Originally Posted by d0gbreath
There's really no way to tell by looking at the welds up above as to how strong they are.
This is somewhat of a misconception in my opinion. No you cannot know the exact shear strength or tensile strength of a weld by looking at it. But if you know what to look for in a weld you can be confident in the strength of a weld. The old "I've seen pretty welds that are weak and ugly welds that are strong as hell" adage is bullshit. Either they don't know what a weld should look like or don't know what a weld should look like after destruction.
A good weld is more than just uniformity. There are many factors that make a weld "good" . Such as penetration, tie in to parent metal,and shape and height of weld. I have seen people say a weld looked good that had so much undercut in it that it was scary. When you do a destruction test on welds with significant undercut the bead itself usually will not break but the base metal will. That doesn't mean the weld was strong. It means the travel speed was too fast and thus deposition rate was not enough making the base metal around the joint weaker.
I think any process can be good looking if done properly. I would weld a frame with any process and have done so on vehicles that experiece much more stress than a motorcycle frame. I am no expert but feel that I have enough experience to know my limitations and am confident in my skills. Also if you want to see amazing welds there used to be a thread on Pirate that was amazing