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I just fabricated a we80lding cart (or "trolley" if you prefer) for my new TIG welder. I gave my old AC/DC TIG setup to a contractor friend who helps me out on occasion. I had about 60 feet of steel angle that was originally intended for a project that never materialized, and I had half a dozen swivel casters left over from when I built a dock some years ago, so I didn’t have to buy much stuff to build this. It would have been easier to fabricate from square tubing, but I wanted to use what I had on hand and save a few bucks. My little shop area is so crowded that I needed as much maneuverability as possible for the cart, and using four swivel casters makes it very maneuverable. When the new welder arrived, I discovered that the new model is longer than the previous year’s model, so I had to lengthen the top shelf a bit. The shelf bottoms are 1/8" steel and are removeable to make future modifications easier.

I mounted a handle on the front of the cart, plus a pair of handles on the back of the cart that sort of act like handlebars and make the cart very easy to maneuver around.

The side rails of the top shelf consist of four pieces of steel angle (one 1.5" x 1.5" x .125" and one 1" x 1" x .125" on each side) that extend unbroken all the way to the posts at the very back of the cart, and I added two 3/8" all-thread "suspension" rods for even more support. The middle shelf is for accessories and won't be carrying much weight, and its rails also extend unbroken all the way to the posts at the back of the cart.

I’m reserving the bottom shelf for a cooler unit. I’ve been researching liquid coolers for TIG torches, and eventually may build or buy a cooler. I like the open design of the shelves, with no posts up front to get in the way, as I think it allows for a wide variety of configuration and usage options.

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My shop floor and the area of the driveway where I would be using the welder are quite level, but I decided to add brakes to the casters anyway. I installed thumb-screw brakes on the front casters (see below), and I plan to add brakes to the rear casters as well.

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The argon cylinder is secured with a large U-bolt with a piece of high-pressure air hose on it for padding, and the cylinder is pulled snugly against a V-shaped pair of angles welded to the frame, with a chunk of conveyor belt for padding. The cylinder doesn't contact the screw that holds the padding on the frame, as I designed it with a gap in the middle. I don’t like cylinders to bang around when moving a cart, and this setup holds the cylinder securely. I also added some pieces of conveyor belt as spacers/bumpers to fit the welder snugly in the top shelf, so that it can't slide around. I also installed a strap to further secure the welder.

I made a set of low-cost filler-rod tubes from 1-1/4” schedule 80 PVC conduit  schedule 40 PVC conduit. I fashioned internal plugs for the top and bottom ends out of slices of solid PVC rod, sanded them to fit snugly, and solvent-glued them in. Note: The tops might look open in the photos, but that's because the internal plugs are darker than the PVC conduit. The internal plugs eliminated the need for PVC fittings at the top and bottom, which allows me to slide the tubes in and out of the rings that I welded on the shelf rails. The tubes have male and female thread adapters where the top and bottom sections connect, and by using a thick O-ring, the tops screw on easily and stop against the O-ring before the threads have a chance to start binding. I just had to sand off the raised letters on the edge of the female adapter to allow a tight seal against the O-ring. These tubes should be durable, and they cost less than the off-the-shelf plastic holders that I’ve seen. I suppose if one wanted to get fancy, one could create a chamber at the top of each tube to hold a little bag of desiccant gel.

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Future modifications might include a short metal tube in which one could place short pieces of filler rod that might still be hot, and maybe a rest for the TIG torch. I might also try to figure out some sort of drawer or bin for the accessories. In the meantime, it is working well.

I'm always open to suggestions for improvements.

Disclaimer:  As always, I do not guarantee the safety, efficacy, or applicability of the devices, designs, or ideas I have described here. Use at your own risk.

Al (Steamboat)

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Brilliant. I'll admit that I leafed through this till I have more time. I really want to build one similar. 

One thought is short tubes for shorter used sticks as well, unless you dont bother with them. 

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Thanks, Daswulf. As mentioned, I think it would have been easier to fabricate the cart with square tubing instead of angle, but I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out.

Cheers,

Al (Steamboat)

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Slight correction: The filler rod tubes were made from schedule 40 PVC conduit, not schedule 80, although schedule 80 would have worked fine, too. Schedule 40 is certainly thick enough to make a durable tube, and you'd lose some interior volume if you used schedule 80.

Al (Steamboat)

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Thanks, Arkie. The support/suspension rods were an idea I had to add rigidity to the top shelf without blocking access to the middle shelf. The cable hooks do block access to the middle shelf to some degree, but if I decide that they are causing interference, a hook can be repositioned easily just by drilling a new mounting hole. The hooks could even be mounted on the back of the cart if necessary, although I'm trying to limit the front-to-back length of the cart so that it doesn't stick out too far when backed up against a wall. As mentioned, space is at a premium in my small shop.

Al (Steamboat)

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