Intro: The Best Welding Cart in the World?
I thought it was about time I improved my welding cart, and having been away for a while working, I was desperate to get in the workshop. So here's my day>>>
The cart I use for welding is a second hard steel cart I got from ebay, it's pretty sturdy, being made from 1" and 1.5" angle iron, on some good wheel, I'm not sure of it's original use, but the top is only 1mm steel plate, so not much good for welding on, I decided I needed a way to clamp down pieces as well, so I thought a slat system made from 2" x 1" Steel box section would be good. And I also wanted to add some sockets and a bottle rack.
Step 1: First Things First
Firstly I fitted some electrics, I welded a plate to the side of the cart without the handle, and added a 16A C-Form connector, and a metal clad double socket. The 16A will be for the welder, whilst the other sockets are useful for grinders and drills.
The whole lot is fed from a 16A supply in my workshop, with a nice long heavy duty cable.
I have to say here, that I love my R-Tech welder, it's great, easy to use, does MIG and Stick, but it has one major design flaw, the power switch is on the back! Meaning you have to lean behind the welder every time you want to turn it on and off, so to resolve this, the 16A outlet on the cart is fed through a magnetic on/off switch I reclaimed from an old saw, so now I can turn the welder on and off, without even bending down. Perfect.
I also used some steel out of the scrap bin to make a shelf for the Bottle, with a strap to hold it up, and a hook for the bottle spanner, so that it doesn't go walkies.
The Welder itself got a simple shelf from Scrap MDF, supported on one side by a piece of 2" angle welded to the frame,I might change this for a steel shelf in the future, but I didn't have any spare plate.
And I stuck a bit of 1" box on the right side as a torch holder.
Now the welder is all installed I can get on with the top.
Step 2: Framing
I made the cart level on the floor, just for ease of squaring up, laid out a frame made from 1" box section, and checked it was all square, the top of the cart is angle iron, so the frame sits inside this, next I tacked and then welded all the corners and then ground them smooth.
I'd bought all my steel, from my new favourite supplier www.themetalstore.co.uk , they're great, no minimum order, free delivery over £70, and best of all, they do all the cuts for you for free, (up to 10 cuts per length you order), having everything arrive pre-cut and square is an amazing timesaver, but make sure you double check all your measurements before ordering.
Step 3: Slats
I laid out all my slats to make I'd got my maths right, and then cleaned them with turps to remove all the grease, and ran the grinder down the areas they would be welded.
I welded my first slat to the edge of the frame, and then using a spare piece of 2x1 box as a spacer I laid each slat down, clamped it to avoid warping, and welded it to the top of the frame, once they were all done I flipped the frame and welded them all again from the bottom, that lot isn't moving.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
Whilst it was flipped over I drilled some holes in the frame to fix it to the cart, and then drilled through the top rail of the cart as well, and fixed it with M8 bolts, this removed any deflection I had in the frame after welding.
I also welded on an earth tag, a piece of 1" bar to hang tools on, made a mount for my vice, which straddles a slat and is then tightened from underneath by hand, so it can be moved and removed easily.
Another benefit of using a 2"X1" box as a spacer is that I can insert one of my spare slats ( of course I ordered extras) which gives me a stop to put pieces against, or measure off of.
Step 5: And to Work
I've already started a project on the cart, and it's working great, I use 6" F clamps as hold downs, as well as a magswitch magsquare, and it's doing the job. The wheels mean I can pull out into the middle of the shop for bigger jobs, or leave it against the wall if I'm doing a quick little thing. Having a permanent, dedicated, level, useable welding area is going to make the world of difference.
I hope you've enjoyed this project, I know I did.
Overall costs were very low, I picked up the cart for £20, spent about £90 on steel, though I've got some bits left, and the electrical bits I had lying around anyway, so all in all, nice and cheap.