New Welder question?

I am building a motorcycle from combining two bikes. This is just a personal project in my garage that I have wanted to do for some time. I will need to
weld the frames together and wanted to get some recommendations on the type of welder for home use. Should I go with MIG or ARC. These two options were at my local Lowes hardware store. Also, what size should I go with, it seems there a 3-4 different sized migs', ranging from 90 amps to 130 (or so). There was only 1 ARC model to choose from. The Lowes kits range in price from $350 to $500 and seem to include everything to get started.
thx, Larry
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If you were planning on building a metal plant rack for home use, perhaps one of these units from a home center would do the trick. Since it is intended for something that moves and human life will depend on whether the welds don't come apart, I would not be shopping in Lowe's for the welder. Please find a commercial welding supply house where welders are the ONLY business, not just 10' of shelf space in a home center.
wrote:

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First, I would make sure my life insurance was paid up. If you don't know enough about welding to ask questions like you do, you will need it soon. I mean, your heirs will.
Second, I would just use a hot glue gun. You won't spend as much on one as a welder, and it will give you extra money for premiums. Since you don't know about welding, a hot glue gun will give you the same results, a temporary fix that won't last.
Third, document what you do for this year's Darwin awards.
Steve
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must be in the wrong group. i will move on...

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While the tone of some of the responses perhaps could be a little more charitable they were giving you the advice you really need. Welding something you are going to drive at a speed above walking is not something you should be rushing into without proper preparation. If possible your best option would be to sign up for a welding course and during that time you would find out about the different types of welding and when/how to use them. If that can't be done, then visit your local library and sites like Miller's and Lincoln's etc to learn more. For your own benefit, please don't make a motorcycle your first project. If the motorcycle is the real heart of your passion and you just need to get it stuck together find a good weldor to do the welding for you. billh

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What the others said is that "motorcycle" and "cheap MIG welder" don't belong in the same sentence or same garage. Thin tube is tough to get welded RIGHT, even if you are an expert with your choice of welding method.
res0jhe2 wrote:

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You will definitely be making a mistake!
If you value your life you'll stick around . . . and heed the advice.
Should you decide to "move on" check out http://www.mtnbikehalloffame.com/nominees.cfm?page &mID2 Motor Bike Hall of Fame. Ask them the same question -- exactly the same way.
The following url takes you to some more "experts" you can depend on. I do NOT say that sarcasticly. Since you don't seem to think the replies here to be sound check them out. CUSTOM BIKE BUILDERS FIND CONSISTENCY, VERSATILITY IN WELDER http://www.millerwelds.com/education/success_stories/story31.php
This url http://www.fournierenterprises.com/BookPage.html will also give you advice on building your own airplane, as well as doing motorcycle work. The airplane, generally, will probably suffer less stress than the motorcycle -- I think.
Go to http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t 4232 to read the replies to the following question: [Which Welder??????????] followed by this message:
"Hi, i am looking into getting a welder for building motorcycle frames, and gokart frames. Should i get an Arc, or a Mig? And what one is best? I will probably use it just a couple of times a month.
I was thinking of a mig because i will probaly use it for small stuff too. But is a mig good for frames?
Also is there anything for under $300 that is decent?, if not what is good?
Should i use GAS too? I would rather not use gas now because i am a begininer."
Oh, that is another set of forums where such topics are discussed.
One request! After you've checked out the others please come back here and tell us what they told you differently! Thanks in advance.
Good luck! :-)
=================== res0jhe2 wrote:

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I do take this seriously, its just the tone of the emails. I am not stupid (really) just looking for information. I am also not in a hurry in any way, I am very patient. So I will read on and get some more information. I do thank everyone for the replies though. Email is somewhat terrible at discerning the common internet hate speak and rude replies from common sense "good" information. I do appreciate your time and will visit your recommended sites.
Thank you, L

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Sorry if my post offended you. I know my e mail definitely didn't, because I didn't e mail you.
I would say the same thing to someone who was considering doing their own electrical, furnace installation, or heart surgery.
Steve
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As someone who has lurked here for over a year..... All of the replies were aimed at your safety. Some may have been a tad bit sardonic, but everyone I read was written to save your life. I feel that I am not stupid either, but it did not take me long to figure out that quality weldors are worth their weight in gold. I had always assumed that since I am extremely capable with tools, and of above average intelligence, I could learn to weld with no problem. WRONG! I have become more and more comfortable with the quality of my welds......but there is no way in hell I would risk my life without a trained professional checking the "true quality" of my welds.
Keep in mind that the abilities of the people responding (NOT me) far exceed your ability to ask a pertinent question. Remember your first day on the job of a new career? Looking back, you now realize that you didn't even have enough sense to ask a good question. Same thing here......Try to glean as much information as you can from the group, and practice, practice, practice.
I hope this helps you understand the tone of the responses.

