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  1. #1
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    What make and model of welder for TIG steel?

    Hello. I am embarking on buying about $20K in framebuilding tools in order to TIG weld 4130 chromoly frames in my garage. This is only a hobby for me. I work long hours and I want to challenge myself on my few days off.

    I am taking 4 classes in framebuilding at United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon between April 2018 and January 2019. I took the mechanic's classes in Portland; I highly recommend this school.

    I'm sure that after I take the classes I will know what make and model welder to use, but I want to practice welding (on scrap metal) as much as possible while I am saving up for the fixtures, lathe, mill and probably a band saw.

    I will only be making frames like the cargo frames that I have. They are Design Logic Da Phat frames. They have 4130 chromoly tubing, 100mm English BB, 44mm headset, 190mm dropouts using Paragon Machine Works parts.

    So what make and model welder does one use for TIG steel on bicycle frames? I am a renter with no 220V in the garage now, but I will definitely be running 220V to the garage.

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    I also have questions on what mill, lathe and band saw to buy, but it will take me over a year to save for these tools. For now, I am just going to buy the welder, nozzle, regulator and whatever else I need to practice on scrap metal.

  3. #3
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    I am currently looking at https://www.millerwelds.com/equipmen...welders-m30132 (STH or STL models) or https://store.cyberweld.com/mitigwed...AaAo4hEALw_wcB or Square Wave™ TIG 175 TIG Welder

    I will be welding on .049" or possibly .035" straight gauge 4130 chromoly like this 4130 ALLOY STEEL ROUND SEAMLESS from Aircraft Spruce

  4. #4
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    First, your question is somewhat akin to, "I want to buy a four door sedan, what should I buy?". There's a lot of answer to your question, so I'll cut it into a few categories.

    First--budget? Prices range from ~$1,500 to $8k+.

    IMO, features to look for are 1st--pulse and 2nd--AC.

    For thin tubing, pulse makes it way, way, WAY easier. You can certainly weld thin sheet and tubing without pulse, welders successfully did it for decades, but jeebus it is way easier, less frustrating, and prettier with pulse. When using pulse, you're going to be using the 0.8-1.7 pulses per second settings 95% of the time, so don't get too wrapped around the axle if a specific welder model is limited to say 20 or 150 pulses per second. The higher settings are cool, but not a lot of use for them in bicycle making.

    Second, if you have the budget, definitely consider a welder with AC capability so you can weld aluminum.

    If you're concerned about budget, the Lincoln Squarewave 200 is a great machine with all of the features you will need to build virtually any bike frame. Includes pulse, AC, and several other useful features. It's similar in price to the Maxstar you mentioned, but way more "usable" IMO, IE higher amperage, more duty cycle, AC, etc. The small Maxstar is designed to be a portable tig machine for field repairs such as sanitary tubing, and it's a great machine, but not necessarily the best selection for bike frame building. A lot of people start of with Miller Diversion's, and they're not bad at all, but the Lincoln beats it out in multiple factors.

    If budget isn't a concern, you can't beat a Miller Dynasty 210 DX with CPS. Although it's a $4k machine, it can run on 110-480v inputs, has a load of great features, SD card slot to allow for expansion of features (a la setting independent AC balance), and Miller tig machines have great resale. My personal setup is a Miller Dynasty 200 DX with a coolmate 1 and 20 series torch. The water cooler is kind of a love hate relationship. I love being able to weld while basically holding the cup, but listening to tit run for hours is kind of annoying. I also have an air cooled torch, but it's sitting on the shelf and never gets used, so overall I definitely prefer the advantages of water cooled setup, it's definitely not a requirement, more of a luxury.

    Honestly, I wouldn't really consider any other machine than those two. The older transformer machines (IE Miller Synchrowave) come up for sale often, and they weld great, but suck power like mad, super heavy, not portable, and limited on features such as AC wave forms, AC balance, AC frequency, etc.

    The other important factors to consider with tig is accessories and consumables.

    For accessories, invest in a great helmet such as the Speedglas 9100xxi or ESAB Sentinel. It's hard to stack dimes if you can't see.

    The other major item is torch selection, tungsten selection, tungsten preparation, filler metal selection, etc. I could go on for pages about each item, but the moral of the story is don't skimp. You'll eventually end up with the nice stuff anyways, so pay once and cry once.

    For smaller, detailed, tight tig work, you can't beat a 9/20 series torch. 9 is the air cooled version and 20 is water cooled, both use same consumables. I started out with a 26, use a 20 now, and have no clue how I welded with that giant club of a torch. For torch brands, I'd recommend CK Worldwide. Second, GET A GAS LENS SETUP for welding anything other than aluminum. For high end steel alloys and the occassional Ti job, you're going to want a variety of cup sizes ranging from 8 (.5") to 16 (1"). I use a combination of normal alumina cups for basic bitch errday welding and Mike Furick cups when I need to see better or if it's a critical weld on stainless.

    Dont skimp on filler. After battling with Harris and Radnor quality issues, I mostly use Lincoln, Hobart, American Filler Metals, and Voelkemp (sp?).

    Figure out some way to sharpen tungsten, cause jeebus you'll be sharpening often when you first start welding. With the low amp arc starts associated with thin bike tubing, you'll need to either run 1/16" electrodes or 3/32" and sharpen them to a long point. I prefer Thoriated (red) on steel, stainless, and Ti, 2% Lanthanated on aluminum. Don't get cheap electrodes, so stay away from amazon/ebay brands. CK makes a nice product. Sharpening tungsten is not very glamorous, but it's important to have a system that gets repetitive results. I use a 12v dewalt cordless drill and sander with higher grit discs and belts, but it's definitely a personal preference thing. There's a lot of ways to do it and I haven't found one that works much better unless you drop $2k and that's dumb.


    Like I wrote earlier, I could go on for pages on each item in this message, but moral of the story: you get what you pay for, don't make it harder than it has to be, make sure you're comfortable while welding, clean and prep your weld material 50x more than you thought you needed to, and keep learning. Tig is a load of fun, frustrating AF, and rewarding all at the same time. You're probably going to suck for a year, but that's ok, stick with it and things start to click.

    One more thing, watch all of Jody's videos on weldingtipsandtricks.com. Hands down best tig videos on interwebs and most of his wealth of knowledge carries over to bike welding. He also has a web store, weldmonger.com, where he sells a variety of good products. I use his tig fingers often.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Gillespie View Post
    First, your question is somewhat akin to, "I want to buy a four door sedan, what should I buy?". There's a lot of answer to your question, so I'll cut it into a few categories.

