header tig'in work station
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  1. #1
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    header tig'in work station

    ok we all know how much of a pita it is to weld around small tubing, and when the small tubing is also in the form of a bunch of snakey bends like header tubes, it gets even more challenging. the problem becomes getting into a comfortable position, with both hands perfectly stable, yet both unrestricted to be able to move around the pipe freely changing angle of your hands as you go, all while having a good view of the weld.... then being able to rotate the pipe & still have every weld accessible at any given point of any seem.....

    trying to do this just in a vice or on a bench was not working out well for me at all, couldn't get good stable correct position at all & was getting very sloppy welds

    I started working with the articulating arm shown here a while ago in my practice sessions & it has went through a few different mounting ideas before I came up with this. this started out as a monitor holding arm & what makes it good for my use is how adjustable & articulating it is. I made a vice grip receiver for grabbing the end of my pipe & integrated the purge to it, so once the pipe is clamped into the jig it is automatically fed argon purge. I also ran a battery cable to the head of the arm so the arm itself doesn't have to pass current through the joints. the 2 are joined as one cable that's pretty kink proof throughout all of it's range of motion. I replaced some of the smaller allen head adjusting bolts with larger bolts with a head that I can easily adjust if necessarily.

    the arm/clamp/feed assembly by itself was great & can give me any part of the pipe facing up, allowing me to do all my welds in the 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock position, but the problem was yes I can def get the position I needed it in, but at times it will be either higher or lower than I'd ideally need it to be, trying to use it clamped to my workbench it would get me to the point that I was standing on a stool & reaching to make a weld, so in the end I realized that what I needed was this arm, combined with a way to adjust overall height relative to my own position....


    I've then mounted it lower & was using this craftsman adjustable stool & it helped a bit because it can be adjusted up & down, but it wasn't quite enough adjustment to be ideal. I needed a bit more adjustment

    after thinking a bit I went and picked up another craftsman stool & built it as an adjustable fixturing table for the arm... then the last thing I added for the most stability was the bridge between the stool & the fixturing table, making the whole thing into one solid stable welding station ...

    I went with wood for the bridge because I wasn't thrilled with the thought of my stool being grounded to the work end result is a work station you get up on & kinda straddle, lean against the seat back with my belly or just use it as an arm rest & be able to adjust a perfect position for every weld necessary to build my header tubes...

    pictures in the next post
    miller 330a bp TIG
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  2. #2
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    I cut the wood outside so got some clear shots of this outside of the garage

    note the position of the arm rest/ seat back relative to the weld joint throughout the rotations


    hear both the seat & the table are in the low position







    here the seat is raised because the weld seam rotated to a high point




    and here the same seam is at a low point, seat all the way down, table all the way up, but the arm rest is still level with the weld seam






    a few more...










    Last edited by turbocad6; 10-17-2011 at 02:25 AM.
    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

  3. #3
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    and a few more...





    here you can see the paddles under the seat and the table that you pull up on to adjust the hydraulic piston for height





    I used a spring as a counter weight force on the table to make it easier to adjust up & down, the seat uses body weight to compress the piston
    Last edited by turbocad6; 10-17-2011 at 01:51 AM.
    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

  4. #4
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    and some in use shots....




















    my pedal set up, I always liked my pedal raised, it was like this even before, but works fine while up the stool


    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

  5. #5
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    and, the results...

    keep in mind that I'm anl amateur at this & still just learning. got my tig welder a little over a year ago & been practicing when I can...
    this picture is the 4th header tube I've done, ever. it's also the first to be done on this completed work station set up.
    I think the results show that even an amateur, with the help of a really stable setup, can get pretty decent welds...
    maybe a pro can do this no matter where the pipe is laying, but I think this fixture is a huge help for me
    hope this may help give some ideas to anyone out there struggling to try & get a handle on welding up headers...

    with these welds control is key, & a comfortable and stable weling position is a big help to overall control









    Last edited by turbocad6; 10-17-2011 at 02:17 AM.
    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

  6. #6
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    use to be Lake Elsinore, Ca now Clarksville Tn
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Nice set up, bogen makes tripods, light stands, and other photo equipment and make a flex arm for holding gear. I currently have it set up to hold my tig torch, byt your set up gives me more ideas. and is that a CK cup and lens set up?

