Can anyone tell me if it is possible to arc weld (stick weld) bicycle frames or can you only use mig welders, i'm tinkering with the idea of buiding my own frame (customizing) so if possible i will then buy arc welder.
I wouldn't recommend an arc/stick welder unless you are a very experienced welder using heavy guage mild steel tubing. Most people aren't precise enough to do this. High grade steel alloy bicycle frame tubing would be damage by the excess heat spread from this type of welding. High quality hand made lugged chromemolly or manganesemolly steel frames were usually silver brazed or brass brazed together. Luggless frame were traditionally brazed together with prescisely mitered joints. Modern luggless frames are usually mig or tig welded in a production setting, but often still brazed together by small volume handbuilders. I personally prefer to use a gas torch when building frames, but that is a personal preference. It is slower but quieter and there is no arc involved. I also learned this way before the other methods, a long time ago. If i wanted to build an aluminium frame, I would tig weld it Even if I were to make a frame out of old waterpipe, I wouldn't stick weld it. I do use a stick welder to fabricate with thick rusty metal, properly prepared, when I want really good penetration. My opinion is based on experienced gleaned from working in a bike shop where we built high end custom racing, touring, track and tandem bicycle frames and all phases of bicycle repair, including replacing damaged frame tubes in frames built by other makers.
If your not a realy good arc/stick welder.I wouldn't recomend using one because of the heat.It tends to weaken the steel tubing,and cooling with water makes it realy brittle.I use a combination of mig,and arc for most projects.I wouldn't recomend the flux core mig welder for a frame either.The welds are not even close to being as procise as a regular mig.The shielding gas realy helps make better,and nicer looking welds.
with several years of custom exhaust & chassis fabrication experience under my belt, i'm absolutely positive that, in the right hands, a 110V MIG (that's right, real metal/inert gas, not flux core) would be the perfect tool for frame building.
i owned one back then, a really nice snap-on...ever have a "sure wish i still had that" moment?
A gas shielded MIG would work in experienced hands if the tubes were properly mitered before welding. This sthe third year I will be participating in the pro division of the welding rodeo. 8 hours, a pile of junk, and teams of artists-wleders create sculptures to be auctioned off to raise money for the school.details: http://weldingrodeo.btc.ctc.edu/
Lot of good responses here.
The easiest would be a mig.
I am about to stretch a bike frame. I stick weld a lot on small stuff (don't have a mig at home) with 1/16th from HF (6013 I think) at 40 or 60 amps. An old bike with heavy wall tubing would be OK to stick weld, but not the new thin stuff.
On stuff that is not critical for strength, stick downhand lets you do lighter stuff -sometimes a filler rod helps- especially if you burn a hole.
migs good allowing your hand to get closer to the weld for more control of your bead arc your hands like a foot away from your bead atleast with mig you have consistency tig is sweet to but thats expert stuff and i think most 6061 aluminum bike factories have robotic tig welders explaining the beautiful perfect welds on some polished aluminum frames ive seen
i think in the future a main stream builder will start to sell framesets built and engineered around a center mount bolt pattern for the buyer to build up his MB atleast it kit form it would make/release the company from liability wich i think is the main reason you dont see specialized or giant selling ready to run motorized bikes its all liability