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Must Have Power Tools-Especially Welders

This is a discussion on Must Have Power Tools-Especially Welders within the Technical forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Originally Posted by 540nova Geeto, I agree with you 99.9% of the time, but an angle grinder is one of my most used tools. It ...

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Thread: Must Have Power Tools-Especially Welders

  1. #11
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 540nova View Post
    Geeto, I agree with you 99.9% of the time, but an angle grinder is one of my most used tools.
    It came in handy when I built this CB350
    Well, I bet you didn't build that 350 in a coupe of weeks on your back patio outside either.

    For every person that knows how and when to use an angle grinder appropriately, there have to be at least 10 would be mechanics wearing shortsleves, no eye protection, and who just attack their project with the mentality of "Let me just make a few cuts and then I can figure the rest out".

    I'm not saying it isn't a tool with a use, Its just that from my experience it's a tool that is overused for the wrong reasons and incorrectly. Anytime I hear a newbie say - "I'm totally stoked to begin, I have some basic tools and an angle grinder" my first thought is "welp, there is a bike that will never run or ride correctly again".

    I will say that when I had a home shop with a lift and tools, I had a bench grinder/wire wheel setup that I used plenty.

    One tool I wish I kept that I threw away when moving was my old rock tumbler. I used to spend money on stainless fasteners, discarding old bolts, and then a NY Vinmoto guy showed me how he home cleaned and plated his old hardware with an old rock tumbler. results were stunning, and once you had the setup it cost literally pennies to do. Eastwood and Caswell have plating kits that run under $100 and can do several bikes worth of hardware and fasteners, but the hard part was always cleaning the hardware - which is where the rock tumbler comes in. Again, though, you kind of need a garage to do both those things.
    jakejensen likes this.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Stephen J's Avatar
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    Yeah I second the garage/work space. I own a home and have a shed but still don't have a proper place to work on my "project" bike. The frame is in the art room waiting for paint. The wheels are leaned against my desk waiting for a rebuild and the engine is in the shed untouched. Everything takes way longer and there is plenty of opportunity for loss and fuck up along the way. My next tool will be a designated area for a bike rebuild. Should have been my first step. Cheers
    If you can't pick it back up, don't ride it.

  3. #13
    Senior Member jakejensen's Avatar
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    Just my 2 cents here.... if you’re planning on riding he bike, do your due diligence on the laws regulating what’s legal in terms of hack and slash. I’ve recently been looking at buying another project and eBay is a fucking graveyard for hacked up 750’s which were destroyed beyond saving by a grinder and a welder, destined to be garbage because they can’t be legally registered due to failed inspections. The regulars on this forum saved me from making that mistake myself so I figured I would pass it along. Also, welding in an apartment seems like a good way to get evicted.

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  5. #14
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    I have a flux core and a stick welder. I use the flux core the most. It's convenient, doesn't run out of gas and you can get decent welds if you prep properly.

    If you are learning to weld, then you need to practice on stuff that isn't going to be on your motorbike first up. You don't want to be welding structural stuff as a learning curve.

    And +1 to what everyone else has said about not cutting the shit out of your frame with an angle grinder and checking local laws for what is legal / not.
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  6. #15
    jcw
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    Flux core wire welders work fine. Even the cheap POS back in the day from Sears could do the job. I built an entire half rack weightlifting setup with it probably 12 years ago and I still use it today. (To hang shit on)

    Thing is that it worked on a narrow range of thickness. Too thin and you were blowing through. Too thick, poor penetration. Know your limitations and flux core is fast, easy and just as good as mig.

    As for motorcycle frame welding, I swear the OEM welds look like flux core. But trying it yourself... i dont think its wise without a TON of practice and testing.
    Last edited by jcw; 02-11-2019 at 08:53 PM.

  7. #16
    Senior Member irk_miller's Avatar
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    You're speaking in way to general of terms when you say what you can and can't do with MIG or flux core. With .045 innershield you can weld up to 1/2" thick with flux core. You can weld down to 20 gauge sheet. The same goes for MIG. It depends on the size of your electrode, your voltage and feed settings and the length of your stick out, whether you're working with 115V or 230V, etc.

  8. #17
    jcw
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    I realizr that. My comments were more directed at cheap flux core machines than the process itself

  9. #18
    Senior Member Tanshanomi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geeto67 View Post
    If you are going to work on a japanese bike, I suggest a set of JIS screwdrivers and an impact driver (not an impact gun). An honest to god drill press (not just a hand drill and a bunch of bits) is probably the most useful power tool for any motorcyclist looking to work on their own bike. I've rarely if ever used an angle grinder or sawsall, and honestly it's mostly a tool for hacks who just think it's cool to make sparks and rarely used properly.
    I agree 100%. A good-quality drill press is an absolute lifesaver. On the other hand, if you are willing to go slow and put some elbow grease into it, most of the tasks you'd use an impact wrench and a grinder to do can be accomplished just as accurately with cheap, simple hand tools such as a handheld impact driver, hack saw, files, sandpaper, tap and die set, etc. Hand tools also are also easier to control, leading to fewer ruined parts from power tools getting away from you and gouging or breaking something. But, of course, we're talking a WHOLE LOT more time. The job is going to take a certain amount of time x money; reducing one side of the equation increases the other.

    As far as welding goes, It's really, really difficult to learn to weld well without some amount of formal instruction. My welding instructor said we should think of a welder like a violin – you can buy one and manage to make some noise with it the very same day, but that doesn't make you a violinist. Managing to stick two pieces of metal together doesn't make you a welder, either.
    Last edited by Tanshanomi; 02-12-2019 at 01:03 PM.
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  10. #19
    jcw
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    Flux core welding 20g steel would be a neat trick id like to see. Kinda like putting i. Finishing nails with a 20 pound sledgehammer

    Great for laying down tack welds quick and dirty or welding >1/8" structural steel tubing. If I was building a jig, mig or flux core would be the process Id use.

    Frame tubing? Maybe in a pinch. Sheet metal, no way. You simply lack control of heat input you have with tig. The thinner you weld, the more control matters.
    Last edited by jcw; 02-12-2019 at 02:01 PM.

  11. #20
    Senior Member woodsman's Avatar
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    I learned to braze before I ever had the opportunity to use a welder and I think it has served me well. I've been welding more than 40 years and am quite comfortable in any format, pretty solid beads in most positions. When I need something done that involves mechanical safety I go see the guys at the fab shop and am reminded that I really don't know shit about welding or metal fab.
    Tanshanomi likes this.

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