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Larry,
Sorry that you got a little toasted in the replies to your question. Usually the denizens of this newsgroup are fairly tolerant and extremely helpful ... even when people ask "what welder should I start with" -- a question that gets asked about once a week on average! The thing that made the replies quite a bit more toasty than usual is that you are talking about a welding project that involves your safety and that of others--not a good "first project" for someone learning to weld. You'll find that the folks on this newsgroup take safety issues very seriously, a trait which I heartily appreciate, even though (or because?) they've talked me out of one or two hare-brained ideas in the past.
All flames and smoke aside, I hope you hear the severity of the replies as a genuine concern for safety. Stick around, and you'll learn an amazing amount. If at all possible, take a welding class; you'll have a chance to try out different types of welding, and will be able to answer you own question based on your own preferences. If you can't find a class, see if you can find someone who can help you get started. Either way, sure, go ahead and buy a machine, either MIG or stick (what you are calling ARC). Go ahead and get the most capability you can afford--but note that if you get hooked, you'll inevitably want to add other machines to expand your capabilities.
MIG is easier to learn, but it is also easier to make good-looking-but-actually-bad welds. The "130" amp MIG machines really are only capable of about 90 amps, but nonetheless can do fine work up to about 1/8" thickness. They have the advantage of running off of 120v. These machines are going to cost around $400, but note that you'll also need to buy or rent a bottle of gas (CO2 or Argon/CO2 mix) if you want true MIG, and that will add a good bit to the start-up price. True MIG requires clean metal, and leaves a clean weld (no slag to chip off). You can also run "flux-core" wire through most MIG machines, which requires no gas and tolerates slightly less clean metal, but does leave slag on the weld that must be chipped off. The cheapest machines will be flux-core only, but these will limit your options for the future; better to go ahead and get a MIG machine, even if you run flux-core through it at first. If you have 240v available (an electric dryer outlet not too far away), strongly consider moving up to a "175" amp MIG; these are going to be more in the $600 and up range.
If you do have 240v available, consider a 240v stick machine. (Don't bother with a 120v stick machine--the $69 price at Harbor Freight looks oh-so-tempting, but it will be an exercise in frustration--unless you have $600 available to get a Miller Maxstar 150, about the only machine that will run stick quite well even on 120v.) The Lincoln AC-225 "buzz box" at Lowe's is only about $250, and gives you a lot of capability for the money. However, for around $400-$500 you can get an AC/DC stick machine, and that will give you more options for the future. I think it is also easier to find used stick machines in good functional condition--there is less to go wrong with the basic transformer-based stick machine (no drive mechanism, for one thing). I bought my 50-year-old AC stick machine (range from 20 to 275 amps) for $25. I had to make leads for it, but it welds beautifully. Stick welding is somewhat harder to learn, but I personally like it better than MIG (okay, I'm weird).
Whatever you start with, make sure you pay attention to all the safety warnings in the manual; make sure you have the proper gear (helmet, gloves, etc.). Make sure that early on you get someone knowledgeable to look over your shoulder and help you know whether you are really making good welds, and to catch bad habits before they become too embedded. Start out by making some small and non-structural-safety projects -- building a small welding cart to put your new welder on is a good first project; you can get plans on the Lincoln Electric website, among other places.
One last word of warning: welding can be highly addictive to susceptible persons.

I
MIG
migs',
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Don't move on. Perhaps you're getting more hazing than deserved--everyone here was a rank beginner at one time. If you stick around, you'll find this newsgroup usually does not react this way and that all levels of experience are respected.
The gist of the messages is that you should not weld up a vehicle or trailer, or anything that could hurt someone if a weld fails. This is doubly important for a road vehicle that, if one of your welds fails, could possibly hurt someone else too.
Welding is great and you don't have to be a professional to have a lot of fun and make useful stuff and do repairs around the house or farm. So, like someone else wrote, take an evening community college course. You'll learn the safety basics, basic welding processes and techniques, and you'll be using the colleges consumables for the most wasteful part of the learning curve.
I've been welding almost every weekend for about 3 years and am getting quite good at some stuff. No way would I take on a vehicle. A few years back a guy cut, fitted, and tack welded up a trailer. Then, he hired an experienced professional to come by his place to do the welding. (I cannot recall who this was, unfortunately, but he's a smart man.) He wrote that he saved tons of money, got the pleasure from the set-up work, and learned tons by working alongside the professional weldor as he completed the work. You could do that! And you'd know the welds were okay.
Best, David Todtman

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res0jhe2 wrote:

You could try the 'alt.kissmyassgoodbye' group - I think that is the one you are going to need if you ignore the very good advice already posted
David

