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Discussion Starter #1
anyone need a very good condition Bernard Chiller with a good used 18 series torch and one new WP26V torch and both torch heads have 25' leads? Have one and it needs to be out of my way. Take 300 for the lot and it should ship reasonable enough. Comes with everything to hook up to your tig machine and probably mig machine (I wouldn't know about the mig) and after you hook it up, all you need would be cups and collets.
 

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For anyone wanting to move up to watercooled that's a good price on the cooler. I can't imagine Tig welding air cooled anymore, especially on Aluminum, though I did get by just fine for years on steel/stainless with 24 size air cooled torches. I <much> prefer water cooled, WP-20 size torches and superflex cables myself, but then I'm a picky sob. You could always sell the torches and buy a new setup to go with the cooler if you wanted to swing that way.

That cooler is the same one I use myself and I've had zero problems with mine.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't do enough aluminum and magnesium welding to fool with it. I've only used it once in the last five years. If I were doing mostly aluminum welding, I'd use it often but for how things flow in my shop, it's nothing but a thing to run a bead or two, let things cool off, then hit it again. The 20 and 9 series are ok for the tight stuff and that's the only time I use them, but 98% of everything I do is with a 17 series air cooled torch.
 

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I just bought a ESAB Heli-Arc 160 to do stainless and aluminum. The aluminum will just be little bits here and there for bikes and cars and the like. I figure a 4" bead max at a given time.

Do I need a water cooled torch or is it a luxury?

--Cheers, Chris
 

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Hi Chris-

Just try it and see. The torch will get hot running high amps for a while - eventually it'll get too hot to hold. If that's not happening to you then you're probably fine. A 160 amp welder is pretty small for aluminum so you may find that more limiting than your torch anyway. It's really a personal preference more than anything (except that aluminum uses a lot of power and will get an air cooled torch hot pretty fast). I don't like the big club-like torches - I like the size/feel of the #20 water cooled. Plus the smaller torches are much easier to fit in small confined spaces. Same size as #9 air cooled and uses the same consumables. I use short back caps most of the time too. If you can, find a buddy with a #20 water cooled setup to try (or a welding shop with a demonstrator) once you've gotten some experience with your setup. Then decide for yourself if it's worth it to you.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter #6
all of the water cooled torches are smaller and lighter than the air cooled ones

amperage ratings being the same

bit more hose to sling over your shoulder though
 

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BTW - stainless is very sensitive to weld backside contamination. For best quality welds that won't crack eventually from stress or vibration you'll need to take some extra steps that you wouldn't necessarily need to take for steel. Fitup is key for starters - you want perfect fitup with no gaps if you can. About the same importance is cleanliness - the metal needs to be clean not just of oil and other contaminants but corrosion as well - scotchbrite to clean metal, clean with Acetone if possible. Do the same for the welding rod. Have a set of gloves you only use for clean jobs like stainless and aluminum. Have some small stainless brushes on hand for cleaning, especially at weld start/stops where a little contamination is inevitable. Mark them - use the one for stainless only on stainless, the one for aluminum only on aluminum, etc. They're cheap on ebay in quantity.

For backside protection of for instance tubes - you can tape over both ends and purge with Argon - takes a dual regulator or second tank. Or - use Type B Solar Flux. It mixes up with alcohol (Heet brand gas dryer works great), brush on the backside and weld away on the frontside. You'll be amazed how much easier stainless welds if you take all the right steps. A little research on welding sites will show you the right rod to use - generally some 308 and some 309 will do for most all jobs.

The same level of cleanliness will do wonders for all welding, but stainless is especially sensitive to contamination.

Also - using a gas lens setup will get much better gas coverage and help a lot with the quality of welds. A bonus is that with the gas lens setup you can stick the tungsten out much further and still have good gas coverage, plus you can turn down the CFH a bit and still get good coverage, conserving gas which is getting more expensive all the time.

You can weld fine without taking all those steps, but if you do some back-to-back experimenting you'll find that it improves the quality of your welds a whole bunch, and makes it much easier to weld to boot.

Michael

Oh - and don't try to weld with a contaminated tungsten. Have extras all clean and sharp and ready to go. If you dip it or hit it with the rod just switch. Later when you're done welding you can clean and sharpen the ones you messed up.
 

