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  1. #1
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    TIG welding vs fillet brazing

    I'm very close to pulling the trigger on taking a framebuilding course, or possibly, going the self-taught route. I know the cost to get started with OA is considerably less than TIG welding.

    For those of you that do/have done both, in your own words, how does the experience differ? What do you like/dislike about each? Is one skill more marketable than the other? I have taken a 2 day TIG welding course, but I've never brazed, so I'm curious how it compares.

  2. #2
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    Similar skills

    The basic idea of both processes is the same (heat in one hand, filler in the other) so the skills will transfer to a significant extent. Which doesn't really answer your question, I guess, but if you're paying money to take a class, I'd do TIG. I feel that getting basic competence in fillet is pretty easy once you can TIG, whereas the opposite might not be the case (hard to say, though - and I'm not bashing fillet brazing, just saying getting to a very basic level of ability is probably easier).

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I'm very close to pulling the trigger on taking a framebuilding course, or possibly, going the self-taught route. I know the cost to get started with OA is considerably less than TIG welding.

    For those of you that do/have done both, in your own words, how does the experience differ? What do you like/dislike about each? Is one skill more marketable than the other? I have taken a 2 day TIG welding course, but I've never brazed, so I'm curious how it compares.
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  3. #3
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    TIG is hard but when you do a bad TIG it looks bad. With fillet brazing my fear is that you can in some cases produce a good looking result for a bad joint. I have very little experience with fillet brazing and frankly not all that much experience with TIG.

    Both techniques are very hard and bike building is not really a "marketable" skill. My understanding is that if you learn TIG welding you can get a job in general welding industry so that may be the more "marketable" skill. Very few people get rich building bikes.

    A lot depends on what you want in bike building. For a beginner fillet will "look" much better then TIG but for someone who masters both techniques TIG is far faster in terms of build speed and for the masters it really looks good.

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  4. #4
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    One thing to be considered though is that you will almost certainly need an O/A kit regardless of the type of construction you use (to do braze-ons, etc.). Taking a fillet course and then doing fillet construction, you would not need to purchase a tig setup quite as quickly, lowering your "cost of entry". Just a consideration.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I guess, but if you're paying money to take a class, I'd do TIG. I feel that getting basic competence in fillet is pretty easy once you can TIG, whereas the opposite might not be the case (hard to say, though - and I'm not bashing fillet brazing, just saying getting to a very basic level of ability is probably easier).

    -Walt
    My 2c is this. TIG welding is much harder IMHO than fillet brazing and if you have a limited amount of time to learn (as in a 2-week class) and you choose to TIG weld then the focus of the course becomes TIG welding with a secondary focus on how to actually construct a frame. I would rather teach all that i can about the proper design, fabrication, alignment and finishing of a frame than just a joining methodology. Once you understand the basics you can use any form of joining from TIG to braze to glue for that matter and do it well.

    There is a crossover skill here for sure (fillet-tig tig-fillet) and even if one learns to TIG you still need to know how to braze in order to do braze-ons, ST sleeves and the like. You can exist with only a brazing setup but you definitely need both a TIG and a brazing setup.

    I give a 3 day TIG welding seminar after courses but I don't offer TIG welding classes because of the above reasons and that honestly I have never personally seen a person with no prior TIG skills complete a TIG bike from either UBI or Brew that wasn't an ugly, bird poop mess of a frame. It may work, but its generally ugly as there just isn't enough time to become proficient in the process.

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    From someone who is self-taught in the art of TIG welding, I can say the experts above are correct, it is hard, but very rewarding when you start to turn the tides and producing some good welds.

    If you decide to go the TIG route, get your welder and some .035 4130 and start practicing your joints. Once you can consistently produce quality joints, THEN enroll in the frame building class. That way you are studding frame building during your class, not welding techniques.

    Finally, even though a OX setup is very nice, it is not needed IMHO to build a TIG welded frame. Use an externally butted seat tube, weld-able dropouts and MAPP gas for the bottle bosses, and cable stops.

    I like TIG because your work is there for everyone to see, good or bad. Iím also averse to finish work.

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    Dave is right

    These are great points, and I think I should amend my earlier comments - learning how to construct a frame is about much more than the joinery, so doing fillet first might be the way to go for you.

