must be to buy a book and experiment. All suggestions and tips very much appreciated.
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stargeezer
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Post by stargeezer » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:18 pm

Using a stick arc welder for bicycle frames can be very difficult. When learning, working with a low current setting is very frustrating. Practice with thicker metal and a higher current setting to start with, and then slowly work the current down. Also, depending on the bicycle frame, it may not be standard steel. There are several alloys out there to reduce weight, and some do not weld very good, I think there is a possibility that some will actually burn once they are hit with the arc. This is the reason for either MIG or TIG, as the gas pushes the oxygen out to help prevent a burn. I would suggest finding old frames that are heavier steel if you are going to use them as a learning project.

Good Luck

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Post by LeChatNoir » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:35 pm

If you use the arc welder, then get the smallest rods possible for a bike frame. You used to be able to find 3/32" rods, but I've not seen them for a while around here. MIG is sort of replacing the small rods any more. If you're using a "buzz box" (big red box with one single lever on it that moves in clunks from one setting to another), then you can only adjust the current in large increments. Smaller adjustments must be made with rod size.

If you do get a small portable MIG, get the 220 volt job if you can. The 110 doesn't work very well on thicker stuff. And you know you're going to want to weld thicker stuff sooner or later.

And mind the fumes too. Chrome and galvanizing give off toxic stuff when welded.
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Post by Archantael » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:41 pm

While a 220 MIG is nice... I consider my Miller 110 to be one of the best things I've ever bought, period. Granted I can't weld colossal steel I-beams together but for project work coupled with portability...it's hard to beat.

Sorry LeChat, I had to put in the shameless plug for the 110 MIG's.

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Post by Tiahaar » Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:06 pm

Welders love to help with tips! Its just too much fun and rewarding to keep it all to ourselves. So here's my 2 cents worth: CS, I'm betting that you have the standard AC farm welder Lincoln is famous for, yes? Got one too, love it (but use my cheapy flux wire mig for all 1/16-1/8" steel tube and angle 'cause it is so darn simple and I'm lazy to pull out the big boy)

In stick welding rod Type makes a HUGE difference...try this stuff for thin metal and clean steel: 1/16 easy strike 6013 rod Use it at low amps, try 50-75 or so.

6011 is AWESOME for welding rusty steel as it has a lot of dig to the arc, also spatters like crazy

6013 is a very mild low penetration (haha) rod for clean steel

There are half a dozen other useful ones, and lots of specialty stuff once you get into it.

If by very lucky chance you have an AC/DC Lincoln you can run the electrode negative for more heat on the part or electrode positive for better cleaning and a little less heat on the part (but more heat on the rod...they can get smokin...) and also have much smoother arcs. Then you can use fancy 7018 rod among others...very pretty welds.

There'll be many others, that'll do for me :)

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Post by motskyroonmatick » Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:24 pm

Everyones comments here are right on. Stick ARC takes quite a bit of practice to get good at welding thin metal. The frustration factor with stick ARC can be quite high. On small rod the power(heat) increases as the rod is consumed and that is tricky to manage at times
If budget is not an issue I would purchase a gas shielded wire feed welder if you want productivity right now. The cheapest ones are frustrating so going with a name brand as mentioned before and not bottom of the line will be best. Get the correct protective gear and spend the money on an automatically dimming helment they work and are great for learning with. Also buy a text book on the different welding process and how they are accomplished. Reading about each process can give you insights as how to get the most out of the process you are using.

If you live near Portland Oregon get in touch with me(PM) for some training and to borrow a book.

Fumes from welding on clean metal should not be bad for you but definitely stay away from galvanized and paint fumes. Galvanized is very bad for the lungs!!!

Go for it!!!
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Post by Fex » Thu Mar 15, 2007 11:51 pm

My little Miller 110V has all the power I need right now. Up to 3/16" thick steel with a nice clean gas-shielded weld, or up to 1/4" if I use flux-cored wire, which is not as pretty but still a good weld (and the only choice in windy outdoors anyway). Anything I make is done with round or square tubing, so that's as thick as I need to weld. Any thicker than 1/4" with tubing, I'm building bridges. For bikes and things, I don't see any reason to spend the extra $2-300 on a 220V model. For heavy structural stuff you need to use a stick arc welder anyway.

