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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made some slick little z-bars awhile back and I took pain-staking care to make sure my jointing areas had no or as small a gaps as possible (flat to flat). After getting everything welded up I had great penatration on everything and no voids were visible. Friggin' things are strong as an ox!! HOWEVER... when I went in to clean up all my welds and get things ready for chrome I noticed I had some flaws. At the top points of the bars, where the area is the smallest, I was extra careful not to burn through and I was TOO careful because I didn't get good penetration just at those spots. SOOO... here's where the problem starts. When I went in to fix those particular spots I wasn't careful enough and burned a hole about 1/4" in diameter through one side of the tubing! DOHHH!!!! Rookie mistake!! The bars still feel really strong though...

My question for the board is... knowing the rest of my welds at each union is solid and well penetrated should I just fill in the weld and move on with life or am asking for a brittle joint and potential breakage? I don't really want to start over considering how long it took me to build them, but at the same time my life is worth more to me than a few extra hours of labor if I have to start over to avoid breakage. What cha' think folks??
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Right stick, and of course I agree and have no problem making that decision since it would really ruin my day if they were to fail in a hard turn or something :eek:. I like hamburger, but I don't want to be hamburger. In fact I will probly start over just because I'm a perfectionist to begin with, but at the same time, as I'm improving my welding skills I would like to know what can be salvaged and what is junk; what can be repaired and what cannot.

This being said, maybe I should restate the question: will a welding mistake, such as the one i've described above, become brittle from too much heat if it were to be filled? This isn't the first time I've done this (getting better though :))... until I'm the mack-daddy of MIG, I need to learn the way. :D

Bumpstick said:
"I don't really want to start over considering how long it took me to build them, but at the same time my life is worth more to me than a few extra hours of labor if I have to start over to avoid breakage."
Sounds like you already have the answer. Better safe than dead! -stick
 

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I really don't think you should worry about it. Just frind it clean, weld, and let it cool naturally. Is it regular mild steel? If it where an exotic metal or super thin tubing maybe I'd redo it. I'd be more worried about how you didn't have enough penetration in the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's regular mild steel (.09X or .120 wall). Pretty thick stuff. Since it comes to some pretty sharp miter cuts at the top and bottom joints, I started turning the heat down in those areas... thus losing a little penetration. As soon as I smoothed out the welds you could see the seem right away (bead was just sitting on top and not in the metal). The sides of each joint and in the "armpit" have killer penatration. Not pretty, but embedded none the less.
james said:
I really don't think you should worry about it. Just frind it clean, weld, and let it cool naturally. Is it regular mild steel? If it where an exotic metal or super thin tubing maybe I'd redo it. I'd be more worried about how you didn't have enough penetration in the beginning.
 

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Actually, you want to have a small gap. The filler rod is stronger than the steel you are welding, so optimally, you want a small gap where the two pieces and the filler rod mix together to make it one consistent piece.

That being said, I would just fill the gap and run them if I were you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I beveled all my edges for that reason. Worked great on the sides where I got good penetration... beveling by the points created a little larger gap. Especially after final fitting.

rockymtnpits. I'm using an older Century, low-amp welder. I really hate Century machines, but for some reason this one has been good for about the past ten years. Welded some gnarly stuff successfully. Just within the last couple months it's been welding like dog shit. Unpredicatable heat and wire speeds. I don't remember what it was set at when I went swiss cheesin', but it was somewhat high, I'm sure. I think I was running a 025 or .030 wire. Don't remember for sure. The speed was probably a little high too.

Tha Nutz said:
Actually, you want to have a small gap. The filler rod is stronger than the steel you are welding, so optimally, you want a small gap where the two pieces and the filler rod mix together to make it one consistent piece.

That being said, I would just fill the gap and run them if I were you.
 

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Just clean up the area in question, if you can go with a smaller diameter wire and turn the heat down some. Then just keep building up around the burn throught. Run a bead and let it cool and then repeat till you have filled in the void.
 

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If I start burning I usually turn down the wire speed before I turn down the heat. Alot of people run the wire real fast and it is actually poking through the molten puddle causing the blow outs more than the actual heat. Then they turn down the heat and have pretty welds sitting ontop of the metal. I'd use an angle grinder and grind a bevel into the areas you aren't sure about and reweld them. You can always reshape that sharp corner with the grinder afterwords.
 

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If you run your bars, lay off poppin wheelies ;)

About your welders inconsistancies, are you using an extention cord? I learned the hard way to use the right cord :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ya' know... I am running an extension cord. And now that you mention it I did get a little better performance plugged right into the wall. Good tip. That should have been an obvious one. I'll give that a shot.
Anthem said:
About your welders inconsistancies, are you using an extention cord? I learned the hard way to use the right cord :eek:
Thanks everyone for your input!! I REALLY appreciate it! I don't know anyone else who welds around here, so I have to learn everything the hard way. I want to get better though, so I'm not going to stop asking for tips :)

I'm going to try all these things and I'll do an update when the bars are done and ready for chrome.
 

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I felt like the biggest dumb ass when I figured out my problem. I had 2 extra long cords plugged in together to feed my welder. And I was about 5' away from the outlet. I would get better penetration the lower the setting. And I was ready to junk my welder until I read the trouble shooting guide.


How about posting some pics of your bars before you chrome them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Absolutely! :D
Anthem said:
I felt like the biggest dumb ass when I figured out my problem. I had 2 extra long cords plugged in together to feed my welder. And I was about 5' away from the outlet. I would get better penetration the lower the setting. And I was ready to junk my welder until I read the trouble shooting guide.

How about posting some pics of your bars before you chrome them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just a quick update...

Everything cleaned up awesome!!!!! I'm really glad I decided to patch the hole up and move on with life. Not only can you not tell where the hole was, but I also have been filing and sanding everything down by hand (just to be careful) and things that I thought were voids ending up being nothing. Everything is super solid and is smoothing out really nice. I haven't finished cleaning them up yet, but I will definitely post some pics when I'm done cleaning them up. They're lookin' fuckin' sweet!

Thanks everyone!
 

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If you really want to be sure, take a scrap of the same tubing, and replicate the same joint. Then put one end in a vice, stick a long bar in the other end and put some leverage on it and try to do some damage. If you bend it all up and the welds fine, great, if they come apart at the weld, I'd redo them. Believe me, even the pro's test their welds once in a while to be sure.
 
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