Arc Welding bicycle frames possible?

Discussion in 'Painting, Welding, Bending and Gas Tanks' started by cheap ride, Apr 11, 2007.

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  1. cheap ride

    cheap ride Guest

    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.

  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I will say I can't give any advice on this one other than to say I have a 110V stick welder, and it makes a prety small bead so you may get away with it with that kind of stick welder.

    Torches should make welding one up a breeze.
  3. psuggmog

    psuggmog Guest

    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.
  4. retro_racer

    retro_racer Guest

    arc welding

    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.
  5. gone_fishin

    gone_fishin Guest

    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?
  6. psuggmog

    psuggmog Guest

    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:
  7. cheap ride

    cheap ride Guest

    Thankyou guys so much for your experience and input i am very greatful, what a great forum this is .
  8. For all the other memeber looking for answers.

    Arc Welding bicycle frames possible? yes


    with pracise




    and more practise


    and if your like me giving up, drinking some beers .. giving it another go and then getting better.


    the two most difficult things i found to weld are tubes and thin stuff and bicycle frames are thin tubes unfortunatley.

    initially i thought it was impossible, but rember not to confuse the difficult with the impossible

    i also found speaking to lots of "bicycle builders" said high temp welding shouldnt be done, however in other industries e.g aviation & it is.

    also i found this helpfull

    atomiczombie is a member here and seems like a real nice guy
  9. professor

    professor Active Member

    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.
  10. 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
  11. mlcorson

    mlcorson Member

    There are several skill sets needed here to make a bike frame. Lack of proficiency in any one of them one could easily create problems in the final build. Psuggmog has the best approach. Precise fitting of the tubes is the most critical skill. Stick arc welding light tube requires many hours of practice to master. Mig welding, although seemingly point and shoot is also an acquired skill through practice . I've been welding for at least 5 years and I would recommend gas welding or brazing, or both for building a bike frame. FYI, a well fitted and designed braze join can be many times stronger than a traditional steel to steel weld.
  12. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    just a question -- did a little welding way back

    I truly thought that arc was the strongest weld ??

    are not most bicycles put together with the arc ??

    just a question

    in welding class many many years ago now
    seems like for strenth we always used arc ??

  13. professor

    professor Active Member

    The brazing used in bikes a long time ago was of a socket fitted deal. That indeed was strong. Butt braized joints have less strength than welding (the brass is not as strong as steel).
    I would have suggested gas welding except if the flame is not a perfect mix, you can have a very weak weld.
    If you want to feel better about arc welding, add some gussetts to the joints.
  14. mlcorson

    mlcorson Member

    Yes, I assert in most cases, generally stronger. It's a matter of the brazing material completely filling the joint and the fact that the bonding occurs over a larger area than traditional welding.
    See here for more information about brazing.
  15. "The easiest would be a mig. " agree

    "An old bike with heavy wall tubing would be OK to stick weld, but not the new thin stuff" the "new thin stuff" CAN but DEPENDS. what i look for are frames that have already been welded NOT lugged, because based on alloys some keep/lose strength with different weld temps e.g some tubes are not designed to be heated up to welding temps if so they lose strength.

    "migs good allowing your hand to get closer" agree :) try cutting your arc stick to this really helps

    "bike factories have robotic tig welders explaining the beautiful perfect welds" we had one where i used to work ... it was good, we had a guy who could weld as consistant who also got called "the robot" :)

    uncleargenius1 "i think in the future a main stream builder will start to sell framesets built and engineered around a center mount bolt pattern" what is this?

    this certainly is becoming an intresting talk :grin5:
  16. Salba

    Salba Guest

    Doctor stop
  17. Salba

    Salba Guest

    Stick welding Tip controller relies on thick gloves and holding stick tip near the arc. Mahe sure the rutile Rod coating is not damaged and be sure to not Earth yourself to ground.
  18. Salba

    Salba Guest

    Mig welding is less accurate than stick, you can't see the arc so well as the mig wire nozzle is very big and blocks vission. Sticks can be held almost like a pencil and provide superb arc control. Stick welding is also very cheap compared to all but tig welding. Tig welding produces a lot more uv and infrared so is really in need of two pairs of leather glove to stop skin cancers appearing on hands (same as mig welding aluminium). Two pairs of gloves is a bummer. Gas welding costs big if renting bottles and not using them continuously. Practice stick with short Burns and grind off any bumps looking for cracks or pinholes. Stick is used for 30-40 thousand psi pipe joins so I reckon a bicycle frame is ok., Bear in mind good stick welds are way up there in the stratosphere of weld skill set, but also that a stick can be fed into some very tight places and save a lot of dismantling sometimes.
  19. skyash

    skyash Active Member

    Stick is great you got to start sum where .I don't know I weld sprockets and gear's all day with a mig and yes I made a holder so I get a constant beed but if I could not see then I could not weld for the biggest sprocket company in Australia its just me and one other man .yes I agree that welding can and will weak en your frame if you don't know what you're doing but just one 1 by 1 Inc weld Will hold a 1 tone done right all about penetration and not sucking the metal your welding in to your weld ..if I was you go for it. go over bord grind it back look for where it becomes one piece and learn I did .now my weld s are in Cole Mines food factors classic cars timing gears anything with a sprocket/gear could be me .even the 66cc motor s need gears in them from some where .I make the 44t back sprocket for these bikes I don't know who's order it but that's what their for I got one in my e bay 66cc kit .who knows where welding can take you lol good luck
  20. Timbone

    Timbone Active Member

    A lot of stuff here about welding. Some have a clue; some don't. My input:

    How do bicycle companies make bicycles? If they are carbon fiber, they are effectively glued together with epoxy. But what about metal frames?

    Aluminum frames are TIG welded. This is the only way to go with thin, strong aluminum frames. Never braze via " allium alloy" even.

    Steel is easier to work with and handles the heat stresses much better than AL. In the old days, great bicycle companies mostly brazed (not soldering!) their tubes together with coupling pieces. Today, nearly every steel frame is TIG welded because MIG welding is just too hard on such thin frames. Sure, you can get a MIG setup to work and hold the tubes together but, unless you are really, really good, it's not going to be a weld that stands the test of time.
    sp1ke likes this.