Turned a corner

Feeling good about my tig-welding after today’s effort.  I welded the front triangle and chainstays and these are some of my best yet.  Not great by most standards, but I’m really happy with many of these beads!  I haven’t burned a hole in any tube (so far) and feel MUCH more comfortable moving the frame fixture around to get the frame in the right position.  I’m trying to weld as much as possible in the fixture but it’s not always possible for me right now.  I also like to use a BB heatsink which I can’t fit over the BB post in the Access 65 jig.  (Does the Anvil have an integrated BB heatsink…?) I’m not using the pulser and I’m going to make that a habit.  I did do a bit of foot-pedal pulsing in the really acute angles (ST/DT, HT/DT) as it helped maintain a nice bead when more amps are necessary.  I do the tube in quarters, like has been recommended by most every welder I’ve heard of (i.e., if the inline-obtuse angle is “12-o’clock” then it’d go something like: 12-3, 6-9, 3-6, 9-12), it’s just not always matching up perfectly yet.

What I mean is that you’ll see that some of the beads are of inconsistent size (especially the drive-side seat tube where I got a bit hotter on one 1/4 bead than the other).  I find that the inconsistency in bead size is because of  inconsistent space in the tube miter where the bigger the space the bigger the bead.  This happened unfortunately in the DT counter-miter where the downtube joins with the seat tube…that’s just a difficult miter to get perfect right now.  Also, since I’m not flooring the pedal to full amps, I don’t get it to the exact same amps the entire bead and instead feather the pedal to keep the puddle going the right pace and right size depending on where I am in the joint.  Only more frames will make it better.  I’m already stoked to ride this frame! I just have to put in the wishbone seatstays later this week and I think I’m going to rattlecan this one John Deere green.

2 thoughts on “Turned a corner

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  1. Hi,

    Do you still find yourself manually pulsing on the acute angles? I’m in the midst of TIG practice before I attempt my first TIGed frame. My welds are coming a long way but I’m getting some too hot welds in the acute angle between the DT and HT. I’ll end up with some undercut on either the DT or the HT.

    When you add some more amps do you do it as you are adding filler or when pushing the puddle?


    1. Jason,
      I do tend to manually pulse in tight and hard-to-see locations — in the acute angles, where there is thin tubing, or where the miters are less than perfect (it seems to help get a good puddle going fast but also cool the metal and not burn through). I do it less than I used to but it does definitely help in certain locations.
      Is it possible that you’re moving too slow even if you have enough amps going into the tight spots? The undercutting may be a result of that or not adding enough filler? The acute angles definitely take a bit of a ramp-up on the pedal. I’ve found it helps to ‘carry’ a good puddle going into the tight spot as it’s much easier to keep it going that way, but that depends on your weld sequence as that can’t always be done if you want to go around the tube all in the same direction. The hardest thing to get used to, and I’m still getting used to it and learning each weld bead, is how to move the torch quickly on each pass (how to get a puddle going quickly and then move the puddle quickly while adding filler). It helps with shaky hand syndrome, overheating the tubes generally, and burning through.

      When i manually pulse, I add the filler when the puddle is at the biggest size, so there’s a bit of a rhythm to it. As you ramp up the pedal and get the puddle bigger and moving forward, you dab the filler rod just before you lay off the pedal to cool before ramping up the amps again with the pedal and moving, dabbing, cooling, and so forth. I seem to move the puddle forward as i’m ramping up the amps. Unlike most of the automated pulser settings i’ve heard of people using (2hz. is the norm it seems), I am moving pretty slow compared to that so I can effectively add filler and see what’s going on.

      Good luck with the first TIG’d frame! I was really nervous before mine. I think if you realize beforehand it ain’t gonna be perfect and then weld it as best you can and do what you know how to do, it’ll be fine..and fun! I still get nervous before I weld a frame or fork. There’s really no way to practice all the angles you’re going to encounter on the frame I found, so the only way to get better is just by doing more frames. (Manually pulsing with 1/16″ filler rod also helps a ton when you need to fill in a burn-through hole, which happened to me at least 3 times on my 1st frame.)

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