    Ron

  7. #7
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    yeah, CK 1" Pyrex gas lens. needs more flow because of it's size, but gives really good coverage I think, plus it's nice that you can go a little further when the cup starts to block the weld because you can see through it of course ...

    most of what I used for this was used because it was easily sourced by me just searching around locally for things to use when I didn't even know what I was really looking for... gonna check out some of bogens stuff but I looked into a lot of flex arms & they just aren't stiff enough once the pipe is in position to weld. this arm is much more solid than any flex arms I've looked at, but maybe I just haven't looked at the right ones, mostly lamps & stuff... they all sag under the weight......
    Last edited by turbocad6; 10-17-2011 at 03:40 AM.
    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

  8. #8
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Man that is a really nice set up. So you turn the chair around and lean on the backrest for stability? I never thought of that. I use a stool. I have a question about your welds. MAybe somebody else who does headers can chime in. I have done a couple sets of headers all stainless and also some crazy bends and gored elbows from 3" stainless tubing. I backpurge on the larger sections and use solar flux on the small sections that I can't purge. I always try to keep my welds as small as possible and zero undercut because they all have to be polished out. Do yours get polished? I usually spend most of my time on the fit up with hammer and dolly or whatever it takes and then use 1/16th or .040 filler same size tungsten and max around 50 amps probably. I'm using a lincoln pt 275 with pedal... I don't have the advanced control panel so no pulse or anything. I see it looks like you are using a 3/32 filler and your beads are wide and flat. It is obvious from the color that you are getting good gas coverage though so structurally and aesthetically I'm sure they are fine. I'm just wondering if you are using the big filler to bridge gaps in the fit up or if there is any reason for that? Or maybe this is just the way it is normally done? Anyways that is great looking work, Cad and an innovative set up.

  9. #9
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    You're a lefty? no wonder you're having problems. lol! j/k

    Nice idea for sure.

  10. #10
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Great setup!! Lots of thought went into this for sure. Like the back purge also. This could be easily adapted for other work pieces. Thanks, nice photo's. Bob

  11. #11
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    ha, yeah, a lefty... so THAT"S my problem huh?

    wrenchtamer, I've had other comments about the welds being pretty flat. I'm using 1/16th filler here
    but I'm doing more of a lay wire technique so maybe I could use a little bit more filler. this is not thin wall tubing though,
    this is schedule 10 pipe, so my biggest problem is getting full pen without putting too much heat into it...
    if it was thin wall then I'd be more concerned with a getting a convex weld but with the thickness of this material
    I think that even with pretty flat welds they should be ok for headers, & also like I said, this my first set of
    headers, so they aren't pefect anyway, they WERE until I started welding them but my welds are unfortunately still far from great...
    I plan on building another set eventually to replace these and the next time around I'll be doing this with thin wall 321SS I think...

    I agree that the cutting & fit up is all the work & takes so much time. on top of that, with this heavy wall
    material I have to bevel each edge too, so the fitup is a whole lot of work. I think my welds are a bit
    wide because to insure good tie in & full pen I'm kind of circling the tungsten side to side a I pass, spreading the
    heat a bit into each side and making a wider flatter weld... a pattern kinda like continuous e's...

    heres an idea of my fitup before welding








    Last edited by turbocad6; 10-17-2011 at 04:35 PM.
    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

  12. #12
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Man you might be new to headers but soon you will be making perfect looking ones! I love that bench setup! Nice work!
    Miller Diversion 165
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  13. #13
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    try turning your heat down 10 - 15 amps. get your tungsten as sharp as you can get it. try 3/32 wire just for kicks. those welds shouldn't be that wide -don't worry about penetration so much, by nature tig welding penetrates extremely well.

  14. #14
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    one seam I did with around the same settings as these, but accidentally with 3/32 filler & it felt like someone just turned the heat way down on my welder... wasn't till I was most way round that I realized the filler was larger... I was distracted because that was when I was taking all these pictures as I was doing it . that weld is pretty convex & sticks up alot, def not flat. t does seem to be better filled than these but that's because I was trying to run it the same way I was running the 1/16th filler. maybe with a little slower pace that 3/32 may have worked out?.... might try it again

    my good friend beck tells me that there too hot too,. he says the only reason I'm still getting that nice rainbow color is because of my big pyrex cup & lots of gas flow, but if I was using a regular #7 or 8 cup I would be getting black & burnt welds... I'll work on trying to do narrower beads with a little less heat.

