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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When people do mods to these bikes and welding is needed, what kind of welder is the most useful? I've done some research on TIG MIG and stick, as well as acetylene torch welding... but I have no experience (I'm a quick learner with this stuff though). My uncle does welding on the farm and I'm thinking I'll probably get some tutorials from him, but what do you guys use? How many amps are needed for basic frame mods/repairs, and especially for exhaust work, and what is a good out for a beginner to start out with?
 

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DISCLAIMER: I am just speaking based off what I hear from my roommate who has done a fair share of welding for automotive related projects.

I hear that MIG welding is the easiest to start off with but if you want "pro" welds, a TIG is what you need, but for a beginner it might be more than you need.
 

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The "best" type of welding depends on what material you are working on. If you're going to be welding the frame and steel parts then just about anything will work. TIG, MIG and gas welding will all look good but I'd stay away from using a stick unless you're very good with it. When you start getting into MIG and TIG then all machines are not created equal and I'd stay away from the flux core MIG welders.

If you're going to be welding some aluminum parts then TIG is the way to go although there are some techniques and materials that will allow you to weld aluminum with an Oxy/Acet set-up.
 

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Welding machines have their own characteristics and features. You can actually check them as you visit your favorite welding store. Though, I suggest MIG welder; its features may be appropriate to your present inquiry.
 

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Mig or Tig would be the way I'd go.

Like a previous poster mentioned, not all welders are created equal.
I have a lincoln 230v Mig welder that I use. I stay away from flux core wire (unless welding in windy conditions).
I also have different bottles of gas and spools of wire so I can switch between mild steel and stainless steel (just need to bite the bullet and get the spool gun to weld aluminum).

I think a 110v quality welder would be plenty for the bikes.

I have not had to weld on the bike yet. but have done plent of welding on the race car and trailer. as well as many home projects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Damn... I figured it would be MIG. I'm the kind of guy that likes to do everything myself, and I love to learn new things when it comes to building. I had looked and found a couple of options for flux core and stick welding that would be under $300. MIG setups seem to be much more. This means I'm having a hard time rationalizing getting a setup, as I don't have enough work for a welder of this price to do.
 

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The welding technique chosen depends on what you're trying to do, there's no silver bullet......

Mig and Tig require more $$$, both up-front and continuing (gases, etc.), but are the only way to deal with aluminum. The technique is harder to master, more complicated with foot controls and such.

In general, welding thicker materials means bigger, more expensive welding stuff.

The 110 volt flux core rigs are convenient and simple, but can't handle bigger stock. They're also pretty messy, lots of spattering - grinding required for a finished appearance.
But it might be the best (cost-effective) option for the occasional welder, on light weight, emergency or cosmetic stuff.

If you'll be welding regularly, more $$ will be required for better equipment, and you'll probably need 220 volts.
 

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Oxy/Acetelyne is also an option for occasional light work. It's really not too difficult to learn to get a good weld, easier than flux core IMO. Cost is similar to 110V Mig if you get the small bottles and in a pinch you can also use it to fix your plumbing! :p
 

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J-T said:
Oxy/Acetelyne is also an option for occasional light work. It's really not too difficult to learn to get a good weld, easier than flux core IMO. Cost is similar to 110V Mig if you get the small bottles and in a pinch you can also use it to fix your plumbing! :p
It's also a slower process so your less likely to make a mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I wasn't even considering it an option- but it seems to be a really good one. Especially because one can cut and weld with the same outfit, which is nice because I'm new to metalwork and don't have the tools to do much cutting. I also like the fact that you can see what you're doing a little easier. Plus, you could also use the torch for pretty much anything else- heating, bending, etc. Seems like people think oxy-acetylene works the best for exhaust too, which would be the majority of my work.
 

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For the relatively poor quality metal these old frames are made of, oxy acetylene welding is actually quite effective, it tends to make stronger less brittle welds, it is a little bit tricky to get used to. As for all around utility a stick welder while tough to master will do nearly anything, and yes, depending on the rod you can weld stainless, aluminum, cast iron and regular mild steel. sheet metal is very tough to weld with stick, the technique required takes a lot of practice..