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I've got a Miller SyncroWave 250 that I've been using for ten years with a standard air cooled torch. You won't have a problem unless you are doing a LOT of aluminum welding up at 150+ amps. I've welded aluminum at 200+ amps for considerable times (not continued production welding) without problems...torch gets a little warm, but of course I've got welding gloves on so it doesn't bother me.
But if you plan on welding at 250+ amps for any period of time (say 1/2" and thicker) you'll need water.
I've never come across anything on a motorcycle that required more than about 150-175amps.
JohnnyB
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have a 300 amp machine that will run 100% duty cycle at 150 amps

I've only had to use it at half power twice in the last five years

that was for some very heavy steel forgings found in the headstocks of certain American made frames

big three phase transformer machine and it performs quite differently than a single phase box

it will even keyhole like it was a needle plasma arc
 

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You know, in ten years I've probably only had my machine above 175 amps four or five times. Most of it was one job, welding up an aluminum parking lot light pole base. I think every other time I was just playing around with something.

Hack, ever used one of the new variable frequency, inverter TIG machines? I've had some TIG welders tell me they are fantastic.
JohnnyB
 

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quote:Originally posted by jbranson

You know, in ten years I've probably only had my machine above 175 amps four or five times. Most of it was one job, welding up an aluminum parking lot light pole base. I think every other time I was just playing around with something.

Hack, ever used one of the new variable frequency, inverter TIG machines? I've had some TIG welders tell me they are fantastic.
JohnnyB
That's exactly what my little ESAB is. I read tons of reviews before finally dropping the coin on a TIG. It's crazy how light they are. I should get the 220 drop next week. Then the fun stuff begins.

--Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #12
JB, yes I have and I would like to retire the big three phase machine and procure a modern box with pulse as well

the three phase DC welding is quite interesting though

a single phase won't keyhole and the transformer machine isn't supposed to but mine sure will

I poked thru your site, nice stuff and I wanted to ask you about suggesting mig is better for welding 35 thou walled CM tubing than tig

do you still think so?

my opinion is that tig is far superior than mig for welding thin wall CM

I hung out in Gambler's shop, back when CK owned it, and the guys there had been doing CM frames since 1969

taught me quite a few things about doing CM and Dave Patton, who did the finest welding on CM I've ever seen

well he's simply amazing

until recent years, a mig machine suitable for welding CM just didn't exist

the migs have come a long way in the last ten years and I'm sure they are now just fine for production welding of CM

still not sure they are superior to tig for the app though

what do you think?
 

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chrisf, or anyone else - about your ESAB -

I've done MIG and stick welding, though not a lot - I worked in a weld shop for a summer and they let me play around. I can generally make things stick together, and not fall apart when you hit them with a hammer, though they don't always look real pretty. I've been considering buying a welder, and the new inverter welders really look like good stuff. I plan to take a welding course locally at the community college since most of what I know I read online or found out the hard way.

Is there any point to looking at the 115v welders, or are they too current-limited to be very useful? I have been considering running 220 out to the garage for a decent air compressor anyway - craftsman stuff just doesn't have the cfm to cut it, even for what I want to do. Is light stainless work within the capabilities of those welders? Aluminum? I'm not going to be welding much outside the realm of motorcycle parts...
 

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Hack,
My new favorite method for thin wall CR is TIG with silcon bronze rod. If I was doing any amount of daily welding of CR I'd use MIG...depending on fit up and accessibility. I had a tough time getting my torch into the crevices...should have been using a pencil type torch with the low amps I was using. Did you know Ducati frames are MIG'd CR tubing? But, these days, yeah I'd go with TIG brazing with Silicon Bronze, great for not so good fit up, minimal heating of the CR etc.
For the most part I don't even recommend CR for bike triangulated race bike frames. Unless a person is an engineer and can save those last few ounces by designing a frame using the rigidity of thin wall CR...then just use proper design and good DOM tubing.
Although I also have never seen the cracking susposedly a problem with welded CR frames. I tended to anneal the welds a bit with a gas torch afterwards anyway....not sure if it helped or hurt.
That first frame I built on the web site was kinda a piece of crap...but, it weighed like 7 pounds and held up nice for years.

I'm still not great at welding in tight spots around tubes that enter at steep angles....just not the right equipment in most cases.

90% of the welding I do is on mild steel, so as you might expect that's all I'm really good at. I'm one of those guys that like to TIG most of my mild steel work. I use the MIG for big stuff, stairs, railings etc. TIG for all the thin stuff, exhaust, swingarms, SS, tools, repairs etc.

