Framebuilders - Beginner brazing equipment list + advice needed
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06-01-08, 10:59 AM
Due to lack of a mentor, I'm going to be practicing taking apart and reassembling parts of some brazed frames. After getting a feel for this, I would like to eventually try installing some new dropouts on a frame with damaged ones. I'm basically curious if you folks could help me make a bare-bones list of equipment for this simple work.
I understand the basic principles of brazing and un-brazing, but do not know what type of fuel to use to take apart bike frames, nor what type of tips/regulators I will need. I also don't know how much fuel it would take to affix a set of dropouts to a frame or separate a lug from tube.
Basically, exactly what kind of equipment am I going to need to start taking apart old, broken lugged frames?
You might want to consider buying some 4130 tubing, and getting some cheapo seconds from lug manufacturers. Even prior to that you might want to try brazing up interlocking tube sizes or lugs from flat stock. It takes more heat to remove a lug so it may give you a false sense of heat control. You don't always know what material was used to assemble a bike, was it pined.
Normal set-up in Oxy Acetalyne, though i prefer OXY propane. You need to get the regulators from an american source. There are asian ones but they didn't seem like much of a savings to me, we are using the regs at the lower end of the range so quality counts. Smith torches of the aircraft size are about right. I use a different torch that most people don't prefer so I won't coment. You don't want the larger, more comon torches in the cutting/plate welding size. Tanks if you are buying them, there is a limit to the max size, they aren't the little bottles you get at the hardware store however.
In my home shop, just now. I have been hitherto trying to get by on a propane forge, mapp gas, and TIG. I hope oxy propane works out I gather some pro builders prefer propane also. Acet is required, sorta, for aluminum welding, but for the kind of thing we mostly do propane is cleaner burning, and cooler which shouldn't hurt brazing light parts any. I think it will also work out on an economic and safety basis, even my welding supplier agreed on that, and I don't get the propane from them. Part of the incentive was that Tinman now offers specific heads for propane, which seemed like a better idea than running the stuff through appliances not designed for it, even if others are doing it.
I'd actually like to hear why others who use acet think it is better for brazing etc... Obviously it works, and if you have it under control, I wouldn't change it either, but I would like to know what the advantages are to using acet if you have the choice of either. Again, in welding, the higher heat is an advantage, generally, but for brazing the flame is mostly directed into the open air for fear of overheating the tubes, so a colder flame shouldn't be a problem.
In my own case silver brazing racks is something I wanted to do a little better and I think the propane is a little better for that.
I wasn't influenced by this blog, I come at it more from a welding end. It seems likely Alex would have sussed out the right stuff from a framebuilder perspective.
What are you experiencing with mild steel welding? I have TIG for that, so I am not too worried, but I would like to try gas welding in a range of materials my DC TIG won't do, and for that I may need Acet.
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