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian View Post
    My 2c is this. TIG welding is much harder IMHO than fillet brazing and if you have a limited amount of time to learn (as in a 2-week class) and you choose to TIG weld then the focus of the course becomes TIG welding with a secondary focus on how to actually construct a frame. I would rather teach all that i can about the proper design, fabrication, alignment and finishing of a frame than just a joining methodology. Once you understand the basics you can use any form of joining from TIG to braze to glue for that matter and do it well.

    There is a crossover skill here for sure (fillet-tig tig-fillet) and even if one learns to TIG you still need to know how to braze in order to do braze-ons, ST sleeves and the like. You can exist with only a brazing setup but you definitely need both a TIG and a brazing setup.

    I give a 3 day TIG welding seminar after courses but I don't offer TIG welding classes because of the above reasons and that honestly I have never personally seen a person with no prior TIG skills complete a TIG bike from either UBI or Brew that wasn't an ugly, bird poop mess of a frame. It may work, but its generally ugly as there just isn't enough time to become proficient in the process.
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  8. #8
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    Here's a summary of my perception of the two techniques at this point:

    TIG = difficult to learn, but quick and clean
    Brazing = less difficult to learn, but kinda dirty and definitely more labor-intensive

    Great point about the necessity of brazing to complete a frame, regardless of the primary joining method. I'm thinking the brazing route is a better way for me to start. As Dave pointed out, a framebuilding course should be about much more than just joining tubes. I want the start-to-finish experience, not spending two weeks sweating over learning to lay down a good weld bead.

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    I knew you'd come around, Walt.

    Lynd, that is another option. After my brief exposure to TIG welding, I would have to spend scores of hours practicing before I would ever consider welding a bike frame. There is something about the TIG aesthetic that I admire. As you said, your work is out there on display, nothing to hide. When done well, it looks amazing!

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    As someone who has only gotten decent at tig in the last year or so I would try and take a class if you want to learn tig. make sure the instructor is not only a good welder but a good teacher and that the class sizes are reasonable. You also really want to do some reading and watching youtube videos(weldingtipsandtricks.com) and stuff to get to know some of the more technical aspects of tig before you go. that way you will get a lot more out of the class and be able to apply yourself more in the short time that you will be there. taking a class will make the learning curve a lot easier.
    even better would be to have a friend who is a tig welder teach you. that way you are paying in beer or argon or whatever and not actual tuition money, you have one on one tutor, and can do it more on your own terms. I basically learned from coworkers and it was not the best way as they are welders not teachers and not really in the mood to try and teach me at work. smart guys in their own way but not good at explaining things.

  11. #11
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    Kinda hoping Steve Garro weighs in on the subject. He is well-known for his fillet-brazed frames, correct? They are gorgeous.

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    I went with the TIG because I have more uses for it outside of bike building. But I am still looking for an OA setup. Then again I have yet to build a bike frame with it still trying to refine my skills.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by flynfrog View Post
    I went with the TIG because I have more uses for it outside of bike building. But I am still looking for an OA setup. Then again I have yet to build a bike frame with it still trying to refine my skills.
    This is a very good point. I do my hobby building in a metal fab shop where everyone looks at me like I'm crazy for using an O/A torch. These guys bang things out all day, and TIG (or MIG) is their main method.

    If I had to start over, I would probably do TIG because it seems that if you want to just throw together a bike or a trailer, TIG is faster and more appropriate. But that's just me. I'm more of a tinkerer than a fine craftsman. No disrespect to the latter type of person. I used to work for a silversmith who was a real artistic genius, and I know that I will never be that type.

    If you are only going to be doing bikes, and consider yourself more of an artist than a fabricator, then O/A might be more your speed. It will also let you use lugs if you are interested in that sort of thing.

    Anyway, just my perspective.

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  14. #14
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    If you are only taking a two week course, and have never TIG welded before I would stay FAR FAR away from the TIG and stick with fillet.
    With Fillet as long as you have properly prepared your parts you can get easily build a great riding frame that will last (after a year of pretty hard abuse my first filleted frame is still going strong).
    The design of the frame and the joints you file are far more important than the glue used to stick them together.

