Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sharpening Tungsten Electrodes

I get quite a few emails from folks asking for tips on the best way to sharpen their tungsten electrodes for TIG welding.

Rest assured, it is not necessary to spend a thousand dollars on a portable tungsten sharpener (a fancy Dremel tool with diamond bit and angled channel) to get consistent results.

A few pointers to keep in mind...

Avoid using sanding belts or stones that are available for general shop use.  These mediums will accumulate debris from other operations and embed that into your tungsten, contaminating your electrode and subsequently your work piece.  Instead, dedicate a diamond grinding wheel specifically for use as an electrode sharpener and use it for nothing else.  If you are patient, you can find deals on these wheels, such as this...  Enco diamond wheel

When sharpening an electrode, the striations left behind affect the ease with which the electrical current will travel down to the work piece, so the more you can keep those striations traveling along the length of the electrode (parallel) the more low current and start control of the arc you will retain.  This is the primary reason it is ill advised to use the side of a grinding wheel with the electrode perpendicular to it's position, as it creates lateral rings that will inhibit the flow of the current.

I try to keep the length of my tips about 2.5 times the diameter of the electrode, forming to a nice sharp tip at the end.  I prefer the sharpened tip to a flat tip due to the tight seams and low profile beads we tend to use in the bicycle industry.

Always wipe down your electrode with a bit of alcohol or acetone before placing it back into the torch to keep your electrical interface as tidy as possible.

Here's a quick video I put up to illustrate the process I use...

cheers,

rody


Monday, October 27, 2014

A look at machine thread tapping...

While working away on Hot Rod parts, I thought I'd shoot a little vid showing the machine tapping part of the process.

Enjoy!

rody

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Welding in today's industry...thoughts and tid bits

I continue to get a lot of inquiries regarding welding technique, varying from the ubiquitous "what are your settings" to "I saw a guy once do...is this right?" Sometimes these discussions occur in forum areas where I try to take a mentor-ship role in developing the knowledge and skills of those just dipping their toes into the trade. Here is a snippet I pulled from one such post that gives some of my perspective on the differing techniques used by professionals today...

This is where I choose to have a differing perspective, and why fabrication has so many paths to the same end.

Multiple elements have an effect on the overall creation of the fused joint that can be controlled by the operator; amperage, filler size, filler feed rate, rate of travel, angle of torch, and cleanliness.

The constants, however, are few: composition of the material, wall thickness of the pieces to be joined, heat dissipation properties of the material.

Joining the two takes an approach that is fine tuned by each operator, however the goal is the same; a cleanly welded joint that is solid through the root, creates a gentle transition between the two pieces without removing base material from the parent metal, and a gentle feathering of the filler on the edges.

Ideally, when welding thin walled bicycle tubing, the arc should be placed into the joint so as to create a keyhole, or an equal melting away from the joint's edges, that is then closed with the filler. As you travel forward, melting the material in front of your cooling puddle, your torch angle, distance from the joint, and rate of travel need to maintain consistency insuring you have full penetration, creating a solid/strong joint.

The master welders became so by learning two attributes; visually watching the changing elements of the keyhole/puddle and physically adjusting to maintain ideal conditions. This means that controlling heat input through the pedal, torch angle and distance, feed rate and travel speed, all becoming individual adjustments that factor into a cohesive whole.

The introduction of "pulsed" welding was intended to reduce overall heat input to the material, reducing HAZ and maintaining molecular stability. However, it was quickly adapted to creating a set of machine adjusted parameters that each operator found to be ideal for specific tasks. This is not to take away from the need to control the aforementioned elements, but it greatly reduced the need for on the fly changes, making it more efficient for the pro operator who is tasked with similar jobs frequently.

I have always been of the school of thought that I analyze the material properties I plan to join, set the machine amperage at the maximum I feel will be necessary for changing conditions (moving from varying wall thicknesses) and then use the pedal and individual physical adjustments to best react to the situation. This places the pedal most often in the middle of the travel range allowing for extended comfort and control, as the heat input can be increased or tapered off easily.

To create settings on the machine that mandates the pedal be "floored" for the majority of the pass takes away the ability to react, leaving only elements that have less effect, such as filler rate, to aid control.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is wrong, incorrect, or not efficient. Only that it is an adoption of a new philosophy of welding, one that I feel is less controlled by the instincts of the operator.

