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Thread: Brazing with TIG torch

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    Default Brazing with TIG torch

    I have used my Tig-set with a brons filler material to braze steel furniture and some interior window frames and doors for clients. I liked the idea of brazing, since I have done this a lot in the past (some 50 frames) and clients liked the color of the joints.

    Has anybody tried to Tig braze bicycle tubing?

    At this moment I don't have a shop. I would have tried it if I could.

    Post edit:
    just found an article on the subject:
    https://www.weldability-sif.com/medi...2035-45%20amps.

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    This is on my list to dig into. I'd love to start doing the parts I normally braze (bosses/guides/bridges) with a tig torch instead of oxy/fuel torch.
    Steven Shand
    www.willowbike.com
    Handbuilt Bicycles - Scotland, UK

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Bill Fernance
    Bicycle Shop Owner
    Part Time Framebuilder
    Bicycle Tragic

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    I'll try and find the video I've seen previously where the process is much more like silver brazing than that video lined above. Rather than treating the rod similar to a tig weld rod, the emphasis is more in getting the joint up to temp with a less focussed arc and getting the filler to flow into the joint rather than 'sitting' on it.
    Steven Shand
    www.willowbike.com
    Handbuilt Bicycles - Scotland, UK

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    I played with it back in my welding days and I think the issue is that it's not quite strong enough to hold bicycle tubes together. Furniture, yes; structures that your life depends on, possibly not.

    But i may be wrong on this.
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Quote Originally Posted by hampco View Post
    I played with it back in my welding days and I think the issue is that it's not quite strong enough to hold bicycle tubes together. Furniture, yes; structures that your life depends on, possibly not.

    But i may be wrong on this.
    You're probably right. I'm not sure I'd look to be fully brazing frames together but if I could silver bottle bosses etc then I'm all over it. I suspect that the heat source is too tight and focused but I'm going to have a play around and look at the results.
    Steven Shand
    www.willowbike.com
    Handbuilt Bicycles - Scotland, UK

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    I tried TIG brazing bronze one time many years ago. I used to paint John Cherry frames. We went together to the 1st ti class UBI offered 30 years ago. He lived not far away from me in Indiana. He gave me some kind of bronze rod to try. John was into BMX bikes when he was a kid and tried to make a TIG brazed BMX frame. Anyway I loved the way the TIG torch could lay a bead of "brass". Smooth and even with the kind of results that didn't require any filing afterwards (even though there wasn't a very large bead). The problem was when I tested a joint for strength. I could break the joint easily. The joint would give away long before the tubes (.035" or .9 mm thick) would start to bend.

    I don't know what kind of rod I used. It was something John gave me that he said was designed for TIG brazing. I've always been hopeful there was some kind of rod that had greater strength when TIG brazed.

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Hey Doug,

    Good to read your reply. We met a long time ago in the Netherlands. (It's me, Caspar Drenth) We visited a bike parts wholesaler somewhere. Can't remember. You gave me a lot of good advice.

    I have been asking around in my network. I got some good advice. I plan to make test pieces. As far as I have gathered it is very well possible.

    Will keep this tread posted.

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Quote Originally Posted by le Cadre custom bicycles View Post
    Hey Doug,

    Good to read your reply. We met a long time ago in the Netherlands. (It's me, Caspar Drenth) We visited a bike parts wholesaler somewhere. Can't remember. You gave me a lot of good advice.

    I have been asking around in my network. I got some good advice. I plan to make test pieces. As far as I have gathered it is very well possible.

    Will keep this tread posted.
    Yes I was tiding up my desk the other day and came across your business card and wondered how you were doing and if you were able to continue making frames. We met about 20 years ago at a town that had some kind of manor house or castle that kept peacocks on the grounds. Our project to continue our charity bicycle project in Ukraine has been interrupted thanks to the Russians. Our shop was located on a college campus in the town of Bucha that was in the news back when the invasion started. Lots of terrible things happened there. The Russians did break into our bike/frame shop and stole all of our general tools but thankfully not bicycle specific equipment. What a mess.

    I'd be interested if you can find a stronger filler than the bronze I tried years ago. I really loved the result and was disappointed whatever filler I used wasn't strong enough to be fail safe.

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    TIG brazing has been a subject of discussion a few times over the years in the framebuilding world. The first time I saw the technique demonstrated was in a Jody Collier Welding Tips and Tricks video, maybe 10 years or so ago? From what I recall from those discussions, TIG brazing is much more suited to statically loaded structures. Not so good for dynamically loaded ones, like bike frames.

    The issue is that it is difficult to get the weld puddle hot enough to get good adhesion through the toes of the weld, but not so hot that the base metal melts. The latter scenario results in bronze inclusions in the steel, which leads to stress risers. Not such a big deal in a sculpture, or a piece of furniture, but a real problem in a bike frame.

    There was a US builder some years ago who used TIG brazing to attach tabs for disc brake calipers and ended up having to deal with customers who ultimately had fork failures.

    Anyway, it's been quite some time since I read those discussions but from what I remember my take away was always that it is a risky technique to use for bicycle construction.


    Alistair
    Alistair Spence
    Seattle, WA,
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncancycles/

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    I suspect TIG brazing could be strong enough if you made the fillets large enough. Quite a bit larger than welding with steel filler, like 3-4 times larger?

    The jargon on this isn't fully settled or agreed on but you might be better calling this "bronze welding" since, at least by some people's definition, brazing requires penetration of the braze filler via capillary action between tightly spaced parts. British framebuilders always used bronze welding for what we in the States mostly called fillet brazing. Others reserve the use of "weld" to mean when the filler has the same melting point as the parent metal. Neither definition is wrong BTW, just coming from different spheres of jargon.