    First--budget? Prices range from ~$1,500 to $8k+.

    IMO, features to look for are 1st--pulse and 2nd--AC.

    For thin tubing, pulse makes it way, way, WAY easier. You can certainly weld thin sheet and tubing without pulse, welders successfully did it for decades, but jeebus it is way easier, less frustrating, and prettier with pulse. When using pulse, you're going to be using the 0.8-1.7 pulses per second settings 95% of the time, so don't get too wrapped around the axle if a specific welder model is limited to say 20 or 150 pulses per second. The higher settings are cool, but not a lot of use for them in bicycle making.

    Second, if you have the budget, definitely consider a welder with AC capability so you can weld aluminum.

    If you're concerned about budget, the Lincoln Squarewave 200 is a great machine with all of the features you will need to build virtually any bike frame. Includes pulse, AC, and several other useful features. It's similar in price to the Maxstar you mentioned, but way more "usable" IMO, IE higher amperage, more duty cycle, AC, etc. The small Maxstar is designed to be a portable tig machine for field repairs such as sanitary tubing, and it's a great machine, but not necessarily the best selection for bike frame building. A lot of people start of with Miller Diversion's, and they're not bad at all, but the Lincoln beats it out in multiple factors.

    If budget isn't a concern, you can't beat a Miller Dynasty 210 DX with CPS. Although it's a $4k machine, it can run on 110-480v inputs, has a load of great features, SD card slot to allow for expansion of features (a la setting independent AC balance), and Miller tig machines have great resale. My personal setup is a Miller Dynasty 200 DX with a coolmate 1 and 20 series torch. The water cooler is kind of a love hate relationship. I love being able to weld while basically holding the cup, but listening to tit run for hours is kind of annoying. I also have an air cooled torch, but it's sitting on the shelf and never gets used, so overall I definitely prefer the advantages of water cooled setup, it's definitely not a requirement, more of a luxury.

    Honestly, I wouldn't really consider any other machine than those two. The older transformer machines (IE Miller Synchrowave) come up for sale often, and they weld great, but suck power like mad, super heavy, not portable, and limited on features such as AC wave forms, AC balance, AC frequency, etc.

    The other important factors to consider with tig is accessories and consumables.

    For accessories, invest in a great helmet such as the Speedglas 9100xxi or ESAB Sentinel. It's hard to stack dimes if you can't see.

    The other major item is torch selection, tungsten selection, tungsten preparation, filler metal selection, etc. I could go on for pages about each item, but the moral of the story is don't skimp. You'll eventually end up with the nice stuff anyways, so pay once and cry once.

    For smaller, detailed, tight tig work, you can't beat a 9/20 series torch. 9 is the air cooled version and 20 is water cooled, both use same consumables. I started out with a 26, use a 20 now, and have no clue how I welded with that giant club of a torch. For torch brands, I'd recommend CK Worldwide. Second, GET A GAS LENS SETUP for welding anything other than aluminum. For high end steel alloys and the occassional Ti job, you're going to want a variety of cup sizes ranging from 8 (.5") to 16 (1"). I use a combination of normal alumina cups for basic bitch errday welding and Mike Furick cups when I need to see better or if it's a critical weld on stainless.

    Dont skimp on filler. After battling with Harris and Radnor quality issues, I mostly use Lincoln, Hobart, American Filler Metals, and Voelkemp (sp?).

    Figure out some way to sharpen tungsten, cause jeebus you'll be sharpening often when you first start welding. With the low amp arc starts associated with thin bike tubing, you'll need to either run 1/16" electrodes or 3/32" and sharpen them to a long point. I prefer Thoriated (red) on steel, stainless, and Ti, 2% Lanthanated on aluminum. Don't get cheap electrodes, so stay away from amazon/ebay brands. CK makes a nice product. Sharpening tungsten is not very glamorous, but it's important to have a system that gets repetitive results. I use a 12v dewalt cordless drill and sander with higher grit discs and belts, but it's definitely a personal preference thing. There's a lot of ways to do it and I haven't found one that works much better unless you drop $2k and that's dumb.


    Like I wrote earlier, I could go on for pages on each item in this message, but moral of the story: you get what you pay for, don't make it harder than it has to be, make sure you're comfortable while welding, clean and prep your weld material 50x more than you thought you needed to, and keep learning. Tig is a load of fun, frustrating AF, and rewarding all at the same time. You're probably going to suck for a year, but that's ok, stick with it and things start to click.

    One more thing, watch all of Jody's videos on weldingtipsandtricks.com. Hands down best tig videos on interwebs and most of his wealth of knowledge carries over to bike welding. He also has a web store, weldmonger.com, where he sells a variety of good products. I use his tig fingers often.
    Your response is tremendously helpful. Budget is not a concern so I will grab a Miller Dynasty 210 DX with CPS. I will also be referring to your recommendations very closely for my purchases.

    If you are willing to, I invite you to elaborate on the extended points that you referred to. I will definitely soak it up and save the information. I am "investing" over $25K in tools and $15K in tuition to learn TIG steel frame building.

    I am 51 years old and I hope I can weld for many years. My Dad is 74 and his hands shake too much for him to do careful hand work such as TIG. I do not have the habits that caused his shaking, so I hope to be able to mess around in my garage for 20-30 years with this equipment.

    My day job keeps me busy 60+ hours Mon-Sat, so my hobby time will be limited until I retire in 15 years.

    I need reading glasses so the vision is going to be an issue.

  6. #6
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    I've used a Miller Dynasty 200DX extensively and it's great. I'm not a professional welder, but I used one all through college and I was the main welder on our Formula SAE racecar frames, and I use them at work now. If I had the funds, this would be my first choice in a welder. I haven't tried a whole lot of different welders, but I liked the way the Miller welded over the Lincoln that we had at school (I think the Lincoln was a Precision TIG). Since I don't have the funds for one, I just ordered an AHP AlphaTig 200X for $680. Friends and research says it's the best welding TIG you can get for under $1500-$2000, but it is Chinese so it sometimes come with it's quality issues. Just throwing this info out there, since you have the budget I would certainly go with a Miller!

  7. #7
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    All of it is really good at this point - the inverter tech is pretty mature, so the differences between brands/machines are pretty subtle. I'd make the decision based on what you have available for power, and what you want to be able to do (ie, AC or no AC).

    If you're just going to build bikes, a bottom of the barrel modern TIG machine is more than good enough. If you want to get nuts and do other stuff, then you will want a fancy/expensive machine.