As a beginner, you need to focus on learning to watch the physical reaction of the base metal and what it means. Examine how it changes with faster travel, more filler, varying torch angle, etc... Only after you achieve an understanding of how YOU affect the material can you then begin to examine settings on a machine that ease the process.

My two cents, for what it's worth.

Photo: I continue to get a lot of inquiries regarding welding technique, varying from the ubiquitous "what are your settings" to "I saw a guy once do...is this right?"  Sometimes these discussions occur in forum areas where I try to take a mentor-ship role in developing the knowledge and skills of those just dipping their toes into the trade.  Here is a snippet I pulled from one such post that gives some of my perspective on the differing techniques used by professionals today...

This is where I choose to have a differing perspective, and why fabrication has so many paths to the same end.

Multiple elements have an effect on the overall creation of the fused joint that can be controlled by the operator; amperage, filler size, filler feed rate, rate of travel, angle of torch, and cleanliness.

The constants, however, are few: composition of the material, wall thickness of the pieces to be joined, heat dissipation properties of the material.

Joining the two takes an approach that is fine tuned by each operator, however the goal is the same; a cleanly welded joint that is solid through the root, creates a gentle transition between the two pieces without removing base material from the parent metal, and a gentle feathering of the filler on the edges. 

Ideally, when welding thin walled bicycle tubing, the arc should be placed into the joint so as to create a keyhole, or an equal melting away from the joint's edges, that is then closed with the filler. As you travel forward, melting the material in front of your cooling puddle, your torch angle, distance from the joint, and rate of travel need to maintain consistency insuring you have full penetration, creating a solid/strong joint. 

The master welders became so by learning two attributes; visually watching the changing elements of the keyhole/puddle and physically adjusting to maintain ideal conditions. This means that controlling heat input through the pedal, torch angle and distance, feed rate and travel speed, all becoming individual adjustments that factor into a cohesive whole.

The introduction of "pulsed" welding was intended to reduce overall heat input to the material, reducing HAZ and maintaining molecular stability. However, it was quickly adapted to creating a set of machine adjusted parameters that each operator found to be ideal for specific tasks. This is not to take away from the need to control the aforementioned elements, but it greatly reduced the need for on the fly changes, making it more efficient for the pro operator who is tasked with similar jobs frequently.

I have always been of the school of thought that I analyze the material properties I plan to join, set the machine amperage at the maximum I feel will be necessary for changing conditions (moving from varying wall thicknesses) and then use the pedal and individual physical adjustments to best react to the situation. This places the pedal most often in the middle of the travel range allowing for extended comfort and control, as the heat input can be increased or tapered off easily.

To create settings on the machine that mandates the pedal be "floored" for the majority of the pass takes away the ability to react, leaving only elements that have less effect, such as filler rate, to aid control.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is wrong, incorrect, or not efficient. Only that it is an adoption of a new philosophy of welding, one that I feel is less controlled by the instincts of the operator.

As a beginner, you need to focus on learning to watch the physical reaction of the base metal and what it means. Examine how it changes with faster travel, more filler, varying torch angle, etc... Only after you achieve an understanding of how YOU affect the material can you then begin to examine settings on a machine that ease the process.

My two cents, for what it's worth.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

OIRL 2014 is a wrap...

OIRL Race #3 took place at Findley State Park, Thorne Trail, a tight, twisty, root filled trail that began to push the rider's technical ability.  Wrapping around a beautiful lake with fall colors just beginning to turn, it was a venue that begged the student athletes to push their limits.

A fast gravel start led into the woods and the single track. Guy Dagget dominated most of the race until a mechanical opened the door for Clayton, also of Hudson, to pass and take the race and series lead.  The JV battle continued between Noah (MCC) and Paul (Wooster) for the top placings in the JV Mens category, with MCC sweeping most of the awards at the podium.



OIRL Race #4 stepped the technical and physical requirements up another notch, taking the high schoolers to Vulture's Knob, a tough race course known for it's short steep climbs, flowing downhill runs, and playful technical features.  The home course for Wooster HS, they took advantage of it, with Gillian dominating the Varsity Womens field and Anastasia of MCC putting in a great performance on the most demanding trail she's raced at.  St. Ignatius had a good showing as well, with all team members performing well.  A big thank you to 331 Racing and Pro Gold for filling the prize table with goodies, and Clif products for feeding all the kids with nutritional items during the race...


