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View Poll Results: Natural raw weld beads or weld beads ground perfectly smooth

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  • Natural raw weld beads on Ti and Al frames

    36 62.07%
  • Weld beads ground perfectly smooth on Ti and Al frames

    22 37.93%
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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by megalowmatt View Post
    Weird. I've never put any thought into this.

    Maybe I need to go look at my welds.
    I have been staring at mine all morning. They're still there.

  2. #27
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    No, you're wrong. Ground welds COULD hide lower skills and quality. It is not necessarily true that they do.
    The problem is that once the weld is ground, the consumer has no way to check. I realize that many bikes are sold with ground welds without a performance issue. However, the OP wanted to know which is better. Since he has a choice, I suggest raw.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmcdam View Post
    Hmm I like the welds on his steel frames a lot more than the Ti.

  4. #29
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
    I also agree with you, smoothed welds aren't just to hide errors. I work in commercial steel contracting and often it is just an owner or architects preference. Typically this is on stairs and railings or ornamental fabrications, but even purely structural field welds are sometimes spec'd to be ground and touch up painted.
    In steel welding, porosity and voids can be created, and most structural steel welding is UT tested. An undiscovered hole is a weld failure. You grind the welds for quality reasons. With TIG welding aluminum and Ti, you are not looking for the same porosity and/or voids, nor are bicycle joints UTed.

    There is some indication on the interwebs that the Cannondale aluminum joints that everyone says are ground are not actually ground, but are multipass welded. First large weld is structural, subsequent smaller welds are cosmetic. I have not found this definitively though. Nor do I care enough to continue trying to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Man in Black
    Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    The problem is that once the weld is ground, the consumer has no way to check. I realize that many bikes are sold with ground welds without a performance issue. However, the OP wanted to know which is better. Since he has a choice, I suggest raw.
    I hear you, but as I asked on the other current Ti thread: are we, the general public, normally in the business of checking welds? Do we normally doubt the integrity of the construction of a bicycle? Do you get under you car to see how well the frame is welded together? Do you pull wall board off to see how well your house is framed? Everything folks are saying about welding flaws that could happen is true, but since when do we think it is inevitable if not for the safeguard of an unground finish? Isn't that what brand names and builder reputation are supposed to obviate?

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    I hear you, but as I asked on the other current Ti thread: are we, the general public, normally in the business of checking welds? Do we normally doubt the integrity of the construction of a bicycle? Do you get under you car to see how well the frame is welded together? Do you pull wall board off to see how well your house is framed? Everything folks are saying about welding flaws that could happen is true, but since when do we think it is inevitable if not for the safeguard of an unground finish? Isn't that what brand names and builder reputation are supposed to obviate?
    A solid, good weld is not necessarily a pretty one. Brand names and builder reputation are built on things like the quality and beauty of welds and precision of construction.

    Personally I am a bike geek. I'm not a car geek or a house geek, although I know people that do geek out over that kind of stuff. People who view their car or their home as a functional work of art DO inspect them and care about those things. If I buy a custom or high end bike that was hand constructed I want to appreciate the work that was done by a skilled craftsman. I feel the same way about machined parts. Chris King components are revered for this same reason. The tolerances and the precision with which they are made make them something special. They aren't the lightest, and they aren't exotic, but they are jewel like in their machining, and their reliability comes from that quality. On a steel, aluminium, or titanium frame I want to see the evidence of that craftsmanship as well. It's not that I wouldn't trust it if I couldn't see it, but rather that I appreciate it and would like it to be visible.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    I hear you, but as I asked on the other current Ti thread: are we, the general public, normally in the business of checking welds? Do we normally doubt the integrity of the construction of a bicycle? Do you get under you car to see how well the frame is welded together? Do you pull wall board off to see how well your house is framed? Everything folks are saying about welding flaws that could happen is true, but since when do we think it is inevitable if not for the safeguard of an unground finish? Isn't that what brand names and builder reputation are supposed to obviate?
    This. And if I'm not a trained welder, how do I even know what to begin to look for in a quality weld?

  8. #33
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    I'd prefer them ground and smoothed out just like I prefer to have baseboards and switch covers on the walls of my home. Quality work is important, but this isn't elementary school; you don't have to show your work.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    In steel welding, porosity and voids can be created, and most structural steel welding is UT tested. An undiscovered hole is a weld failure. You grind the welds for quality reasons. With TIG welding aluminum and Ti, you are not looking for the same porosity and/or voids, nor are bicycle joints UTed.
    A layman would expect this, but in the last ten years I do not know of a single occurrence of this happening on a project I have been involved with, and this includes some large crane bay manufacturing facilities, school field houses and other buildings open to the public.