    -Walt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    All of it is really good at this point - the inverter tech is pretty mature, so the differences between brands/machines are pretty subtle. I'd make the decision based on what you have available for power, and what you want to be able to do (ie, AC or no AC).

    If you're just going to build bikes, a bottom of the barrel modern TIG machine is more than good enough. If you want to get nuts and do other stuff, then you will want a fancy/expensive machine.

    -Walt
    I am planning on putting 220V in the garage, but the electrician has definitely limited me to a 30A circuit breaker. The whole house only has 200A. I wonder if this will be a problem.

    Does anybody know what size circuit breaker I need for TIG welding steel in the garage? I am the only one working in the garage, but my family is in the house.

  9. #9
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    It looks like I will save about $700 if I buy the "Miller Dynasty 210 DX with CPS" online, as opposed to my local welding supply store. I wouldn't mind paying a little extra to support a local business, but an extra 19% seems like it would be a poor financial decision.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vadimhellbike View Post
    It looks like I will save about $700 if I buy the "Miller Dynasty 210 DX with CPS" online, as opposed to my local welding supply store. I wouldn't mind paying a little extra to support a local business, but an extra 19% seems like it would be a poor financial decision.



    Until you require local support. Warranty issues may arise with internet sourced equipment so it pays to be extra cautious if you go down that path.
    Quote Originally Posted by me View Post
    Of all the paths you take in life, make sure that most of them are dirt.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by vadimhellbike View Post
    It looks like I will save about $700 if I buy the "Miller Dynasty 210 DX with CPS" online, as opposed to my local welding supply store. I wouldn't mind paying a little extra to support a local business, but an extra 19% seems like it would be a poor financial decision.
    It is like a car dealership. Go haggle. In my experience the local shops tend to have zero tig knowledge, and they just ship machines to Miller/Lincoln/whoever for warranty work anyway, so if they won't make you a deal, it's not going to hurt that much to get it online. You'll need your gasses there no matter what, though.

    A 30A breaker is insane overkill for building bikes. You can easily build a steel bike with 120v/15A circuit and not have a problem. If you want to build a replica WWII liberty ship or a skyscraper, not so much, of course.

    -Walt

  12. #12
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    I spent 5hrs running my Dynasty today. I'd buy another one tomorrow if I needed to. I couldn't go without a water cooled torch but many builders run air cooled without issues. I've often thought they just don't know what they're missing.

    A thought if you're going to setup a full shop in your garage. Might just get one big phase converter. While you can get mills/lathes/saws/compressors in single phase that will do the job just fine, having the ability to run 3ph equipment will greatly open up your options when buying machinery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    I spent 5hrs running my Dynasty today. I'd buy another one tomorrow if I needed to. I couldn't go without a water cooled torch but many builders run air cooled without issues. I've often thought they just don't know what they're missing.
    It takes me ~15 minutes, at most, to weld a bike frame. With a bunch of 30-90 second pauses to reset/move things around/move things in and out of the jig. The fan doesn't even kick on, and the torch hardly gets warm.

    If you're doing LONG hours running the machine, water cooled is great. For framebuilding, it's pointless unless you're doing batch jobs or something where you're under the hood all day. Even then... the amperage is so low I'd be shocked if you really ran into a problem.

    I once did use my TIG machine to make a moderately complex railing for my basement. That sucked ass, for sure, and I would have killed for a water cooled torch.

    -Walt

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    Quote Originally Posted by vadimhellbike View Post
    I am taking 4 classes in framebuilding at United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon between April 2018 and January 2019. I took the mechanic's classes in Portland; I highly recommend this school.
    Four classes?! geez. Must be nice. are you doing each material and construction method? I did one class (brazing) + weekend tig workshop, and it was ace, for sure. You'll have a blast.

    FWIW, when I was there (many years ago), they had Miller 200DX machines. So if you want to use the same machine that you'll be using in class, go with the miller. I couldn't justify the cost myself, so went with an import Everlast machine, but haven't really used it that much so I won't comment on it's durability (though it does work just fine...).

    But, to rain on your parade a bit, I'd suggest you to wait until after your courses to start tooling up, TIG welder included. If you've never done any welding before, you're likely to pick up more bad habits than good. I took a few continuing ed courses in welding at the local tech college before I took the UBI course, and while it was nice to get a handle on basic welding safety, its still completely different from welding thin tubes. The UBI courses are set up to give you lots of practice time to master the skills enough to make a frame. UBI in general really stresses NOT tooling up big time right after the course, and building with basic methods for your first few following frames. I suspect most people who are keen and can afford it (myself included) choose to ignore this advice, but if I did it over again, i'd definitely do it leaner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acedeuce802 View Post
    Since I don't have the funds for one, I just ordered an AHP AlphaTig 200X for $680. Friends and research says it's the best welding TIG you can get for under $1500-$2000, but it is Chinese so it sometimes come with it's quality issues.
    You'll be very happy with that welder. I've been using a previous generation AlphaTig (it doesn't have the high-frequency pulse control) since 2014 without any issues, and I haven't seen a case online where AHP wasn't able to resolve a problem with a welder (or replace it outright). Folks tend to complain about the foot-pedal; add some rubber feet to it so it doesn't slide around as you're welding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasSingleSpeed View Post
    You'll be very happy with that welder. I've been using a previous generation AlphaTig (it doesn't have the high-frequency pulse control) since 2014 without any issues, and I haven't seen a case online where AHP wasn't able to resolve a problem with a welder (or replace it outright). Folks tend to complain about the foot-pedal; add some rubber feet to it so it doesn't slide around as you're welding.
    Glad to hear another personal success story. I'm beyond excited for it to come in!

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    Lots of valid opinions and good advice above. Honestly, get started welding. Screw up some parts, dip some electrodes, watch a load of youtube vids, listen to some podcasts, and get better. We could all go on for pages about with our personal opinions on the best way to do X, but one of the cool things about tig is that there really isn't a right or wrong way as long as you get the results you want.

    OP, if you have any specific questions, post up.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Gillespie View Post
    Lots of valid opinions and good advice above. Honestly, get started welding. Screw up some parts, dip some electrodes, watch a load of youtube vids, listen to some podcasts, and get better. We could all go on for pages about with our personal opinions on the best way to do X, but one of the cool things about tig is that there really isn't a right or wrong way as long as you get the results you want.

    OP, if you have any specific questions, post up.
    I do have one very specific question! I am ordering the welder https://store.cyberweld.com/midy210d...%25d%25UFbbh8t in 5 days. I would be very helpful for an experienced smith to tell me precisely (with links, if you would be so kind) what other parts that I need. I do want to get started practicing ASAP. Keep in mind that I intend to weld .035-.050" chromoly tubing for starters. I don't plan on using the welder for anything other than bicycle frames.

