028 Welding

Originally uploaded by anthony.maietta

Tuesday night I spent a few hours in the shop doing some general cleaning and welding.  The owner of one of my building neighbors came over to learn some TIG welding, which was a ton of fun because for so long I was the one looking at someone else weld.  It felt pretty cool to be able to continue the learning circle and give it back a little.  The welding on Craig’s bike went quite well.  The front triangle welding is becoming very consistent for me and I’ve attained a fairly high level of confidence with those joints.  Additionally, the chain stays are about 90% there in terms of personal confidence.  The top corner of the chain stay, closest to the seat tube, always forces me to take a bit extra time and I’m still trying to figure out the easiest torch position, but it’s definitely easier than when I first started.  All of my bikes previous to Craig’s have had silver brazed seat stay/seat tube joints.  I’ve made it a personal committment to weld this joint on all future frames.  The only real reason I have done this in the past is that it’s very hard to do and I basically just wussed out of it, but my welding skill has improved by leaps and bounds and its about time I just do it.  This will be harder on bigger bikes as the seat stay/seat tube angle gets more accute, but I have three incredible teachers who are always there to answer questions I have about TIG technique: Toby Stanton, Carl Strong, and Mike Flannigan (three of the best, most selfless teachers you could imagine!).  Craig’s bike has an actual C-C seat tube length of 49.XXX cm, so this will be a good one to start with.  My practice samples look good, so it will come out very well I think.  I’ve also switch from lugged/brazed rear dropouts to welded Wright style pieces.  Again, there’s no need to braze them when you can weld them, and many of the new tubes do not interface well with the existing droput sockets out there.  Columbus Life chain stays are famous for this.  They are about 1mm too big on the OD to fit in droput sockets.  This forces you to grind the socket, but the sidewall gets dangerously thin.  With a welded dropout, as with the rest of my frame, I couldn’t really care less what the OD of the chain stay is, and whether I can find a lug to match at the right angle…I’m all set with that!  The design freedom of a welded frame is pretty f’ing liberating!

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