TIG weld repair quite a few alloy wheels, and this would be far easier if I could machine them in a lathe after welding, rather than finishing by hand.
Wonder if anyone can offer any advice on the type of lathe that would be suitable for this sort of work, and whether it would be possible to get hold of some sort of roller set up, which would fit into the toolpost, and be able to take smaller dents out of rims, which you could get the rollers onto properly?
Rob, Pick up an old Warner & Swasey Turret lathe. They can be had for a variety of prices. You'd want at least a 2A machine. It has the size and heft to do this. The last one I bought was $200 and the one before that was $400
Another possibility might be a Bullard or vertical lathe. Not to popular but they're around. Bob
||TIG weld repair quite a few alloy wheels, and this would be far easier if I ||could machine them in a lathe after welding, rather than finishing by hand. || ||Wonder if anyone can offer any advice on the type of lathe that would be ||suitable for this sort of work, and whether it would be possible to get hold ||of some sort of roller set up, which would fit into the toolpost, and be ||able to take smaller dents out of rims, which you could get the rollers onto ||properly?
Have you looked at a drum or rotor lathe? Nice and heavy, and the wheel mounts so you have access to all sides. Texas Parts Guy
Just a word of warning - I'm in a few automotive groups, and the subject of repairing and welding alloy car wheels has come up before. For your protection, I'll summarize the furor that erupted down to one paragraph:
Make DARNED sure you know what you're doing, and that you have all the needed welding certs so you can prove it in court if needed. Make sure that you know the exact metal alloy used in each wheel so you use the right filler metals and pre-heat steps needed, re-heat-treat aluminum rims after welding and follow all the prudent steps to do a safe repair. If it's a non-weldable alloy, be prepared to turn away the business. And most important, make sure that you have plenty of the right kinds of business liability insurance.
Worst case ("Satirized For Your Protection") : ;-) Let's say you fix a cracked or bent wheel and they put it back on the car. Wheel breaks again - comes off, or the rim cracks and throws a chunk and the tire blows out at the bead. Driver loses control, and that car swerves across the center line, hits a few very expensive cars before crashing head-on into the school bus full of kids, sending them both over a cliff. Guess who they're coming after... :-0
Thanks for the advice Bruce, but before I started repairing wheels I went into the subject very deeply.
Therefore I would be very interested to hear which alloys are in fact unweldable, and the exact nature of the heat treatment, which is used on alloy wheels (these are both areas I am unfamiliar with, and it would be very helpful if you could expand on this for me)
I'm not that familiar with them either, I'm just the Electrician who gets frustrated when I can't find the right bracket for a job, and I get out the MIG welder and some mild steel and fabricate my own.
But from watching the discussions going on here by people who /do/ TIG-weld aluminum every day, there are several casting grades (A300 series?) that can't be welded or are very tricky to weld. I'm sure they'll chime in if asked.
There was a whole thread on welding aluminum rims last month that started with this message (search Google for it) Message-ID:
I thought there was another thread on the subject, but didn't spot it while going through my old message spool.
According to local welding expert Ernie Leimkuhler from a post last week "You can't weld 2024 or