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  1. #1

    Default Chopper Welding Question

    I imagine there are a good number of people here who do their own welding on their chop. I however, have never welded and do not have space at home to weld. However, there is a pretty big fab department at the company I work for. My plan is to have some of the fab guys do my welding for a hardtail conversion chop, tank bungs, fender bungs etc. So my question, for those of you who do not know how to weld, how do you go about getting things welded on your chopper projects?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mayjamest View Post
    I imagine there are a good number of people here who do their own welding on their chop. I however, have never welded and do not have space at home to weld. However, there is a pretty big fab department at the company I work for. My plan is to have some of the fab guys do my welding for a hardtail conversion chop, tank bungs, fender bungs etc. So my question, for those of you who do not know how to weld, how do you go about getting things welded on your chopper projects?
    If you can't weld things yourself you answered your own question.......... { My plan is to have some of the fab guys do my welding for a hardtail conversion chop, tank bungs, fender bungs etc. }

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    get the hardtail done, take it back home and mock it up...put all the parts where you want them, sit back,observe,contemplate,plan,design, remove parts, put on different parts, gaze, go hhmmm a lot,research,look at other bikes and see what you like,what you don't, realign said parts, redesign again, move parts a bit more, check clearances of 'assembled' parts, commit. now weld them bungs and tabs. check fit and clearances again after that is done.assemble the whole bike, even ride it, know what fits ya, realign, remove, add, then take it apart and prep for paint and final assembly. add more hhmmms as required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriNortchopz View Post
    get the hardtail done, take it back home and mock it up...put all the parts where you want them, sit back,observe,contemplate,plan,design, remove parts, put on different parts, gaze, go hhmmm a lot,research,look at other bikes and see what you like,what you don't, realign said parts, redesign again, move parts a bit more, check clearances of 'assembled' parts, commit. now weld them bungs and tabs. check fit and clearances again after that is done.assemble the whole bike, even ride it, know what fits ya, realign, remove, add, then take it apart and prep for paint and final assembly. add more hhmmms as required.
    Excellent response. Are you suggesting that first things first, strip down the bike and get the hardtail welded on. Then once I get it home place parts where I think I want them and really get my look dialed in. Then once I know where I want my fenders, tank, sissy etc, make marks and take the frame back to the fab shop to have them weld on tabs and bungs etc? If I read your post correctly that is what it sounded like. Thanks!

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    and post pics as you go along with each step and invite comments from others to help with the hhmmms.

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    I was like you. I had never welded anything before my first chopper project.

    I went and bought a cheap flux core welder from Harbor Freight and just used it to tack things in place. Then I would take it to a professional to have it welded up.

    Over time, I got better at it. On my last (current) build, I did most of the welding of tabs and bungs and such, but still had a pro weld on my hardtail and weld up my sissy bar before having it chromed.

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    If you're doing it yourself? Half the fun is learning.. But if you're paying someone else? Be sure to pay a professional welder as opposed to some guy who can just stick two pieces of metal together and make it look nice with a grinder after the fact.

    Technique matters and a pro won't warp your tacked together frame all out of whack welding it and locking his mistake in during the process.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by confab View Post
    If you're doing it yourself? Half the fun is learning.. But if you're paying someone else? Be sure to pay a professional welder as opposed to some guy who can just stick two pieces of metal together and make it look nice with a grinder after the fact.

    Technique matters and a pro won't warp your tacked together frame all out of whack welding it and locking his mistake in during the process.
    There are two people that I will have weld the frame. The first is a guy is the head of special fab projects at my job, and if he isn't available I will ask the head welder. The former has like 40+ years of experience, and the latter 25+. I work in entertainment and these guys do the welding and fab for things like the Super Bowl Half Time Show, Justin Bieber Tours, television sets, and Coachella stages...I trust they can weld a motorcycle frame together properly. I do plan on learning, and maybe I will do the tacking myself and have them do the actual welding. But while I am learning, I'd rather have a pro do it correctly. I am more than happy to give a try on tabs, battery case, etc. but not so much the things that compromise safety if done improperly.

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    learn to weld on scrap metal and stuff that does not matter. Its impossible here to coach you step by step,. But many community colleges offer good intro courses. When I was in High school we actually had wood shop & metals shop where I learned to weld and basic machine shop skills and fab. Proper drilling, how to use hacksaw (Amazing how many do that wrong), Metal band saw, chop saw, Milling, surface grinding and lathes.. Gas welding, brazing & Solder, and Arc welding. (No fancy TIG or MIG at the time there)

    But you can learn a ton with a basic book.. Peterson publishing has good "How to learn to weld" books.
    Published in 70s and early 80s, I still consult mine once in a while, useful tables and graphs and teaching my wife soon, as she wants to do ornamental and artsy projects in metal.
    But many good books out there, just did a search and no lack of good intro books.

    Even if you dont start this project welding yourself, The more you learn the better off you are.

    ONE GOLDEN RULE! Prep is everything. Get coaching on how to clean and prep your parts,,, dont expect the welder to do it all for you. Degrease your stuff, clean away paint. Learn how to make cuts, bevels and holes.

    Someone not familiar with a Motorcycle frame can F**K it up badly, warp, twist it and if it fails you can die!. Many good tutorials online on how to cut, and hardtail a frame. Measure many times. Cut once.

    Proper hardtails use sleeves and plug holes. Learn what that is and why its important. The best setups are done in a jig,, you can make a jig,, but lots have done it without, But once you take shortcuts,, where does it end?

    As TNC said, Mock ups and testing is key. You may find out riding it or upon final assy,, that your fender rubs the tire, stuff is not aligned or its uncomfortable as all hell so, dont assume and get lots of advice and do research.

    Tons of build threads on this site,, and others. Best education you can get is A) learning how to DIY,. B) Learning from others mistakes. Thats the beauty of the internet and these kinds of forums,, what might seem like a good idea, can turn out to be not so hot. Often somone else has already made that mistake, so learn from it.

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