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Welding is not a "Trade".

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Welding is not a "Trade".

Old 09-20-20, 06:09 PM
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Helderberg
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Welding is not a "Trade".

I welded a broken piece of antique patio furniture today and again, I am shown that welding is not a trade it is an art. I strike an arc and get a beautiful weld. The next strike sticks and the rod turns a beautiful bright red. Those of you that can weld are true artist. I am a retired plumber and have a very real gift for soldering but welding, that's an entirely different language.
Respect, Frank.
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Old 09-20-20, 07:02 PM
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I found stick welding to be pretty frustrating. But I only did it twice, and the second time was because I flunked the class the first time.
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Old 09-20-20, 09:39 PM
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Like most activities practice make a huge difference. For some a lot more practice. I have a cousin who is a very good basest. Yet he still does scales work. I have spent many hours with a brazing torch in hand yet I still suck sometimes Andy
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Old 09-21-20, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I found stick welding to be pretty frustrating. But I only did it twice, and the second time was because I flunked the class the first time.
My TIG machine came with a stinger so I bought a box of 6013 rods to play around with. Lots of mess, smoke and boogers. Stick welders are sold to hobbyists but they only really work on metal 1/8" and above. Anything that needs metal that thick is probably structural and safety-critical so is not the best choice for people who don't know what they're doing to practice on. If you overbuild the usual garden furniture, barbecues, etc. so that you can use stick you will spend more on metal than you would have done on a different machine and/or the consumables.

TIG needs a bit of practice but it's fun to learn because you can see what you're doing wrong and therefore how to improve. There's less time spent twiddling dials out of frustration hoping to find the magic setting that will suddenly make it all work.
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Old 09-21-20, 10:39 AM
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Every time I gas weld something, I wish I had bought a Tig. Not that it's much better for thick sections, but my gas setup is made for thin metal brazing, not getting something 1/4" thick hot enough to melt
Can't see getting a MIG, would cut into the space needed to store bicycles.
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Old 09-21-20, 11:09 AM
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I've made fireplaces out of 5mm plate with the TIG. Mine goes up to 160A. I did two passes and used a 3/32 rod.

MIG is for when you're in a hurry or don't have three hands. I would always rather TIG because I'm doing it for fun and all practice with the TIG will help on the next bike frame. I probably would get a MIG if I did a lot of car body stuff though just because it's going to be difficult to reach.

TIG brazing is also a blast and I use it for braze-ons, bridges and sometimes dropouts and fork ends. I read recently that WRC roll cages are TIG brazed throughout so it ought to be fine to actually make a whole frame that way.
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Old 09-21-20, 08:56 PM
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I liked TIG welding. Learned a bit fixing copper-tungsten ECM tooling, and played around with aluminum bike bits for fun.
I like the control with TIG.
Never tried much stick or wire feed.
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Old 09-23-20, 11:22 AM
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If you want to continue welding buy a cheap gas mig welder they are good for up to 1/8th inch in a single pass over 1/8th use multiple passes, not recommended for the very thin bicycle tubing. A mig welder is easy to learn easy to start the wire doesn't stick and a gas mig makes a pretty clean weld. you can get flux core wire but it is does not leave a clean weld. When welding and the wire feed sounds like a buzzing bee you pretty much have it dialed in.
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Old 09-23-20, 11:32 AM
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Flux core actually works all right if you get a decent quality wire, not the cheap crap off Amazon, and your work piece is anywhere between 2mm and 3/32" thick.
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Old 09-23-20, 11:57 AM
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A company that I was going to change jobs within to get out of retail offered to teach me some welding and machining. I sent several days learning how to TIG weld steel and aluminum and how to set up the milling machines to get them back to spec. (pneumatic nailers/staplers). I picked up Iron/steel really fast in that the heat range is very wide and metal is forgiving. Aluminum on the other hand is quite difficult with a very narrow working range from popping and sizzling to puddle on the floor.
Also of note, the man teaching me thought it was funny that he hadn't told me to wear long sleeves and such, it was sort of a hazing thing they did. The issue being I am a fair skinned redhead that burns easier that most. My neck, upper chest, and inner arms were burned purple one of the days I was learning and ended up having to be out of work for a while as I recovered.

