Some photos of the process and results. The welding of the front triangle and chainstays went well. I tacked in the fixture at 12 and 6 for most tubes except for the top of the downtube where I tacked at 10 & 2. Before removing it from the fixture I welded a full pass to connect those tacks. I remember doing ‘cosmetic’ passes with the pulser over almost all my 1st pass welds on my first several frames. No longer! The 1st pass is good as is these days (for the most part).
One “fun” thing I tried was NOT facing the BB shell and loading it up on the alignment plate and seeing how it all lined up. The seat tube was spot on. The head tube was sub-1mm up (non-driveside). That’s good enough for me! But then I chased threads and faced the BB shell and loaded it up again on the plate. This time the seat tube was up 0.7mm and the head tube was dead on. So there you have it (N=1). There was a little non-uniform warpage of the BB shell as to be expected (duh) but surprising to me is that it really didn’t change much of the overall ‘alignment’, or at least how I measure it and to my level of care. Mostly the facing helps the bottom bracket thread in there and sit flush against the shell. What it told me more is that my welding is getting more uniform in heat control – meaning on each 1st pass I am consistent and not pulling the frame around in any way it’s not supposed to go. My miters are tight and with good heat control the bike stays put even if you don’t weld it up in the frame fixture!
More words later when I show off my first schweet S-bend stays!