To braze or weld

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john HD
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To braze or weld

#1

Post by john HD » Wed Dec 03, 2003 12:54 pm

hey folks.

need to reattach my tool box mount on my '55 fl.
should i braze it or weld it?
your thoughts?

john



Cotten
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Re: To braze or weld

#2

Post by Cotten » Wed Dec 03, 2003 1:42 pm

Gotta define terms here: "Brazing" doesn't always mean using brass. You can braze-weld with steel rod and a torch, and achieve a very original-looking bead.

Avoid brass. (Your '55 had a completely welded frame, as speltered big twin HDs died out in '48.) Any overheating, even on the edges, contributes to a brittleness due to admixture, where the brass actually melts into the steel and ruins it.
A TIG would be the best way to go, as the reduced heat would do the least to your frames' temper and internal stresses. But often the bead looks too pretty!

kell
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Re: To braze or weld

#3

Post by kell » Wed Dec 03, 2003 7:55 pm

Where does the toolbox go? I have an aftermarket frame and always looking for places to stash stuff; it would come in very handy for me to put a toolbox mounting on mine (a rigid, configured like stock 1952 FL).

panfreak
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Re: To braze or weld

#4

Post by panfreak » Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:28 pm

Coincidentally, I was at a friends house last night, he is restoring a 40 something flathead, and just got his frame back from a local shop which he had do some repairs. It had been loaded with brass. I mean it was everywhere! It was like they had used it as filler, and he was in the middle of grinding some big puddles when I arrived. I have done a fair amount of frame work, and have always steered clear of brass. I was told a long time ago pretty much what Cotton said, and also that once you've used brass, you are committed to using it again, because the property of the steel has been changed and it will no longer accept conventional weld. Maybe it'll be OK, I hope everything works out, I didn't have the heart to tell him about this forum.
Kell- your shop manual will show you where it goes. There are frame specs near the beginning, pictured clearly is the location. If you don't have a manual, get one, they are an invaluable resource of all kinds of info.

Cotten
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Re: To braze or weld

#5

Post by Cotten » Fri Dec 05, 2003 1:57 am

Panfreak!
Yes, that earlier frame was indeed speltered together. That means that it was sweated together in an oven with a filler that resembles a cross between silversolder and bronze.

45" flatties in particular were then retempered to where the entire frame was a springmember. Those of you who have seen WWII films of the Liberators being jumped will respect this technology as a lost art.
And yes, sweated frames must be treated differently of course. But the first totally electrically welded frame for an HD was the '49 Pan, so most of us should not "sweat the sweat."

Kurt
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Re: To braze or weld

#6

Post by Kurt » Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:50 am

Hey Cotten...I wouldn't say a lost art....maybe one that was put in storage for a while, or just got to costly to do, but this is the way our new 45 Solo frames are being built. American Dealer Magazine and I are putting together a article that will have pictures of the forgings, (the lightest being 2000 kg) and how the process is completed. I'll have a page on my site next year that will show the whole process from the forgings to the end result and everything in between.
The new frames should be available in March 2004.
WR cams are available now with ball bearing shafts installed. Ball bearing shafts available seperately also.

Kurt

http://www.45partsdepot.com

john HD
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Re: To braze or weld

#7

Post by john HD » Fri Dec 05, 2003 8:35 am

''Gotta define terms here: "Brazing" doesn't always mean using brass. You can braze-weld with steel rod and a torch, and achieve a very original-looking bead.''

Avoid brass. (Your '55 had a completely welded frame, as speltered big twin HDs died out in '48.) Any overheating, even on the edges, contributes to a brittleness due to admixture, where the brass actually melts into the steel and ruins it.
A TIG would be the best way to go, as the reduced heat would do the least to your frames' temper and internal stresses. But often the bead looks too pretty!
i can do either tig or oxy weld, was the frame originally gas welded or arc welded?

john

Cotten
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Re: To braze or weld

#8

Post by Cotten » Fri Dec 05, 2003 1:36 pm

Kurt!

That's quite an endeavor!
Can you tell us more about the "speltering" compound that will be used? Will it be the same as originals, or has time provided something better?