The final course of the season, Camp Tuscazor, played host for OIRL #5.  The series stress's progression in fitness and technical ability and brought that to full realization for the athletes when they pre-rode this venue.  A short 1.8 mile course was laid out that was strewn with wet roots, rocks, and 500' of steep climbing per lap, giving the participants a 2500' gain in just 9 miles of racing.  As the countdown commenced at the start line, a barrage of sleet and wind began, cutting to the bone...so glad the climbing kept them warm.  Wooster High School had a commanding lead in the Varsity competition thanks to the pony tail trio...Sydney, Gillian, and Emily who had consistently dominated the female podium all season.  The real race was for second, as Hudson and Montgomery County Composite came into the final race tied in points.  A strong performance by Clayton, Guy and Ryan lifted Hudson above the efforts of the team from Dayton, securing second.

However, MCC's Noah Landis dominated the JV podium most of the season, cinching the state title for their team just 6 points ahead of Wooster.



Congrats to all the student athletes...here are the final results.

The final State rankings are as follows:

Varsity State Champions

1.) Wooster High School
2.) Hudson High School
3.) Montgomery County Composite (Dayton)

JV State Champions

1.) Montgomery County Composite (Dayton)
2.) Wooster High School
3.) Saint Ignatius High School

Final State Individual Champions

Varsity Female

1.) Gillian Wenger - Wooster High School
2.) Sydney Wenger - Wooster High School
3.) Emily Walter - Wooster High School

Varsity Male

1.) Clayton Travis - Hudson High School
2.) Guy Daggett - Hudson High School
3.) William Powers - Montgomery County Composite (Dayton)

JV Male

1.) Noah Landis - Montgomery County Composite (Dayton)
2.) Paul Lindenmann - Wooster High School
3.) Ben Carmel- Wooster High School

All athletes should be commended on their outstanding achievement.

The top three teams in Varsity and JV received trophies to be interned at their respective schools.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MATT DILYARD, PHOTOGRAPHER EXTRODINAIRE

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ohio Interscholastic High School League 2014

  1. Ohio Interscholastic Racing League, Races 1/2

    This past weekend marked the beginning of the second season of High SchoolRacing in Ohio, with the opening race at Camp Manatoc in Peninsula Ohio.

    28 student athletes participated in both Varsity and JV Men's and Women's categories, riding the 4.4 mile technical single track loop for multiple laps based on category.


    Everyone had a fantastic time and we look forward to the remaining 4 races in the series.

    If you are a high school athlete in Ohio and wish to participate, please check out the info at Ohio Interscholastic Racing League : 331 Racing

    Ohio Interscholastic Racing League-oirl-group.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-emmanatoc2014.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-oirl-mantoc-varsity.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-oirl-medals.jpg

    Race #2 of the OIRL series took place in wet conditions at Reagan Park in Medina Ohio, a tight twisty course built for challenging advanced riders at speed or beginner/intermediates to become immersed in the sport.

  2. The weather saw a few crashes that resulted in mechanical issues but all the kids finished riding or running across the finish line 

    Fantastic support from the local cycling community allowed us to insure the trail was safe and had abundant personnel on course to bolster the kids confidence.

    Ohio Interscholastic Racing League-reagan1.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-reagan3.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-reagan2.jpgOhio Interscholastic Racing League-regan4.jpg

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The END is in sight...

After almost two weeks straight of making bars, I'm down to just the final few...

I've been pushing hard to finish the balance of the bar orders for the year so I can focus solely on full builds and have finally reached the eventual burn out.

My compressor blowing it's thermal fuses was the stimulus I needed to take two partial days off and focus on something totally not bike related.

My grandfather had always painted, mostly farm/western scenes on slate that he had hand hewed for each piece.  I have always felt that I pulled some of my artistic talent from him, so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

This is my first attempt at brush and canvas,  inspired by art on a pinball machine that tells the tale of a werewolf that threatens a small town: Silver Bullet.

Groovy Cycleworks-scarletsmall.jpg

I really learned a LOT working through the process.  There are many things I would do differently the next time to improve the quality, but it was enjoyable to casually work away at it to take my mind off of life.

Now, with the compressor rigged to work for now, back to more of this...


cheers,

rody