How to Weld Motorcycle Frames

Written by kelvin hayes
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How to Weld Motorcycle Frames
MIG welders join steel, while TIG welders join tin and aluminium. (welding image by glgec from Fotolia.com)

Welding on motorcycle frames is done with a MIG welder. With this type of welder, it's important to adjust the settings of the stickout -- the amount of welding wire that protrudes from the end of the welding gun -- and the speed of the weld based on the gauge of the steel. Find a gauge chart that indicates the best practices for different gauges of steel, clamp the tubes into place and begin joining the pieces.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • MIG welder
  • Clamps
  • Protective welding gear
  • Chop saw

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Clamp the two pieces of steel that you want to weld. If you're joining the frame pieces at an angle greater or less than 90 degrees, you'll need to cut the angle piece with a metal chop saw. With the tube cut to the proper angle, clamp it into position.

  2. 2

    Tack-weld the two pieces together at several points around the joint. A tack weld, also know as a spot weld, is a small noncontinuous weld that temporarily holds the pieces together until you can complete a full weld.

  3. 3

    Test the welder settings on scrap joint to ensure the stickout and weld duration are correct. If the weld bead is concave, increase the stickout. If the bead is too rounded, reduce the amount of stickout. The goal is to have a slightly rounded bead that meets each edge of the joint near 90 degrees. You control the weld duration, and you will know that you have a good weld when the bead is smooth, bubble-free and roughly 1/4 inch thick.

  4. 4

    Begin welding the joint, starting at one of the spot welds, and drag from that point until the joint is completely fused. As you create the weld, evaluate your bead to ensure that the quality of the weld is maintained. If the bead gets too skinny, starts to show air bubbles or bulge, adjust your speed and stickout and continue.

Tips and warnings

  • For bare motorcycle frames, a frame jig can be useful for keeping the frame straight. You can purchase a jig or make one from scrap metal or wood.

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