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  1. #1
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    TIG welding Columbus Life tubing

    I just finished welding a Columbus Life tube set using a TIG welder. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever welded and is such a mess it will probably end up in learned-my-lesson pile instead of with the friend that intended on riding it.
    I'm not naive enough to know it probably should have been brazed, but Columbus lists it as TIG weld able, and I used Weldmold rod. I couldn't get it to puddle without being right on the edge of blowing holes in it, and I did lots of those.
    I've been TIG welding for more than 25 years although only on and off on all kinds of jobs, and have put together many Ti and aluminum frames together over that time.

    I have a second tube set with 100mm BB and rocker drop outs that I was going to build but it is available for sale if anyone wants to PM me.

    I'm just not a brazing guy.

  2. #2
    RCP Fabrication
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    What are you using for a welder, what settings, what size filler rod, tungsten, back purge, etc etc etc.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RCP FAB View Post
    What are you using for a welder, what settings, what size filler rod, tungsten, back purge, etc etc etc.
    Pulse welder at 1 pps. Set is down to 30 amps with a foot peddle. .035 and .045 Weldmold 880T rod. .040 1.5 Lanthanum tungsten. No purge on the tube set though.

    I know this stuff is thin - to the extreme, but I put this frame together as a fat bike and I don't think it would last long even if I was happy with the welds.

  4. #4
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    Throw out the slow speed pulse. You need more control than a fixed slow speed pulse can provide.

    I've done a frame with Deda DR-Zero, I think the down tube was .65/.45/.65 or there about. I used 75 amps on the panel, with foot pedal. I did not have a machine capable of pulse at the time.

    I always use .045 filler on frames.

    If I were to do one now I would set the panel around 145 amps, 50 pulses per second, 33% on time, 33% background using a lay-wire technique whenever possible AND manually pulsing the pedal. That said it could certainly be done without pulse and just manually pulsing.

    Grab some razor blades and start practicing, welding a bunch of .25mm thick razor blades will make the .65mm tubing seem like plumbing pipe.

  5. #5
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    I didn't have any trouble on the easy access parts of the tubes joints - just when I had to dig into the tough sections that are never easy. I just think that these tube sets are better off with someone who deals with them on a daily basis or brazed. I even took out some Ti pieces I have laying around to see if it was me, or the welder, and it welded like buttering bread. .035" wall Ti though.

    Tube set for sale!

  6. #6
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    What are the specs on the tube set?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RCP FAB View Post
    What are the specs on the tube set?
    Columbus Life Oversized Mountain tube set from Nova Cycle Supply with a 36 mm head tube (1 1/8), but I have already cut the head tube to 130 mm and turned the ends. The set has the S bend stays, and it's all Columbus Life tubing.
    Paragon stainless rear rocker drop outs with titanium hardware upgrade and aluminum inserts with inboard post style calliper mount.
    I also have a 4130 Paragon 100 mm BB shell and a bunch of steel zip tie style cable mounts to go with the frame set.
    All negotiable.
    I can send or post pics, but not sure if I should running a classified first.

  8. #8
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    Columbus Tubi
    cheers
    andy walker

  9. #9
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    I did a True Temper S3 road frame for myself several years ago, similar tubeset. I welded for a living for several years and it was still pretty nerve racking. Always ridding the line of blowing a hole and getting decent pen. It actually turned out really well though. I ran 3/32 tungsten with a long tapper 250hz pulse and .035 880T. I think the trick is to carry the heat on the thicker tube (HT/BB/ST lug) and sort of wash the puddle onto the thinner main tube.

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