what sort of cheap welder can i buy to build frames and fix old ones? thanks

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by joshua97, May 19, 2013.

  1. joshua97

    joshua97 Member

    Hi, i'm looking to weld bike frames (regular cheapies etc) and also weld mounts to a frame so i can mount a 70cc 4 sp semi auto dirt bike engine. i was looking at a 120 amp arc? but that may burn holes thru frame? or a gas less mig? i really don't know and I'm on a budget. i have safety equipment so just need the welder, engine mounts will be roughly 3mm or mane a bit bigger. i have a bit of welding experience at oxy-eset and mig and i have arced a few times on other thicker metal projects? hoping to spend less than $150 if possible, i did have my eyes on a 90 amp arc welder ? for $90 aus haha, please help thanks?

  2. BigBlue

    BigBlue Active Member

    Unless you become very competent with lots and lots of practice, it don't matter how an expensive welder you have, your more than likely just wasting your money. Not knowing what your doing isn't going to be productive with a cheap welder. It is like not knowing anything about engines and then buying a boat load of performance parts. Your engine ain't going to run right. It would just be cheaper to pay someone to build an engine and pay them to tune it.

    Why take a chance riding down the road at 30mph and your turkey weld decides to let go or you cause a stress fracture to develop because you overheated the tubing - safety is important and a good weld is important to your safety.

    Take several welding classes with the $150 before you buy a welder. Or you could pay someone to weld your frame for you with the $150.

    It's your money, but think twice before you make a plunge.

    Good Luck,

    AKA: BigBlue
  3. joshua97

    joshua97 Member

    Thanks BigBlue, i think i shall reconsider that thought :) back to nuts and bolts i think, generally speaking would a 90 amp arc welder be suficcient (if i was to get one just to practice) thanks
  4. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    gasless mig? on thin wall tubing? no. gasless is messy and nasty and horrible but good outdoors on heavy jobs.

    arc/mma/stick? definitely not on thin wall, its next to impossible to find rods under 2mm now. they are a good thing to have because if you can learn to lay good beads with a stick welder, you can lay good welds with almost any other method :)

    Tig? very easy, ive taught people with no experience to lay nice tig beads. overheads, verticals, horizontals...very easy. with practise.

    with this ill include oxy acetylene. its much the same as tig but with burning gas, not an arc. they both have a major disadvantage to the MIG. they dont do one hand tack welds too easily. youll know what this means when youve held a rod in your teeth, one hand on torch, one hand holding small piece of steel, one foot braced against the wall cus theres a 6ft drop under you, and the other holding what your tacking to the wall...

    get a REAL gas mig, even a cheapie does the job. fleabay. 120-160 amp is more than enough for the backyard warrior. 0.8mm wire is ideal. smaller is too "blobby", thicker is only much use when youre laying 1inch welds at 350 amps... buying a real brandname like lincoln helps in the long run, but a cheapie will do the job. a variable current control is far superior to mere switched settings, but costs more...

    yes, you have to buy gas, but omg! clean welds, no cleaning afterwards, etc. and its not that big an expenditure with the right suppliers, spread out over a year... if you see small bottles for sale, ignore them. they last only a few minutes and at the price of them...you will understand after buying a real bottle of gas.

    learning? theres plenty of information available online! you just gotta read, understand, then attempt! practise makes perfect. get some scrap mild steel and start playing! the more you learn, and the more you try, the better you will be!

    (and even a qualified 6G(r){all positional pipe, restricted access} welder has to be retested/certified after 3 months of not doing it, or when applying for certain positions)
  5. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    and, as a footnote. oxy acetylene is handy cus you can cut with it. braze with it. heat things up and bend them with it. weld with it. solder with it. and LPG or natural gas works for everything but welding...cheap!

    a good braze joint can be nearly as strong as the material being joined. depends upon fit-up
  6. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Harbor freight comes to mind. Personally I wouldn't buy a stick welder,at least a mig. 90 amp is too light because along the way your going to be welding other stuff once you get the knack of it. I wouldn't buy anything less than 150 amps but that's me. You can go to any metal shop and ask for scraps to practice on or a scrap yard. Might have to pay a little but its better than practicing on a good frame. I haven't welded in 20 years things have changed like cell phones I imagine............good luck.
  7. Nehmo

    Nehmo New Member

    Some guys are virgins and still live with mom.
  8. BigBlue

    BigBlue Active Member

    Huh, What's up with the Flame? Either directed at me or joshua97, I don't think it is appropriate. He asked for an opinion, I gave it to him and other members stated their opinions.

    If you don't have anything to contribute then at least don't say something that is negative and doesn't contribute to this forum in a positive and constructive manner.