    I had to add a bit to my purge setup here. before this final bench setup the purge feed wasn't wrapped together with the ground cable as one cable assembly so I was able to just unplug the purge hose from the arm & stick it in the other end of the pipe if that end was lower. the argon feed works best when it comes in from the lowest point & the vent should be at the highest point .


    now, with the ground cable & feed tube as one wrapped cable assembly the arm maneuverability is much better with no hose kinking, but I need a way to better control the purge without having to keep unplugging hoses & swapping them around.. plus, when the 3 tubes get assembled as one header I'm going to need a few Y taps to be able to feed each header tube a purge at the same time, so I did a little plumbing tonight.

    I also started to figure out how I'm going to add an auxiliary straight up & down support point to the right of this articulating one, that one will come in handy with heavier assemblies like whole headers or longer down pipes as a support for the weight. it's going to be a vertical square receiver, table to floor length at the tables lowest position, and another smaller square tube inserted inside that as the adjustable raising support..this thing is starting to look like a Frankenstein creation I'll get pics tomorrow..
    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

  15. #15
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Quote Originally Posted by turbocad6 View Post
    one seam I did with around the same settings as these, but accidentally with 3/32 filler & it felt like someone just turned the heat way down on my welder... wasn't till I was most way round that I realized the filler was larger... I was distracted because that was when I was taking all these pictures as I was doing it . that weld is pretty convex & sticks up alot, def not flat. t does seem to be better filled than these but that's because I was trying to run it the same way I was running the 1/16th filler. maybe with a little slower pace that 3/32 may have worked out?.... might try it again

    my good friend beck tells me that there too hot too,. he says the only reason I'm still getting that nice rainbow color is because of my big pyrex cup & lots of gas flow, but if I was using a regular #7 or 8 cup I would be getting black & burnt welds... I'll work on trying to do narrower beads with a little less heat.

    I had to add a bit to my purge setup here. before this final bench setup the purge feed wasn't wrapped together with the ground cable as one cable assembly so I was able to just unplug the purge hose from the arm & stick it in the other end of the pipe if that end was lower. the argon feed works best when it comes in from the lowest point & the vent should be at the highest point .


    now, with the ground cable & feed tube as one wrapped cable assembly the arm maneuverability is much better with no hose kinking, but I need a way to better control the purge without having to keep unplugging hoses & swapping them around.. plus, when the 3 tubes get assembled as one header I'm going to need a few Y taps to be able to feed each header tube a purge at the same time, so I did a little plumbing tonight.

    I also started to figure out how I'm going to add an auxiliary straight up & down support point to the right of this articulating one, that one will come in handy with heavier assemblies like whole headers or longer down pipes as a support for the weight. it's going to be a vertical square receiver, table to floor length at the tables lowest position, and another smaller square tube inserted inside that as the adjustable raising support..this thing is starting to look like a Frankenstein creation I'll get pics tomorrow..


    Gotcha. I just assumed it was tubing. Guess I should have been paying closer attention. I noticed in the first pic the example of your fitup looks good, but on the header assembly the gaps look larger. Maybe an optical illusion, but I would try a sharper angle on the bevels. With pipe of that size you should be able to fuse them almost autogenously if you don't care to polish them out. As for what your friend said, he may be right, but the fact is that you are using a large pyrex cup and you do have plenty of gas coverage and your welds arent burnt so don't worry about that. If you were doing thin wall tubing they would overheat more easily too. The more coverage you have on stainless the better the results will be, you are doing the right thing. That looks like a dynasty? Maybe try some slow pulse like 5 pps 50%peak 50%on. Maybe you have tried it already. Don't catch me sounding like I know anything, I should post a pic of the first set I made. They REALLY look like ****e!

  16. #16
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    tig welding any size pipe is a balancing act of heat, gap, land, travel speed, wire size, wire feed, welder ability, machine etc. Many factors to consider. I've had good luck tig'n with my ol Lincoln SA 200. Messing around with machine settings may or may not help you. To me they just screw me up. Watch the burnt edges on your welds. When they turn black you've burnt the nickel out of the stainless and the pipe will rust. Tig welding stainless is a slow process so take your time. good luck.