PS: I shall soon require more of your fine carburetor hardware!

And JohnHD,

Palmer's book implies that it was electrically welded.
Since you never see flux inclusions, I suspect it was done with one of those carbon arc contraptions.

Kurt
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Re: To braze or weld

#9

Post by Kurt » Fri Dec 05, 2003 2:43 pm

No problem on the carb parts, everythings in stock. We are also adding a larger selection of bowls to fit all of the different years. They'll be on the site after the first of the year.
As for the bronze insert, I don't have the exact specifications on the material used, but I will for the article. This was the one part that took several months of research to figure out. Everything had to be correct and the melting point had to be part of the oven tempering process. Too soft, no weld.....too hard, no weld... It's a very long tedious process to assemble one of these frames and put in an oven, this is another reason for the prolonged arrivial date. Reproducing the small individual parts we have is one thing, but the frame has over 30 individual parts which includes tubes, forgings, tabs and almost 20 inserts which are needed to make the whole thing stick together. Each frame tube has its own forging to make sure they are all the same size and shape. I almost forgot.......you need to add all of the machine work to get everything to fit......you're right Cotten, this has been quite an endeavor, but worth it if I can help put this time in history back on the road again.
I love my job some days!

Kurt

panfreak
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Re: To braze or weld

#10

Post by panfreak » Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:21 pm

Cotten,
I lack experience with pre-panhead frames, and should have payed more attention to your statement that speltering died out in '48. I guess I answered my own question, and it is now clear why they did it that way. Although I may sometimes come across as a bit of an idiot, I've found that you don't learn anything by keeping your mouth shut, I've gained valuable knowledge by asking alot of questions (sometimes dumb ones) from people like yourself. A long time ago an old timer friend who knows alot about bikes, said that he would never get mad at me for asking questions, but look out if I went along and wrecked something by forging ahead THINKING that I knew.
That was good advice.

old59

Re: To braze or weld

#11

Post by old59 » Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:24 pm

I've worked with steel most of my life. All the different types of attaching metal to one another have there pro's and cons. As stated above, once you braze, you are stuck with it. At least in that particular area. To correct Cotton, using steel rod is not a form of brazing. It is Oxy-acetylene welding. Brass brazing adheres one piece to the other, while with ocy- acetylene welding, you are actually melting the 2 metals together with the aid of a filler metal. Both are very strong. The problem you run into with "oxy" welding, is that you are trying to weld a thicker piece to a thinner piece. It is easy to blow through or warp the thinner tube of the frame. Unless you are proficient at it I wouldn't recommend it. My advice to you, and what I would do, is to clean the frame and mount well, then wire weld it. Do not quench the parts in water when done. Let it cool slowly and you won't have any hardening problems.

john HD
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Re: To braze or weld

#12

Post by john HD » Sat Dec 06, 2003 12:36 am

wire welding is also at my disposal.
what does everyone think about that?

john ;D

Cotten
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Re: To braze or weld

#13

Post by Cotten » Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:29 am

PanFreak!
We all are constantly learning. This new internet than has taught me more in the last frew years than the first quarter century.

And Old59!
Terminology changes over the years, don't it. I guess my old text books are novelties now? Thankfully, metal is still metal.

woodie

Re: To braze or weld

#14

Post by woodie » Sun May 02, 2004 6:22 am

I tried to chop a Triumph frame once a long time ago by welding and learned by experiance when the whole thing collapsed when we were rolling it of the trailer. Also a one legged man tlod me he had once tried the same thing and ended up with the one leg. Be very careful and super cautious.

mbskeam
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Re: To braze or weld

#15

Post by mbskeam » Mon May 03, 2004 6:28 am

hello, I would wire feed it myself. When I un chopperized my bike I cut off the neck forging, cut out the old tubes. put in a new top frame tubes, went a bit thicker walled.Then Tig welded the root welds then went over them with the wire feed. for the missing tabs and mounts I wire feed them on. that was in 1993 and frame has had no problems. If un sure about your welding skills, look around in your area for a shop that works on old bikes and get referrals to a weld shop. The work you want should only take a few minutes to do if its prepped and ready
Mbskeam

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