Wire Welder

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by photosbymark, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    I know most of the steel bikes are brazed with a gas weld system. Yet I wonder if anyone has ever used a wire welder to secure the joints of a bike and if so does it work? I can't see any reason why it wouldn't work, but then again I am not a welder. IF it would work, Id rather buy wire than have to buy gas. Storing wire is much better than storing O2 and the acetylene. Likely wouldn't be a problem, but if it was it would be a big one.

    Just interested in everyones opinion
     
  2. BlazingPedals

    BlazingPedals Member

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    Wire welding works. It's not as pretty as brazing and it takes some practice to avoid blowing holes in thin-wall tubing. Depending on the alloy, you may want to heat treat afterward, which might be beyond the normal garage tinkerer's means.
     

  3. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Is it as strong??? Harbor Freight has a real cheap one on sale that looks like it would do ok for the routine around the house fixes that always come up that is wire. It's a little over a hundred bucks. The gas weld kits are around $300, but also cut. Granted I have other ways to cut metal, but it would be nice and having it around for copper pipe plumbing would be better than a propane torch. Gas would likely be more expensive though in that the small size of the tanks would naturally lead to high price to use. Storage in the garage likely would be ok, but would feel better if I could store it in an outbuilding.

    Right now I know of a kid, who's parents are splitting up, that's about 4. He is a little skittish with training wheels, so I thought I would construct a tadpole type of trike with a coaster brake and no gears. I had a tricycle at that age, just not like that. grin. Just want to make sure that the joints would be safe for him.
     
  4. BlazingPedals

    BlazingPedals Member

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    You could make strong welds in 1010 (hi-ten.) They just might be a little ugly. Auto body filler could fix that. :)
     
  5. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Well got lucky. Found a clearance sale on a torch that should be more useful, better for most of the stuff I want to try to learn to do, and might give me a way to bend that seatpost so I don't have to get rid of my road bike to get rid of knee problems. It was the typical 300 torch for 133. Looks like a learning curve though. Thanks for all the help. Any tips for a beginner
     
  6. jeepster93

    jeepster93 New Member

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    I have wire welder(mig welder). A Hobart handler 135.
    Use it for the Jeep(mostly). I have made a stinger, welded my axle tubes, replaced the rear axle and all mounts for it, light bars, and re-attached my rear bumper when I pulled it off not on purpose...!

    It, btw, uses gas. A shielding gas called C-25 is used to keep splatter and contaminants from the welding spot. Without this shielding gas, the weld is junk and ugly, and breakable. Not to mention the splattering of liquid metal while welding the gas reduces.


    Would I use it to repair a steel framed bike?
    Yes, I would.
    It would look like I did the repair though.
    Also...welding is a skill, not something to be"picked up" tinkering around. Owning a welding machine does not make me a welder....
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
  7. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Oh I have done enough sweating of copper pipes and soldering of brass musical instruments to know that equipment doesn't give you the skill any more than owning a camera makes you a photographer.

    Still with a little practice and a little study, if anyone else can do it so can I. Now will I do it as well as a pro or someone with more experience??? No way. To me though learning is half the fun. The other is the satisfaction of having done it myself.
     
  8. jeepster93

    jeepster93 New Member

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    I took a class offered by a local 4x4 shop to my jeep club, on how to weld. That made a big difference in my quality.
    Totally agree with you about doing it yourself. Plus you missed one of the most important reasons for me to buy a welder and learn to use it:
    COST!
    No way would I pay someone $80 an hour to weld on my heep. I would not own a stinger or light bar or a storage rack or....
    Aftermarket jeep stuff is $$$, real $$$. And the stuff breaks a lot, so I needed to learn to fix it.
    Some jeepin' folks carry an under-hood built in wire welder...you never know when you will need to run a bead, fix a break.
     
  9. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Well at some point I probably will get a wire welder. For many things it would likely be cheaper than the gas. The wire welder I was thinking about though was a fluxed wire rather than a gas MIG weld, and I am sure MIG would be far better in many situations than a wire weld. The Oxy Ace was really the better choice for me for now and when I got a set that was within $20 of the Harbour Freight sale price I jumped on that.

    Going off roading a welder would be a BIG plus. Which would you rather do, run a bead to fix a suspension part or walk 30 miles to get someone to try to come help you. Short term there is going to be some expense, but long term once the skill is mastered I think it will save far far more than I spent on the torch.
     
  10. jeepster93

    jeepster93 New Member

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    This welder i have will use flux core wire without using shielding gas. The thing with it is temperature. The welder will get solid wire hotter than flux core wire, and therefore I can weld on thicker, more exotic steel.

    Welding on a bike...thicker is not going to be an issue.
    Be sure to be able to re-temper the weld afterwards.

    fyi:
    Cost:
    Welder: $235 (was a refurb from tool king)(came with the gas regulator)
    Gas/ bottle: $80 for the first time and a refill of a tank is $20
    Solid wire:$8 for 200 feet(perhaps 20 feet of welding bead)
    The gas will last about 2 spools of wire.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. jeepster93

    jeepster93 New Member

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    Oh Yeah...
    Get a self darkening mask. Makes it much easier for an amateur to weld.
     
  12. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Well the set came with goggles, but the mask is on the list down the road. Also anyone recommend any good welding books???