Everything TIG!

On steel I do a single pass. Steel doesn’t have the same tendency to bridge across the root of a joint that titanium does so a root pass is not necessary with steel. As with any joint, make sure you are using the correct type and amount of filler

Been welding with 3m Speedglass 9002v and I find it to be very dark. Light shade is 4 and dark 9-13. If Im very close I can manage, but most of the time I can not position myself close. my eyesight is very good. Welding with 70+ amps it is a lot better, but a bicycle needs less.

I have no experience, so if anyone has experience I would love to hear if this mask is just bad for what I’m using it for, or I’m the one to blame.

Thinking of buying a lighter gold shade cheap mask if I want to build more frames.

Thank you, for your answer. I am using ER312 stainless filler rod, maybe 309 will be better, I am not sure.

I use ER312 for all of my steel bikes, it does well when joining dissimilar metals.


Just noticing on my tig welds, what makes all the difference for me is my position, I have to be comfortable, have good view of the piece and it helps to try the movements before starting.
The welds where I am in a comfortable positions are passable, the ones that are done while stretching or “blind” are horrendous. And this is why then trying on a thin piece of sheetmetal all is great and I can do very decent welds and once I move to a tube miter (especially interior angles) it all goes to shit.

Just putting it out there


I was always told to make sure you are comfortable where you intend finish the weld.


But how to get comfortable when it is impossible. For me usually when my head is too faar from the weld. Should I buy some magnifying glasses?

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YES! As I’ve gotten older, my vision is not what it used to be. I now weld with readers and a magnifying lens in the hood. If you can’t see well, you can’t weld well. And don’t forget to keep all those lenses clean.


I got a magnifier lens for my cheap Miller Classic helmet, but I just realized I don’t know which way it goes. One side is flat, other side curved. Do I put the cuved side toward my face or away? Miller doesn’t say. “Try it and see” (no pun intended) isn’t helping, but still I feel like it must make a difference, no?

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Honestly, I never considered that! I just put it in and started welding. I just checked my helmet, but one of my crew was using it and took the magnifier out, so I guess I’ll put it back in randomly next time I weld.

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Last night I had an epiphany while looking at my -bad- welds and trying to figure out how to improve them.
Went thru my notes and my books and realized that it should not take me more than 1A per 0.001in of material (more or less) but looking at what “worked” in my machine I had it setup for more than double that.

Well, I didn’t took the rod into consideration! Meaning I was welding 0.035in tubing with a 1/16in rod and because of that I had to bump the amperage all the way up to 75A with consequent hole-fest in my thin tubing on every hesitation…

Went to Airgas, got myself some 0.035 rod and start testing on 0.030 sheet metal at 30A, was able to weld it much better without making any hole, bump it to 35A just to have some extra juice and all is good in the world (will probably do a 40A test as well), welds looks much better and I feel much safer.

What size rod do you guys use? Do you switch rod depending on the material size? I imagine that with a pulsating machine you could use a thicker rod and still be able to not put too much heat in the piece, am I correct?


I use 0.045" for most bike-related stuff. 0.035" works if I feed more in but I’m more comfortable with the thicker stuff. Part of it is just my feeding-hand technique. Thicker is easier for me.

I definitely adjust for material thickness but within the bike world I keep it at .045". There are a few instances where I’ve had to use 0.045" for welding 0.125" plate but that’s just because I was a dummy and ran out of the appropriate rod.

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A question about pulsing and the use of the pulse function. When would it be recommended to start using that? After being able to lay down decent-quality beads constantly with good enough heat control? Sooner than that, or possibly later than that?

Also, what settings would be recommended when using the pulse function? Apparently, a high degree of individual variability applies here, but some starting points would be appreciated.

On a somewhat related note, Mike Laird has a quite unique “grill-style” jig setup. Basically, the jig rotates around an axis which enables him to access all the joints of the frame and have it fully welded in the jig. In theory, a setup like that can offer some benefits in keeping the frame aligned (assuming the fitups are tight etc.).


I’m by no means an expert, but general advice is once you can lay good beads try either “rule of 33’s” = 33pps, 33% bkgnd, 33% on time. which is most like straight current, but can lower the heat input. -or- about 1.0-2.0 pps (as you feel comfortable), 5% bkgnd, 85% on. Make adjustments, note changes on the practice piece so you can see what worked or changed.

Also watch a lot of Welding Tips and Tricks on Youtube, among others.


Pulse is a tool. You don’t need to be able to lay perfect beads on thin wall steel tubing before you start using pulse. You do need to understand the fundamentals of what makes a good and structurally sound weld. Once you have that pulse should be used to improve weld quality, consistency, and or speed up the welding process.

Every welder and environment are different. We need to stop making blanket pulse recommendations based on what others use. Know what the pulse settings do, make changes to your settings with a goal or purpose.


Without blanket statements, the beginner has no idea what to do. 1000 Amps for 0.035" tubing? Why not? I must do my own research and re-invent the wheel!

“approximately 1 amp per thousandth” is a blanket statement. It’s a great starting point. Does it work in all situations? Of course not, but it’s a place for a beginner to begin until they have experience and understanding of the book knowledge/theory and their machine and environment.

Then, when they have thousands of hours of hood time, have build thousands of frames, blanket statements have less meaning. I was just trying to answer the question from one beginner to another.

I would have expected the more experienced here to impart knowledge and wisdom, not snark and elitism. Doesn’t make a person feel like this is a welcoming place.

No hard feelings. The conversation has been fully appropriate and on point – and let’s keep it that way.

Welding Tips & Tricks is a very familiar resource. Thanks for bringing that up as a reminder. I’ll spend a good amount of time with basic settings that I’ve found to work so far. Eventually, I will dabble with the pulse function, and see where it takes make.

This is where having a basic understanding of welding, your welder, and what makes a reliable and structurally “good” weld is so important.

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If one would try to define a structurally sound weld, would the following characteristics be a good string point?

  • Proper choice of materials (type & thickness) for the intended application.
  • Use of correct filler material.
  • Weld is fully penetrated.
  • The weld is shielded from the atmosphere adequately (special considerations apply for stainless steel and titanium).
  • The right amount of filler material is used with equal spacing.
  • All of the points are achieved with the least amount of heat input possible.

Or am I missing something?

There is a lot of information in the linked PDF but it is all valuable. It is important to know why you do the things you do, that will allow you to make meaningful changes with less guess work.

As the welder of an item that could potentially hurt someone it is your responsibility to take every possible step to mitigate chances of failure. In manufacturing nothing is 100% so all we as fabricators can do is limit the chances of a failure.

The things you listed are important, some I would classify as basic welding knowledge, (not that you need to know the correct filler for every material, but you should know how to find out what is correct), others are more skill and technique based. Welding is a skill that improves with practice, I personally take very opportunity I get to weld non-bike projects, it keeps my skills sharp and helps push me to continually improve. My settings are never constant, day to day I make adjustments based on improvements I find, how I am feeling on that specific day at the time that I am welding, and what material and part of the bike I am welding.

CK_Worldwide_-_Technical_Specifications_Guide.pdf (weldingrevolution.com)