If you can find one for reasonable price, the best bang for the buck is a used multi process inverter with a wire feed. ie a miller 300xmt cc/cv or similar. (picked up mine for a grand) it is a professional quality tool with huge potential, and a well used 10 year old example will weld circles around anything you could buy new for less than twice that. (its also the size of a suitcase and can be carried by one person)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Arc stick welders are super cheap on the old Craig's list. I assume I would not want to purchase an oxy/act used though. The problem with the arc welder is that it will not work in the power supply of my garage, which flips the breaker when I use my old compressor. I assume that to rectify this would involve an electrician and a lot of money.
 

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richa610 said:
Arc stick welders are super cheap on the old Craig's list. I assume I would not want to purchase an oxy/act used though. The problem with the arc welder is that it will not work in the power supply of my garage, which flips the breaker when I use my old compressor. I assume that to rectify this would involve an electrician and a lot of money.
Arc welders are typically 220 so if you've got a dryer plug you should be able to get it to work. Why would you assume you can't get an oxy/act unit used? You typically wouldn't want to buy the tanks but the regulator and torches would be fine then just the get the tanks locally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dryer/oven plugs=in basement. I could run extension cords...or weld in basement and be ground into coffee by my mother. For the oxy/act setup I was taking about the tanks used being a bad idea. Buying the new essential supplies through Northern tool or some other supplier wouldn't be super expensive (most come without tanks though). If its oxy/act or stick I can probably mooch off my uncle for a bit too until I learn enough to make it worthwhile to have my own.
 

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oooooH something i like!

As long as you've the patience i would go for the Oxy set for welding bike parts. You can mend engine fins and other alloy parts, straighten bent levers and pedals, weld thin exhaust/frame tubing and also there is no danger of electrical damage to electronics. Cut, Weld, Braze, Solder, Lead Fill panels / tanks etc etc so versatile. I wants one. :twisted:

On the other hand, if you just starting out you might find yourself stopping short of doing heaver repairs / general fabrication around the house with the oxy set up, which is sometimes quicker and easier with a decent arc set up. I can easily weld frame tube / exhausts (cars and bikes) with my stick welder (don't tell anyone ive welded up my frame btw :!: ....), but it is used on cars, gates, fences, sheds etc as well. Places i couldn't drag two big gas bottles or get enough heat into to weld economically. Welding stainless steel i find easier with a stick welder btw, so keep this is mind if your thinking of doing your exhausts in Stainless Steel....go find a book on correct filler wire composition while your at it!
 

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I'm with Mullet on this one. If you have to have one sort only then go for Oxy/Acetylene, probably the most versatile. Having said that I'm saving for a TIG set now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I got the hobart 140- Haven't had a lot of time to practice with it, but its a lot easier than I would have thought, even with flux core. I'm looking around for a deal on a CO2 tank now to make it a real MIG.
 

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I dont know if you have this chain in the US, a mate has a mig from here and although its s few years old now its still good. It was between £1-200.
The main difference I guess is we have 240VAC in UK and Europe and its usually the amperage that makes the arc. I dont know if this would alter the price for any reason.
What I can say is that the cheaper machines are pretty good, and should be ok for most bike jobs, save Aluminium, this does require TIG and or an experienced welder too.
 

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When I started learning how to weld in Ag class, I was handed a gas torch and some steel and was told to stick it together. Couple of days later, I was actually having a blast "hot gluing" steel together. I am one that will always grab a torch over anything else. I guess if it has to be strong I will fire up my old ass spatter box.

Gas for me is the best all around welder and especially on thin material because you can set the heat to exactly what you need. You can weld beer cans together with it. Then there is the heating and cutting part that all other welders CAN'T do. Yes the strength is not there like with Stick welding, but you can stick CAST iron and aluminum back together.

My gas set was the first thing I bought and when it comes to usable tools you will never find one that will do as many jobs as a good gas set can do.

All this reminds me my bottles are about empty, time for a refill. :?
 
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