    Rarely has there even been a visual inspection by the engineer of record. Typically, a set of drawings is submitted for approval along with girder calculations if applicable and that is the only scrutiny the projects come under. Past that, it is up to AISC or SJI certified shops to build the components and field ironworkers to put them up and get it right. Mind you, the threat of testing is always there, but I have only had a dozen (maybe 5% of my projects) or so post erecting field inspections and not one had any reference of ultrasonic testing or results. Btw, "UT tested" is redundant.

    There is one municipality I occasionally have projects in who's building inspector requires a 'map' of areas worked in along with valid welding certifications for the crew involved. Mind you, signing of structural welds is a general requirement on all jobs but in practice is almost never done. This is the one 'stickler' on it.

    And as I said originally it is only certain design teams that specify the ground welds and it seems to be mainly as a paint prep. Like the signing, it is overlooked more often than not. Most of the erecting companies I deal with exclude it so I in turn exclude it from my bids. If it gets done at all it is by the GC's job supervisor and then it is usually a wire brushing in lieu of a grinder.

    Frankly, I am as surprised as anyone is at this. I did not come from a construction background and majored in cellular biology. Testing and inspections would seem normal to me, but I am constantly amazed at how much is entrusted to fellas who often lack a GED. But then again, structural failures are fairly rare and generally due to exceeded design capacity so I guess the system works. The only call backs I am aware of on my projects have been due to damage from truck or forklift hits or similar abuse.

  10. #35
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    Interesting, canam. I know several welding businesses that require UT level 1 & 2 to become a certified welder, and I know that all bridges have recurring weld inspection done. I assumed that that carried into structural work. Bad assumption on my part. And I know the T is testing, and you will laugh, but every spec I have reviewed that calls for UT calls for "UT testing", and often "PT Testing", with another redundant T. The UT that I work with is is not for welding though, so it is a different world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Man in Black
    Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    Interesting, canam. I know several welding businesses that require UT level 1 & 2 to become a certified welder, and I know that all bridges have recurring weld inspection done. I assumed that that carried into structural work. Bad assumption on my part. And I know the T is testing, and you will laugh, but every spec I have reviewed that calls for UT calls for "UT testing", and often "PT Testing", with another redundant T. The UT that I work with is is not for welding though, so it is a different world.
    Testing the welds to get/renew certification does happen for sure. But on those instances when I have needed to submit welding certificates it's always a scramble to come up with them and in the end too much of the work will seem to be attributed to the guy(s). Kinda like Juan Valdez hand picking all that coffee.

    I absolutely believe you on the specs. The ones I deal with have been copy-pasted together repeatedly and if one has an error, they'll all have it.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    I hear you, but as I asked on the other current Ti thread: are we, the general public, normally in the business of checking welds? Do we normally doubt the integrity of the construction of a bicycle? Do you get under you car to see how well the frame is welded together? Do you pull wall board off to see how well your house is framed? Everything folks are saying about welding flaws that could happen is true, but since when do we think it is inevitable if not for the safeguard of an unground finish? Isn't that what brand names and builder reputation are supposed to obviate?
    rpenmanparker . . . I like this thread. It's interesting, but maybe for different reasons (to me at least) than what you intended when you started it. I don't have any expertise to comment structurally on whether one type of weld is functionally superior to another. But as I commented in the other thread, I think the weld can be indicative of "thoughtful" and conscientious craft work. You rhetorically ask whether that's important - in our cars, or in a framed wall in our house - and of course we typically don't pay attention to either. But I think the reason it rises to a more interesting level of discussion when the topic is bikes, is because bikes are a discretionary item, that many of us are involved with as some type of lifestyle statement. We choose our bikes for functional reasons, but also for less tangible reasons. How the bike looks is part of the "hook" for our involvement. Because Ti bikes are generally handcrafted, we want them to reflect the hand of man . . . we hope that the bike reflects something of value beyond mere functionality.

