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  • New with lots of questions.

    Hey guys,

    New guy here. I'm just learning to weld and I actually made my first bead today. I'm taking a beginners class in Bklyn at a place called 3rd ward. Its okay I guess. I'm not looking to get certified and it’s only just for my own knowledge.

    I do have some projects that I want to work on primarily for my race bike. I have a 97 Gsxr 750 that I use on track days and I would like to repair it myself instead of buying all new parts every year. I have collected a number of broken parts and always thought that if I could just learn how to weld I could repair some of the broken bits and reuse it instead of shelling out more money.

    Here is a photo of the kind of work I would like to do. It’s the sub-frame of my bike. So here are some questions. The bike is mainly Aluminum, some parts are cast but for the most part like in the photo its square tubing. I’m not sure what alloy exactly, I thought it would be 6061 but I then learned that 6061 doesn’t bend well and would crack so I don’t know what it is.

    Here is a little about myself. Like I mentioned before I’m just learning to weld and have a small 1 car garage with a cement floor and small driveway behind my apartment that I plan doing my welding. I only have access to 110V since the owner isn’t interested in making changes to the current voltage in the garage.

    1. What type of aluminum do you guys think it is?
    2. What kind of welding was used to make the initial weld?
    3. Would I be able to MIG weld this type of tubing or do I have to TIG? The reason for the question is that I couldn’t find a TIG welder that would work off of 110V which is all I have available.
    4. Since I have a small space, with 110v and limited $$$ what would be a good machine. I was thinking of a MIG with a spool gun. Is that the right machine set up?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    How much money do you have to spend? A dynasty200dx might be just what you need as long as you aren't planning on doing too thick of material. Especially since you only have 110 available.

    It will work on 110v no problem, but won't be able to weld at maximum amps (which is 200 for this machine) It is extremely portable though, great with aluminum, and can run on 110. Sounds perfect for you! Won't take up much space and is light, so it's easy to move around.

    However, if you don't have that much to spend, a MIG might be the best bet for you.


    • #3
      How many circuit breakers control the outlets in the garage? Are they all on one?

      If there are 2 different circuits feeding the garage, and they are on separate poles of a 120/240 volt service, you can make a special extension cord to power one 240 volt outlet from two 120 volt outlets. No wiring changes needed.

      About the 120v mig welder thing...

      Don't bother welding aluminum with it. It's almost a complete waste of your time. Aluminum requires A LOT of heat to weld. I haven't seen a 120v mig welder that could adequately weld aluminum cans without a great deal of skill on the part of the operator.

      I would also recommend that you spend a great deal of time destructively testing the welds you make before you weld anything related to the frame, steering, or suspension on a race bike.

      What I'm about to say, I say with the utmost respect.

      Would you volunteer to be the first to fly in an airplane that's welded by a guy "just starting out" and without the ideal welder?

      The only difference is that neither the FAA nor the 6 o'clock news cares about your bike. If either weld breaks, you're gonna die. The same result in both cases. Except the bike will not have an exhaustive investigation by the NTSB and the there will be no front page news story announcing the cause of structural failure due to a weld defect.

      Get really good at it before you trust your life to it.

      80% of failures are from 20% of causes
      Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
      "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
      "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
      "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal


      • #4
        Hey Guys,

        thanks for your input and of course I'm going to test out those welds on scrap pieces before getting on the back of anything I weld together.

        We did some testing yesterday at my welding class. I know that TIGing is harder than MIG but I did MIG two pieces of 1 1/4 rectangle tubing together than placed one end in the vise then smashed it with a mallet. The weld didn't break though.

        The instructor said it was a good weld but I had to practice a lot more and TIG wasn't going to be so easy and would take a lot more practice to master. He mentioned that I wouldn't want to ride anything I have TIG'd at least until I mastered it for a while.

        So for now I'll be doing a lot of non-structual welds and doing a lot of test on different welding techniques.

        I looked up the Dynasty200Dx and the maximum thinkness of aluminum is 1/4 which is more than enough. The parts i'll be welding will be thinner than 6mm. The frame that I posted is mostly the thinkness I will be welding which is less than 6mm. I think it came to 5.6 or something like that, I don't remember exactly but anything larger I think I would just tack then get someone with a stronger TIG to finish the welds.

        Well thanks so much for the information and I'm sure that I'll have a lot more questions to ask, hopefully you guys will be able to answer them.

        As soon as I get some things done i'll post some photos.


        • #5
          Even more questions????

          Still couldn't buy the 200 yet but I found a Oxy/Acetylene Kit from Harborfrieght for a decent price $300.00. Are these tanks big enough or will I be running out of gas? I will be welding square and round aluminum tubing and may even try my hand at welding up some tubing for a exhaust. By the way can I use aluminum tubing for exhaust tubing or does it have to be stainless steel? This is what is incuded.

          Complete gas welding accessory kit including 20 cubic ft. oxygen tank and 10 cubic ft. acetylene tank.