    That welder is good to go for making bicycles frames, yeah? Because I am pulling the trigger.

    I am watching so many YouTube videos and I will try to avoid developing bad habits.

    You would think that watching YouTube videos would answer the question "What accessories and consumables do I need?", but most of the videos are not directly related to frame building and different people recommend different products.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marco529 View Post
    Four classes?! geez. Must be nice. are you doing each material and construction method? I did one class (brazing) + weekend tig workshop, and it was ace, for sure. You'll have a blast.

    FWIW, when I was there (many years ago), they had Miller 200DX machines. So if you want to use the same machine that you'll be using in class, go with the miller. I couldn't justify the cost myself, so went with an import Everlast machine, but haven't really used it that much so I won't comment on it's durability (though it does work just fine...).

    But, to rain on your parade a bit, I'd suggest you to wait until after your courses to start tooling up, TIG welder included. If you've never done any welding before, you're likely to pick up more bad habits than good. I took a few continuing ed courses in welding at the local tech college before I took the UBI course, and while it was nice to get a handle on basic welding safety, its still completely different from welding thin tubes. The UBI courses are set up to give you lots of practice time to master the skills enough to make a frame. UBI in general really stresses NOT tooling up big time right after the course, and building with basic methods for your first few following frames. I suspect most people who are keen and can afford it (myself included) choose to ignore this advice, but if I did it over again, i'd definitely do it leaner.
    I am taking the Titanium class in January, at which point I will have taken every class that UBI offers. Great school. I certainly got a lot out of the mechanic's classes.

    I am too excited to wait three months to get my hands dirty, but I will definitely stick to the basics. I only have a few hours a week to play around, anyway.

    I had a very cheap wire feed MIG welder from Harbor Freight for my car projects. I as not impressed with that unit, although the problem may have been that I was a newbie, untrained welder. This time around I will get proper training.

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    Really great news about the 110V, 15A circuit as that it what is there now.

    On a different note, I am wondering what the smallest mill, lathe and bandsaw that I can get away with for use with the Anvil Bikes fixtures.

    The mill that I want weighs over 2500 pounds and the same can be said about the lathe. I wouldn't mind this so much, but I am a renter. My landlord keeps renewing my 3 year leases, but who knows when I may have to move.

    The mill, lathe and bandsaw that I choose need to be able to be relocated a few times, if need be. My landlord says I can stay here forever, but I have heard that before and then the landlord decided to sell the house.

    I will probably just choose the nice, big tools and just deal with the hassle of moving them when the time comes. It would only be 0-3 times.
    Last edited by vadimhellbike; 02-02-2018 at 06:20 PM.

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    I believe that the matter of what filler rod to use has been answered in this thread, as well as some other items such as the TIG finger.

    I am just now making my list of torch, regulator, etc. I will post it here.

    Maybe this 20 series torch: https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.c...SABEgKH5vD_BwE

    Gas Lens Setup: couldn't figure it out, although I could guess this https://www.arc-zone.com/gas-lens-co...SABEgJ7DPD_BwE

    Maybe this "Coolmate 1": https://store.cyberweld.com/mico13co...iABEgL3hfD_BwE

    Gas hose: https://store.cyberweld.com/wegasho20set.html (?)

    Helmet: https://www.bakersgas.com/NAS711-06-...iABEgKUn_D_BwE

    Alumina or Pyrex cups: (couldn't figure it out because of my confusion over gas lens, gas saver and if a special cup is needed if one is using a gas lens)

    gas regulator: (not even close to figuring it out)
    Last edited by vadimhellbike; 01-13-2018 at 09:52 PM.

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    Continued...

    2% thoriated electrodes: I could not find any for sale by one of the quality brands (Lincoln, Hobart, American Filler Metals, and Voelkemp). I found many other brands, of course. Are these okay: https://www.arc-zone.com/thoriated-tungsten-ck-t-7gt2 ? There was an abundance of Miller Electric brand. Are those good?

    I wouldn't know which TIG finger: https://www.amazon.com/Welding-Tips-...ips+%26+Tricks

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    Update:

    I think I am going to buy this package https://store.cyberweld.com/midy210d...WJiREhtsv.ucAA

    I definitely like the cart that holds the welder and water cooler. It has a 20 series torch and a wireless foot pedal.

    Unfortunately, it does not have a gas lens setup, so I will have to get that separately.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by vadimhellbike View Post
    Continued...

    2% thoriated electrodes: I could not find any for sale by one of the quality brands (Lincoln, Hobart, American Filler Metals, and Voelkemp). I found many other brands, of course. Are these okay: https://www.arc-zone.com/thoriated-tungsten-ck-t-7gt2 ? There was an abundance of Miller Electric brand. Are those good?

    I wouldn't know which TIG finger: https://www.amazon.com/Welding-Tips-...ips+%26+Tricks
    Get ceriated tungsten. Thorium is radioactive and thorium dust in your lungs is no bueno. Ceriated costs a few cents more per stick.

    Any generic brand of tungsten is just fine.

    Any generic TIG finger is just fine too. It's a kevlar tube, not very complex.

    That helmet will be horrible for bike work. It's got a small window and it's auto-dark which means when you're peering through some seatstays to weld something, you'll get flashed. Ditch the auto dark and get a cheapo smoked glass helmet with the biggest window you can find. Buy a bunch of different shades for it (they're like $3) so you can figure out what you like best.

    I like this one: https://weldingsupply.com/cgi-bin/ei...:UNDEF:X:14529

    -Walt

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    Walt, have you tried 2% Lanthanated? I have a pack and can drop off a few pieces, but it's 3/32".

    I dig thoriated for ferrous tig, but figure all of my bad habits will probably kill me before electrode grinding dust gets me. Also normally wear a respirator when I grind electrodes though.

    vaderhellbike, check your pm's.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Gillespie View Post
    Walt, have you tried 2% Lanthanated? I have a pack and can drop off a few pieces, but it's 3/32".

    I dig thoriated for ferrous tig, but figure all of my bad habits will probably kill me before electrode grinding dust gets me. Also normally wear a respirator when I grind electrodes though.

    vaderhellbike, check your pm's.
    To be completely honest, I can't tell the difference between ceriated, thoriated, lanthanated, at least when welding steel.

    -Walt

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    I really appreciate the help. I will get my parts order ready on Sunday and post it here.