    I'm a furniture maker. I try to pay attention to details. I want the details I produce to reflect positively on the attitude I bring to the process of building. The piece ultimately becomes a reflection of my work process which pours out of me. It is just an ego thing? I don't think so, although the ego of the builder is certainly involved. Bikes are to some extent, like the furniture I build and sell. They are purchased by people who want more than mere functionality. They want it to reflect something personal. Whether it's Moots, Lynskey, Baum, or any one of the other fabulous builders, the buyer finds something to value in the frame. The welds are simply the easiest visual reference point for the meticulous crafting of the bike (as art)

  13. #38
    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    weld+bead+on+Luv.jpg

    This was done by a friend of mine, there is no way in hell i would want him to grind his welds.
    If it looks like the $3000 bikes but costs less than a decent helmet, it probably isn't a wise investment.


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  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by thunderworks View Post
    rpenmanparker . . . I like this thread. It's interesting, but maybe for different reasons (to me at least) than what you intended when you started it. I don't have any expertise to comment structurally on whether one type of weld is functionally superior to another. But as I commented in the other thread, I think the weld can be indicative of "thoughtful" and conscientious craft work. You rhetorically ask whether that's important - in our cars, or in a framed wall in our house - and of course we typically don't pay attention to either. But I think the reason it rises to a more interesting level of discussion when the topic is bikes, is because bikes are a discretionary item, that many of us are involved with as some type of lifestyle statement. We choose our bikes for functional reasons, but also for less tangible reasons. How the bike looks is part of the "hook" for our involvement. Because Ti bikes are generally handcrafted, we want them to reflect the hand of man . . . we hope that the bike reflects something of value beyond mere functionality.

    I'm a furniture maker. I try to pay attention to details. I want the details I produce to reflect positively on the attitude I bring to the process of building. The piece ultimately becomes a reflection of my work process which pours out of me. It is just an ego thing? I don't think so, although the ego of the builder is certainly involved. Bikes are to some extent, like the furniture I build and sell. They are purchased by people who want more than mere functionality. They want it to reflect something personal. Whether it's Moots, Lynskey, Baum, or any one of the other fabulous builders, the buyer finds something to value in the frame. The welds are simply the easiest visual reference point for the meticulous crafting of the bike (as art)
    You make good points, but to me they seem backwards from reality. A beautifully ground weld where you cannot see any trace of the joint, where the joint appears to be monocoque in origin, to me that is the height of fine craftsmanship and art. Simply being able to diminish the ugliness of a normal weld to a lesser and lesser impact would be a desirable skill if you could not, in fact, eliminate the raw and unfinished look altogether. And keeping the natural appearance of the weld would be desirable if, in fact, there were significant risk of a defective weld. But neither of these concerns are relevant. Some REAL craftsmanship with the a grinder and a file is all it takes to make an ugly weld beautiful. And I am content to let my trusted builder determine that the welds were properly done before he applies that grinder and file and obliterates all visible trace of them. I don't need to approve them.

    Sure there are differences in aesthetic sense. You like the rough weld, just not too rough. I don't like it at all. But let's not kid ourselves that it is a mark of craftsmanship or that it is artistic. Yes it is harder to make a neat weld than a sloppy one, but that doesn't make the neat weld attractive. Can you think of another object besides a welded bike frame that the idea of craftsmanship is this strange notion: "Oh well, it could have been worse!"

    When I see a Ti frame assembled from tubes (not 3D printed, but that is another story, eh?) that I cannot tell isn't originally cut from one piece, that is the one that I will say was built by both a craftsman and an artist.

  15. #40
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    You make good points, but to me they seem backwards from MY DEFINITION OF reality.
    I took a grinder to your post, but just nocked off the sharp edges. It is much higher quality now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Man in Black
    Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    I took a grinder to your post, but just nocked off the sharp edges. It is much higher quality now.
    That's redundant. "To me"and "seem" clearly identify the idea as my own opinion. No need to restate it. In fact there is never any need to say IMO or something similar. It is clearly understood unless an author or speaker identifies an opinion as belonging to another, it is his own. People only do it to avoid attack by those of their correspondents who are threatened by ideas they don't agree with and additionally don't understand how conversation works.

  17. #42
    Senior Member JonnyV's Avatar
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    I weld for my job. It's nothing like Ti but rather heavy steel pipe that make up the brake system of a locomotive. They can't leak air at 140psi. And they have to look good. I appreciate seeing good, raw welds. Especially Tig welds. They can be downright beautiful.
    Some people are just like Slinky's. Not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.

    2012 Fuji Altamira 1.0

  18. #43
    Senior Member link0's Avatar
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    I love smooth AL welds and raw TI beads.

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