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please don't get offended (nothing personal ) this post solely for educations sake, and generally speaking, this would not apply to all scenerios.
MIG TIG and stick are all "ARC" : welders, they use electricity, there are others that use gas
when anybody ask the question: what welder to buy ? I am building a motorcycle, scares me !
ok.. for motor cycle frame MIG or TIG, that is what the factorys use. I storngly belive (and stated earlier) Stick or SMAW are not really practical in a home garage, for the size of your project and tickness of material. whie they can weld range of metals , their place is i the outdoors onthe fields o project site, Indoors a MIG or TIG will do a much better job.
for mild steel (carbon steel ) normally a MIG is the easiest, fastest least costly. Tig would do just fine but cost more and requires more experience (since you got 3 thing going at one, 2 hands and a foot operation , all in harmony :-) )
MIg is the easiest to learn , but you need to be able to distinguish between good penetration and cold bead.
as far as welding machines, Idon't think you need an industrial grade machine from the welding store, for home use. a 110V whats labeled as 135 amp or 140 amp (hobart) should do , but if you got 220V avail, a machine labeled as 175, or 185amp would be better. Lowes homedepo or tractor supply or farm and fleet will do. stay away from nameless units like "Chicago electric, China cheeze,and such :-) , or the ones walmart may sell.
others also swear by gas welding units O/A, again generally speaking it is not practicle in a home garage.
Also before you beging on your bike, practice on simular material, practice a lot !!!!
welding classes are really usefull I stornly reccomend it to anybody before making your welding machine purchase.
read some online weldingmaterial...... good educational info avail. on millers and lincolns web site, you can spend days on the miller education site.
oh yes..... before you grab the welding tool, check into material and WELD JOINT preparation.
good luck
wrote:

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It is ok, I appreciate you taking the time. I do need to take class and that is something I will look into. This project is basically a dirt bike (80cc) not anything I will be going 100+ on. Just clowning around in the dirt, that is serious enough I do know. Thx for your advise...
L

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Some of the dirt bikes take more abuse than street bikes - jumps, hard landings, etc.
If you happen to extend the forks or other components you may then shift more stress on to the attachment point and exceed some other component.
You might also consider the tension or tensile strength of the steel before and after your welds. What is so much heat going to do for that.
There are LOTS of things to consider besides if the weld looking good. I observed a machinist who had an order to produce a certain part, actually several of them. The parts were to be made from a hardened tool which was too hard for his lathe to cut. He wound up having to "soften" the tool steel, turn the part and re-harden it so it could do the intended job. It was quite time consuming and involved several processes and skills that the average person would not normally consider. On another occasion I saw him repair a broken farm implement. Because of the welding necessary he felt it had lost, or would lose, some of its initial strength, so he added a brace or two to reinforce it to probably greater strength than it was initially.
======== res0jhe2 wrote:

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Okay, hold up. I'm a newbie here, but a MSF instructor, so I know bikes. If you really want me to, I'll try to show you how to kill yourself on a 50cc bike.
Seriously though, while you will bounce off of dirt and be much better than doing the same bounce on asphalt, a dirt bike needs to be a pretty strong piece. Those things get the crap pounded out of them.
--
George Howell "I ride for the same reason dogs stick their head out
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com of car windows"
  Click to see the full signature.
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acrobat-ants wrote: (amongst other good stuff)

As a really crappy welder who has never had instruction other than the help I have had from reading this group, I would comment that what acrobat-ants has written is one of the most important things for a beginner to learn and accept.
With a little luck, some practice, and the gods smiling down on you that day, you can produce a loverly looking weld with your MIG that lights up your day and gives you hope of being a danm good welder - despite people telling you how hard it is and how careful you need to be.
But those loverly looking beginner welds sometimes fall apart when you put stress on them - and, speaking for myself, lots of times I can't tell which ones are OK and which ones are going to fall apart when stressed. And THAT is the danger with projects that entail potential life threatening situations.
You can think you have it mastered, but in fact have a pile of nice looking neat welds that are an accident waiting to happen
And is one good reason why the good guys on this group discourage you from jumping in with a project that should only be undertaken by someone who can weld, and can tell the difference between good and bad welds.
David - whose welds so far are limited to making things that only have to stand up to attacks by angry budgies
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quietguy wrote:

distinguish
the help I

acrobat-ants has

and accept.

that day,

your day and

you how hard

you put

which ones

THAT is the

situations.
looking neat

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If you're a new you should certainly pay attention to the above advice...
That said, one thing that helped me make better welds was to make a couple of practice passes where I _melted through_ whatever it was I was trying to weld. Really, try it on scrap first and just go overboard and see what happens. You'll get a much better idea of what it looks like when a weld penetrates. It's kind of fun, too... Even the "mid size" 220V consumer-grade machine I have puts an impressive amount of heat into a piece of metal. (It's a Harbor Freight Dual MIG 151).
Also, MIG likes clean metal, so make sure all the rust & paint is off. It doesn't have to be "surgically clean", like TIG, but grinding it down so it's shiny bare metal won't hurt.
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Take the $ and take a welding class at the local CC.

personal
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type
were
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