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    Default Tig Welding alloy heads, cases, castings, what specific filler rod? BSA

    So, been a LONG time since I bought any filler rod, but have some BSA pre 1963 stuff to weld this winter. (I asked this on a BSA forum as well, but more of you guys know how to weld,, -Farmall? You out there?)

    Okay tech question, Its been many years since I purchased any TIG welding filler rod, need to know for a forum member as well as to restock myself.

    So, In the past, I went to a local commercial welding supply, showed them castings and asked them, 3 staff debated it & finally came up with a specific alloy rod and I bought a bundle and worked fine, I no longer have the specs of which rod they sold me, But While i have repaired a lot of Norton and Triumph, BSA not as much. I did have a friend years back warn me that BSA Goldstar castings seem to be different and described some problems repairing some Goldie castings.

    *IF you dont select the right filler rod,, I have seen it weld up okay but it was glaringly obvious where you welded.. looked like shiny solder next to the OEM casting and impossible to not notice it.

    So question is
    A) On preunit BSAs, did higher end models like the Goldies use a different alloy in castings? Or same as the whole range of Singles and Twins?
    B) Anyone weld a range of British alloy castings so has some advice/insight on any differences? *
    C) Does anyone have a specific alloy filler rod spec or ID #? (Use #6011 or,, #17-4)

    * I found one reference in the achives,
    " However,in the spirit of (not very scientific) experimentation I have just grabbed a couple of peices of 10mm thick 5083 alloy plate which is quite a hard alloy which does not bend easily and TIG'd it together using an alu 5% Mag rod. "

    Do alloy cyl heads, Engine castings, primary inner & outers and trans differ in castings on pre 63 BSA?
    IE: I can buy same filler rod for all BSA?

    I got a bunch of Triumph and Norton stuff to weld as well. On the Nortons they are a very oily and porous casting, Triumph stuff with proper prep welded very nicely, (Has to be VERY clean, preheated as well)
    But when you strike an arc on a Norton, no matter how much prep many will just Ooooze oil out when the metal starts puddling. often it can take 3 or 4 passes before you get a clean weld. (The tungsten gets splooged on a lot).

    I am NOT an expert TIG welder, But I used to work with many at a Aerospace manuf.. And I used to repair a lot of Bike parts as a side hustle... I still have access to many of these welders but they dont know anything about a British casting other than what I tell them.

    Id rather hear from some one who might know than roll the dice I get the right advice and product at a supply store.

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    To clarify, Immediately I have some late 50s Alloy cyl heads that need some chipped and cracked fins repaired, BSA owned their own foundry's and were very advanced in their day for metals, castings and foundry's. The fins on a BSA preunit single and Twins are very thin. (Nearly double the thickness on a Triumph or Norton head.)

    I also have some primaries and cases to repair as well. As I mentioned.. I was told that some of the castings used a different mix of alloy and much harder to weld. I suspect the main engine, trans and primaries are not as hard to weld,,But it takes some skill to weld up the heads. And the cyl heads for these are VERY expensive, so gotta do it right.

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    I'd ask on the Miller forums and Weldingweb. They'll have the latest greatest filler info and have excellent user communities. I'd post pics of the heads as you may get some very specific, useful advice. Someone may know of an exceptional specialty filler.

    https://forum.millerwelds.com/forum/welding-discussions

    https://weldingweb.com/forumdisplay....y-Fuel-Welding

    We experimented at welding school on a junk Shovel primary. My experienced welding instructor TIG guru laid some beautiful beads (with 4043) but I was a noob and he apparently hadn't done many castings of that general shape so we failed to think of. The welds were fine beautiful but the inner primary warped severely as it cooled. If it had been secured that wouldn't have been an issue.

    If I have to do a primary or cover or similar I'll to clamp it to the bed of my milling machine so it stays flat and take my time, letting it cool between passes.

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    Very interesting.
    While searching for 'metallurgical alloy composition of pre-unit BSA engines', I learned about Rolls Royce RR alloys (taken over by High Duty Alloys Ltd.) makers of hiduminium, and Elektron magnesium alloys (used in some early BSA cases), and found this which is, although not directly related to the alloy composition discussion, an interesting book:

    The Vintage Motorcyclists' Workshop.
    In chapter 1 there is information about screw treads, but also,(starting on page 14) 'Metals used for the restorers', steel specs and their suitable uses, and heat treatment processes.