  28. #28
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    Maybe you've already seen this from Jody at Welding Tips and Tricks,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpanERwagaU

    A few years old but still relevant. Iirc he concludes that 2% Lanthanated is a good all around electrode.

    Alistair.

  29. #29
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    Speaking of tungstens, since you're leaning heavily on a whole lot of overkill, might I recommend this:

    TechSouth Power Point Standard Tungsten Grinder


    Yeah, yeah, a dedicated grinding wheel on your bench grinder would be cheaper. Whatever. Probably one of the best investments I've made on 'unnecessary' accessories.

  30. #30
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    I bought a https://store.cyberweld.com/midy210dxcps.html at the local brick and mortar welding store for $543 more than I could have bought the same unit online. Maybe a waste of $543, but it's a done deal now.

    For the other parts, I have this:

    Cart:
    https://store.cyberweld.com/mismruca30.html $561

    8 foot power cord:
    TBD

    Coolmate 1.3:
    https://store.cyberweld.com/mico13cosy30.html $676

    Coolant:
    https://store.cyberweld.com/lowconan.html 2 X $38

    Wireless Foot Control:
    https://store.cyberweld.com/miwifocosy30.html $671

    Torch:
    CK CK212SF FX TIG Torch Pkg 250A Flex, 12-1/2' SuperFlex $136

    Regulator/Flowmeter:
    https://store.cyberweld.com/mehrf14refl.html 2 X $115

    Furick Cups:
    https://furickcup.com/product/bbw-kit-with-cover-80/ $80
    https://furickcup.com/product/fupa-1...ss-with-cover/ $60
    https://furickcup.com/product/8-pro-cup/ $10
    https://furickcup.com/product/ally5-cup-for-920/ $25

    Furick cup for Ti:
    (Furick #16 BBW cup and Ti shield link needed)

    45V44 gas lens:
    hhttps://www.zoro.com/miller-electric-gas-lens-copper-brass-18-in-pk2-45v45/i/G4335825/ $11

    Collet bodies (size to match filler):
    https://thetoolcrate.com/products/ck...rd-collet-body $89

    to be continued...

  31. #31

  32. #32
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    Man, I hope you actually like building bikes after dropping all that coin.

    How does a collet body cost more than about 50 cents, btw? I finally replaced a 15 year old torch recently and the entire package (torch, full set of cups, gas lenses and collets for 4 different sizes of electrode, couple different length back caps, etc) was like $15. Maybe I should be pulling the collet bodies out and ebaying them!

    -Walt

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Man, I hope you actually like building bikes after dropping all that coin.

    How does a collet body cost more than about 50 cents, btw?

    -Walt
    I ought to like it. I have nothing else fun going on other than riding and working on my bikes.

    I had a hard time finding that link. I'm still not even sure what size fillers I will be starting off with.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by vadimhellbike View Post
    I'm still not even sure what size fillers I will be starting off with.
    Why are you concerned with filler size when getting collet bodies for your torch?

    -Walt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Why are you concerned with filler size when getting collet bodies for your torch?

    -Walt
    Only now do I realize that I have been confusing the tungsten electrode with the filler, probably because they are both of the same shape (rods).

    Now that I think about it, I realize that the welder is, of course, holding the filler in his hand!

    TIG collets explained to newbies here at the 1:09 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ODDD1XeBNU

    I will ramp up the pace of watching YouTube videos.

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    Congrats on an awesome welder

    It's got so many buttons
    Have you done some practice welds with it yet?
    Do post some pictures and your settings for the welder.
    For practice tubes, you may already have gotten some straight gauge tubing maybe from Nova. Or there's the 4130 bargain box from aircraft spruce, BARGAIN BAG 4130 TUBING from Aircraft Spruce
    Here's a useful welding practice drill (was for me)
    Name:  8595764971_a47f59b820_m.jpg
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    gets a lot of practice welds out of little material.
    Looking back at this practice weld from before a tig class and 30 bikes later makes me smile. So much to learn. You might start without pulse at first just to get the hang of the puddle. I don't know how much you have already welded, or if you have a pro advising you (heck of a welder machine choice, might as well get the best), and add pulse later.
    Expect some good bits of welding as you are getting started, and then some dull, overheated or burnt through spots Don't get frustrated, it's a journey. After a couple hundred hours of welding, I still have a lot to learn, but it's getting better
    I might suggest tig welding a few steel bikes before jumping to Ti. Not that you won't get a lot out of a class, but there may be more "aha" moments if you've done a few bikes first. Plus mitering up Ti tubes isn't cheap IMHO. Like $800 for an nice set from Fairing, just for 1 bike not including the dropouts. Yet, there's is no right or wrong way, and whatever it is will be your way. Enjoy!
    andy walker
    walker bicycle co
    Walker Bicycle Company | | Walker Bicycle Company
    www.flickr.com/photos/afwalker50

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by afwalker View Post
    It's got so many buttons
    Have you done some practice welds with it yet?
    Do post some pictures and your settings for the welder.
    For practice tubes, you may already have gotten some straight gauge tubing maybe from Nova. Or there's the 4130 bargain box from aircraft spruce, BARGAIN BAG 4130 TUBING from Aircraft Spruce
    Here's a useful welding practice drill (was for me)
    Name:  8595764971_a47f59b820_m.jpg
Views: 608
Size:  19.9 KB
    gets a lot of practice welds out of little material.
    Looking back at this practice weld from before a tig class and 30 bikes later makes me smile. So much to learn. You might start without pulse at first just to get the hang of the puddle. I don't know how much you have already welded, or if you have a pro advising you (heck of a welder machine choice, might as well get the best), and add pulse later.
    Expect some good bits of welding as you are getting started, and then some dull, overheated or burnt through spots Don't get frustrated, it's a journey. After a couple hundred hours of welding, I still have a lot to learn, but it's getting better
    I might suggest tig welding a few steel bikes before jumping to Ti. Not that you won't get a lot out of a class, but there may be more "aha" moments if you've done a few bikes first. Plus mitering up Ti tubes isn't cheap IMHO. Like $800 for an nice set from Fairing, just for 1 bike not including the dropouts. Yet, there's is no right or wrong way, and whatever it is will be your way. Enjoy!
    andy walker
    walker bicycle co
    Walker Bicycle Company | | Walker Bicycle Company
    www.flickr.com/photos/afwalker50
    I am still in the process of buying my equipment, but I am working crazy long hours so that I can get practicing ASAP. In April, I will take 4 1/2 weeks of chromoly steel framebuilding classes.

