Introduction: Simple Welding Cart

This is a simple welding cart I made to hold my new welder.

This was my first welding project ever. If you're taking the leap into teaching yourself to weld, I recommend making your own cart.

It's a great first-time welding project that provides an opportunity to practice some basic metal cutting and welding techniques. I'm not a novice to making things in general, but a lot of this was brand new territory for me. This instructable covers what I did.

To get started in welding, I strongly recommend audreyobscura's Welding Class right here on Instructables, as well as some of these other great Instructables on the subject.

Step 1: Get Some Metal

I started collecting old metal bed frames a while back, picking them up whenever I'd find them at my local thrift store.

They're a decent source of angle iron for a reasonable price. However, like wooden pallets it's debatable whether or not they're worth the effort to harvest the base material. It's a lot of work, as the iron used for bed frames is extremely hard and somewhat difficult to work, but I enjoy using old stuff like this so I think it's kind of fun.

I recommend slicing off rivet heads using an angle grinder with a thin cut-off disk, and then pounding out the rivets with a large nail punch and a hammer.

I set up some saw horses and various clamping arrangements to help out this process. After a little trial and error, I had figured out a basic system that worked for me.

If you're going to do likewise, be sure to wear all the proper safety equipment for this kind of activity.

Step 2: Marking for Cuts

For my welder (this is what I have) and the gas bottle I got to use with it I decided to make a cart that is basically two shelves, both 11" by 28".

I made each shelf using angle iron with mitered corners.

I used a thin cut-off wheel in an angle grinder to make all my cuts. To mark cuts, I used a paint pen with a speed square.

Angle grinders can be dangerous. Follow the safety guidelines that come with your tools.

I recommend using angle grinders with the guard, and simply letting the weight of the tool do the work whether cutting or grinding. They don't respond well to excessive pressure . . much like people!

See photo notes for details.

Step 3: Cutting

To make the cuts, I clamped the metal pieces to my table to hold them securely. The cuts where then made carefully by hand.

I've used metal-cutting chop saws with abrasive disks in the past, and I'm not a fan. In my experience they are good for rough cuts but are not as precise as I want. Handheld grinders do the trick for me and are as precise as I want them to be.

Step 4: Clean Up Cuts

Some fine tuning of the cuts was done using a bench grinder.

The paint on the metal was removed using a wire wheel on the grinder wherever welds would be made.

Step 5: Lay Out and Fine Tune

The pieces for each shelf were laid out and the mitered corners got some additional fine tuning on the bench grinder to make sure they fit well and the whole thing was square.

Step 6: Tack and Weld!

Each corner was tacked together first. (A tack weld is a small welded spot, rather than a full bead.)

Then I flipped it over and did full welds along the joints.

Step 7: Complete Both Shelf Frames

Here's a shot of both shelves completed. I was excited that they were square and not warped!

Step 8: Vertical Frame Pieces

Vertical frame pieces were now measured, marked and cut as before, but with 90 degree cuts.

Step 9: Tack Up Frame

With the help of some magnets to hold things in place temporarily, I tacked the vertical supports to the bottom shelf, and the top shelf to the vertical supports.

This structure was fairly weak at this point with just tack welds, which allows for some gentle bending and tweaking to keep everything square.

Step 10: Add Full Welds to Frame

Full welds were now added to each joint.

Step 11: Oops!

At this point, I decided to grind down my welds to make the whole frame look pretty.

Mistake!

Later on I realized that I had made all these joints incredibly weak.

A couple of them cracked after the frame was painted and the wheels were in place. So later I came back, ground off the paint back down to bare metal, and then re-welded the outsides of the joints and welded the insides as well.

Several photos in the following steps show the frame in this cleanly-ground, pre-fixed state.

Step 12: Axle

For the back wheels, I purchased two no-flat wheels from Harbor Freight, and a 5/8" metal rod to be an axle.

A piece of the rod was cut to the length needed, and holes were drilled on a drill press to hold cotter pins that will hold the wheels in place.

Step 13: Weld Axle to Frame

Because of the size of the back wheels along with the size of the caster wheels I had for the front, I needed to weld the axle onto the frame about 1/4" up on the backside to make the cart be level when completed.

The axle rod was propped to the height needed with a piece of wood, and was welded in place, top and bottom.

These may be messy welds, but I think they'll hold! I had to make several passes to fill in the gaps between the round rod and flat frame.

Step 14: Almost an Oops!

I was just about to weld these zinc-plated washers in place on the axle when I recalled reading about the dangers of welding galvanized or zinc-plated metal. In a nutshell: it's highly toxic and can make you very sick or kill you. So . . you know, heads up on that one!

I ground off the plating where I was going to put a couple of small welds using my bench grinder, holding each washer with a pair of pliers to do so. Then I tacked these washers in place. I should note that I'm working next to a fully-opened garage door with a lot of good ventilation.

Step 15: Handle

The handle was made with 5/8" rod that was left over from the piece used to make the axle.

Pieces were cut as desired, and laid on my table and held as needed with magnets.

Step 16: Weld Handle

The handle pieces were tacked together on one side and then the other, and then fully welded together.

Step 17: Paint Frame

The frame was cleaned and then painted with primer.

After the primer, the frame was painted with a couple of coats of grey spray paint.

Step 18: Fix Those Weak Welds

As noted before, after painting I realized my welded joints were very weak.

I ground off the paint wherever I wanted to add reinforcing welds, and then added all the new welds.

Step 19: Shelf Boards

I made shelf boards out of 3/4" mdf, simply because this is what I had available. I may replace it at some point with something stronger and more longer-lasting, but it works for now.

A hole was cut in the back of the top shelf to hold my gas bottle securely. The shelf boards simply sit in place without any additional fasteners.

