120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by fatty » Mar 12 2021 10:38pm

A kinda-funny (well, wrt Everlast..) comparison video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfiMkUwDngw
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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by fatty » Mar 12 2021 10:47pm

Santacruz wrote:
Mar 12 2021 5:49pm
Looking at the Everlast, I see it has a 100% duty cycle at 80amps, so that is in the range where you could work non stop on thin wall tubing for frame building. That is a plus point for me.
I think that rating is optimistic (not surprising, since it's a derived spec). Output/Duty cycle scales with max amps and weight. Having mostly used heavier Millers, I just don't see a 40lb 125A machine holding that output.
Don't take advice from:
there is no difference between a mean well CC/CV power supply and a device sold as a charger. they operate in EXACTLY the same way
Testing has demonstrated that ordinary rim brakes thermally outperformed all but the best disc brakes...You'll always add weight and cost, while not equalling the capabilities of comparable rim brakes, if you use discs

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by Santacruz » Mar 13 2021 5:45am

neptronix wrote:
Mar 12 2021 8:52pm

I do hear the accessories that come with these models do suck and have to be replaced immediately, but the machine is said to be solid. So okay, tack on another $500.. and it's now half the cost of a miller, but we didn't do too bad. :)

Probably going to pick one up in the next month or two unless someone has feedback that steers my decision another direction.
I am not aware of the quality of the accessories. Personally, I would use what it comes with first and then make your decision what to change / upgrade.
fatty wrote:
Mar 12 2021 10:47pm
I think that rating is optimistic (not surprising, since it's a derived spec). Output/Duty cycle scales with max amps and weight. Having mostly used heavier Millers, I just don't see a 40lb 125A machine holding that output.
Yes, maybe the output is optimistic, but I have to be honest, I have never herd that the Output/Duty cycle works on amps / weight. So, if I put a large brick on my welder, I can use it longer? :D (That is a joke).
I think duty cycle more depends on the build quality, material, heatsink and cooling capabilities. But the point I was trying to make, was, what the welder would be mainly used for, should be well in the limits to not have to stop to let it cool down.

Also, I am only trying to give my unbiased views from some years of experience (Not for any particular make of machine).

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by Chalo » Mar 13 2021 11:42am

Chalo wrote:
Mar 11 2021 2:26pm
The pedicab manufacturer I work with uses two of these to do both chromoly and aluminum chassis welding:

https://www.millerwelds.com/files/owner ... 6q_mil.pdf

As far as I know, they have only ever been plugged into 120V.
Having dug a little deeper, I discovered that these machines were both powered by 240V single phase for most of the time I saw them working. So while they can run on 120V, I don't know if they would become limited enough that way to constitute a problem. My guess is that welding bike frames would still be well within their capabilities.
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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by fatty » Mar 13 2021 2:43pm

Santacruz wrote:
Mar 13 2021 5:45am
Yes, maybe the output is optimistic, but I have to be honest, I have never herd that the Output/Duty cycle works on amps / weight. So, if I put a large brick on my welder, I can use it longer? :D (That is a joke).
I think duty cycle more depends on the build quality, material, heatsink and cooling capabilities. But the point I was trying to make, was, what the welder would be mainly used for, should be well in the limits to not have to stop to let it cool down.
Gotcha. Agreed -- build quality, material (thicker wires, etc), heatsinking and cooling aren't spec'd or advertised, but they increase peak amps and add weight, so they're a good sanity check for duty cycle claims.

40lbs is just too light for even a hobby welder.
Don't take advice from:
there is no difference between a mean well CC/CV power supply and a device sold as a charger. they operate in EXACTLY the same way
Testing has demonstrated that ordinary rim brakes thermally outperformed all but the best disc brakes...You'll always add weight and cost, while not equalling the capabilities of comparable rim brakes, if you use discs

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by LewTwo » Mar 13 2021 7:30pm

Just for a bit of comic relief:

My introduction to welding was in the Air Force in Alaska. The NCOIC came to me with a throttle handle from a road grader ... about 15 inches long. He said,

"This is the handle, there is the grader, there is the welder, there are the welding rods. Fix it."

