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  • Brand new to welding...need advice.

    I've never welded before, so be gentle with me, please. ;-)

    What type of welder would you recommend a new guy buy to weld things on motorcyles, etc.? I'm building a custom motorcycle now, and to have many of the items welded for me is going to cost 200-300 dollars. If I could get into a welder for that amount of money I try to learn weld and do it myself.

    The frame is made of mild steel tubing about .188" thick. I'd be welding some tabs on it for a kick stand, exhaust pipes, and so on. Also might do a little welding on some of the sheet metal, like stretching a gas tank.

    I have access to an older, but functional stick welder. Runs on 110 volts, and is a 100 amp??? model. Don't recall the make, but it is a big red box and has a black face...I think. Maybe a Hobart, I'll have to check. Would this welder do the trick? None of the welds I would be making would be load bearing. The frame is already built.

    Am I fooling myself by thinking I could learn to weld good enough to do all this? Be honest with me.

    Sorry for so many questions, and thanks in advance.

    Andy
    Not many people know it, but I'm very famous.

  • #2
    The welder would probably work, even at 110 volt. Problems are that a 110v stick welder wont have much work in it (it would over heat if you did much with it). A wire welder is a bit easier to weld with. Here is the deciding factor, I would not attempt something as big as a motorcycle being new to welding UNLESS ALL stuctural components are already done for you!!! If all you are doing is welding stuff like tail lights, or other small things than fine. Ask yourself this question (WOULD YOU PLACE YOUR LIFE ON ONE OF YOUR WELDS?) As for what welders to buy, You can go to the archives and search the old site for that and get a TON of info. Good luck
    Mark

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    • #3
      For the hanger tabs and NOT the gas tank:

      If functional (not for show) I think you should go for it with the stick machine on the non-load-bearing hanger tabs. You will probably get a whole variety of responses, settings, rod types, go buy a TIG machine ($$) etc.
      Lots of satisfaction in doing it yourself. The only risk is a serious burn thru of the original frame ... you will want to practice on scraps as much like the real thing as you can.

      GAS TANK MUST BE THROUGHLY PURGED OF ALL FUEL AND FUMES. Thinner sheet metal for a gas tank is harder to master to wind up with a leak proof final product and harder still with a stick machine. This too is learnable, but I would suggest even more practice will be needed to get the result you want.

      Bob
      Last edited by Bob; 10-20-2002, 02:15 PM.

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      • #4
        I think the red box with a black face is probably a Lincoln machine. This site (big logo at the upper left) is hosted by Hobart (Miller) but there is still loads of good useful info.

        Lincoln also has an good site with loads of info, but last time I looked, not as active as this one.

        You did say "have access to" this welder, so I guess obvious advice would be to get help from its owner: Manual charts of setting/rod for different situations, how to set up, etc.

        Sounds like a modest, one time project, with limited funds ... so you may just want to have the welder owner do it for some modest barter trade.

        Good Luck in any event ... and don't blow up the gas tank.

        Bob

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        • #5
          Andy,

          Stick welding is very versatile, and by far has the most bang for the buck as far as welding power supplies are concerned... But unless you are superhuman you will not be able to just pick up the stinger and lay a bead that is either functional or attractive.

          I highly encourage you to do it yourself, but practice a lot before you try it for real. You will be very upset when you lay a non-penetrating birdcrap weld, even more when you burn through your tubing trying to stick on that kickstand brace...

          And watch out for MIG. It is easy to make a great looking welds with minimal penetration...

          Good Luck!
          Bill C
          "The more I learn about welding the more I find there is to learn..."

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          • #6
            Hi Andy,

            You asked an honest question, and I'll give you an honest answer...but first, a question....is your life worth 200-300 dollars?
            My guess it is priceless, at least to you.

            Welding on a motorcycle invoves a little more than just sticking on tabs to hold things. There are stress factors involved, as well as vibration factors. There is heat input to be considered. These factors are what will cause a weld to fail, if not done properly with what ever method you use to weld them with.

            As weldors we learn, and keep upper most in our minds that the weld we make will have someone's life riding on it! That's an awesome responsibility, too!

