Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Worcester, Ma
Bikes: Gary Fisher Mullet, Centurian Le Mans, a stripped Schwin, some random frames and parts.
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If you have a traditional dry rod arc welder (shielded metal Arc welder), here's some things to remember:
Finding the right voltage setting is PARAMOUNT! If your arc is too hot, you'll blow right through the walls of the tubes like nothing. Too little voltage and your welds end up breaking. get yourself a junk steel frame and practice laying down strong, consistent beads down the top-tube etc. Your goal should be consistency and weld penetration without punching through the tube.
A tall bike is probably not the best place to start if you are new to building freak bikes. Instead, try taking some old steel forks, cut the 'legs' off of one and slip them onto the other fork, making one long fork. Try your hand at welding the seems without over-tempering or warping the steel. Once you've got that down, try extending a bmx-style fork with steel pipes. Do lots of small welds before you tackle a large project, it will save you a lot of frustration.
Also, ask the guys at a welding supply store which rods are best for your project. I used 6013 rods but 6011 (more common) will work with some practice.
As for the chain question:
Get a chain tool, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_tool
), put two (or more) chains together, and fine-tune the length.