My own opinion, FWIW, I'd say buy the little 110V MIG for the thinner stuff until you get a good feel for metalwork, and then get some welding training and buy the stick arc welder when you're ready to move up to the heavy stuff. But definitely "start thin" and get some help/tutoring when you move up to heavy steel; stick welding's tough... and you don't want a futzy welding job when you're welding something that needs serious structural strength.
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Post by Fex » Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:01 am

motskyroonmatick wrote: If budget is not an issue I would purchase a gas shielded wire feed welder if you want productivity right now. The cheapest ones are frustrating so going with a name brand as mentioned before and not bottom of the line will be best.
I forgot to mention.... WORD!!!!

Harbor Freight sells MIG welders for absurdly cheap, and you will end up cursing the day you decided to save those coupla bucks up front. If you buy Miller or Lincoln, you're in good hands; they're the gold standards. I've heard Hobart's good, but the parts are harder to find... if you need a piece replaced, not every welding shop deals with them. It's like cutting torches... there's other brands besides Victor, but if you need a part, the shop you go to *will* have parts for that brand of torch. I'm not a brand nazi with everything, but with expensive tools, you're silly not to be one.
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Post by Lassen Forge » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:47 am

Yo, Cabana... Congrats!! (See what happens when you give up heroin and go with caffeine-free coke? Doom, I tell ya!!!)

Most people like wire, I prefer stick as it was what I was taught back in the ancient days. Frustration is high but I find I get a better result (stronger, which is the point) with Stick.

Bike tube is THIN stuff, so ya gotta be careful - small diameter 6013 rod and low low amps. DIdja get a book with the welder? If not, go to your local welding shop and get... aw fuck... it's something like the Pocket Welders Guide. Goes into Polarity, Amperage, Rod type, etc... If I had mine with me I'd tell you what it is, but you'll know it when you see it - it's like mini notebook size and worth its weight in gold. Get some scrap. play with laying down beads, putting metal together - most folks can get passable in a day or so, and in a weekend you'll start getting the structral strength spot on.

BTW - Galvanized anything WILL make you sick, even in a ventillated area (would prolly kill ya in an enclosed space). Welders trick is to down a glass of milk. No shit - I don't know what it is but it works.

Word too about name brand. I like Lincoln, tho Miller makes some bitchin gear like Helmets and whatnot. Oh - if'n ya don't know wear long sleeves, otherwise you'll have the sunburn from hell. (Don't ask how I learned *that* lesson).

DO NOT do the Tiawanic Harbor Freight stuff. ALWAYS had problems, never worked right. The one wire feed unit I had sprung spools as fast as I could get them untangled (ended up having to rebuild the POS myself finally - yuck!!) and after about 3 months gave up the ghost completely. Bleah.

bb

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Post by Toolmaker » Fri Mar 16, 2007 5:48 am

When welding thin walled materials with MIG do not auto feed, rather feed the wire by hand. Get a good pool started and follow it at a nice pace. Consistency is the key. The more electricity you use the more penetration and you will get. If you heat your work too much it can weaken the metal. I usually don't have to weld too often.. only about 2 or 3 times a week but I know bike frames are a pain in the ass. It might even pay just to start with a better grade of material than whats commonly used on bicycles. Also remember to prep your material with grinding and/or steel wire to make a nice clean surface for your welds to stick to.
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Post by unjonharley » Fri Mar 16, 2007 6:17 am

Welding would to hard on my lungs..
So I sold the machine..Now I cut turn hard wood inserts and pin bike joints..Works well.

Tell the truth: The kids sold the welder to keep me from using it..

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Post by robotland » Fri Mar 16, 2007 6:38 am

I recommend "The Welder's Handbook" by Richard Finch...It overviews all types of welding and has many techniques and tips. I got my copy at the local welder's supply place, but Lowe's carries it and it can, of course, be had online. I had to be the odd man out, though- Because I need to melt stuff for casting, I've got an OxyAce setup. Gotta love the blue flame, man! Can't chop up railroad scrap with one of those little buzzboxes!
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Post by mdmf007 » Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:14 pm

MIG - Metal Inert Gas. This is wire feeding. If you use flux core wire you dont need gas, unless your outside in a draft etc.
Best for quick welding, where the parts fit relatively good. A monkey can MIG weld, wont be pretty but will work

TIG - Tungstem Inert Gas = Best for when parts are tight, and a precise weld is required Shielding gas is required

ARC - is theoldest form of electric welding and uses flux encased welds. Originally designed for structural wleding where large welds with deep penetration were needed. Still used as the mainstay in ship yards, backyards, etc...

If the metal is of the same alloy you can weld it up pretty easy. Id start low on the amps, and ramp it up until you get a nice bead going.