    Also, on a side note as for TIG welding being a marketable skill, for many trades in the US (construction for one) you need to be certified before you can start welding.
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  15. #15
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    Thanks, everyone. The picture is becoming clearer to me. I think fillet brazing is the best choice for my first frame. Frankly, I was rather intimidated by my brief experience with TIG welding. I burned a whole in my piece of mild steel without even knowing it until my instructor who was watching over my shoulder mentioned it. The comments here reinforce the difficulty of learning to TIG weld well enough to build a bike frame.

    On the flip side, as hinted at by JaquesN, I think my personality is more of a craftsman/artist. I don't care how long it takes, as long as I get the results I am aiming for. I look at Steve Garro's frames and I just drool over the filleted joints. I think fillet brazing will suit my personality better. It also makes more sense financially, as I am wanting to do this as a hobby for now and I may invest in my own equipment and go the self-taught route. For the $2500 or more required to take a 2-week framebuilding course, it sounds like I can buy everything I need to fillet braze my first frame, no? Then I'll have the equipment to build additional frames, which I will certainly want to do if I enjoy the process at all, which I have no doubt I will. I was born to work with my hands.

  16. #16
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    Putting in a good word for fillet brazing...

    Try to make a joint like this with a TIG welder.

    <img src="http://www.oldmountainbikes.com/bikes/pics/2A23/IMG_5923-1.jpg">
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  17. #17
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    flip a coin

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaquesN View Post

    If I had to start over, I would probably do TIG because it seems that if you want to just throw together a bike or a trailer, TIG is faster and more appropriate. But that's just me. I'm more of a tinkerer than a fine craftsman. No disrespect to the latter type of person. I used to work for a silversmith who was a real artistic genius, and I know that I will never be that type.

    -JN
    Actually, my most used welder for general fabrication is my MIG welder. TIG is overkill for many things and industrially MIG is far more prevalent than TIG.

    As far as speed I think we have to separate what we really mean. Fillet brazing has a longer cleanup if you want to make it look very smooth. If you are o.k. with a slightly industrial look then I am going to throw down.....I am twice as fast fillet brazing as any man here is TIG welding, guaranteed. You seen those video's of Brompton fillet bazing their frames? Let's see a TIG welder move at that speed on difficult joinery.

    It's not about raw speed but finish work and the better you are at fillet brazing the less finish work you have to do. The reality for me is that any joining method is a small segment of the total time to build a frame and therefore really inconsequential to most.

  19. #19
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    I'll add a couple of comments;

    I can do all three (OA, MIG, & TIG), although I have not brazed in years.

    - Any shop that does not have a set of torches is not a real shop. Heat (I mean real heat, not propane) is something that no one that works on stuff can do without, and you can do a lot more indispensable things with an OA set than you can with an electric welder.

    - OA metal joining is to TIG as brush & paint are to Photoshop. Not only the process, but the look, feel, & esthetic are different. Choose the esthetic you seek accordingly. This is an over simplification, but anyone can grab a brush and paint. You need a fair amount of background knowledge to use Photoshop at all.

    Neither is "easy", but all tolled, and if you can only have one, OA i$ far more ver$atile.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux View Post
    Putting in a good word for fillet brazing...

    Try to make a joint like this with a TIG welder.

    <img src="http://www.oldmountainbikes.com/bikes/pics/2A23/IMG_5923-1.jpg">
    You can't;

    But, I could do it with Superglue and Bondo.

  21. #21
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    I agree with what everyone has said here... I have picked up the stuff to do both methods over the past year or so and found the following things...

    OA - I was able to pick it up and get acceptable results within a few days of practice. There is a lot more cleanup/finish work involved (especially while learning - It is impossible to get Garro level fillets without years of experience!!)

    TIG - Took me countless hours to get to an acceptable level of proficiency to even attempt a frame -then jacked up the welds on the first couple of frames.

    If you are doing just a few frames or hobby, I would totally skip tig based on my experience and just do fillet bikes. The results are GREAT, it is a lot easier to focus on the 10 jillion other things involved in building, and it is a lot less expensive than tig.