            Now, if welding is what you really desire most to do, then get a class and learn in a structured training environment. Then have fun and be safe...(where did I hear that before?)

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            • #7
              HI ANDY............I THINK ROCKYD WITH THE COMMENT ABOUT HAVEING FUN AND BEING SAFE IS SOMETHING I ALWAYS SAY...... BUT HE IS RIGHT ARE YOU WILLING TO BET YOUR LIFE ON IT..... I WOULD RECONSIDER, I KNOW A BLACK SMITH THAT KNOWS A BUNCH ABOUT WELDING AND IS AN EXCELLENT WELDER....... BUT I ALSO KNOW A INSTRUCTOR THAT IS A PIPE LINE WELDER, WELDS TITANIUM, INCONEL'S, ETC..........AND HAS WORKED IN NUCLEAR REACTORS IN THE CONSTRUCTION TRADE......... YOU GUESSED IT HE'S CERTIFIED.........AND HE BET'S ALL OF OUR LIVES ON HIS WELDS IN THE REACTOR TRADE........ IF YOU CAN'T TAKE A CLASS THEN READ EVERYTHING YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON ABOUT METAL............IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF METAL USED, MOTOR CYCLE FRAME IS IT MILD STEAL, ARE THERE ANY FORGED CASTINGS IN IT..........HEAT ON THE WRONG KINDA OF METAL CAUSES STRESS AND MAKES OTHER TYPES OF METAL MORE BRITTLE.......CAN'T AFFORD ANY BOOKS THEN HEAD OFF TO THE PUBLIC LIBRARY AND START CHECKING BOOKS OUT...... THERE IS A WHOLE LOT MORE TO WELDING THAN JUST STICKING METAL TOGETHER...........SKILLED TRADES............. OK HAVEING SAID ALL THAT I NOW ENCOURAGE YOU TO START BY DOING A BUNCH OF WELDS ON SCRAP METAL..........PRACTICE, PARACTICE, PRACTICE.....AND REMEMBER WHEN THE FIRST ROD STICKS TO THE METAL DON'T LEAVE IT STUCK ON THERE AND LOOK AT IT..... TAKE IT OUT OF THE STINGER HANDLE BEORE IT MAXES OUT YOUR MACHINE..............ANDY WE ARE NOT CHASTISEING YOU WE ARE TRYING TO INVITE YOU INTO THE WORLD OF WELDING.......... NOW START YOUR PRACTICE.............YOU ARE ABOUT TO HAVE SOME FUN....................... ................YOU WILL MEET A STRANGE MIX OF PEOPLE AFTER YOU LEARN TO WELD........ WHAT FUN YOUR GOING TO HAVE.......................ROCK
              [email protected]

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              • #8
                The 110V red and black welder is probably made by Lincoln Automotive or Century they might be under same corp now. They have website. That welder is ok to play with but should bypass it and look for a used 220V stick welder if money is tight. Get some welding lessons from your friend or better from a welding school.
                Last edited by Roger; 10-22-2002, 01:42 PM.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the input. I think I'll let the pros do the welding on the motorcycle. Sure don't want a wheel or something to fly off while motoring down the highway. It's so embarassing to go skidding off the road and into a fence at 65 MPH! I guess I'll play with the stick welder on some junk lying around the shop. (No doubt there are some bolts and hinges that need to be stuck to an old tractor wheel around here!) Gotta start somewhere. Like I tell my sons, "There are 3 things you need to do to learn something new...Practice, Practice and Practice."

                  'Preciate all the help. Your insight and knowledge was just what I needed to make the correct choice.

                  Andy

                  PS. Russell. I wish I really WAS famous. I'd be able to afford all the welding equipment I could use! ;-)
                  Not many people know it, but I'm very famous.

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                  • #10
                    "Not many people know it, but I'm very famous."

                    ... sounds like a Yogi quote.

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                    • #11
                      Actually, I stole that from the TV show "Cheers." Sam Malone (bartender) was trying to impress some gal. She wasn't interested and began to walk away when he said, "Hey there. Wait a minute. Not many people know it, but I'm a very famous baseball player!"
                      Not many people know it, but I'm very famous.

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