    But even British style bronze welding with a gas torch does get some capillary penetration, and even (usually) a small inside fillet. Hard to tell without sawing one up, but I bet normal TIG-brazing gets almost none of that. Maybe more heat will get you more penetration but unless you purge the inside of the frame with argon, oxides will form on the hot steel inside almost immediately and prevent the filler from wetting out there.

    Even with gas fillet-brazing, to be stronger than the tube, the fillet needs to be substantially larger than a steel TIG bead. Any joint that comes apart is a bad bad thing, even if it took a crash to do it — the tubing should always fail first, or ipso facto the joint was defective. If you don't know for sure that your joints are stonger than your tubes, that is gross negligence.
    Mark Bulgier
    Seattle

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Yes I was tiding up my desk the other day and came across your business card and wondered how you were doing and if you were able to continue making frames. We met about 20 years ago at a town that had some kind of manor house or castle that kept peacocks on the grounds. Our project to continue our charity bicycle project in Ukraine has been interrupted thanks to the Russians. Our shop was located on a college campus in the town of Bucha that was in the news back when the invasion started. Lots of terrible things happened there. The Russians did break into our bike/frame shop and stole all of our general tools but thankfully not bicycle specific equipment. What a mess
    I hope the people didn't get hurt and this war ends sooner than later. If the project gets started again please let me know if you need a hand.

    I stopped making frames after 10 years of trying to get a market. Back then I was kind of ahead of the wave. By the time the market was created I was burned out on building. So I spend the last 10 years on my career (QC Engineer for a Notified Body and now as an independent contractor). By now I want to build something again, for myself.

    unless you purge the inside of the frame
    I spoke to an older Engineer from the UK once that had been building copper heath exchangers for submarines in the 80's. He told me they back purged to have better penetration of the capilary. I always wondered if framebuilders would also try this. I have recently bought an argon regulator with two flow tubes to try this on lugs. Still need to modify my jig first.

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Quote Originally Posted by le Cadre custom bicycles View Post
    I hope the people didn't get hurt and this war ends sooner than later. If the project gets started again please let me know if you need a hand.

    I stopped making frames after 10 years of trying to get a market. Back then I was kind of ahead of the wave. By the time the market was created I was burned out on building. So I spend the last 10 years on my career (QC Engineer for a Notified Body and now as an independent contractor). By now I want to build something again, for myself.



    I spoke to an older Engineer from the UK once that had been building copper heath exchangers for submarines in the 80's. He told me they back purged to have better penetration of the capilary. I always wondered if framebuilders would also try this. I have recently bought an argon regulator with two flow tubes to try this on lugs. Still need to modify my jig first.
    Don't over think it, it is a bicycle. Just because you can melt bronze with a TIG, doesn't mean you should.
    Bill Fernance
    Bicycle Shop Owner
    Part Time Framebuilder
    Bicycle Tragic

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Here is a PDF that mentions TIG brazing lugged bicycle frames, using a certain British TIG brazing alloy the company sells.

    https://www.weldability-sif.com/medi...ig_brazing.pdf

    The British company describes the brazing alloy as, "aluminum bronze."

    It looks like it might be commonly used to TIG braze cast iron, seeing this web page.

    https://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com...derskills.html

    That was using AC TIG, which is interesting.
    Steve Anderson

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    It looks like aluminum bronze is called, "ERCuAl-A2" in America and often shortened to, "A2."

    The tensile strength looks to be 79 kpsi with a yield strength of 35 kpsi.

    https://www.weldwire.net/weld_products/wwcual-a2/

    Miller also mentions using either DC TIG or AC TIG for TIG brazing.

    https://www.millerwelds.com/resource...silicon-bronze

    Aluminum bronze A1 is iron-free and not recommended for joining, but only for overlays.

    https://www.weldwire.net/weld_products/wwcual-a1/

    Silicon bronze has a tensile strength of 50 kpsi.

    https://www.weldwire.net/weld_products/wwcusi-a/

    The iron alloyed A2 is similar to the mentioned British alloy.

    Its brazing temperature looks pretty high.

    https://hybirdresources.com/product/...e-welding-wire

    International name looks to be, "Cu6180" or, "CuAl10."

    https://www.xiangind.com/aluminum_bronze_ercual-a2

    AC TIG is supposed to add some cleaning over DC TIG.
    Steve Anderson

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    If it made life easier, was cheaper, less toil or was strong enough then people would have been all over it long ago - but it's not.

    - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    If it made life easier, was cheaper, less toil or was strong enough then people would have been all over it long ago - but it's not.

    - Garro.
    I think you're probably right Steve. The only thing I would say is that the availability of cheap, reliable, accurate inverter tig machines is something that we haven't had for long.

    Steven
    Steven Shand
    www.willowbike.com
    Handbuilt Bicycles - Scotland, UK

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Quote Originally Posted by shand View Post
    I think you're probably right Steve. The only thing I would say is that the availability of cheap, reliable, accurate inverter tig machines is something that we haven't had for long.

    Steven
    Yeah, but there are A-O setups everywhere that do a FINE job of joinery - what's he draw?
    Just a little faster cleanup ?

    - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    just use a solid state induction coil for braze ons cheap enough clean as it possibley can get and repeatable to the degree in C

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    Default Re: Brazing with TIG torch

    Quote Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
    ipso facto
    Mark, gettin' all fancy with his Latin American...
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

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