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AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/11/18 2:14 p.m.

I've been kicking around ideas in my head of building or rather modifying a cart to have as a good welding platform. I'd like to have a decent surface to weld on that I can hook my work clamp to, and some extra storage for associated fab tools. 

 

My initial idea was to take one of these and make a removable "topper" of thicker metal to use as a welding surface. Possibly an angle iron frame, and then some 3/8" sheet on top or something. 

 

Then today I've been thinking about doing the same type of thing, but on one of these carts since they are cheaper. 

 

 

So I guess my main area I'm looking for suggestions on is what to do for the welding surface on top? 

A big steel sheet/plate would work I'm sure, I think I've also seen people use a bunch of rectangle tubes to make a surface with and still have gaps to put clamps through. 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/11/18 2:43 p.m.

Example of welding table with rectangle tubing. (Note, mine is not going to be that big.)

 

Or Flat Stock. Might be a lot cheaper this way...

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy SuperDork
10/11/18 2:48 p.m.

Watch the construction/castors of that US General stuff.

Top-heavy with spindly crap underneath is bad.

My 2cents is buy castors, and make something more like the second post.

Also, pony up for at least a solid 1/4" plate (3/8 or 1/2 even better, so you have a nice flat surface to fab on. 

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/11/18 2:53 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy :

Thanks, I was just thinking again, if I'm going to go to the trouble of modifying a different cart, I should probably just build my own. It'll be more solid, and be exactly what I want. 

 

So... any input on good castors?

Sparkydog
Sparkydog Reader
10/11/18 3:01 p.m.

We have several of those red things here at work and they are too flimsy to be modded into a welding cart IMO.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy SuperDork
10/11/18 3:07 p.m.
AWSX1686 said:

 

So... any input on good castors?

Tractor Supply or Lowes/Depot. Buy as heavy as you are willing to spend. Two fixed, two pivoting. All 4 pivoting is a PITA. Oh, and metal Rubber no like welding slagwink

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
10/11/18 3:13 p.m.

Also don't let welding spatter get into any of the bearings, be they rolling or steering. And if you do, don't be ridiculous about how thoroughly you weld them to the frame.

What's that? Why? Oh, just a hunch.

NorseDave
NorseDave Reader
10/11/18 4:14 p.m.
wheelsmithy said:

Also, pony up for at least a solid 1/4" plate (3/8 or 1/2 even better, so you have a nice flat surface to fab on. 

Even 1/2" is in no way a guarantee of flatness.  But there's no downside to a heavier-duty table once you're actually using it.  

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
10/11/18 6:49 p.m.

My 1/4" plate was distinctly curved from being sheared off the 4x8 sheet. I welded it to a ladder made up of 2x3x0.125" rectangular tube to make it flat and rigid. Which was both effective and a great reminder of how important cross-sectional area is to strength and stiffness.

Brotus7
Brotus7 HalfDork
10/11/18 8:19 p.m.

My TIG welding cart is mostly what you described.  I started with the HF cart and welded together a bigger base so it can carry a pair of gas bottles too.  I never got around the welding a thick plate on the top - I'm just using a piece of 1/16" sheet as the ground.  I'm pretty happy with the setup since all the consumables are kept right there.  Ergonomically, works alright to weld while sitting.

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/12/18 8:01 a.m.

Well, since I was raised with the attitude of "If it's worth building, it's worth overbuilding". Now I am considering just building a new workbench that can dual function as a (larger) welding table and my workbench. Possibly put some fold down wheels or something so I could roll it to the middle of the floor for a big welding project if I wanted to. 

 

dherr
dherr HalfDork
10/12/18 8:57 a.m.

I purchased a huge steel welding table along with my welder that was built by the previous owner. I had to sell it when I moved to our current shop and the existing garage became the "shop" . It could have served both purposes, was completely steel with a thick solid top surface and a lower shelf. I do miss not having it, as it was fantastic for fabrication. 

Sorry no pictures but looked similar to this one. Must have weighed 200 pounds!!!!

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/12/18 9:08 a.m.