MOST IMPORTANT ----- SHIELD YOUR EYES!!!!! or you will be at the hospital at 3AM with flashburn.

have fun,
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Post by Archantael » Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:34 pm

robotland wrote:I recommend "The Welder's Handbook" by Richard Finch...It overviews all types of welding and has many techniques and tips. I got my copy at the local welder's supply place, but Lowe's carries it and it can, of course, be had online. I had to be the odd man out, though- Because I need to melt stuff for casting, I've got an OxyAce setup. Gotta love the blue flame, man! Can't chop up railroad scrap with one of those little buzzboxes!
I second the book recommendation and who says you can't cut with a buzz box? It won't be pretty but in a pinch....sometimes you make do with what you have.

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Post by unjonharley » Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:05 pm

Want to see arc?..I run the over head crane for an electric furnace..It had three carbine rods..Each about 18 inches dia..It would start with machine turning to start the melt..After charging it I would go down to the floor do all the little do da things until the pour..When they opened the small hach for a sample, Our over glasses were 2 inches thick..We would pull up the carbin rods..Some time the melt would boil up an arc..Then it would spit at you..If you were unluck enough a hunk would go down your neck..Then the trick was to keep it moving..I wore bib overalls and welders shoes and could dance the fire right out the pants legs..One big spark hung on my thick glasses..It burned through them and had the safety glasses on fire before my partner could knock them off my head.. That's arc!

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Post by Tiahaar » Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:42 pm

unjonharley wrote:Want to see arc?..I run the over head crane for an electric furnace..It had three carbine rods..Each about 18 inches dia.... That's arc!
Daaammnnn!!! How many amps did they put through them? No wonder you are so charged up and running.

Oh yes and I second Bay Bridge Sue on the low quality of the cheapy HF flux Migs...its what I use (yes but it was only $90!!!) but so far have had to fix a loose wire in the handpiece, realign the pinch rollers that feed the wire, and untangle one HUGE snarl when the wire got away from me when replacing the spool (my fault there). Its still running, worst thing truly is the 10% duty cycle...it has to cool 5 minutes for every 30 second bead lay. Gives me time to chip and brush the weld I guess. I've got a little box fan to put in the case, should help.

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Post by Toolmaker » Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:13 am

http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic.php?t=17123

Cross post for your pleasure. Get yer learn on!
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Post by Rocket75377 » Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:51 am

Just to throw in my two cents: if the bike frame is aluminum, I would say TIG is the way to go. But TIG is expensive and hard to learn, so unless you want to take it somewhere, I'd forget about it. Steel frames could be welded with stick or mig. I agree with, uh, whoever it was that said to use a 1/16th 6013 rod. I'd run it pretty low, prolly like 65 amps. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. As soon as you accidentally burn a hole in your frame, you're done.
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gyre
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Post by gyre » Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:34 pm

What about brazing?
One of my frames is brazed.

I've seen some special alloys that melt at low temps.
Would that be useful for thin stuff?

I've used Devcon Industrial steel epoxy to fix all sorts of things.
Very handy for those without welding ability.
I recommend the aluminum epoxy for most things.
They have titanium, bronze, etc.
I have attached heavy aluminum to steel plate.
Most welders won't do that.
This is not the hardware stuff.
You have to go to a supply house for it.
Keeps forever unmixed in the fridge.
Joints will not be as light as welded.
Excellent for casting.

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Post by mdmf007 » Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:04 pm

[quote="gyre"]
I've used Devcon Industrial steel epoxy to fix all sorts of things.
quote]

Devcon Industries rules. I was in the shop one day and their rep brought in a sample kit of like a hundred epoxies, and catalysts.

then left.... I was looking it over and quite impressed. It had a cross reference chart - you would find material "A" say Nickel or chrome, then scroll across the top until you found the other material you wanted to bond to it. Say concrete, smooth finish as "B".

I looked it up, said epoxy L4, and catalyst b. Mixed up a batch about the size of a peanut, and glued a fifty cent piece to the shop floor. and a nice polished wrench next to it. - then went to lunch.

I came back and saw Aaron (a shop hand) over at the sink washing up, and then noticed the blood. Kept walking back to towards my office when i saw the trail of blood drops from the sink back to my quarter. When I got closer I could see the quarter still there, with a fingernail stuck underneath the edge - the entire fingernail and some meat. He left to the doctors, and I popped the quarter and wrench off with a hammer (it took concrete with it)

I apologized, and gave him some time off as I felt pretty bad for the guy.

Still - it was pretty funny at the time.

later
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