That throttle handle was about 10 inches long by the time I got it stay on. The AF calls that OJT (on the job training).
The more I learn the more obvious the immensity of my ignorance becomes.
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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by Skaiwerd » Mar 21 2021 8:13am

I’ll probably get some flack for mentioning I’m using the multiplaz welder. It does need 220v for welding steel. There’s a circuit combiner that you can get. It combines two 110v separate circuits into the needed 220v. This is an option that I didn’t need. I couldn’t deal with tanks and the welding industry seems overly complex and partially full of it, I feel. In my own research .08 inch is the best wall thickness. In between 1/16” and 1/8”. That’s for steel. I’d give up on the aluminum if I were you, not impossible just a big pain and costs a lot more for the stock.
The welder is pricey but gets the job done well.

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by marka-ee » Mar 21 2021 11:44am

Skaiwerd wrote:
Mar 21 2021 8:13am
I’ll probably get some flack for mentioning I’m using the multiplaz welder. It does need 220v for welding steel. There’s a circuit combiner that you can get. It combines two 110v separate circuits into the needed 220v. This is an option that I didn’t need. I couldn’t deal with tanks and the welding industry seems overly complex and partially full of it, I feel. In my own research .08 inch is the best wall thickness. In between 1/16” and 1/8”. That’s for steel. I’d give up on the aluminum if I were you, not impossible just a big pain and costs a lot more for the stock.
The welder is pricey but gets the job done well.
That's a pretty unique tool, that multiplaz. How does it do on Aluminium ? Interesting that it generates it's own shield gas. Do you use just regular filler rod with it?

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by LewTwo » Mar 21 2021 12:58pm

marka-ee wrote:
Mar 21 2021 11:44am
That's a pretty unique tool, that multiplaz. How does it do on Aluminium ? Interesting that it generates it's own shield gas. Do you use just regular filler rod with it?
From the videos on youtube I do not believe there is any shield gas. For aluminum they are using FLUX ... I am guessing 'muggy weld' which is supposed to work with oxy-acetylene as well.
The more I learn the more obvious the immensity of my ignorance becomes.
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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by fatty » Mar 21 2021 4:29pm

Skaiwerd wrote:
Mar 21 2021 8:13am
I’ll probably get some flack for mentioning I’m using the multiplaz welder. It does need 220v for welding steel. There’s a circuit combiner that you can get. It combines two 110v separate circuits into the needed 220v. This is an option that I didn’t need. I couldn’t deal with tanks and the welding industry seems overly complex and partially full of it, I feel. In my own research .08 inch is the best wall thickness. In between 1/16” and 1/8”. That’s for steel. I’d give up on the aluminum if I were you, not impossible just a big pain and costs a lot more for the stock.
The welder is pricey but gets the job done well.
Wow, pretty interesting. How does it compare to stick and flux-cored?
Don't take advice from:
there is no difference between a mean well CC/CV power supply and a device sold as a charger. they operate in EXACTLY the same way
Testing has demonstrated that ordinary rim brakes thermally outperformed all but the best disc brakes...You'll always add weight and cost, while not equalling the capabilities of comparable rim brakes, if you use discs

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by fatty » Mar 21 2021 4:44pm

LewTwo wrote:
Mar 21 2021 12:58pm
From the videos on youtube I do not believe there is any shield gas.
This was my interpretation as well. Some videos mention "shielding" with steam, but this is inaccurate.
Don't take advice from:
there is no difference between a mean well CC/CV power supply and a device sold as a charger. they operate in EXACTLY the same way
Testing has demonstrated that ordinary rim brakes thermally outperformed all but the best disc brakes...You'll always add weight and cost, while not equalling the capabilities of comparable rim brakes, if you use discs

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by Huguenot » Mar 22 2021 10:38am