    To read all 10 chapters of this book:
    https://www.billymegawatt.com/upload...s-workshop.pdf

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    Thanks guys... TNC I think you are onto something, Farmall as well and Intend to join those forums as I have many questions.

    ** I used to work for Precision Castparts Corp in PDX Oregon, and we MADE castings on one team for Rolls Royce Aerospace, which is an interesting story on its own.

    But I think you are onto something about some of the castings being different composition..
    I had a good friend who sadly RIP, But he explained one day the troubles he had repairing some Goldstar castings, And he owned a large company that did machine work as well as a wide variety of industrial and commercial fab work. (4 decades in the trades) He insisted that some castings were way different. Its been many years but I believe it was some of the Die Cast and super thin castings had a different composition.
    He speculated what the alloy composition was but insisted it welded totally different.

    *THIS IS WHY I AM ASKING*.... You can look at a sand cast vs die cast and the metal seems different.

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    Scrapyards nowadays use scanners to identify metals. You won't want to buy one but could likely find a yard using them.

    https://alloytester.com/

    I also suggest the old standby of practicing and setting your heat on matching scrap (a very good reason to keep junk cast parts).

    You could contact the Barber Museum to see what techniques they use or who welds for them. They've more vintage restorations than anyone else in the Americas, some whose engines use exotic alloys.

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    back in the 70's, I knew an old boy, (Gotta be Long Dead by now) who weld repaired Motorcycle cases,... he had some old fucked triumph, Norton, BSA, Matchless etc cases, and as a repair came in, he would harvest metal from the old cases to use as filler in the repair job,....
    so a BSA would get Aluminium from a BSA, and a Norton got Aluminium from a Norton,....
    he collected broken & Fucked cases, timing covers, Heads, primary's etc just for this,....
    his repair's were invisible when finished...……...

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    Thanks again, i did not think of a scanner, I know of a local scrap yard and I have a friend who gets the good buddy treatment there, (he calls the "GOLDMINE" as they let him have stuff, most people are not allowed. ) Might be worth a shop. But I would be surprised if a scanner could tell the exact composition, I would think basic materials sure,, but not if for example a alloy was 6011 or 5083, or a stainless was Inconel or 17-4. But I am open to the possibility!

    As to using parent metal and like materials for repairs, I DO THAT! I have several scrap cyls I harvest fins from (norton-triumph-bsa for the cast iron barrells) same with heads and cases. I also have been collecting bits for mock up motors for fab work and mocking up customs.

    (Got a XB Buell motor, a Evo Sporty motor, and variety of British motors) But I hope to complete this winter some cut away display motors for our museum and events. I ask a lot of locals if you have ruined cases, covers heads and cyls,, dont scrap it,, Ill take it and gift you something in return... Cash, Beer,, or what ever. )

    A lot of this stuff comes to me damaged, Its highly annoying and amusing how damn picky some people are, they expect 50 year motorcycle parts in perfect condition and bitch if it aint. I EXPECT to have to repair threads, chips, gouges, cracks and even holes sometimes. It comes with the territory.

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    A little bit here in a thread from BritBike forum that may be relevant for welding head fins - on a 1957 BSA Spitfire (posted by Magnetoman, 11/11/13);

    "...I have a 450 Amp TIG available, recently I bought a 200 Amp machine. The reason for this is the newer inverter welders have adjustable waveforms that make the arc much more precise and controllable than is possible with a transformer welder. This is especially useful for aluminum. Anyway, after researching the issue I bought the machine, gathered junk motorcycle castings (again, thanks KC in S.B. and MikeG), and have been experimenting with various filler materials and electrodes.

    One of the reasons I'm pursuing this is I need to repair and/or replace several fins on my Spitfire Scrambler's head, and TIG is the way to do this. Also, I need the control an inverter TIG gives me for another project I've been working on for the past few months...I was experimenting with 4047 filler rod last week to see if its increased fluidity over the more standard 4043 would be helpful on castings and went further with that work than I had planned...I only had the 4047 in 1/8" rod, which was too large for for a proper repair...If you're familiar with gas welding, think of a 200 A inverter TIG as giving you the pinpoint control of a #000 tip that has the heat output of a #4...and then producing a realistic sand-cast texture in the now-smooth filler...The trick to restoring the original finish is to place emery cloth on top of the dressed weld (ie smoothed back to original shape) and to use a hammer on the emery cloth, the rough finish of the emery cloth is transferred to the alloy...a few months ago someone showed texturing being done this way, but with the help of a Hasting's Air-Peen hammer... After filing with a 10-inch second cut file followed by 60 grit and 100 grit sandpaper applied with the air hammer, finished with #00 steel wool rubbed in the direction of the grain...looks like the best of these attempts.