I'm no expert welder, just the skill required to do what my jobs require. I'll never have the skills of a full time welder. But I do have some experience welding a bunch of different stuff. Problem is I don't do it enough to remember what I got to work the last time. Hence the masking tape notes stuck to some of my machines with the settings that worked on odd materials.
JohnnyB
 

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The inverter Tig machines are the tits. When I can afford to I'll be moving up to an inverter from the syncrowave. I'll probably go with the Miller Dynasty even though it's more expensive, as it's the only one of the smaller (200A or so) inverter Tig power supplies that will run on just about any power you throw at it, including 115v (at reduced output power of course). The other tech at the shop I was working at had an HTP I used extensively and I loved the wave shaping capabilities. At my place I'd be loving the reduced input power. I've got a Miller XMT300 power supply here with a Mig wire feeder hooked up to it - on single phase 220 it'll put out 278a of welding current while only drawing something like 50a out of the wall. Not that I'll ever need that kind of power for anything, but it goes to 11... :)

borzwazie - are you talking about 115v Tig or Mig? The only one of the Tig power supplies I've seen that will run on 115v is the Miller. I have ideas of taking one to the track as it would run on a generator just fine.

The 115v Mig machines are very useful but are current limited. They'll do <most> everything on a m/c okay, but do run out of power on anything thick. You can think of them as a sheet metal/light tubing/light plate etc welder and they'll be great. Don't fall for one of the crappy ones sold without a gas setup using flux core wire. They're junk. Get a good used one in good shape and you can always sell it if you decide later you need more power.

Michael
 

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Yeah, I built an entire car with a SP-135, but it is made of 16ga tube. I used that little welder to do some pretty significant mods on both bikes I built. That said, I'd never buy another. In fact, I'd never buy a 110v machine.

One of my bigger project regrets is not going with a TIG right off the bat. I researched a lot and found the inverter TIGs are the better ones. Mine's an AC/DC squarewave with tons of adjustments. From my research, the better models are, in order:

Miller Dynasty series
ESAB
Thermal Arc 180 (or higher)

These guys know much more than I and should recommend a good machine. Mine was $1200 and came with the power supply, torch, pedal, regulator, stick electrode and a contaminated tungsten.

--Chris
 

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Wow - that's a great deal on a Tig welder, especially an inverter. You'll love it I'm sure. Make sure you get at least a 120cf gas cylinder - the 80s are just too small IMO.

Michael
 

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If I had to pick a brand I'd pick Lincoln. I've got and old SP100 and a Spoolmatic 250 that have been to hell and back, bought new and abused and never had a single problem with them. The Miller Syncro I've had to replace two $500 boards since I bought it new. The first one went 6 months out of warranty. Lincoln makes a very tough machine.
The little SP100 I beat the crap out of for years, still works like a champ, I've never done anything to it at all. It's the only machine I have with any level of portability so it's seen some bad times.
JohnnyB
 

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quote:Originally posted by jbranson

...Did you know Ducati frames are MIG'd CR tubing? But, these days, yeah I'd go with TIG brazing with Silicon Bronze, great for not so good fit up, minimal heating of the CR etc.
For the most part I don't even recommend CR for bike triangulated race bike frames. Unless a person is an engineer and can save those last few ounces by designing a frame using the rigidity of thin wall CR...then just use proper design and good DOM tubing.
Although I also have never seen the cracking susposedly a problem with welded CR frames. I tended to anneal the welds a bit with a gas torch afterwards anyway....not sure if it helped or hurt.
the 'cracking' people speak of is a leftover from the old days and the auto (more like hot rod and 4x4) industry, resulting from welding thick walled 4130 tubing using 4130 filler rod straight DC without heat treating resulting in a brittle weld. only an idiot would do this with what we know know today. Without spilling the black box of beans proper materials (the big one) and technique the heat treatment is no longer an issue, ESPECIALLY WITH THIN WALLED TUBING. The welding tech has come VERY far taking HUGE leaps since the 80's with pulsed TIG you have low heat, small HAZ and annealing in one fell swoop. Inverter and High Freq just sweeten the punch.

Ducati frames in general may be MIG'd but I have pictures of the shop and jigs for their race effort oddly enough the machine directly behind the jig is a synchrowave 350.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
well when the fly guys drop CM stuff by to be welded

they want tig

they want plain old 70 or 80 series rod

and if it is to pass

no preheat or post heat treatment

years ago, and some old timers still do today, the aviation standard was to braze CM together and it was often post heated by hand with a torch
 
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