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Welding Cart Upgrade – Fabrication

mvc-018f1 This is my old Snap-On mig welder, that has been in more or less constant service since the 1980s. My only gripe with the thing is it’s wheels, that have bothered me from day one. Being that the band saw base was such a major improvement to usability, and I had a pile of salvaged 3X3 angle iron around, I thought I’d make a cart for it and document the fabrication. Heres a pic showing the cantilevered wheels that allow the welder to tip when backing up.

mvc-020f1 The first step was to miter cut some 1/4″ thick angle iron straight from the scrap bin. Most of this stuff has gussets welded to it, so grabbing it in the factory vice is a challenge. Big pieces of stock really show the small saws vices short comings. A better vice with a decent swivel base might be a future addition. With the new stand, the saw is at a much better work height, and has a much more solid feel.

mvc-021f Heres the base getting squared up, and tacked for final welding on my work bench. This is a piece of 1/4 steel with a drain trough I welded up for transmission work, but is about the best welding table around. Its dead flat, and you can just clamp the ground lead to the table if the metal is clean. This steel is primed, so I clamp right on the work. You can see some of the existing gussets here, which will work nice to add some support for the Argon bottle.

mvc-022f Nothing real earth-shaking here, just a shot of the finished welded corner. The bottom will be ground flat for the casters.

mvc-024f2 Again, nothing life changing, just a shot of the finished product, with some paint on it.

mvc-025f2 Heres a shot of the existing gussets I used to add support the gas bottle at the rear of the stand. The way the welder was constructed, you’d have thought I ordered these for the specific machine. Sometimes I get lucky.

mvc-027f1 This is the end result. I haven’t fastened the welder to the cart yet, but had to try it out. It works great. This is another thing around here that I’ve been moaning about for years, and finally got straightened out. The welder not only moves easier, but has a more solid feel, and is more stable. You can’t see it in this pic, but I’ve been hanging my wire and ground leads on the gas regulator which is an accident waiting to happen, so I guess I’ll hafta add some hangers somewhere on the cart. I’m probably gonna add a handle on the front that I can use as a guide for the wire feed. The lead comes out the front, and tends to take a lot of abuse. I’m sure one good hit would put enough of a kink in it to stop the wire from feeding. I’ll update when I get that done.

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Bandsaw Base Fabrication

I locked myself in the shop this weekend, and set about doing some housekeeping (damage control is more like it) , so I could move around the shop a little. I had some metal stock that needed to be put away, so I dragged out my Clarke (Chinee) bandsaw to cut some stuff down to size. I’ve been cursing the dismal wheels on this saw since I bought it a couple of years ago. Anyone that owns one of these saws knows what I’m talking about. Its the first thing that new buyers fix when they buy them, and is a hot topic on the Yahoo 4X6 website. I was too busy using mine to fix the problem. Well, I stumbled across a 9 1/2 foot length of 4140 stainless 2 1/2 inch diameter round stock at work in the scrap dumpster (Yeah, in the dumpster), and needed to cut it. I work at a water treatment plant, and have free reign at the metal dumpster, its like Christmas every day! Anyway, I had to support a 300 pound hunk of SS, and wrestle the saw under it to make the cut. The wheels on the saw really showed their stuff, what junk. I finally got tired of hearing myself complain about the Chinee junk and decided to grab some 2 1/2″ angle iron (from the dumpster) and make up a rolling stand for the saw. I had two sets of casters off some Craftsman tool boxes that now support my steel workbench. I probably shoulda gotten some pics of the build, but never thought about it till the paint was drying, I’ll put some shots of it on later this week. Its a world of difference. I extended the rear of the stand to stop the annoying habit it has of trying to flip over when you put the saw in the upright position, and has a much more solid feel to it. It rolls easily and is at a much better work height, about 6″ higher. I wish I had made the stand when I first got the saw.

While I was building the base I was reminded how cheezy the “wheels” on my Snap-On mig welder are. I’ve had the welder for 20+ years, and have been complaining about that for a while too. The problem is that with a big bottle of argon, theres more weight in the rear than with the “homeowner” bottle that came with the welder, and because the wheels are near the middle, the cart wants to tip to the rear when rolling. Now that I’ve made some room for myself, maybe I’ll build another cart for it. I’ve got a couple more sets of casters kicking around. Then theres the Lincon 225 arc welder. I’d kinda like to put that on casters, and have somewhere to hang the leads….

base pic 1
This is a pic of the base as described. Note the classy original base in the bottom shelf.

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