    With that said... I am glad that I got the stuff to do both methods - because I HATE FILING fillets

  22. #22
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    I have decided; I will definitely start with fillet brazing. Trailmaker, I like your analogy to brush and paint vs Photoshop. That's the kind of qualitative commentary I was looking for. I am very much a Luddite. Muscle over machine, hand-built, etc. The old ways are time-tested. In my opinion, most people are too eager to jump on the latest technological bandwagon. But I digress...

    In a moment of clarity this morning, I realized that I need to design a frame before I can build one. So that is my focus for now. BikeCAD appears to be the obvious choice to design frames and produce working drawings. (Not all technology is bad). I've looked at sample pages of the Paterek Manual, and it doesn't quite give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. The sample pages include figures that almost exclusively feature lugged construction, and I am not interested in lugged construction. It also looks like it might be more road-centric, and I want to focus on mountain bikes.

    Any suggestions for resources for the design phase of the process? I'm all ears....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    Any suggestions for resources for the design phase of the process? I'm all ears....
    I used the Paterek Manual to build my first frame, a MTB without lugs.... do a search for "WWTP" on this forum and that should get you started.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay_ntwr View Post
    I used the Paterek Manual to build my first frame, a MTB without lugs.... do a search for "WWTP" on this forum and that should get you started.
    Indeed;

    I would suggest reading Jay's entire novel. I did, and it was at the least entertaining. Seeing some of the wit and resourcefulness brought to bear by another noob will inspire you in countless ways, and you'll get loads of good advice besides.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You might give rattleCAD a try. It is a freeware program that you can download. I have no idea how it compares to BikeCAD, but I've read it is a decent program. I grabbed it, and while I do not find it indispensable, I did find it useful in some fashion.

    To be clear, fillet brazing has its place, no doubt. If you desire a vintage feel, or a vintage method in your creation, then there is no other. You cannot get that aesthetic with TIG. I have laid out a Fatbike design recently, using all straight tubes. I plan to TIG weld it. I took the specs and just completed a layout featuring an old school cruiser style with a lot of curvy tubes. I would fillet braze it without question!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I have decided; I will definitely start with fillet brazing. Trailmaker, I like your analogy to brush and paint vs Photoshop. That's the kind of qualitative commentary I was looking for. I am very much a Luddite. Muscle over machine, hand-built, etc. The old ways are time-tested. In my opinion, most people are too eager to jump on the latest technological bandwagon. But I digress...

    In a moment of clarity this morning, I realized that I need to design a frame before I can build one. So that is my focus for now. BikeCAD appears to be the obvious choice to design frames and produce working drawings. (Not all technology is bad). I've looked at sample pages of the Paterek Manual, and it doesn't quite give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. The sample pages include figures that almost exclusively feature lugged construction, and I am not interested in lugged construction. It also looks like it might be more road-centric, and I want to focus on mountain bikes.

    Any suggestions for resources for the design phase of the process? I'm all ears....
    Full sized drawings on paper is also a good way to do your design, especially as a guide/pattern for cutting the tubes.

    Computer first, to play with options.
    Then paper to confirm. Can be easier to catch errors before you are cutting and sticking metal together.
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  26. #26
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    ... and if we just ...

    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian View Post
    I am twice as fast fillet brazing as any man here is TIG welding, guaranteed. You seen those video's of Brompton fillet bazing their frames? Let's see a TIG welder move at that speed on difficult joinery.
    Alright Dave, for the sake of argument, just how fast are you? Having been a production frame TIG welder 3+ years and several thousand frames, and now working as a production frame brazer/finisher (several hundred frames), I know a little bit about how it gets done. I'm by no means saying I'm faster - but I'm curious what kind of damage you can do. Give me some kind of real number I can work with.

    As a place to start, when I left my TIG welding job, I could, when pressed, weld 6 frames and forks by 10:45 a.m., and my day started around 7 a.m. These were folding bike frames. I just did a fab job this week at another place tacking and welding 19 assemblies in 4 hours that has 4 intersecting tubes, and 2 welded bungs - 1.25" x .095" tubing. The guy that normally does it could only do 16 of them in a whole day - I'm not real slow. That was using a welder I'm not used to (without a pulser) in someone else's shop I've never been in prior. The other day at work, I welded 15 conventional tandem disc forks in part of a day (I don't really remember when I stopped). Just trying to come up with some kind of a metric so we can compare.

