# Video series on TIG welding thin wall aircraft tubing

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#### misterpeter

##### Well-Known Member
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And I wasn’t advocating needing a lathe at all (though admittedly a useful tool, whatever size). I was just mentioning another way of doing it. Using an angle grinder works just as well if you take care The main thing is getting there, not necessarily the ‘how’ - that is largely dictated by personal skill set and budget.

#### Geraldc

##### Well-Known Member
For notching tubes this is all you need .One I own takes standard hole cutting bits but I modified it for annular cutters.

#### TFF

##### Well-Known Member
The first time I saw an annular cutter I said that is what the tube cutter has been missing. I refused to try them with the wood hole saw blade.

#### BJC

##### Well-Known Member
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This subject gets discussed every couple of years.

If you like to play with machine tools, use the fancy cutters.

If you want to build an airplane, snips, files and sanding wheels are an excellent choice. I like an 8” grinding wheel, dressed to a round shape, on a motor without a wheel cover or rest. Hold the tube below the grinder shaft and free-hand the shape. Final dress, if necessary, with a round file. It takes about two tube ends to get the knack.

Using either of these methods will deliver a fit-up fuselage in much less time than using fancy cutters.

BJC

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#### Waltcloudt

##### Member
Video #6 Travel Speed

Thanks for the videos. At first I thought I can never learn to TIG weld. After I saw the weld that was screwed up but wouldn't break, that changed my mind to "I can make acceptable TIG welds!".

In #6 Travel Speed you said with gas welding position is not a problem, and with TIG position is always a problem. This probably a dumb question, but why not just do the tubing welding with gas?

#### Little Scrapper

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Thanks for the videos. At first I thought I can never learn to TIG weld. After I saw the weld that was screwed up but wouldn't break, that changed my mind to "I can make acceptable TIG welds!".

In #6 Travel Speed you said with gas welding position is not a problem, and with TIG position is always a problem. This probably a dumb question, but why not just do the tubing welding with gas?
You can, and should! There’s no wrong answer here. There’s advantages and disadvantages to different types of welding.

The important factor will always be the individual and his/her willingness to pick a method and practice, practice, practice.

I don’t give advice in any of my videos. I’m extremely careful and cognizant of that. I’m very clear that this is just me and how I do things based on many years of experience.

I think O/A welding is a great way to weld.

I can’t repeat this enough. I’ll repeat this again. Chose a method and practice. There’s a lot of power in that sentence.

#### Waltcloudt

##### Member
You can, and should! There’s no wrong answer here. There’s advantages and disadvantages to different types of welding.

The important factor will always be the individual and his/her willingness to pick a method and practice, practice, practice.

I don’t give advice in any of my videos. I’m extremely careful and cognizant of that. I’m very clear that this is just me and how I do things based on many years of experience.

I think O/A welding is a great way to weld.

I can’t repeat this enough. I’ll repeat this again. Chose a method and practice. There’s a lot of power in that sentence.
I want to pick and learn a method, but based on knowledge. Your videos gave me the knowledge on TIG. Can you help me out with knowledge on OA?
What are the pluses and minuses of OA?

FYI - I ordered the "4130 Chromemoly Airframe Construction" DVD.

#### Little Scrapper

##### Well-Known Member
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I want to pick and learn a method, but based on knowledge. Your videos gave me the knowledge on TIG. Can you help me out with knowledge on OA?
What are the pluses and minuses of OA?

FYI - I ordered the "4130 Chromemoly Airframe Construction" DVD.
It will always be your ability to control heat, period. No exception.

Seriously, that’s the name of the game on all welding, like my videos say repeatedly your job is to control heat regardless of what type of welding you do.

OA is a big flame vs a tiny little heat source from TIG. Makes sense right?

So as you’re welding with that flame the entire cluster and and tubing around it is getting hotter and hotter……..much more rapidly than TIG.

Ok, it’s not actually a problem, more of a situation that needs attention. Think of that way.

So what can we do about that? Couple things.

First thing is just simply practice. I mean, that’s a given. Practice with intention is a great teaching tool in itself.

You will see everyone jumping on the “right torch” bandwagon and telling you to get this or that. It’s mostly BS. What you really need are a great set of regulators. There’s a problem with regulators known as creep and it really makes things challenging. You can solve 90% of the creep issues just by simply having good quality regulators. This is far more important than a torch.

I have used various torches that are popular and have come to the conclusion I like the Meco Midget simply because I like the lightweight size and lightweight hoses. That is the only reason, flame is irrelevant. A light torch and light hoses makes welding more relaxing and easier to move etc. That means I can focus on process without fighting position. Remember in my TIG videos how I preached position?

Next I would say torch tips. I custom make mine by using drill bits and gently opening the holes up on undersized tips. But don’t do this until you have used various tips because then you’ll understand why I do this. I have found I weld .035” best with a in between size that I made and they aren’t offered.

