Welding table / welding cart

Cremona, Jul 2019.
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Hi everyone,
here are some pictures and notes on the realization of a welding table / welding cart, holding a TIG/MIG/MMA welder and an argon bottle.


TIG welding is an asset for my ongoing effort to realize some vacuum vessels (vacuum-proof thin sheet metal welding), so here we are, building the welding table. Plus, I needed some practice with TIG before welding reservoirs. Since space is a limitation, I need the table to be movable (but refrain from using pivoting wheels: the table would move whenever you push a bit; instead, use one-direction wheels).

Let's start

I used squared-section beams, 25 x 25 mm side, 2 mm thickness, for the main structure, plus some flat beam of 30 mm x 4 mm thickness for secondary elements. Material is construction-grade carbon steel, around 15 m of squared and 6 m of flat beam, for some 30 EUR.

Here are the beams and a sketch of the table. The table is filled with a chipboard wood plane.
main-structure-beams table-sketch
So, here's the main structure welded. It's a bit a pain welding without a table, especially outside. You can clamp the beams on a flat piece of wood, and make sure they are at 90 degrees. Remember that welds shrink as they cool, so take this into account. It's best to weld opposite sides in sequence, and quickly, so that the metal has the least amount of time for cooling and thus twisting or changing your angles (remember, the more it cools, the more it pulls). There are nice videos on YouTube on welding sequences, check them out.
Welding the legs was also a bit a pain. I first welded the table plane, then put it on the ground and placed the legs in position (with the kind help of my father blindly keeping them in place, and put a tiny weld spot. Then made them straight with the table, by using a set square, and then welded them.
Here is the main table ready, together with some supports for holding the chipboard wood panel. With this panel in place (white, in the right picture), welding is waaay more confortable.

main-structure-welded support
Then, it's time to make the scaffhold for the argon bottle and welder. It's pretty straightforward to make it (see picture on the left), but pay attention to a detail: welding it to the table is a critical operation. If you want to keep the table straight, remember that welds pull once they cool down (see schematic at the right). I didn't think about that, and this made quite a macroscopic effect on the final table. It's not that critical to me, so I could kind of straighten it by pulling very hard (again, me on one side, and the 80 kgs of my father leaning on the other side). But if you want to do it right, don't overweld this one (there's no need after all) or even better, weld some additional material on the table beam, like a plate, before welding the scaffhold.
support-welded shrinking
The table is almost done (fig. on the left). Add some support for a small chipboard wood panel, to hold the argon bottle and welder, and some curved plate/side supports to keep the bottle in place. Add the wheels and a handle at the opposite side, and also prepare a sheetmetal (aluminum in my case, 2 mm thick, as I had some for free, fig on the center) to cover the table. This will make an electrically conductive surface and you won't need to attach the ground directly on the piece that you want to weld. Using aluminum is not really ideal, as it scratches easily; I'll substitute it with a steel one, in case.

Then, paint it black :-) Thanks Elena for the help!
structure-ready alu-sheet painting-the-structure
Once it dries, fix the aluminum sheet on the table using some pop rivets. Clamp the sheet in place, drill the holes through the sheet and table tubing, and fix it.
Aaaaand here is the final result! A nice welding table / welding cart. Ready for welding some vacuum reservoirs now.


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