    Maybe I'm just feeling contrary, but for what its worth, I disagree that TIG welding is harder. It's not even harder to learn. What is hard is controlling your own impatience, and accepting that improving your technique takes either a good instructor, or time in the saddle. I have taught many, many people to TIG weld, to different levels of proficiency. I have taught some people to melt pieces together, in a way that isn't too bad looking, and fully functional in less than an hour. Granted, that's without them using filler rod (just learning fusion technique), but fusion welding is both useful, and one part of the learning process. I have taught some people who, even though they had taken a class in welding, did not understand how the process worked. There are a lot of ineffective people trying to show others how to TIG weld (or do any kind of welding for that matter).

    Even though I have had several years of practice brazing and welding in production environments, I continually learn new things. My brazing skill has plateaued, just as has happened at times with TIG welding, and I make breakthroughs at roughly equivalent intervals to those when TIG welding. I think for some reason, people are more satisfied with mediocre brazing than mediocre TIG welding, but that doesn't have anything to do with how it should be seen. When you know what you are looking for, a so-so brazed/finished frame looks just as so-so to me as a so-so welded frame. Although, if its a bike and someone made it no matter the process or the skill level, I'm usually damn impressed that someone cared enough about bikes to give birth to one.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux View Post
    Putting in a good word for fillet brazing...

    Try to make a joint like this with a TIG welder.

    <
    I get the point, BUT: (this is a good natured but)

    1) why would someone make a joint that looked like that with TIG welds? What purpose would it serve?
    2) It wasn't fillet brazing that made the joint look like that - it was finish work that did.
    3) give me some silicon bronze, and I could TIG weld something that could be finished to look like that - no problem. It wouldn't make sense to spend the time to do it that way, but it could be done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BungedUP View Post
    Alright Dave, for the sake of argument, just how fast are you?
    I don't really know how fast I am. That is like asking a fast draw gun slinger how fast he is....You just have to find out for yourself.....

    I think they may have removed the video but have you seen those Brompton men braze? That is fast. Try to find it and if you are faster than that, then I believe you.

    Back in the day production lug brazers could complete a joint in less than 1.5 minutes. fillet brazing was about the same. I would say if I was racing it would take me about 2 mins to do a simple 90 degree join on standard sized bike tubing.

    On a side note Rolls has moved to predominately pulsed MIG because of speed and I have even read about laser MIG that has travel rates of 900 inches a minute. TIG isn't necessarily about raw speed IMHO but it is a high quality process that is suited to just about anything with low entry fees (relatively) and no post cleanup work.

  29. #29
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    Well, how many fillet brazed frames can you make in a day? How many fillet brazed forks can you make in a day? That would be a place to start.

    And I'm not saying I'm faster than anyone else - but you made the assertion that you were 2X as fast as anyone here guaranteed (key here). We aren't arguing that the guy at Brompton is faster than anyone here guaranteed.

    I'm feeling ornery - feel free to ignore me if you like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BungedUP View Post
    Well, how many fillet brazed frames can you make in a day? How many fillet brazed forks can you make in a day? That would be a place to start.

    And I'm not saying I'm faster than anyone else - but you made the assertion that you were 2X as fast as anyone here guaranteed (key here). We aren't arguing that the guy at Brompton is faster than anyone here guaranteed.

    I'm feeling ornery - feel free to ignore me if you like.
    You win fo-sure there. I don't do heavy production. I hand it to you guys that can.

    Hell, I am up for a small challenge. Sounds like you make more frames in two days than I do in a year but I will time myself doing a simple 90 degree 1.125 steel joint and you time yourself with TIG and we will compare. How about that?

    I was planning on taking a video of it just to see for myself.

    Dave

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    Gentlemen, place your bets!

    I think, to be fair, the quickest actual "joining" (not counting all the prep work) would have to be hearth brazing, right? I mean, you can do every joint on the frame simultaneously if you can fit it in there, and it takes what, 90 seconds? What about those setups where you just flux the joints and DIP the frame in molten brass?

    What are we counting as joining? Is tacking the frame/joint together counted in your time? Putting on your gloves, helmet, firing up the torch (of whatever kind)? Cleaning up the joint afterwards, if needed?

    My money is on "John Henry" Dave B...