    I ought to have enough equipment here to start practicing in a month, but I will have to go off of what I learned on YouTube until I take the classes.

    Some of the items, like the tungsten sharpener https://store.cyberweld.com/tugrpiii.html and cart https://store.cyberweld.com/mismruca...TN31HuCf9SwidY I will buy at the end so that I can get practicing. For the next 18-24 months, I will only have eight hours a week available to practice because of the long work weeks.

    I also haven't researched a welding table yet.

    I also decided to get a mask with a respirator. I am just now trying to determine the difference between these two masks:
    https://store.cyberweld.com/3m-speed...101-30isw.html and
    https://store.cyberweld.com/3mspad91wadf4.html

    When I figure out the difference, I will post it here.

    Edit: the more expensive mask has a flip up visor. The lesser priced one has a grind button which locks the user in grind mode.

    I had planned to take the Ti Framebuilding class in January 2019, but it won't be offered until about June 2019, so I won't be messing with Ti for another 18 months.
    Last edited by vadimhellbike; 01-22-2018 at 10:38 PM.

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    The Miller Small Runner Cart only holds one tank. I anticipate the need to back purge, so is this a good dual flowmeter/regulator https://store.cyberweld.com/viredfm150du.html ?

    Name:  51Mq4oNmUUL._SY445_.jpg
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  39. #39
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    Some of the welding tables are really expensive! Is this one good enough https://www.bakersgas.com/MIL951169.html ?

    I currently lack knowledge as to what sort of welding table one needs for a hobbyist framebuilding shop. Welding tables can be found with round holes, square holes, slots or no holes. I don't even know what I need, but the more I spend on one, the longer I will have to wait to buy the mill and lathe.

    I will be using the Anvil Bikes fixtures for the bike frames. The Journeyman Fixture is on a mobile stand as pictured below:

    What make and model of welder for TIG steel?-mobile-stand-400.jpg

    One can also choose a bench clamp for the Anvil Bikes Journeyman Fixture, but I might need the mobility as the garage will be very crowded.

  40. #40
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    You don't really need a welding table at all to build bikes, but there's definitely no way you need to buy anything expensive. Just get a big piece of 1/8"x2'x2' or thereabouts and slap it down on top of whatever decent height flat surface/workbench/table you already have.

    Many people do their finish welding with the frame held in a park stand rather than on a table (though not me).

    -Walt

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    You don't really need a welding table at all to build bikes, but there's definitely no way you need to buy anything expensive. Just get a big piece of 1/8"x2'x2' or thereabouts and slap it down on top of whatever decent height flat surface/workbench/table you already have.

    Many people do their finish welding with the frame held in a park stand rather than on a table (though not me).

    -Walt
    Well that's great news because the welding table was going to break me financially. I have a huge soldering table and I will put a nice big 1/8" piece of metal on it.

    Also note that there was probably not enough room for a welding table because the lathe and mill will take up a lot of space.

    I wonder how many years it will take to get good at TIG welding, frame building, and the mill and lathe. I am 51 so I am getting a late start.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by vadimhellbike View Post
    Well that's great news because the welding table was going to break me financially.
    $20k worth of top end stuff and you are going to "break" because of a welding table?

    This thread just gets weirder and weirder. Good luck with your classes.

    -Walt

  43. #43
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    I was always curious why the huge machines seem so popular for frame building. That's a monster, you could probably weld thick trailers with it. Seems like 1/10th of it's capacity would be used.

    A six thousand dollar tig is a pretty crazy way to get started! Seems like most people spend a few hundred on a jig, a grand on a tig and start zapping up frames.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    I was always curious why the huge machines seem so popular for frame building. That's a monster, you could probably weld thick trailers with it. Seems like 1/10th of it's capacity would be used.

    A six thousand dollar tig is a pretty crazy way to get started! Seems like most people spend a few hundred on a jig, a grand on a tig and start zapping up frames.
    The Dynasty 210 DX welds up to 1/4". I paid $3,800.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    $20k worth of top end stuff and you are going to "break" because of a welding table?

    This thread just gets weirder and weirder. Good luck with your classes.

    -Walt
    Everybody has a breaking point. This https://www.weldsale.com/product/wsc...x-3-ft-bundle/ would have been difficult for me to afford. This cast iron table and steel stand weighs 620 pounds so the shipping alone is $700! So that is $3,575 for a 3' X 3' table. It is such a handsome table that I uploaded a picture.

    I want to be careful here so the hobby expenses don't start to compete with the household expenses. At my job (UPS), our new division manager is trying to keep OT hours down right when I am trying to invest in all these tools.

    My wife thinks it is weird to spend so much money on (what I consider to be quality) tools when it is only for a hobby (at this point). I have never hesitated to invest in a lot of quality tools, but I use them for decades. The exact same thing can be said about tuition and bike parts.

    With regards to this thread, my end goal is to have fun in the garage.

    What make and model of welder for TIG steel?-3x3_cutout_web1-600x6001.png
    Last edited by vadimhellbike; 01-23-2018 at 11:37 PM.

  46. #46
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    For welding tables, Certiflat looks like the best deal. https://weldtables.com/collections/p...ing-table-tops Its a kit that you have to assemble yourself, so you'll get some welding practice on building the table. I plan to buy one to replace my Harbor Freight welding table. There are a few sections of joints that I prefer to weld on the table, but most of the frame is welded on a stand. The table will mostly get used for other welding projects.

  47. #47
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    Hey, why don't you look around locally or on eBay?

    eBay has dozens of used optical tables (research-grade stainless-steel tops with threaded holes on either metric or standard dimensions) of various sizes for cheap $$$. One could serve both as a welding table and as the base for an alignment jig. You (will) have a welder...weld a base for one.

  48. #48
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    Thanks for the tips on the tables. Since the first job for the table will be holding small items for my welding practice, it seems like welding the table itself is an appropriate plan!

  49. #49
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    For folks following along - I want to quickly point out that you can quite easily build bikes with a tooling budget of ~$2000 (or even less if you're creative/buy used stuff from your local CL).

    I *highly* recommend that you start small with minimal tools - because you'll learn a ton by making a few bikes with filed miters/fillet brazed joints, and you're still going to need those files and those O/A tanks (and those skills) if and when you decide to tool up more/build a higher volume of frames.

    Expensive tools are great. But they have almost nothing to do with making nice bike frames. Nice tools are for making bike frames *faster*, if that's your goal.

    Finally, sometimes the "best" tool isn't actually appropriate for something as weird as bike building (the $300 small-window autodark helmet downthread, for example, is an awful choice). Having a few frames under your belt before spending big $$ will help you make smarter decisions about what tools to get.

