Intro: Make a Wire Feed Welder Easier to Carry
This is my wire feed welder. Normally, it sits on a lower shelf under my workbench. When I want to take it to a job, I have three things to coil and keep from unraveling while carrying it by the convenient handle on top. It really is awkward to carry. Hobart makes a cover of weatherproof nylon for the entire welder. It has a hole for the handle and a large pocket on one side to hold the liner and the cables. The price is about $40. See it at this link. I wanted something that costs less and is more flexible in its use.
Step 1: Cut Plywood
I measured the side of the welder's case and cut a scrap piece of 1/4 inch plywood to fit it. After sawing the piece to size, I sanded the edges with a belt sander to round all of the edges and eliminate splinters.
Step 2: Hard Drive Magnets
I want to attach magnets from old hard drives to the plywood and use them to attach the plywood to the side of the welder. The existing holes in the mounts for the magnets are too small. I used an abrasive cutting wheel on a grinder to change small holes to "U"-shaped openings large enough to accommodate short #8 sheet metal screws.
Step 3: Screw the Magnets to the Plywood
The photo shows a hard drive magnet with a slightly different configuration screwed to the 1/4 inch plywood. Notice that the screwheads have been ground a little so they are below the surface of the magnets. See the second photo. I also ground excess length away from the screws on the reverse side of the plywood so the screws are flush with the surface of the plywood.
Step 4: Magnets Mounted
The photo shows all four hard drive magnets screwed to the 1/4 inch plywood. Each magnet is set in a little from the edge to allow clearance of any screws on either side of the welder.
Step 5: Frontside Fixtures
I cut a piece of 3/4 x 6 inch pine so it is about six inches shorter than the long side of the 1/4 inch plywood. Use drywall screws to fasten it to the 1/4 inch plywood. Cut a piece of 3/4 x 2 firing strip a little longer than the long side of the 1/4 inch plywood. Attach it to the 3/4 x 6 pine as shown in the photo. Add a support from a five inch piece of 2 x 4 below the 3/4 x 6 piece to keep it from sagging. There is a 7/8 inch hole through the 2 x 4. This will be handy for a place to secure the welding gun while carrying the welder.
Step 6: Attach to the Welder
Choose the side of the welder to which you wish to attach this accessory. Allow the magnets to grip the metal case of the welder. At first I thought I would attach it to the side with the fold up door covering the wire reel and its drive. Later I decided to attach it to the other side of the welder. But, because this design is very flexible, I can easily change my mind and mount it on the other side of the welder any time I want to do so.
Step 7: Wrap It All Up
Wrap up the power cord first. Then wrap the ground cable onto the cable holder. I gripped the clamp around part of the power cable to keep it in place, but without pinching the power cable. Then I wrapped the gun liner around the cable holder. I placed the end of the gun nozzle through the 7/8 inch hole in the 2 x 4 support. The welder is now ready to pick up and carry more easily than before to where it is needed. This accessory can be removed easily by prying the magnets off of the side of the welder, and yet, it stays firmly in place while in use.
Step 8: Extra Portability for Tools and Supplies
The photo shows extra items stored inside the fold up door. These items will need to be removed before the welder is actually used, but they are handy to have when doing a welding job away from your shop. A slip joint plier would be a good addition, too.