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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to build a set of pipes soon. Debating between stainless steel and regular steel pipes. How difficult would it be to weld up a set of stainless pipes with a small MIG? What gas, wire size and type would be recommended? Is this a rediculous idea without a TIG? I know the welds won't look as nice, but I don't mind the clean up effort either if that's the only problem. Your opinions appreciated. Only have a MIG to work with, so I have to use what I got. I'm still leaning heavily to mild steel and chroming it later, but want to explore all avenues.

Thanks in advance! :D
 

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scootermcrad said:
How difficult would it be to weld up a set of stainless pipes with a small MIG? What gas, wire size and type would be recommended? Is this a rediculous idea without a TIG?
I'm not a great welder, but I have done a fair amount of decent work over the years. So, take that into consideration with this advice.

That said, I've welded up stainless a few times with my MIG and it looked and held up fine.

We have a TIG too, but I was curious about SS welding with the MIG.

Get some SS welding wire and a bottle of Tri-mix. I'm using .030 wire and a 135A machine. Does SS pipes and small stuff just fine.

I haven't tried it with C25, but am told Tri-mix is the way to go.

Jason
 

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I never welded stainless, but heard horror stories about the way it bends when it cools down. What's the trick for nice straight pipes? Short beads in opposite locations...?

And should you also let some gas flow inside the pipe to protect the 'inside' of the weld?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is good info!

Can I use an 85/15 mix? I know it's not as nice as the 75/25, but I have some 85/15 I would like to finish up before getting a refill. I don't think Airgas will credit what's in there if I switch up.

So .030 stainless wire then?

With all this being said, since it sounds possible and all... what about polishing them up to a mirror polish and how will the heat do to the polish job? Can they be polished nice?

No problem Tilly! Glad to help out! :)
 

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scootermcrad said:
Any tips on welding with stainless?

Anyone have input on rather or not stainless will look as nice as chromed steel pipes?
I did the pipes on this bike outta stainless J-bends...it polished up just fine.


I used TIG for mine.

Over time they go kinda golden instead of bluing. Haven't tried to repolish them because I like the look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You just sold me on using stainless! The yellow even kind of looks cool and I'm sure could be buffed out again. I was thinking of picking up some J-bends and welding some up.

What wall thickness are those Gumb?
GumbyChuck said:
I did the pipes on this bike outta stainless J-bends...it polished up just fine.


I used TIG for mine.

Over time they go kinda golden instead of bluing. Haven't tried to repolish them because I like the look.
 

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I think you may want to use .023 wire. The 75/25 should work ok for your app. I wouldn't weld one bead, but instead make a bunch of tacks around the tube, especially since you'll be grinding them down. I wouldn't worry about purging the pipe with gas either.

Are you going to use those inside sleeves where the joints are?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hmmm, I hadn't thought about any sleaves. I was thinking butt welding everything would be fine. Especially since some of the curves might get a little crazy. I'm going to support them in a couple places along the frame too, so I think things should be okay.

For those of you who have made there own pipes... any tips on getting things the way you want? Should I tack everything in place first and then pull them off and finish weld everything on the bench or should I try to do as much as possible right on the bike mounted up in there intended position?
StraightPipez said:
I think you may want to use .023 wire. The 75/25 should work ok for your app. I wouldn't weld one bead, but instead make a bunch of tacks around the tube, especially since you'll be grinding them down. I wouldn't worry about purging the pipe with gas either.

Are you going to use those inside sleeves where the joints are?
 

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Tack them in three or four spots per joint while on the bike. Then take it off and final weld. I would use the sleeves if you can, welding thin metal easily leads to burning holes. Having the sleeves helps with that.

As for thickness, I wouldn't use anything thinner than 16 gauge, although many people make exhausts with 18 gauge. I personally wouldn't.

Also, I agree with someone's earlier advice re: spot welding the pipes if you are using a mig, or at least doing multiple, short beads. I think you will burn through or get too much buildup if you try and run a continous weld.

scootermcrad said:
Hmmm, I hadn't thought about any sleaves. I was thinking butt welding everything would be fine. Especially since some of the curves might get a little crazy. I'm going to support them in a couple places along the frame too, so I think things should be okay.

For those of you who have made there own pipes... any tips on getting things the way you want? Should I tack everything in place first and then pull them off and finish weld everything on the bench or should I try to do as much as possible right on the bike mounted up in there intended position?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree with the spot thing! My welder doesn't have infinite adjustability like some of the better ones.

How long should the sleeves be? 1" or so? Anyone do this and take pics? I'll look for 16 gauge. Anyone have a good supplier? I was thinking Magnum Force Racing had some good prices.
Tha Nutz said:
Tack them in three or four spots per joint while on the bike. Then take it off and final weld. I would use the sleeves if you can, welding thin metal easily leads to burning holes. Having the sleeves helps with that.

As for thickness, I wouldn't use anything thinner than 16 gauge, although many people make exhausts with 18 gauge. I personally wouldn't.

Also, I agree with someone's earlier advice re: spot welding the pipes if you are using a mig, or at least doing multiple, short beads. I think you will burn through or get too much buildup if you try and run a continous weld.
 

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Hooker headers makes the sleeves. I used Stahl headers bending mistakes for the exhausts I've built.

scootermcrad said:
I agree with the spot thing! My welder doesn't have infinite adjustability like some of the better ones.

How long should the sleeves be? 1" or so? Anyone do this and take pics? I'll look for 16 gauge. Anyone have a good supplier? I was thinking Magnum Force Racing had some good prices.
 

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The sleeves can be made fro the same tube as the exhaust. Cut to length, grind out a section so the tube forms a very tight "c", squezze the "c" together and slip into one end of the tube, then slide the other section on. Once you slide the "c" in and release it it should expand to hold tight.
 

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if theres anyway you can tig em you should try it. remember after all that fileing and grinding both sides of that weld are gonna get pretty thin. those dynabraid things work real good for grinding down the welds. you dont need to purge them. oh yeah and when they bend those tight bends theres usually an oily residue inside the pipes makes sure there real clean inside(acetone)...it will make things way easier
 

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scootermcrad said:
Hmmm, I hadn't thought about any sleaves. I was thinking butt welding everything would be fine. Especially since some of the curves might get a little crazy. I'm going to support them in a couple places along the frame too, so I think things should be okay.

For those of you who have made there own pipes... any tips on getting things the way you want? Should I tack everything in place first and then pull them off and finish weld everything on the bench or should I try to do as much as possible right on the bike mounted up in there intended position?
If I'm doing stainless pipes I try to tack the whole thing together first, then pull it into three parts, weld up the part nearest the head first then refit and tack the second part to it, then weld that, and so on.
Sounds a bit of a long way to do it, but you have to remember that the metal will shrink, and if the final fit is under any kind of stress, it will crack. Doing it this way has always worked for me.
 
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