    -Walt

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    I wonder if anybody could point me in the right direction for making my welding cables. My welder is rated for 210A and comes with the Dinse connectors pictured below. I also attached a picture of what I think I need. Is this called a ground clamp?

    I will be working in a small 2 car garage, and the only things that I plan to weld are bike frames and bike parts (e.g. an aluminum cargo box to go inside my panniers). The welder is rated for up to 1/4" steel and Al. I will experiment with stick welding. I think I need to use one of the Dinse connectors for the clamp for the stick welding (or maybe it goes on the torch which is still on its way).

    When I look on YouTube, a lot of the videos are about long welding cables. This is the torch I bought https://www.amazon.com/CK-CK212SF-To...2%27+SuperFlex and 12.5 feet ought to be enough length for me, so you can see that I don't need long welding cables.

    Looking at some YouTube videos, I would guess that 1 or 2 AWG cable would be the right size, but what do you think? Can anybody provide me a link to the clamps (one for grounding, one for stick). If I am sure of the wire gauge, I can find a link for the welding cable myself.

    Posting these basic questions is embarrassing, but it is because I haven't been to the school yet. I may be using some of the wrong terms and I'm sure that I am coming across as clueless. I work all the time during the hours when the welding stores are open. I have been watching a huge amount of YouTube videos, though. Obviously, Jody Collier is great. What do you guys think of ChuckE2009?

    I am trying to get up and running so that I can get in some practice time in before the school starts in April.

    BTW I will include this list of some of the parts that I have tentatively settled on. Feel free to critique my choices:

    welding cart https://store.cyberweld.com/mismruca30.html

    dual regulator/flowmeter https://store.cyberweld.com/viredfm150du.html

    gas hose https://store.cyberweld.com/wegasho20set.html

    helmets https://weldingsupply.com/cgi-bin/ei...:UNDEF:X:14529 and https://store.cyberweld.com/3m-speed...101-30isw.html

    welding table https://store.cyberweld.com/miar60wo.html

    interior shelf https://www.bakersgas.com/MIL300679....yABEgIHY_D_BwE

    two clamps https://store.cyberweld.com/miarx.ht...TN31HuCf9SwidY

    convenience kit https://store.cyberweld.com/miarcokit.html

    What make and model of welder for TIG steel?-61ds9mnod9l._sl1500_.jpg
    Name:  Dynasty 210 DX Complete.jpg
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    Last edited by vadimhellbike; 02-02-2018 at 06:38 PM.

  51. #51
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    If I had to guess, I would guess that one chooses this for a ground clamp https://store.cyberweld.com/groundclamp300.html

    This seems like a good one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1-Uv5wsFFc

    Is the 300A rating a mismatch for my 210A max welder?

    And what is the "whip" that they keep referring to in YouTube videos? Googling the term leads one to believe that a whip is the hose between the welder and the torch. Is this right? If so, would you call this length of cable a "whip" if you were stick welding?

    When I Google this stuff, I read pages like this Arc Welding | Weldmark Can I assume that framebuilding uses the same ground clamps and cables? It seems like somebody building frames wouldn't need a very long welding cable.

  52. #52
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    The connector for the torch is the kind of thing that your LWS is perfect for. Just bring the torch, and tell them you want to connect A to B, and they'll sort the dinse connector and barb out for you.

    The flowmeter you've selected seems really expensive? Just get one for now, you can get them for like $50-100 at your LWS. If you get into backpurging later on, you can get a Y-connector and pick up another flowmeter and you'll still be ahead.

    As for the welding table, Are you using it as fixturing to build frames as well? Because if you're not, you're really wasting your money here, imho. (and even if you are, probably). My welding table is a metal desk I bought in the as-is section at ikea for a hundred bucks or something. For bike stuff, I don't even use big clamps and are mostly able to get by with pony clamps, weights, and magnets. You could probably get by with surplus food prep table or something. A lot of guys just weld frames in a park stand or similar, but I like doing it on the table.

    The welding cart linked is kind of ridiculous too. The ones they sell at harbor freight go on sale every now and then for 1/10th of that price, and will be plenty good enough. Otherwise, you can make one yourself as practice for a lot less than that. youtuber ThisOldTony has a good video for inspiration.

    I get that you want to buy top of the line everything right out of the gate, but Walt's advice just above your message is spot on in regards to getting the 'best'.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by marco529 View Post
    The connector for the torch is the kind of thing that your LWS is perfect for. Just bring the torch, and tell them you want to connect A to B, and they'll sort the dinse connector and barb out for you.

    The flowmeter you've selected seems really expensive? Just get one for now, you can get them for like $50-100 at your LWS. If you get into backpurging later on, you can get a Y-connector and pick up another flowmeter and you'll still be ahead.

    As for the welding table, Are you using it as fixturing to build frames as well? Because if you're not, you're really wasting your money here, imho. (and even if you are, probably). My welding table is a metal desk I bought in the as-is section at ikea for a hundred bucks or something. For bike stuff, I don't even use big clamps and are mostly able to get by with pony clamps, weights, and magnets. You could probably get by with surplus food prep table or something. A lot of guys just weld frames in a park stand or similar, but I like doing it on the table.

    The welding cart linked is kind of ridiculous too. The ones they sell at harbor freight go on sale every now and then for 1/10th of that price, and will be plenty good enough. Otherwise, you can make one yourself as practice for a lot less than that. youtuber ThisOldTony has a good video for inspiration.

    I get that you want to buy top of the line everything right out of the gate, but Walt's advice just above your message is spot on in regards to getting the 'best'.
    Thanks for the fast, helpful reply. I don't have a single day off until April. If I take a day off before then, it would be unpaid. My wife doesn't like it when I do that.

    I have been building ebikes for the past 3-4 years, and I had to order 99.9% of the parts online because of my Mon-Sat work schedule. I use Sundays to execute the items on my To Do list. Presently, I can't keep up with my To Do list. I usually order parts online on Sundays or late in the evening. It really is easier for me to order stuff online. I am trying to get set up so I can weld coupons for practice.

    I can definitely see that it would be easier to take what I have down to the LWS and just have them sell me the stuff that I need. Maybe I can arrange to go in late to work someday.

    As far as buying expensive stuff goes, I have nothing else going on. No house, no car, no other hobbies, no vacations, no vices. Riding and wrenching on bikes is my life. Also, I definitely have a thing for tools because I am at my happiest when I am working in the shop.

