View Full Version : Welding, & Bike Safety

11-25-2010, 04:44 AM
Hi all im the new guy here, this might be in the wrong place so im sorry if it is,
I have just brought the plans for the tomahawk lowracer, but im a bit worried about building it. I have never used a welder before and im a bit worried the strength of the welds as I don't want my bike to disintergrate when im doing 40mph. How has everyone found welding for the first time and does your finished bike feel safe and doesn't flex.

mark barker
11-25-2010, 05:50 AM
Hi Richie, welcome to the forum! I'm also a noobie welder, and so far I've spent my time welding scrap metal together to practice. I'm going with the theory that spending a few hours (or in my case many hours!) messing up on some old scrap is worth it if the outcome is good, strong welds on the frame. I've signed up for some welding lessons at my local college after xmas, so hopefully things will improve after that!

11-25-2010, 09:25 AM
Hey Mark,
I have got some scrap and im going to have a good practice this weekend.
What bike are you planning on making?

11-25-2010, 10:45 AM
Hey Richie. Welcome to the Atomic Zombie family.

11-25-2010, 03:43 PM
I think you'll have a lot more confidence in your ability to make a good weld after 1) practicing a lot and 2) giving your practice pieces a thorough hammer test so you learn to recognize your good welds from your bad welds. Wear eye protection when you do the hammer test! Good luck.

Richie Rich
11-26-2010, 01:59 AM

It's nice to see another "Richie" here on the Forums...!!

What type of welder do you have...Stick or Wire-Feed..??

There are several Welding tips and tutorials here on the Forum which you might want to take a look at. Start with this one from Brad....


Best of luck with your project and keep us posted on your progress.
The only requirement for 'Membership' is to post LOTS of pictures....!!

Cheers......."Richie Rich"....

John Lewis
11-26-2010, 05:53 AM
G'day richie 104,

Welcome to this mad mad zombie mob.
You are definitely in the right place.
We all had to start some place and after a bit of practice you will be fine.

None of my bikes, around nine now, have come apart at a weld yet. One I built is used for a daily 30km each way commute to work ( not by me though) and is still going fine after around 3 years. It was my second bike brazing job and I taught myself to braze on the first.

Don't agonize over the details. Get in there and make a start and you'll have a great bike before you know it.

John Lewis

11-26-2010, 08:29 AM
Hi everyone,
Thanks for the warm welcome. And hi Richie Rich, it is good to find another Richie on a forum.
In answer to your question im currently using a stick welder, and it will be seeing a lot of use over the weekend as I finally have everything I need to get some practice in, mainly free time.
The idea about the hammer test is really good and it will let me find out just how strong a weld is.
I will report back to you all on monday to let you know how the practice run has gone.
Thanks for all of the help

ken will
11-26-2010, 10:07 AM
I have never used a welder before and im a bit worried the strength of the welds as I don't want my bike to disintergrate when im doing 40mph.

I am not an experienced welder so a couple of my welds have failed.
The first was because I was in a hurry and had just tack welded some of the joints.
I hit a pot hole and one of the tack welds broke, so the joint bent, but the other 3 tacks at that joint held long enough to get home.
The second time I hit a big speed bump going fast downhill. The weld did not brake, but the tubing next to the weld ripped, but, again it wasn't a complete failure. The joint connecting the arms to the main tube on a StreetFox bent so my heels would hit the ground as I peddled, but I could still pedal. It should have been reenforced as I weigh about 250 lbs.

What I am getting at is: if the joint of a solid rod gives it is usually a complete failure, but with tubing it is usually only a partial break.
So don't be afraid,remember if you crash with an upright bike it is head first, but
in a recumbent you crash feet first,.

11-26-2010, 10:47 AM
Thanks for all the information Ken it is really useful. I only weigh 180 pounds so it should be alright with my weight. From what your saying and from other information I have read it looks like these bikes never truly fail, they just break slightly if you rush the construction process a bit.
This has really put my mind at rest and like I said in my previous post I will have a play around with some scrap metal over the weekend and test my welding abilitys out.

mark barker
11-27-2010, 09:28 AM
Hey Mark,
I have got some scrap and im going to have a good practice this weekend.
What bike are you planning on making?
I'm planning on a warrior, but with a few personal touches (including a hub motor). I'm not in a great rush to get things going, so no doubt you'll have yours finished before I'm half way through!

11-07-2012, 09:37 PM

I have a noob welding question. I'd like to use a metal circular saw table as a welding table. Of course the saw blade would be cranked below the work surface. Is there any reason this would not be safe, assuming the saw is unplugged? Is it possible to burn out the saw motor with stray voltage?

11-07-2012, 09:44 PM
You could damage the saw motor, but chances of that would be slim. I would be more concerned with the sparks damaging the cord insulation, and the welding spatter rendering the saw table unusable.

11-07-2012, 11:05 PM
+1 what Charlie said, I think you would wind up with slag all over your good table saw table. You know how important it is to have a smooth surface on your table saw.
Good luck.

11-08-2012, 12:05 AM
I will third the no-no to using the saw table for welding. A suggest however is build a welding table first- Use the same tubing as the bike frame and pick up a sheet of diamond plate screw it to your metal frame. Gives ou some pratice at welding joints before attaching your bike frame- this is only a suggestion.

11-08-2012, 01:01 AM
You could always go the route I did and pick up a piece of cutoff plate steel and put it on top of the tablesaw to protect the saw and table top but allowing you to use the table itself as a support.

I basically did that to allow me to use a rolling scaffolding I had as a welding table using a sheet of .187 plate at .60 cents a pound that was in my steel supplier's cutoff area.

11-08-2012, 09:03 AM
Thank you all, those comments were very helpful.

11-08-2012, 10:02 PM
I used a wooden bench with a layer of 1.2mm flat steel sheet on top with the rear edge folded up at 90' to give an edge to clamp stuff against using two wedges against a block at the front of the bench.
Very handy for getting angles square and making frames, even in wood.