    Now, fillet vs. tig might be impressive - but I contend I can do my taxes on an Excel spreadsheet 5 times faster than any man with Quickbooks. Who wants to race?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian View Post
    You win fo-sure there. I don't do heavy production. I hand it to you guys that can.

    Hell, I am up for a small challenge. Sounds like you make more frames in two days than I do in a year but I will time myself doing a simple 90 degree 1.125 steel joint and you time yourself with TIG and we will compare. How about that?

    I was planning on taking a video of it just to see for myself.

    Dave
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    www.waltworks.com
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  32. #32
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    We the people ...

    My mom can beat up both your dads.

    Just sayin

    r
    As requested by the MTBR gods, I am the voice of Groovy Cycleworks, check it out... http://www.groovycycleworks.com

  33. #33
    Old school BMXer
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    I'm just a rookie. Although I fillet-braze my frames, I also have a TIG welder that I'm learning to use. However, I'm not so motivated to TIG a frame for one simple reason: No matter how nice the TIG welds are on a steel frame, it looks like every other steel frame out of China. While that's great for turning frames out quickly, which is the reason why this process is used in China, it doesn't have a special or custom look to it. That's my opinion, anyway. I'm sure there are many who like the made-in-China look.
    May the air be filled with tires!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    What are we counting as joining? Is tacking the frame/joint together counted in your time? Putting on your gloves, helmet, firing up the torch (of whatever kind)? Cleaning up the joint afterwards, if needed?

    My money is on "John Henry" Dave B...

    -Walt
    Ahhh, thanks Walt!

    You are right, there are many fast methods out there. Furnace brazing, Induction brazing, dip brazing yadda, yadda.

    Naw, I was just counting the actual welding speed. I admit that by the time I set up, and then if you add clean up fillet brazing is often way slower than TIG . Just that the actual welding speed is not and that is often misunderstood by people.

    And since I worked for Quickbooks for four years I have absolutely no doubt your excel sheet is faster than QB. The bloated thing often takes a long time to navigate.

  35. #35
    The cat's name is jake
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    ... and if we just ...

    It'll take me a few days to get setup at home to do the challenge, but what tubing thickness are we going for? .028? ,035? I say lets shoot for .058". I say its from tanks on to tanks off (welder too), and we do 5 in a row. I'll let you off the hook for finishing, if I don't have to do my highest quality of weld. Fair?
    Last edited by BungedUP; 01-13-2012 at 06:46 PM.

  36. #36
    The cat's name is jake
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    ... and if we just ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rody View Post
    My mom can beat up both your dads.

    Just sayin

    r
    Why is your mom going around beating people's dads up? She sounds MEAN! My mom just likes to make friends with nice people.


    So I think the winner should get to change their signature to " I beat ______ in a contest of SPEED!"
    OR the loser has to make a frame for the winner.

    Remember - I only have to be a little more than 1/2 as fast as Dave to win, since he asserted he is 2X faster than any person TIG welding.

    I'm going to have to start running again to get in shape for this!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I'm very close to pulling the trigger on taking a framebuilding course, or possibly, going the self-taught route. I know the cost to get started with OA is considerably less than TIG welding.

    For those of you that do/have done both, in your own words, how does the experience differ? What do you like/dislike about each? Is one skill more marketable than the other? I have taken a 2 day TIG welding course, but I've never brazed, so I'm curious how it compares.
    You didn't even ask about STRENGTH. Back in my BMX days I tore GOOD fillet welds off the frame (with speckles of steel attached). But I also broke TIG welded TUBING right next to the weld.

    Braze=weaker than the tube
    Weld=stronger than the tube

    You could also try your hand at OA WELDING using steel rod if you wanted. I got pretty good at making those look like TIG but it weakens the metal. Might as well have the worst of both worlds eh?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by BungedUP View Post
    It'll take me a few days to get setup at home to do the challenge, but what tubing thickness are we going for? .028? ,035? I say lets shoot for .058". I say its from tanks on to tanks off (welder too), and we do 5 in a row. I'll let you off the hook for finishing, if I don't have to do my highest quality of weld. Fair?
    .035 seems good to me. More like what we actually use in bicycle frames. Something .058 is rarely used other than maybe a BB.

