View Full Version : Welding

Cheezy Rider
02-22-2010, 06:10 PM
Don't know if this the right place to ask this question, but here goes. I am a newbie, and have question about putting the frame together. I just talked to my brother which is a welder. I told him what I am wanting to do in the way of building a bike and asked him which way to go, stick/mig/or braze. What I want to know which way you guys generally go. Like he said, on that light of material, with stick welding, you would just blow a hole in it. With brazing there has to be alot more heat, therefore more chance of distortion, and not that easy to do. Mig, you have to be pretty good at it. I am a Journeyman Pipefitter, and have messed with all of them, but none with perfect acuracy. Our of all of them I am probably the best at stick welding. I just wanted everyones opinion. I know that I could take it to someone to weld, but them may not be as picky as me about being perfectly square and all that. Plus then I have to pay someone. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

02-22-2010, 07:21 PM
I think that many if not most people here are split between a stick welder - mostly those 90 amp ones from Harbor Freight and flux core wire welders, about the same amperage and also from Harbor Freight.

I have both of those AND Oxyacetylene. I am fair with the stick welder. Many people say the wire welders are good and easy to learn. I can lay a bead on a piece of steel, but when it gets to putting pieces together, it just doesn't work. I just got it though, so that may not be a fair assessment.

I tend to weld as best as I can with the stick welder and go over it with the OA. The worst thing about the torch is it gets everything RED hot. This causes distortion, of course, and you have to wait quite a while for it to cool down before you can weld anything else near it. I find it easiest to do tack welds with because I don't have to touch the steel and possibly move something.

Brad uses a stick welder and only welds about an inch at a time, so he doesn't burn holes. I wish I could weld half as well as he does. His beads are works of art.

Cheezy Rider
02-22-2010, 11:22 PM
I have the chance at buying a 90amp 110v wire flux core welder for $65 (one of the Harbor Freight ones, that is about 2 wks old)., but don't want to buy it if is not going to work. Someone said on another site, the gas mig would be better than the flux core, but then you have to get a bottle and guages. Don't have a ton of money to spend, but don't want to get something that blows holes in the tubing. That's what I am afraid of with the stick welder.

02-23-2010, 01:00 AM
I built a few bikes with a 90a flux core welder, as have a number of members. I'd use a MIG, but all my welding is done outdoors. I borrowed a MIG from a buddy when I first started, but it didn't work, because the slightest breeze blows the gas away from the work. I went to a stick welder, which was fine until I had to weld in tight spots, and couldn't get past the sticking. Switched to flux core, which worked 100% better in the tight spots, and was much easier to start overall.
Then Trikeman started talking about the virtues of stick welding, and suggested starting with 7014 electrodes. His advice was spot on. I was able to start immediately without sticking, even in the tight spots.
That got me hooked on stick welding, because using 7014's resulted in much less spatter than the flux core welder. But my hand has gotten progressively less steady, so I'm using the flux core more often.
I used the flux core for over a year before trikeman touted stick welding. After about a month, the welds were much better than when I started, And I didn't have to grind nearly as much to get good looking joints. A year later results were much better, but there was still a lot more spatter than using the 7014 sticks.
The biggest disadvantage of using the 7014's, is that the metal has to be extremely clean for the rods to hold well. After a while, I went to 6013's, which are also considered a "beginners" rod, which work well even on metal that's a little dirty. I found it caused more spatter than the 7014's, but less than the flux core. By that time, I was able to start these even in tight spots.
If you want to get started right away, and the cheapest welder you could find is a flux core, go for it. Even if you upgrade later, having a backup welder can prove to be invaluable.

Cheezy Rider
02-23-2010, 02:25 AM
I'm a Journeyman Pipefitter, so I have had experience with all of them, but was somewhat fair with the stick welding as long as it was on flat surfaces, not like around a pipe. Always seemed to have problems sticking the wire on mig. But really want to get started on my Warrior hoping to have it done by summer. My brother is a welder and was asking him today about which one to use, and he said the only problem with stick welding is that you would be blowing holes in that thin of tubing.

02-23-2010, 04:18 AM
I use only gas fluxed mig, 100A with a high/low setting only nothing else variable, and I have no problems with it, it all comes down to learning how to use the tools at your disposal, and practise, practise, practise!


03-07-2010, 07:43 PM
Like others on this forum, I have been using Harbor Freight's 80A 'Inverter Welder' http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91110 with decent results. I have been using it with 1/16" 6013 rods, with the current set between 50 and 55 amps with the electrode positive. I still sometimes blow holes in tubes, but I have been able to fill them in. This welder has a list price of about $150, but it sometimes goes on sale for about $130.

I also find that if the tubes fit together well, I am far less likely to blow holes. I am also learning to watch and control the weld puddle better, and try not to do too much of the weld all at once.