In reply to dherr :

That looks great! I'd say I wish I knew when you were selling it, but at that time I probably had no place for it!

Rodan
Rodan HalfDork
10/12/18 9:45 a.m.

This thread is relevant to my interests... I'm in the planning stages for a welding bench build.

I have the five drawer cart in the OP, and modified it to use as a mobile toolbox in my trailer.   I ended up taking ~3" out of the legs to get the height I wanted.  It's a pretty good box for the $, but IMHO not sturdy enough, or large enough to use as a table.  

I currently have my MIG on one cart, TIG on another, and the plasma sits under the current workbench that I built out of wood, with a solid core door as the work surface, and put it on casters so I could move it around.  When I built it, I was building RC aircraft, and it was great for that, but it's not sufficient for fabrication.  I plan to duplicate the size, and keep it on casters to maintain garage tetris capabilities.

Something similar to this:

I intend to have the toolboxes face the front of the bench instead of the ends, and mine will be longer to provide room for all three machines under the bench top.  I like what this guy did with the cutoff saw, but not sure if I'll try to duplicate that.

There are some good builds documented on Garage Journal... lots of great ideas.

Also, I've had pretty good look with the heavier duty casters from HF.  I used them to replace the rusted up originals on my 30 year old engine hoist a few years ago, and they're still going strong.  I also replaced the 'stock' casters on my 5 drawer cart with heavier HF units, and it's working fine as well, though it's only been in service ~ 6 months.

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/12/18 12:04 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

I like your idea there a lot! 

Do you think 2"x2"x1/4" Square Tubing would be strong enough for most benches? A lot of the big ones, and even the one you shared there looks like a lot larger material for the structure of the bench. 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/12/18 12:06 p.m.

I should also mention, my welder is already on a welding cabinet from Harbor Freight. I like that a lot, so this would really be a work/fab table not to hold the welder too. 

Rodan
Rodan HalfDork
10/12/18 3:58 p.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 :

Got it, just a workbench.  I'm trying to get rid of my welder carts to open up some space.

I plan to use 2x2 square tube to build mine.  Should be plenty strong.  Look at the material thickness on a newer engine hoist sometime... you'll be surprised how thin it is.

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/13/18 2:06 p.m.

So, as a temporary solution, I was thinking about getting a steel sheet from Lowes or somewhere to put on top of my current workbench. It has I guess a laminate top right now. Would thin metal sheet (not sure what gauge Lowes carries) be enough to be the ground/work clamp surface?

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/13/18 2:08 p.m.

Current workbench for reference:

Rodan
Rodan HalfDork
10/13/18 2:11 p.m.

A thin sheet will work for grounding, but it will carry a LOT of heat through to the material underneath, so be careful...

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/13/18 2:21 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

Thanks for the heads up. I think I might give it a shot for now...

At this point the steel to rebuild about the same sized workbench as my current on in all steel would be QUITE expensive. 

bigdaddylee82
bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
10/13/18 2:23 p.m.

Not quite what most of y'all are talking about, but I've gotten a lot of mileage out of HF's clone of the Strong Hand Nomad.  I've got a 2 car garage full of junk, being able to fold it up and put it away (not that, that happens often) is nice.

HF Adjustable Steel Welding Table

 

Our next move is going to be into a metal building with an apartment, i.e. shop/apartment.  I've been thinking a lot about layout, and fab area.  I'd really like to have a 2x4' or maybe 3x4' fixture table like weldingtables.com sells.

 

bigdaddylee82
bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
10/13/18 2:25 p.m.
AWSX1686 said:

In reply to wheelsmithy :

 

 

So... any input on good castors?

Surplus Center

paranoid_android
paranoid_android UltraDork
10/13/18 10:14 p.m.

I wish I would have put four swivel casters on my welding cart/table thing.  I used two swivels and two fixed from HF.

Making tight turns in my little garage is a pain with what I have.

SkinnyG
SkinnyG UltraDork
10/13/18 10:47 p.m.

Video on the making of mine.  Plans downloadable in the description.

https://youtu.be/r8TipRaWQf0

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