    TIG Welding of Fins 02/06/14
    4043 worked as well as any of the others on BSA's casting alloy so it is what I have been using on this head. I prefer smaller diameter filler rather than larger since it provides me with more flexibility in the build up process. Even where the fins were ~1/8" thick I used 1/16" diameter filler.
    See more with photos here:
    http://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbth...96/type/thread

    Have you heard of this guy:
    Phil Pearson Engineering

    Phil Pearson in his Norfolk workshop where all the quality BSA Goldstar parts are manufactured and hand crafted to an excellent standard. Parts such as the Cranks, Clutch's, Rev Counter drives, 190mm twin leading brakes, new engines, engine rebuilds and many more services.

    For more information on the BSA Goldstar engines and engine parts please contact Phil on 01493 368331 or email enquiries@bsagoldstar.co.uk.
    http://www.bsagoldstar.co.uk/default.html
    Last edited by TriNortchopz; 09-22-2018 at 9:31 PM. Reason: added Phil Pearson info

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    Nothing to do with tig welding alloys, but a very interesting read:

    The development of my favourite the Gold Star.
    Roland Pike Autobiography - Chapter 23
    The Beezagent
    BSA stuff for BSA nuts
    "Roland Pike was a development engineer at BSA between 1952 and 1957. After that he left to work with SU Carburetters for a while then emigrated with his family to the USA in 1959."

    "When I came to work at BSA in 1952 there was no programme of development for the Gold Star, at that time we seemed to just pick up problems as they developed and try to fix them...The lower half of the Gold Star engine was basically similar to the 1938 M24 Gold Star and to the B33 post-war iron 500, although the crankpin assembly was changed quite a lot, the flywheels were always forged steel...it was decided that as we were making a new cylinder head for the 350 Gold Star, we could afford a 500 version of it. Brian Jones of the Drawing office, a very capable and gifted young fellow, set about designing the new head. Mr Hopwood told him to consult with me on it so every day I would confer with him his office, look over his shoulder and make a few suggestions..."

    This link also includes Chapters 22 - 17 of his memoirs.

    http://beezagent.blogspot.com/2009/01/

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    Thanks TNC... The read about Roland Pike is a great one. Have read it several times and send it to people all the time. He liked singles but didnt care for the twins. But he was responsible for turning around the problems on the twins and eventually the BSA Wrecking crew cleaned up at Daytona 1-2-3-4 or something like that. I have a bike I am building that is alleged to belong to Kenny Eggers, and while not one of the factory race bikes, Is modified like one. Ill post a pix below. (2 of the BSA Wrecking crew lived here in Oregon)

    As to Magneto Man, Thats Charles Falco, And I forgot about that posting. Thank you for digging it up. Thats allegedly the #1 BSA Spitfire #101 and its turning into a 20 year restoration. That guy is either a genius or a lunatic depending on your perspective. He is on the cannonball run and riding a Ariel, I have known him and of him for 30 years and tomorrow God willing, and the creeks dont rise I will finally meet him in person as the ride ends just a few miles from me. Riding up there to watch the end of the ride.
    I Doubt I will get a chance to talk alloy filler rods as this ride is from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon. (Not quite but close enough) So doubt he wants to spend an hour discussing filler rods.. But we shall see.
    But that is good info,. thanks for that.

    (Thats Dick Mann also in those pictures, BSA Royalty Several of those Photos were at Portland Meadows which was also a horse racing track but in the 50s they did bike racing too..)

    Here is the rundown of the riders, Over a hundred pre 1930s bikes will be rolling in here in the afternoon. Magnetoman/Falco is #123 at the bottom of the page.
    See: http://motorcyclecannonball.com/riders/

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    Last edited by Dougtheinternetannoyance123; 09-23-2018 at 1:21 AM.

  12. #12
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    I had to look up the Hastings. Very interesting tool:

    https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...mmer-420664919

    I made a brass bar attachment for my pneumatic hammer by welding a hunk of pipe to a cut off air chisel then pressing in brass round stock. Works great for applying controlled, gentle vibration/shock vs. manual hammers.

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