New Welding Cart / Table

Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
4,129
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
I'm going to attempt my first project with my new welder. Its a cart/Table (which is probably what about 90% of guys who buy a new welder start with). I'll use some 1.5" sq tube I salvaged from a safety walkway that was torn down at work. 1/8" wall. Thought I'd post it up here for critique...I appreciate a lot of people's opinions here. What I'm looking for is some constructive criticism. I've never built a welding cart or table before. I've put a bit of thought into how I'd like this to work, and wanna see if I'm missing something. I'm incorporating a toolbox for storing "stuff" that I use on metalworking projects (its already got most of that stuff in it). Since my welder is multi-process, I have a few extra leads and will eventually get a TIG torch and pedal. There is room for an eventual plasma below.
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The welder is on a shelf with drawer slides to allow for wire changes.

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There are some details I've left off, as I really just wanted to nail down the concept and generate a cut list for tubing. I know I'll need a few hangers for cords and a place to put the torch when not in use. I'll probably install a magnetic strip for tools (slag hammer and pliers) and weld on a rail to hang my grinders. Also need a couple anchor points for the bottle.

Still have some questions on the table top...Do I try to find a piece of half inch steel somewhere, or do I take a high pressure laminate desk top, then wrap it with sheetmetal?

Oh, and one more favor...I'll probably post a few pics of my welds for pointers...I've done some welding, but I'm no expert by any means.
 
Oct 12, 2018
66
Carnegie Pa
For the top. Try to find a steel door and modify it for your cart. My work benches tops at my old house were old steel doors set on top of a wooden frame. They worked out great.
 

jgaz

TJ Enthusiast
May 29, 2016
393
Peoria, AZ
How thick are you thinking about making the top? You might want to think about incorporating some method of clamping your work to the table.

If you went with a decent thickness plate you could use cheap, Harbor Freight, “F” clamps, modified to work in a 3/4” hole.
This is an example of one in use and one modified on my wood working bench.
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At least consider leaving enough room between the tool box top and the bottom of the welding surface so you could fit C clamps in the gap and use them around the edge of the work surface.

Also, have you given any thought to mounting a vise? Permanent mount is the easiest but on a smaller table they always seem to be in the way. Mounting the vise to a plate that can be installed in a receiver gives you a solid vise mount that is easy to remove or relocate .
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Search “welding tables” on Pinterest. Some great ideas there.

What you have looks like a great start. Post pics when you get it finished.
 
OP
Mike_H

Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
4,129
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
Yeah, I have a 4" vice that I was planning on mounting...I like that drop in idea! Thanks There is a couple inch gap between the top of the toolbox and the table top, so getting a clamp in isn't a problem. I was thinking of half inch steel for the top, or I have a desktop that I could put a sheet steel cover on. I like the desktop idea, because of the ease at which its "machinable" at home. Drilling a 3/4" hole through 1/2" steel would be tough to do. Not impossible, but tough.
 

PCO6

TJ Enthusiast
Dec 25, 2016
710
Newmarket, Ontario
A lot depends on the size of your shop and where you plan to do your welding. I opted for small carts and separate, medium size welding tables. I have a 2 car 20'x20' garage so space is limited. I can get a lot of projects done inside but I often weld outside too. Moving a large and heavy cart/table around the garage, and especially taking it outside can be a challenge. A "nesting" table approach can work. A "largish" table with a pull out cart sized for your welder only that is stored underneath is a good way.
 
OP
Mike_H

Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
4,129
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
Made some progress this weekend on the cart project. For one, this new welder kicks ass. Its SUPER easy to use. Played around with the inductance settings a bit. I think that will be nice to have when I start working on the sheetmetal on my jeep.

Here is the frame, about 80 percent complete. This picture shows it upside down, but its fully welded at this point.

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Getting things flat, square and level was a bit of a challenge, working on the bench like I was. I was welding on that piece of 16 gage to not burn my tabletop. It will be a lot nicer to have an actual steel topped table to work on. Also, my clamps are inadequate. I need more HD clamps for this kind of work. The Irwin Quick Grips that I use so much in woodworking don't really cut the mustard trying to hold Steel Tube...Even this light duty stuff (1.25 sq 10 ga). Its turning out well though. I'm pretty happy so far.

Also, anyone care to Critique my welds? I was using 0.025 wire with 25% CO2/Argon for most of them. Ran out, and switched to 0.030...I like that better for what I'm doing.

@mrblaine , @Farmergreg @pcoplin @PCO6

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Any and all feedback is appreciated. I feel pretty good about them, but don't have a very broad base of experience. This one is probably the "worst"...Don't feel the bead is split properly between the two pieces. I also got a little lazy grinding paint there...which is why its burnt.

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pcoplin

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2018
253
Santiam, OR
Looks pretty good to me, probably have set to the recommended setting? It's hot for sure, you can dial back the power or wore speed so you can slow down some. Welding cart, it won't matter.

Just work on your starts and stops, wrap the corners.

Gonna hold for sure, and it uniform beads overall.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk


Edit: here is a slightly "colder" weld, with some whip to it. I'll either whip, do Cs when fill is needed, or just straight smooth beads, I do that on cages.