Lastly is heat sink. Similar to regulators nobody really talks about this and that’s unfortunate because it is a great aid to slow the process down. This requires scrap metal rods, angles and even big ball bearings. Just be sure and mark them “mild steel” so you don’t mix with 4130 by accident. Anyhow, using tie wire you can wire a piece of metal near the weld and slow the heat zone down which makes it easier because it’s wicking the heat. You’ll never understand this by reading about it, you have to experience this through practice.

I would maybe add one more thing. I don’t use big clumsy heat shields and gloves. Keep them small and that keeps you nimble.

Practice is really key though. If you have a good quality set of regulators and a positive attitude man can you learn quickly. Remember that basketball star Kobe Bryant? I was reading about him recently. He practiced shooting hoops close to 600% more than most of his teammates. There’s no possible way his team could catch up to him with those numbers. Talent be dammed, practice is key!

So practice. Wake up at 4:00 if need be and weld before work. Weld on your lunch breaks. Weld after dinner, after everyone else is sleeping etc.

You’re 30 days away from being a awesome OA welder if you do this!

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#### TFF

##### Well-Known Member
O/A takes a little less full body coordination, otherwise it’s almost 100% the same work.

Controlling the heat with TIG is done with the foot pedal usually. Some torches have hand control. You change the heat with changing the amps. Foot is a throttle. O/A it is at your wrist. Move your hand away a little is less heat. Wrist trick.

TIG can be a little bit of a dance or playing a one note piano. Upper and lower body doing controlled things. You have to set it up where you can use your foot but not stand on it. O/A is just at the hands. You might have a better stance in awkward places you need to get.

They are really 95% the same until you are good at both. Then you can take advantage of the other 5%. The O/A can be used for other things like heating and with a cutting too.

#### Little Scrapper

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Coping tube joints was mentioned. Again.

People who struggle with this struggle with this simply because they can’t get off the computer. Fear I suppose. Because anyone who has even tried this once knows it’s very easy. There’s so many people who just avoid the shop.

There’s a group of guys that only use a hack saw and file. Intentionally. They have plenty of money, and are building things like reproduction WACOs, they just aren’t on forums, they are in shops and on places like Instagram where they just post and leave. There’s a lot of builders doing this.

Here is a logo of one group of bad ass biplane builders using old school methods for the only reason that it’s simply fun.

People are constantly overthinking this stuff.

The award winning airplanes you see in magazines are hand built by farmers, doctors, salesman, English teachers, handicap folks, and yes……plumbers. The one thing we all share in common? Shop time. We actually do it.

So the only real issue with cutting the ends of tube is the user and the avoidance of trying. I honestly think it’s probably the easiest part of building.

If I sound like a jerk that’s not my intention, it’s just a bit frustrating how many people constantly talk but don’t do it and those are the same ones who criticize others. This is why forums have become sorta taboo these days, people are sick of the constant criticism from the couch builders.

Ya gotta do it guys, just grab a tube and shape it. You’ll find it enjoyable and easy.

#### don january

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Wow. I hope we all keep in mind that a aircraft getting built is what this site is all about. I mean that's what HBA is all about right ? If you ain't building or flying an EXPERIMENTAL then what ??

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#### wsimpso1

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Moderator Mode ON

I just deleted a number of posts that stemmed from a personal attack. Personal attacks have no part here, and when Moderators find them, posts are deleted and warnings are given.

When you see personal attacks, please hit the report button on the post and tell us about it.

Responding to the personal attacks frequently gets personal too. Please do not do that. The Moderators will respond to personal attacks when they come to our attention. And we will delete responses that get into the personal too.

The OP of this thread has asked that we limit the discussion to welding tubes. Good enough for me. Keep it on topic here, or we will be deleting posts as well.

If you have issues with the technical content, address it with technical content. Debate is good. Name calling and asserting character flaws is bad.

Moderator Mode OFF

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Thank you!

#### wsimpso1

##### Super Moderator
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Thanks for answering my questions. I am anxious to get started welding, but  is a factor.
Sounds like thread drift to me. Please use the search engine to find long well covered threads on your topics... Here is one on your set of questions:

I am sure there are others. I am moving your post to this thread.

Billski

#### TFF

##### Well-Known Member
For Oshkosh, TIG has welding box manufacturers wanting to sell you a box at Oshkosh, where O/A is relatively old school common. Don’t underestimate the gadget sales. I had a couple of friends buy a nice box there. One can’t get the touch because he won’t listen, and the other ended up using O/A on his fuselage. I use their box lots compared to my 30 year old hand me down.

There is also the difference of fire. In A&P school, I was helping with O/A and the girl I was helping kept pointing the torch at herself finally catching her sweater on fire. No one hurt but if I wasn’t here or someone else, she wouldn’t have gotten that far without going to the hospital. People don’t understand it isn’t a candle.

#### Little Scrapper

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O/A is such a great process. I wish more people would choose it because they’ll be rewarded with a fine experience.

TFF