          Chrome plated brass torch assembly with turbo lever
          Welding tip
          Cutting torch with 0-3-101 tip
          Oxygen and acetylene regulators
          Dual line braided hoses
          Check valves
          Spark lighter
          Rugged poly carrier


          • #6
            be careful with a mig

            i always give this advice to people just starting out, this is my opinion only, i have never heard of any one else comment on this so take it for what its worth, when learning, apperance is a factor, i tell people, with a stick you can gooble up a big mess and actually have it hold together, (sometimes) with the mig you really have to pay attn. lack of fusion is a huge concern, you can lay down a bead that looks great, to the novice eye, but in reality, if welding 2 pcs. together, it can fail, reason being, with a wire feed, especially a mig you can actually weld to the weld and have it roll up onto the weldment and look some what ok, i am also new to this forum, this is a wonderful place to ask, what ive noticed is all these guys and gals really like to help, good luck, stay with it, it takes time but it is well worth it .............kevin


            • #7
              Originally posted by ricracer16 View Post
              By the way can I use aluminum tubing for exhaust tubing or does it have to be stainless steel?
              It can be carbon steel doesn't need to be stainless, but I'd stay away from aluminum for exhaust.
              Miller Syncrowave 200
              Homemade Water Cooler
              130XP MIG
              Spectrum 375
              60 year old Logan Lathe
              Select Machine and Tool Mill
              More stuff than I can keep track of..


              • #8
                Originally posted by nocheepgas View Post
                It can be carbon steel doesn't need to be stainless, but I'd stay away from aluminum for exhaust.
                Thanks for the tip but why stay away from aluminum tube? The reason I ask is I would have thought since it would be lighter, that would be better.

                The exhaust is for 450 cc dirtbike, most likely a WR450. I'm thinking once I get a simple design route path for the tubing I would get a local muffler
                to bend the tubes for me then I could just weld it with O/A gas.

                Well that was the plan.


                • #9
                  Where in woodhaven? I'm right down the road off crossbay Blvd. I have a Dynasty 200, and highly reccomend it. i would be happy to help you out with small portable welding jobs. i can also help you out if you intend to buy a TIG.

                  Alluminum tubing won't work for exhaust, it will just melt.

                  Where are you taking classes?
                  Dynasty 200 DX
                  Millermatic 175
                  Spectrum 375
                  All kinds of Smith OA gear


                  • #10
                    Also, forget about harbor freight for welding equipment. To have any hope of doing alluminum you will need good stuff.
                    Dynasty 200 DX
                    Millermatic 175
                    Spectrum 375
                    All kinds of Smith OA gear


                    • #11
                      How's this one? Its a Victor" Type Gas Welding and Cutting Kit
                      Torch Handle
                      Oxygen Regulator Acetylene Regulator
                      Cutting Attachment
                      Cutting Nozzle No. 2
                      Welding Nozzles (No.0, No. 2 & No. 4)
                      Twin Hose: 15'x 1/4" with Fittings
                      Tip Cleaner,Goggles, Spark Lighter, Spanner

                      No tanks though, what size tanks should I get? I'm only welding small motorcycle parts.



                      • #12
                        You are taking this issue too lightly. How old are you?? With no real experience and what seems to be an unwillingness to listen or learn you will waste your money or get hurt. Did you read through the Tinmantech web site? I have a Smith AW1 that i have used with limited success. Ron White has some videos available for rent at smartflix. If i were trying to do what you are i would go this route for a torch http://tinmantech.chainreactionweb.c...s_id=56#prod56

                        Either way i think you will be disapointed.

                        If i were buying tanks and wanted them small and portable i would get a Acetylene "B" tank and an 80 CF of Oxygen.

                        You also need to learn about welding safety, especially if you go the gas route. You need to be reading everything you can get your hands on. i would get this book, i had to order it from an ESAB dealer:

                        Once again, i'm happy to help if i can.
                        Dynasty 200 DX
                        Millermatic 175
                        Spectrum 375
                        All kinds of Smith OA gear


                        • #13
                          Listen to Laiky about not buying the Harbor Freight junk. On thin aluminum you would be surprised what a Dynasty will do on 110 volts. I recently made a pigtail adapter for my Dynasty and showed my step father what a real welder is capable of , needless to say he was shocked what could be done on 110 volts. I think you need to forget about gas welding aluminum for now , pretty steep learning curve in my opinion. A Miller Diversion might be a good choice for you if money is a factor but you must have 220 volts for it. You got good advice on taking 2 110 volt outlets and making a special adapter for 220 , wish I'd have thought of that one[thanks bodybagger].Welders and fabricators have more common sense than most folks and this site proves it.
                          Last edited by Showdog75; 06-28-2009, 07:26 AM.
                          Dynasty 200DX "Blue Lightning"
                          Bernard 3500ss water-cooler
                          Rockwell vertical mill
                          Beverly Shear B-3
                          Beverly Shear JR
                          Home-made English wheel
                          Milwaukee Porta-band
                          " Sawz-all
                          Tennsmith 36" stomp shear
                          Fixer upper 1968 Redface Lincoln sa200
                          Powcon 300st