  54. #54
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    If you're stick welding it would be referred as a "stinger" or "whip" and only needs to be as long as you require it to be. Always default to "too big" on cable gauge, my personal leads are 2/0 but I weld a lot of high amperage/voltage projects. In your case a 2/0 ground and a 1/0 stinger should be adequate. Go with a 300 amp ground clamp, that should more than cover anything you want to do. Table? Welders build those, it's a good exercise in planning and execution. My two cents.
    Quote Originally Posted by me View Post
    Of all the paths you take in life, make sure that most of them are dirt.

  55. #55
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    Are we just going in circles here? Didn't we already discuss the helmet, the table, etc?

    $1500 helmet with built-in respirator?!?!

    Here's my advice, and it's the last time I'll say it:

    Don't buy anything.

    Go take your 4 classes, and when you're done, you will have a much better idea of what you need/want. In the meantime, go ride your bike, or geek out with BikeCAD or Solidworks or Linkage. The design side of things is more important anyway.

    -Walt

  56. #56
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    Thanks for the help with showing me which welding cables and ground clamp that I need.

    I am buying a few things every week. So far I have the welder, torch, wireless foot pedal, water cooler, cart, pipeliner helmet and table. It will take me two weeks to save for the improved helmet.
    Last edited by vadimhellbike; 02-02-2018 at 10:11 PM.

  57. #57
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    I covered an early morning shift so I finally had a chance to visit a LWS. I bought an 80 cu. ft. tank of pure Argon, some 3/32" collets for $1.45 each, three 3/32" 2% Lanthanated electrodes and a #8 alumina cup. The empty Q size cylinder was $218.40 plus tax. The fill was $30.

    Praxair does not sell Thoriated electrodes due to the radioactivity.

    I told the sales guy that I was using a gas lens, but he sold me a standard nozzle. Once I got home and tried to assemble it, I saw that I needed a gas lens cup so I bought some online. I also bought some standard 3/32" collet bodies so that I can use the standard nozzle that I purchased in error.

    My Dad and I are putting in one 50A 220V outlet in the garage on Sunday. I will only be able to plug in only one of the welder, mill or lathe at a time which is okay because I usually work alone.

    At work, we made a permanent adjustment to my job duties so that I can now always get 60 hours/week. I am really looking forward to getting started!
    Last edited by vadimhellbike; 02-02-2018 at 10:13 PM.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    ...get a cheapo smoked glass helmet with the biggest window you can find. Buy a bunch of different shades for it (they're like $3) so you can figure out what you like best.

    I like this one: https://weldingsupply.com/cgi-bin/ei...:UNDEF:X:14529

    -Walt
    It would appear that these shades are what I need for the helmet in the link: https://store.cyberweld.com/rewele4x5.html

  59. #59
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    Try a "gold lens".
    Quote Originally Posted by me View Post
    Of all the paths you take in life, make sure that most of them are dirt.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    Try a "gold lens".
    I sure will. I saw those offered during my lens search.

    My dad and I got the 220V outlet installed today. I was excited to turn on the welder, but I still lack many items needed to get practicing.

    I still need gas hoses, ground clamp, stick electrode, sticks, thoriated electrodes, a better selection of nozzles, filler material, electrode sharpener, welding cables, helmets, lenses, gloves, TIG finger and coolant.

  61. #61
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    I don't post here much as I am not a frame builder. I just like to ride bikes and hope to build one someday.

    But I think I can offer some advise here. I am a welding Instructor at a community college and have been a profesional welder for about 17 years.

    Walt is giving you some very practical advice that seems to be mostly falling on deaf ears.

    I understand the excitment of starting a new hobie and wanting to have the best equipment you can afford, but I would strongly recomend you slow down and buy things as you learn what you need.

    If you want to start learning to weld before the class build your own welding table and cart. They are great beginner projects and you dont need anything fancy. The cast iron platen tables are not dimensionaly accurate and they are intended for controlling distortion in heavy weldments.

    You can sharpen tungsten with an angle grinder or bench grinder and drill. There is absolutly no reason for a hobiest to spend $600 on a diamond wheel sharpener.

    The 3M PAPR Hoods are the best in the industry, but they are way more than you need. TIG welding on clean new steel produces almost no fumes. These hoods are intended for people who weld all day everyday with FCAW or on Stainless Steel. (processes that produce significant smoke and fumes) I think you will find them uncomfortable and confining for detail work.

    The hood Walt recommended would be an excellent choice.
    If you are set on an Autodarkening hood I have been impressed with this one https://www.bakersgas.com/LINK4034-3...BoCQowQAvD_BwE

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben B View Post
    I don't post here much as I am not a frame builder. I just like to ride bikes and hope to build one someday.

    But I think I can offer some advise here. I am a welding Instructor at a community college and have been a profesional welder for about 17 years.

    Walt is giving you some very practical advice that seems to be mostly falling on deaf ears.

    I understand the excitment of starting a new hobie and wanting to have the best equipment you can afford, but I would strongly recomend you slow down and buy things as you learn what you need.

    If you want to start learning to weld before the class build your own welding table and cart. They are great beginner projects and you dont need anything fancy. The cast iron platen tables are not dimensionaly accurate and they are intended for controlling distortion in heavy weldments.

    You can sharpen tungsten with an angle grinder or bench grinder and drill. There is absolutly no reason for a hobiest to spend $600 on a diamond wheel sharpener.

    The 3M PAPR Hoods are the best in the industry, but they are way more than you need. TIG welding on clean new steel produces almost no fumes. These hoods are intended for people who weld all day everyday with FCAW or on Stainless Steel. (processes that produce significant smoke and fumes) I think you will find them uncomfortable and confining for detail work.

    The hood Walt recommended would be an excellent choice.
    If you are set on an Autodarkening hood I have been impressed with this one https://www.bakersgas.com/LINK4034-3...BoCQowQAvD_BwE
    That does look like a nice helmet; I like the cheater lens options!

    Great advice, however the welder, water cooler, torch, wireless foot pedal, cart, argon tank with dual flowmeter, electrode sharpener and table are already purchased and onsite.

    I need some respirator because I inhaled a great deal of smoke during the firestorm in my city (Santa Rosa on 10/9/17). My father-in-law was a very fragile 89 years old and he died from the smoke inhalation. I inhaled much more smoke than him so I'm sure that I lost several years off my life during those few hours. That is great news about clean new steel not emitting toxic gases!

    I have a bunch of other bike and shop work to do, and I will knock all of that out before I start practicing the TIG welding. The school is in 2 months, and I only have Sundays off so I don't have that many hours to spend in the shop.

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