As a side to that, where welding steel is easier than aluminum, by far...the HARD and artistic aspect is making those welds look good. The method we were using just had to be solid, not pretty...such that it could be milled back.
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Old 09-23-20, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
Also of note, the man teaching me thought it was funny that he hadn't told me to wear long sleeves and such, it was sort of a hazing thing they did. The issue being I am a fair skinned redhead that burns easier that most. My neck, upper chest, and inner arms were burned purple one of the days I was learning and ended up having to be out of work for a while as I recovered.

As a side to that, where welding steel is easier than aluminum, by far...the HARD and artistic aspect is making those welds look good. The method we were using just had to be solid, not pretty...such that it could be milled back.
Not very funny to make you get sunburned like that! A good weld should be pretty but a pretty weld isn't necessarily good. I'm a little dubious about "pulse and lay wire" which some people use on bikes. You get perfect fit up and then just lay the wire in the joint and buzz over the top of it on pulse. I say "just", it's not actually that easy to do.

Nice even stack of dimes but you can end up just melting the wire and not having a good root, and sometimes those dimes are a little too concave for comfort. It's probably all right on bikes because the tubing is so thin anyway. A better way to judge a weld on a bike I think is to look at the back of it for just the right amount of penetration.
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Old 09-23-20, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by guy153 View Post
Not very funny to make you get sunburned like that! A good weld should be pretty but a pretty weld isn't necessarily good. I'm a little dubious about "pulse and lay wire" which some people use on bikes. You get perfect fit up and then just lay the wire in the joint and buzz over the top of it on pulse. I say "just", it's not actually that easy to do.

Nice even stack of dimes but you can end up just melting the wire and not having a good root, and sometimes those dimes are a little too concave for comfort. It's probably all right on bikes because the tubing is so thin anyway. A better way to judge a weld on a bike I think is to look at the back of it for just the right amount of penetration.

What we were doing would be most easily expressed as "coil method", if you are familiar with clay pottery. We would just build up a big layer and come across and repeat until the part was large enough to mill back. As mentioned above, for this specific task it made absolutely no difference how it looked so long as each layer melted to and was solid with the one before. A void shows up quick on a mill and has a great way of ruining tooling.
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Old 10-04-20, 07:52 AM
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what do you look for on the back that shows good penetration? I just built a handcycle for my so, and never welded before. I have to agree it must be an artform. My welds were ugly but they seem effective. In the spots that I had the ability to inspect I could see a discoloration on the back side of the weld.
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Old 10-04-20, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by v2505 View Post
what do you look for on the back that shows good penetration? I just built a handcycle for my so, and never welded before. I have to agree it must be an artform. My welds were ugly but they seem effective. In the spots that I had the ability to inspect I could see a discoloration on the back side of the weld.
It depends what you're welding and what kind of joint it is. You will always see discoloration from the heat but full penetration is indicated by some actual lumpiness from some melting of the metal.

For butt joints on thicker material (3mm plus) you bevel the edges a bit to make that happen. On a fillet joint on something that thick you would not normally go all the way through but this is made up for by the extra metal added by the fillet.

On a bike frame it's very hard not to go all the way through because the metal is very thin. But you're looking for just a bit of lumpiness on the back but no more, and it should be fairly even all the way around.

If in doubt the best thing to do is a break test on some offcuts of the same material of whatever it is you're welding. It should be impossible to break the weld-- the test piece should break somewhere else first. This won't find all possible defects and mistakes you can make but it's a good start and will show up lack of penetration.
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Old 10-05-20, 07:34 AM
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thank you for the reply. so what you are saying is my first attempt at welding should not be a bike for my son! lol
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Old 10-05-20, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by v2505 View Post
thank you for the reply. so what you are saying is my first attempt at welding should not be a bike for my son! lol
Definitely not Bikes are hard because round tubing, thin wall, thin to thick, tricky fit-up, some hard to reach spots, expensive tubing you don't want to make mistakes on, and they're safety critical.