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OP
Mike_H

Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
4,129
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
Looks pretty good to me, probably have set to the recommended setting? It's hot for sure, you can dial back the power or wore speed so you can slow down some. Welding cart, it won't matter.

Just work on your starts and stops, wrap the corners.

Gonna hold for sure, and it uniform beads overall.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk


Edit: here is a slightly "colder" weld, with some whip to it. I'll either whip, do Cs when fill is needed, or just straight smooth beads, I do that on cages.

View attachment 73378
Yes, recommended settings.

When you say colder... Does that mean less voltage, less wire speed or both? Also... Whip? Is that your "torch pattern"? Not familiar with that. Almost looks like a TIG weld.
 

Farmergreg

Just a "Web Wheeler"
Supporting Member
Mar 25, 2018
444
WC Indiana
farmergreg Jr. is the official family welder now!
wrap around the corners a little more.
Colder is less voltage and wire speed.
The last weld looks like it you went a little fast and favored center but there is more mass to heat on the side of the tube than the end cut tube.

Great project to start with!
 

pcoplin

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2018
253
Santiam, OR
Could be both, try lower wire speed, or the next lower recommended setting. It'll just give you more time. Try both, a lot of welders run hot and fast. I weld slower personally.

Whip is moving forward and backing into the weld, mostly for looks, but I find I get a more uniform weld, and can see the puddle better.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

mrblaine

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Nov 20, 2015
4,436
Quail Valley, CA
Looks pretty good to me, probably have set to the recommended setting? It's hot for sure, you can dial back the power or wore speed so you can slow down some. Welding cart, it won't matter.

Just work on your starts and stops, wrap the corners.

Gonna hold for sure, and it uniform beads overall.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk


Edit: here is a slightly "colder" weld, with some whip to it. I'll either whip, do Cs when fill is needed, or just straight smooth beads, I do that on cages.

View attachment 73378
I really pissed the guy off who claimed to be a welder when I told him that a professional welder certified in horizontal Mig would never produce a weld like that. It is done that way with a lot of tip movement to simulate a Tig aluminum weld which by the nature of that process produces the "dime" bead effect. Each of those steps is a stress riser in the weld and should be avoided. Of course, it didn't go well and I didn't expect it to since most folks who weld that way don't understand why they shouldn't.
 

pcoplin

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2018
253
Santiam, OR
I really pissed the guy off who claimed to be a welder when I told him that a professional welder certified in horizontal Mig would never produce a weld like that. It is done that way with a lot of tip movement to simulate a Tig aluminum weld which by the nature of that process produces the "dime" bead effect. Each of those steps is a stress riser in the weld and should be avoided. Of course, it didn't go well and I didn't expect it to since most folks who weld that way don't understand why they shouldn't.
You're right, theoretically it should be avoided. However, I say it doesn't matter at the thicknesses I weld and have never had a weld crack or fail. I also don't do it much. There's a lot of theoretical theories and processes in welding, that doesn't seem to apply to a lot of projects, welders, ect. It's also why I enjoy everyone reading welding posts on social media, all the professionals poopoo everything they see that's not textbook perfect. :)

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

mrblaine

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Nov 20, 2015
4,436
Quail Valley, CA
You're right, theoretically it should be avoided. However, I say it doesn't matter at the thicknesses I weld and have never had a weld crack or fail. I also don't do it much. There's a lot of theoretical theories and processes in welding, that doesn't seem to apply to a lot of projects, welders, ect. It's also why I enjoy everyone reading welding posts on social media, all the professionals poopoo everything they see that's not textbook perfect. :)

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
I just wish all the Mig welders would stop trying to make them look like Tig aluminum welds. Matt started that bullshit and after I started smacking him in the head with a wrench every time I caught him doing it, he cut it out. To me, nothing says wannabe welder more than a bead full of that shit. It ranks just slightly above that guy who always says "my welds may look like shit but they never break". Yeah well, the problem with that is the habits that produce a sound weld automatically dictate a certain look so stop bragging about your shitty looking welds. There is also a large difference between text book perfect and doing something for looks.

Other than a bit too much weld, this is a very nice looking weld and closely representative of what a good Mig weld should look like.
1548040972087.png
 

TJ4Jim

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Dec 9, 2015
1,270
Brookings, Oregon
I really pissed the guy off who claimed to be a welder when I told him that a professional welder certified in horizontal Mig would never produce a weld like that. It is done that way with a lot of tip movement to simulate a Tig aluminum weld which by the nature of that process produces the "dime" bead effect. Each of those steps is a stress riser in the weld and should be avoided. Of course, it didn't go well and I didn't expect it to since most folks who weld that way don't understand why they shouldn't.
If you really want to piss off a professional welder wait for them to tell you they are certified welders then tell them there is no such thing.
 

TJ4Jim

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Dec 9, 2015
1,270
Brookings, Oregon
I've never actually had any of my pro friends tell me that.
It's always been one of my favorites as I used to hear that a lot in the industrial pipe welding business, guys would always brag (like hot shots) that they were certified welders ( a qualification that is only good for a particular job that you test for) when in fact the qualification is void the minute the job is completed.

I was involved with power and process welding for years and we would go thru welders like crazy trying to get a few to pass the test.