    You know as well as I that thick metal would benefit the TIG welder since you could just mash your foot and get things started while I sat there waiting to bring things up to temp while it nearly made it impossible for you to blow a hole. Naw, If I was being mean I would say lets rock some .5mm wall but I won't.

    You don't have to do your highest quality weld, I won't be able to maintain mine at those speeds and why do we have to do 5? Gawd, sounds like you are a workin' fool. I like working less, not more. One good one should show you how David Henry Bohm (my actual name) can go. They didn't ask John Henry to beat the steam driver 5 times.

    We can go offlist with this then we we are done we can post the results and vids to a new thread here as not to confuse this thread.

  39. #39
    The cat's name is jake
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    Alright, I'll concede the .035 - I'd have no problems with the .5 either - its a matter of setup, and cost. I see .058 thickness in headtubes as well and much thicker than that at dropouts, brake tabs, etc. but not a problem.

    Why 5? So we can average it out and get some idea of the time it takes to weld or braze, as opposed to just the setup. Besides, it's not going to take me much more time to do 5 than it is 1. I think that there should be some of the setup involved too, just not 95% of the total time involved.

    Start the thread, and lets figure out the rest of the rules and betting. Yeeha!

    Sorry for derailling the OP's thread - it sounds like fillet brazing is the way to go for him.

  40. #40
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crashman1 View Post
    You didn't even ask about STRENGTH. Back in my BMX days I tore GOOD fillet welds off the frame (with speckles of steel attached). But I also broke TIG welded TUBING right next to the weld.

    Braze=weaker than the tube
    Weld=stronger than the tube

    You could also try your hand at OA WELDING using steel rod if you wanted. I got pretty good at making those look like TIG but it weakens the metal. Might as well have the worst of both worlds eh?
    A good fillet braze join is usually stronger than the tubing. This is a Coconino that was driven into a garage.

    (from Steve's FB page)
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  41. #41
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    I think you guys should do two sides of the same joint (i.e. do one side then mail it to the other to do the other side). You can bet on speed and on strength. My guess is that if everything is done right the fillet side will be stronger but if racing for speed the TIG side might end up stronger.

    The joint can be jacked to see where it breaks. Sorta like the following but one side will be TIG and the other side will be fillet. Also I am sure the TIG side will look better then mine.
    Last edited by febikes; 01-13-2012 at 08:37 PM.

  42. #42
    Plays with tools
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian View Post
    Actually, my most used welder for general fabrication is my MIG welder. TIG is overkill for many things and industrially MIG is far more prevalent than TIG.

    It's really hard to say what's prevalent without taking into consideration. When I built pressure vessels we almost never used mig it was mostly flux core with some sub arc and tig. In other shops it's all mig all the time and some shops are all tig. Field work in this country is mostly stick but starting to switch over when it's possible.

    I would be interested to see a break down from somebody like the AWS and see where the splits lie.

  43. #43
    650b me
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    You are the first caller...

    First of all, let me say that I don't mind my thread being hijacked a bit. It's all in good fun.

    To cover all of my bases, I put my name on several waitlists at UBI for framebuilding courses while I delved into the possibility of going the self-taught route. I must say, this forum is a WEALTH of framebuilding knowledge. You all are some real smart fellers. There is enough information contained in this forum to write a book on framebuilding, if someone ever wanted to take the time to sort through it all. Of course, there are as many opinions as there are framebuilders; that's where things get tricky.

    Anyway, yesterday I got an email from UBI (along with everyone else on the waitlist) that there was an unexpected cancellation in the Jan 30 brazing class at Ashland. I jumped on it, and I was the first caller. The spot is mine! So I'm off to build a fillet brazed frame at the end of this month. I can't tell you how excited I am to get this opportunity. Special thanks to my wife for her incredible support.

    Now, please continue with the TIG vs brazing battle...

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    First of all, let me say that I don't mind my thread being hijacked a bit. It's all in good fun.

    To cover all of my bases, I put my name on several waitlists at UBI for framebuilding courses while I delved into the possibility of going the self-taught route. I must say, this forum is a WEALTH of framebuilding knowledge. You all are some real smart fellers. There is enough information contained in this forum to write a book on framebuilding, if someone ever wanted to take the time to sort through it all. Of course, there are as many opinions as there are framebuilders; that's where things get tricky.