With the shelf boards cut and fitting as needed, I touched up the paint over the re-welded areas.

Step 20: Add Wheels

The back wheels were slid into place with some additional washers, and the cotter pins were dropped into the holes in the axle to keep the wheels in place.

The front caster wheels were bolted in place to the front of the frame.

Step 21: Load It Up

The shelf boards were replaced in the frame, and it was loaded up with my welder and gas bottle.

The whole thing rolls into place for storage under my folding work table.

Thanks for taking a look!

Comments

author
_diyMATT (author)2017-06-12

I just bought a cheapo flux-core and have gathered some bed rails recently Today your instructable pops up. How so very topical for me. :D

author
seamster (author)_diyMATT2017-06-12

Ha! Great minds think alike! I had been planning to make a fidget spinner with clay fingers and calling it a "Digit Spinner", but you beat me to that idea. I got a real kick out of seeing that this morning :)

author
ironhat (author)2016-10-24

Where you plan to use a grinder for a smooth joint but fear the problem that you got, it's pretty easy. Where the bead will be laid you need to grind a 45*, 50% of the thickness of your stock. That way, when you lay down the bead it is already below the surface where you will grind down to. Groovy? Cool.

author
seamster (author)ironhat2016-10-24

That is an excellent tip, thank you!

author
shai.rotbard made it! (author)2016-10-22

Made sorting similar a long time ago. Good job!

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author
makendo (author)2016-10-19

OK, you've pushed me over the edge. I have no space at home but I'm taking a welding class.

author
seamster (author)makendo2016-10-21

It's opened up a lot of exciting possibilities for upcoming projects.

Suddenly scrap metal looks appealing for use in all kinds of projects, rather than only being useful in very specific bolt-on situations. You're probably like me--everything is just raw material for making stuff, but metal has always been off limits, so to speak. Not now! :)

author
BeachsideHank (author)2016-10-17

I grab up any bed frames I come across on my roadside excursions, you're right, only a grinder or thermite lance can cut the stuff, it's stupid hard.

And what;s with this Hobart- no shopmade microwave oven transformer welder for you huh? ☺

author

John Heisz has a quick tip for repurposing a carbide-tipped masonry drill for this purpose http://www.ibuildit.ca/Workshop%20Projects/Shop%20Tricks/tricks-56.html I picked up a couple little diamond wheels for my Dremel to try this.

author

While I think his tip is great, I found the trolling, baiting, and downright nasty replies in the comments to be even more entertaining. ☺

I picked up the diamond wheels from H.F.:

http://www.harborfreight.com/large-diamond-rotary-...

I've got some carbide tipped lathe tools too, so I'm hoping to kill both birds.

author

ROFL! Same set I got! :-)

author
seamster (author)BeachsideHank2016-10-17

I have healthy a fear of microwave innards. I know enough to know that I don't know enough to mess with 'em!

author
oldorf (author)2016-10-18

Great Project, but let me give you some hints for better welds. Before starting a project like this, take some scrap pieces of the same metal you are going to use. Then try and change your settings. Especially step 13 shows, that your filler material is just sitting on top. Increase your amperage and make sure you have enough gas. You must melt the metal you are going to connect - do not just put blobs of filler on top. Stay loger in one place until you see the metal becoming red hot and fluid. Wave your welding gun continuously a little bit to the left and right and then push slowly forward - you should always see a little puddle of liquid iron, which is fed from both metals you are going to connect and the filler. With the scrap pieces it is easy to find the right settings. Increase your Amerage until you burn holes in the material - then turn it down until it looks nice and creates one solid piece.

author
HarryB80 (author)oldorf2016-10-20

I agree with what you say about welding but i am just self taught and had some really bad welds 30 years ago but they never failed. The welding this chap has done is plenty strong enough but still good advice from you.

author
seamster (author)oldorf2016-10-18

Great tips, thank you!

author
gmoon (author)2016-10-17

Dang! I bought the same (Handler 140) welder four months ago!

But we also bought a new house in July, so my days are filled with painting, plumbing, wiring, etc., etc., not happy welding projects. Still haven't the Hobart! I figure I'll start with the flux core first...looks like you're already using gas (jealous).

author
gmoon (author)gmoon2016-10-17

Oops. Used. haven't used the Hobart.

author
seamster (author)gmoon2016-10-17

I had to hold out a little longer before jumping in, just so I could get all the stuff I wanted in one shot. It's definitely not a cheap new creative field to get into, that's for sure!

author
gmoon (author)seamster2016-10-19

Yeah, I definitely want to learn the solid core/gas stuff, ASAP, too. Thanks for the inspiration!

author
Yonatan24 (author)2016-10-18

I know that there's a rule in physics that says that all horizontal spaces are always cluttered (I can prove that), but this is a nice design too:

I guess that if you use a welder that doesn't need those huge tanks (Argon, if I remember correctly?), Eric's design would work well. I suppose it could look pretty nice if it was made of metal too :)

author
gm280 (author)2016-10-17

I actually have the exact same welder and luckily mine came with the cart. But nice project all the same. Being able to weld things opens up a whole new realm of projects. Oh, bed frames are very good for non-structural projects but way too weak for anything that you would want to chance you life on. Thumbs Up.

author
seamster (author)gm2802016-10-17

Thank you! I'm excited about the possibilities.

I concur on your bed frame comment - they're kind of flimsy and very prone to twisting. They'll work for a handful of little projects I have in mind now, but yep--nothing structural! :)

author
tomatoskins (author)2016-10-17

Excellent first welding project! Nice miters too!

author
Swansong (author)2016-10-17

It looks great! And it fits perfectly under your new table. :)

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