I can't help with the choice of a modern machine as mine is a Miller Dialarc from the late 1980's. Not the best for what the OP wants to do and also large and heavy being transformer based.
I will, however add my vote to those who suggested brazing with an OA torch. I have built many frames using this method and the cost and versatility of a decent set of torches is hard to beat. I do have a Jet Fluxer (inline tank containing liquid flux) however that is a luxury rather than a requirement.
Yes, aluminum will not be possible, though it is possible to ...solder.. aluminum with a torch. This method is sometimes used for fabricating smaller oil or fuel tanks but generally nothing structural.
There is a lot more to building a frame than the means of sticking the parts together and the cost of buying/making the jigs, fixtures, cutters (and the means to turn them) should not be overlooked.
Learning how to braze IMHO is not difficult and once you do some of that technique will actually transfer to using a TIG machine. Brazing also allows you to build up larger fillets if that is important to you, not for strength as much as appearance. Some of my frames straddle the line between functional and visually appealing so this is important to me but maybe not others.
A set of torches is also handy to have in general if you do other mechanical work, regular users sometimes refer to it as a "heat wrench".
Finally, should you ever do any serious aluminum welding a torch can be used for preheating larger section material before striking the arc and going to work on the actual weld.

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by TurboWelderMonkey » Apr 06 2021 9:18pm

Why would regular steel be out of the question??? Many grades of standard carbon steel like A36 would be great for a bike frame, and it's super easy to work with.
Source --- Am professional welder/fabricator.

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by TurboWelderMonkey » Apr 06 2021 9:19pm

Why would regular steel be out of the question??? Many grades of standard carbon steel like A36 would be great for a bike frame, and it's super easy to work with.
Source --- Am professional welder/fabricator.

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by Huguenot » Apr 07 2021 10:28am

Agreed, and for many ebike or experimental projects it would be just fine. In my case it is availability in small quantities and I rarely need a full 20 ft. length of the same diameter material.
Aircraft Spruce sells 4130 and will cut any length from 6" to 8' (if using UPS) and will do so quickly with reasonable shipping fees.
Tapered stays and some head tube diameters I source from the frame building suppliers as needed.
I find the extra cost of using aircraft tubing is easily offset by the ease in obtaining only and exactly what I need for the project, plus then you get to say it is "chromoly" like the cool kids.
There seems to be at least one supplier on fleabay that sells it in shorter lengths as well.

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by Overclocker » Apr 07 2021 10:30pm

6061-t6 definitely is lightweight but requires a very elaborate post weld heat treatment. so ask yourself if the strength-to-weight of non-heat-treat alu (which isn't as strong as 6061-t6) versus steel is worth the trouble

as for me i went w/ mild steel :lol: cheap simple easy-to-use co2 MIG. added weight really doesn't matter unless you're racing
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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by Chambers » Apr 11 2021 6:07am

neptronix wrote:
Mar 11 2021 12:00pm
Gracie.

I have a budget of $1500 for the welder. The question is do we have enough power out of the wall to accomplish what i want, or are these tig machines making false promises at that power level or stretching the limits of a 120v outlet way too far.

Too bad nobody sells a lipo powered TIG welder.. the problem would already be solved :mrgreen:
Not lipo but 18650 powered https://www.fronius.com/en/welding-tech ... pocket-tig But this wont do aluminum of course.

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Re: 120v aluminum/cromo TIG welding on bike frames - possible?

Post by nicobie » Apr 11 2021 4:14pm

Trying to not be a 'debbie downer', but I don't think I'd get on a bike welded out of 6061 by a beginner, especially without post heat treatment. If you must use aluminum I highly suggest taking a class or two on it.

As others mentioned, go with a name brand. I'm partial to Lincoln and Miller. I own a 120V Lincoln sp-100 and use CO2 or innershield wire. CO2 or an argon mix makes prettier welds but with innershield wire you can weld slightly thicker stock when using a 120V machine. It works better in the wind too. For aluminum, IMHO 220V is necessary. My welder is only good for steel even though Lincoln sells alum wire for it, but the welds look like shit when using it on aluminum.

I think thin wall cr. molly is the ticket for bike frames. The weight difference is not that bad, and with a electric motor involved, not too important anyway.

Buying the welder is just the beginning. You'll need a decent welding table/frame jig, tube bender, tube coping cutter, various grinders, clamps and the like. A drill press and horizontal band saw are almost necessary too.

I'm not trying to talk you out of it as it makes for a fine hobby!
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