    Anyway, yesterday I got an email from UBI (along with everyone else on the waitlist) that there was an unexpected cancellation in the Jan 30 brazing class at Ashland. I jumped on it, and I was the first caller. The spot is mine! So I'm off to build a fillet brazed frame at the end of this month. I can't tell you how excited I am to get this opportunity. Special thanks to my wife for her incredible support.

    Now, please continue with the TIG vs brazing battle...
    I took that class in Ashland a little over a year ago and I loved it. Now while I do not completely agree with their method of frame design (pencil and paper) it was a GREAT learning experience. I would recomend staying at the Cycle Hostel if you can, Murray is a great character.
    My bikes [Fe][C]ycles

  45. #45
    650b me
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    Thanks, jgerhardt. I've already requested a reservation at the cycle hostel. Seems like a no-brainer.

  46. #46
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    I braze a frame in 45min. but 2/3rds of that is letting it cool down enough you can jockey it around and not grab a hot spot.
    I offer no-file frames now as well.
    Bummer is nobody ever notices.

    - Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails TIG welding vs fillet brazing-img_2334.jpg  

    TIG welding vs fillet brazing-img_2332.jpg  

    steve garro el jefe/el solo. coconino cycles www.coconinocycles.com www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by coconinocycles View Post
    I braze a frame in 45min. but 2/3rds of that is letting it cool down enough you can jockey it around and not grab a hot spot.
    I offer no-file frames now as well.
    Bummer is nobody ever notices.

    - Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    That's what I am talking about....Fast and pretty.


  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian View Post
    That's what I am talking about....Fast and pretty.
    Yeah, Baby!
    Kick that **** out, yo.
    I do time myself on this stuff, It's good to know how much you get paid.

    - Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    steve garro el jefe/el solo. coconino cycles www.coconinocycles.com www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    A good fillet braze join is usually stronger than the tubing. This is a Coconino that was driven into a garage.

    (from Steve's FB page)
    That's pretty impressive: I really need to start getting things powder coated.

    I should take back what I said because it evidently doesn't apply to large diameter thin-wall tubing. Back then we were repairing frames with 1" thick-wall tubing, which obviously gives the joint less surface area and makes the tube proportionally stronger compared to the joint.

    Oh ****, I just mentioned 1"-tube BMX frames, I've definitely dated myself...

  50. #50
    Debodawg
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    Mig Vs Tig Vs Brazing

    Well i have done all three.
    MIG is by far the easiest to learn and do.
    TIG allows you to control the heat - but demands a lot of skill and prep.
    Brazing - allot of people think it's like soldering. It's not.

    MIG - never use flux wire. Miller or Hobart are your best rigs. Lincoln sucks.
    Wire speed and AMPS is the key - use you tube to see the Miller instruction vids.

    TIG done right will put less heat into the material then MIG. You can also weld thinner material easier. TIG allows you to get a butter smooth joint. All material must be extremely clean. The filler rod must match the material for the best joint. Don't mix material or the joint may fail. Once again see the miller vids on Youtube

    Brazing - Triumphs and BSA had great Brazers. that is almost a lost art. What passes
    for brazing in the US would fail on most mountain bikes. It would cost you a fortune to
    sound, xray or magnaflux an entire bike frame let alone build one. A bad braze can look
    good but not have any holding power.

    The real key is you need a jig. then tack weld a pieces one at a time.
    true the frame. with a MIG or a Brazing there is a good chance you will pull the
    frame out of alignment it you weld it all at once. The best plan is build a jig. then fit all
    the part then take it to a pro to weld. You will get a much better product at a cheaper price.

    Don't cut your tubes with a plasma cutter. the extra heat will weaken the material.
    A miller will run you over a grand. with wire helmet gloves etc. gas, expect 1.5-2k.
    Expect about the same for a good TIG. Plus you need a welding coat for TIG.
    A TIG puts out allot of UV. You can get burned real bad from the light it kicks out.

    like i said build a jig, cut and fit the tubes. then take it to a pro.
    cheaper better.

    Or design it and have Ventana build it. Sherwood is great for doing that.
    good luck
    the dog is out.

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