With a bit of practice you can certainly make a bike I'm sure but I'm just saying it will be frustrating as a first project. My house and those of my friends and family are littered with tables, chairs, hatstands, lamps, barbecues, etc. that were all part of the journey
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Old 10-13-20, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
I welded a broken piece of antique patio furniture today and again, I am shown that welding is not a trade it is an art. I strike an arc and get a beautiful weld. The next strike sticks and the rod turns a beautiful bright red. Those of you that can weld are true artist. I am a retired plumber and have a very real gift for soldering but welding, that's an entirely different language.
Respect, Frank.
and that's why they call it stick rod ,,,,,,, Lol
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Old 10-13-20, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Fastfingaz View Post
and that's why they call it stick rod ,,,,,,, Lol
With a capital STICK!
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Old 10-17-20, 10:18 AM
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Welding, like anything, can be an art, the only prequisite for art is the element of original thought. A trade or craft is nothing to be ashamed off, quite the opposite - if you can achieve a high level of skill then you can achieve marvelous things. As an artist I deliberately choose to make things of materials that i cannot possibly have any skill with, and deliberately avoid buying specialist tools.
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Old 10-17-20, 10:31 AM
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I bought a multi function power supply a while ago, and use it for stick welding every once in a while.

Stick welding is great for pumping out a lot of power and thicker materials. The first project was adding some forklift forks to my tractor bucket. Those are big and thick, and quite a heat sink. Plus I wasn't sure of the temper, so I wouldn't want to make the whole things cherry red with a torch.

I'm good at blowing holes in just about anything!!! Lots of practice filling holes.
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Old 10-17-20, 01:45 PM
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Back on topic...as far as "welding being a trade," I'm of the belief that it's NOT. Specifically, in order for it to be a "trade" someone would have to be able to make a living welding all day long, and that's very rare. In todays world welding is a skill that helps a person fulfill a task. Much as machining is. Actually, I'd call machining a broader trade than welding, since it involves a lot more processes. Welding may have been a trade back in the glory days of the USA's heavy industry, but not now.
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Old 10-17-20, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
Back on topic...as far as "welding being a trade," I'm of the belief that it's NOT. Specifically, in order for it to be a "trade" someone would have to be able to make a living welding all day long, and that's very rare. In todays world welding is a skill that helps a person fulfill a task. Much as machining is. Actually, I'd call machining a broader trade than welding, since it involves a lot more processes. Welding may have been a trade back in the glory days of the USA's heavy industry, but not now.
There are still certified welders in the aircraft industry, piping industry, heavy construction, etc. Bridges?

Often somewhat specialized, and perhaps some multi-process. Also, using more robotics and automation.

Welders are also used in the repair industry, including auto restoration and repair. And, depending on the shop size and organization, some may do mostly a single task like welding, painting, etc.

Trailers and motorhomes? Custom coaches? Buses?

Around here, we have positions called "millwrights" that build and maintain mills and equipment.

No, not all mills have been shipped overseas. There is a good chance if you buy a 2x4 at your local building store, it was made somewhere in the Northwest.

Don't forget not all companies are huge sprawling companies like Ford or GM with robotics everywhere. We've got a local tractor accessory company, as well as a local rock crusher company, and I believe they have generally specialized welders working there.

And,don't forget the bicycle industry. We have 2 local bike manufacturers with worldwide renown that either weld or braze steel frames. I assume the work is somewhat vertical from start to finish, but some people would do mostly welding or brazing and assembly.
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Old 10-17-20, 04:52 PM
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I never said or suggested that welding is an unimportant skill, I simply said that I don't think it's a trade in of itself.
Back when ship building was a big industry there were guys that did nothing but weld all day long. Those were welding tradesman. I suppose there are some of those guys still around, but they are few and far between.
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Old 10-17-20, 06:57 PM
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So this is drifting to what's a trade. Doing the same process all day? If we can call framebuilding a trade (beware arguments that start with a qualifier...) and if we then ask a builder how much torch/bench time their framers take as a percentage of the total time to make and ship we will see that the construction time is often the lesser category. I contend that the time to do all the needed set up, clean up, prep, follow up paperwork and all the other steps to do the actual welding is a fair chunk of one's day. And also an aspect of their specialized task/skill list that without they wouldn't last long in their "trade". Andy
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Old 10-18-20, 10:46 AM
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The other day we had an electrician come round to replace a fusebox. He kept trying to do what he had quoted as a two hour job too quickly. He kept rushing, dropping things, swearing, falling off his ladder, and shocking himself. He would attack a screw with completely the wrong size screwdriver to "save" 20s finding the right one. It took him the whole day. Then I found he had left the heating permanently on. I figured out how it was all supposed to work myself from the bits he had ripped out, and then he spent the whole of the next day putting it back together with me telling him exactly what to do. I paid him for the original two hours.

I don't think it matters what you do in life or whether you call it an art or trade. If you can take a bit of pride in your work and try to do a good job that's what makes it worthwhile.
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