    Have a nice day,

    AKA: BigBlue
  9. jaguar

    jaguar Well-Known Member

    HS, would a cheap no-gas MIG welder be worthwhile? I too would like to be able to weld frames since I want to convert a regular mountain bike to full suspension.
  10. Nehmo

    Nehmo New Member

    I sincerely apologize for the possibility that my comment may have been construed by someone to have been directed at joshua97.
  11. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Nothing misconstrued, your normal for us. Welcome to the forum.
  12. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Joshua: your free now. No matter whats been said. Your free of *****es here..............Darwin.
  13. Old Bob

    Old Bob Member

    Flux core wire is worthless. Its all spatter.

    Spend the money on gas. 120v house current Lincoln Mig is not expensive at only 1200 for the welder.

    forget the oxy/acetelyene for cutting which can be done but electric with air arc cheaper and easier. Rental on tanks is not worth it unless you use a lot of gas.
    Cutting using either method is usually reserved for salvage not in the process of manufacture, flame cut material goes for machining after its cut before being welded.A chop saw is cheaper.

    Unless you are certified you should not be welding on frames.Leave the frame welding to the pros.
  14. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Unless we were born with wings we shouldn't fly huh BOB?
  15. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    do not touch gasless welders unless you ;
    a, are doing fairly long welds.
    b, are outside with a breeze

    they do not tack sheet steel/thin wall section very well. they have to arc and start melting to start the shielding process. cool on heavy guage steel, not so good when you have to "zap-zap" thin stuff. you will always have some type of porosity or inclusion at the start and finish of welds.

    you also dont get to see the weld as well, as the pool is covered with molten flux.

    the flux sticks like bug :poop: to a windscreen. it takes a lot of wire brushing to remove.

    they will work but gas is so much superior. especially if it has pre and post flow options. (simple delay boards can be made to do it to a cheapie)

    theres also the option of brazing. oxygen is fairly cheap. acetylene costs a lot,, but lpg works and is cheap cheap. the equipment is a one off expense...until hoses break!

    as long as fitup is good, with clean surfaces, brazing is strong. silver solder can actually be stronger in certain circumstances, but thats another story.
  16. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    cant agree more.

    gas gas!

    go the plasma cutter! for doing thin stuff, of any material (they cut concrete if you put some steel on top ;) ) thats conductive... expensive if you want more than 16mm capability.

    but a plasma cutter wont touch 36 INCHES of solid steel :) go the mighty oxy torch!

    but yes, unless you can justify the bottle rental, oxy torches are mere luxuries. still very handy.

    ive seen some "certified" welders that must have been sleeping with the instructor or something...
  17. joshua97

    joshua97 Member

    Tanks for the help guys, i will look into a cheap gas mig, Is it easy and cheap to obtain the gas? I'm not fussed about appearance as long as the weld is strong, therefore could i possibly get away with a gas less mig? if not i will just have to give up on welding a frame :(. And Nehmo's comment, wether directed at me or not it doesn't bother me as such, but if it was, Is there something wrong with being almost 16 and being a virgin and living with my mum? haha, thanks for the help guys, has been really useful as i almost bought the arc haha :)
  18. V 35

    V 35 Member

    I've been told * Not * to Electric weld bicycle tubing, the current passing through it changes, and makes the metal brittle, and crack prone. Better quality bicycles are either hand, or furnace brazed, not welded. You would be well off to buy a portable acetyline outfit, such as an Airco Tote Weld. My unit uses a 10 cu ft. Oxy bottle [ refillable ] and a disposable MAPP cylinder . Easily carried to job, uses either a cutting, or welding tip. Works just like a full size acetyline outfit, but a lot smaller. I have to be biased against a ' cheap ' welder, an experienced welder could get by with one, but a beginner won't. If you want to learn to weld, think of it as a musical instrument, your early attempts will be dissapointing, with practice you'll improve, until you ' get it ' than you quickly go from not bad, to good. A student needs a stable arc, and the ability to repeat their successes, cheap welders are erratic, and hamper the learning curve.
  19. professor

    professor Active Member

    Joshua, you might look into a used unit. They seem to come up on Craiglist. One thing I do not have at home is a little mig unit. A very handy thing to have.
  20. Old Bob

    Old Bob Member

    Its sound advice for those who aren't familar with state DOT laws or just can't weld. If you can butt weld chrome moly and after dressing the seam so you can't find where its welded AND bend the tube in the area of the weld with out breaking or cracking then go for it.

    Having the frame break and splattering on the road is not my idea of fun.Besides by time you spend all the money it takes in equipment and consumables practicing you could have had a pro do it for less than 4-5% of what you spent.