  17. #17
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    That's a big @ss cup you're using. Looks good though, I haven't seen them made out of pyrex yet.

  18. #18
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Everyone has their preferences, but for max control on light gauge work I only use .040 tungsten and .040/.045 filler. If you havent tried it you will be surprised how accurate you can keep you heat controlled. The work station is a very cleaver idea. I like it.
    Lots of toys.

  19. #19
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Wow bro that work station is sick!

  20. #20
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    I tried an 040 but melted it,it went limp
    there good till maybe 50-60 amps or so, I will use an 040 on anything thinner than this schedule 10 I guess but here I really need the 1/16 tungsten I think.

    finished up all the plumbing for the purge stuff.
    I can now change from feeding at the clamp end & venting opposite end to the other way around with just flipping 3 leavers
    and swapping the vented end cap for the fed one

    it also has the ability to feed up to 3 tubes at the same time on a header assembly, along with the arm feed,
    and in a pinch the arm vent could be used as yet another feed, so I'd say the purge feed control is about covered here

    purging can be a little tricky, learned the hard way that you can get air pockets too.
    in some cases you have to roll the pipe to release air pockets & allow full fill with argon at certain peaks & high spots















    I redid the tables down pulling spring return with dual opposing springs.
    that causes the table to be auto return self centering and resist rotation but with a little springy give for slight tilting side to side.
    almost done, just have to finish the right side square vertical support
    Last edited by turbocad6; 10-19-2011 at 01:56 AM.
    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

  21. #21
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Makes me want to get to work on my truck headers. Thankfully I'll only be using mild steel. Waiting to get a tig though
    HTP Invertig 201
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    By farmall:
    They should have held the seagull closer to the work, squeezing evenly for best deposition.

  22. #22
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Holy cow man that is really impressive. when you have welded the tubes, how do you fasten them to the collectors? Slip fit or welded?

  23. #23
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    holy crap! made scientist and ****. lol!

  24. #24
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    Holy plumbing!

    I just have a stick with a valve on it.



    You can see the hose and valve in the backgound here. Works for me.


  25. #25
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    Re: header tig'in work station

    yeah, originally I started out with just one valve, but then I wanted a way to close the arm feed & vent it without having to pull the hose, needing 2 more valves for that, then I also wanted a way to feed the other end which needed another valve. did all this so I don't have to keep swapping hoses around. then I added 2 more aux feeds for when I'm doing a whole header... I guess I just went a little nuts in home depot with valves & came up with this. wasn't so bad though, each valve was under 5 bucks, all chrome plated brass & the chrome knobs are even metal too... figured while I was drilling & plumbing anyway, why not cover all the bases for any purge setup I'll need

    it is a pretty cool setup to use though... I have a dual flow regulator attached after my welders gas solenoid, so the table is only feed when my welders solenoid is open. I can also adjust the flow at the table from the table & monitor the exact flow from the flow meter that sits at the welder, along with the flow to the torch which is also adjustable from the torch with it's own valve.

    how I do the purge is close my torch valve then tap the pedal... gas will flow through the purge for the length of time of the post flow, so if I set a 20 second post flow & I want a minute purge & just have to tap the pedal 3 times, then I can lower the purge flow right from the work station, open my torch valve & weld. I set the regulator for the purge at a high flow from the dual regulator but then adjust the actual amount of flow from the main feed valve. with all the separate valves I can adjust the amount of flow to each feed too.

    I did a lot of this setup because I would always either forget to turn the purge on, or after a weld I'd forget to turn it off... this setup may look a bit overkill but it makes purging easy, almost automatic in a lot of ways & also saves a lot of gas because of the control I have... if I strike an arc & then decide not to continue I can just turn the torch & table flow off in a second & not waste a whole post flows worth of gas too... also just glancing at the table I can see exactly what my flow setup is... might look a bit overdone but it'll work out really nicely for me I think...
    miller 330a bp TIG
    miller dynasty 200DX TIG
    millermatic 185 MIG
    thermal dynamics cutmaster 101 plasma cutter
    snap-on YA5550 plasma cutter
    hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter
    baileigh CS225 cold saw
    etc....

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