A potpourri of great ideas for your own Welding Table or Cart:
I'd had my Industrial Hobbies mill sitting on its shipping palette for too long and decided it was time to build a stand for it. Rectangular tubing and 1/4" steel plate were the ideal targets for me to unleash my Tig welder's arc and polish my skills a bit before tackling the smoker.
This one is just a gleam in my eye. I'm searching for a project to get my young son off the video games and into learning to work with his hands. This sort of project ought to do it I would think!
My Home Shop Welding Rig
|Tig Welder : Miller Synchrowave 180|
I purchased my Tig Welder on eBay and hid it for a year without using it. I'd wanted one to assist in my hot rod project as well as for other things, but I needed to go take a welding course before I would know what I was doing. After I got tired of looking at the darned thing I finally got enrolled in a community college Tig course and have really enjoyed it. Welding is a lot harder than it looks (especially Tig welding), but once you get the hang of it, it is really a fun sense of accomplishment and gives you a lot of newfound capabilities for the shop. My welder was non-functional when it first arrived, and you can bet I took that seller's name in vain. After I opened up the machine I saw that the cable that connects to the torch had broken its terminal and was no longer making contact. Talk about a big on/off switch in the "off" position!
Now I'll bet that seller thought he was getting the better of me, but it was an easy fix and the welder has worked fabulously well ever since. I'll bet the guy never even knew what was wrong and feared an expensive repair bill.
My Tig welder...
I chose Tig because its what the hot rod guys all envy. Tig produces the nicest looking welds, has the most flexibility (and delicate touch), and can weld more kinds of metal than any other process. The downside of Tig, which I didn't know at the time, is that it is probably the hardest method to learn because of the need to coordinate two hands and your foot (on the pedal). This just takes time and practice, and is very doable. I recommend learning to gas weld first because it is slightly simpler and develops some of the same two-handed skills.
Frankly, if you're just looking to do some basic fab, it's far easier to Mig weld. You may still want to take a Tig and Gas Welding course (gas is still my favorite process--it just seems so much friendlier). Once you can Tig, Mig seems easy by comparison. As it stands, I will purchase a Mig welder at some point just because I can lay down some bead so much faster with one on a big fabrication project.
|Plasma Cutter: ESAB Powercut 1500|
ESAB Powercut 1500
This is a very cool unit that is probably far beyond my real needs (can cut 1 1/2" steel!?!!), but I lucked out on an eBay auction and got it for a real steal. New, these units cost about $3200. Mine was a demo and I got it for less than half that. It appears to have very little mileage on it. I had a little Hobart 25 unit that disappointed me. It just wasn't powerful enough to cut much more than sheet metal. This new machine ought to do the trick!
Someday I would really like to build a CNC plasma table for this torch. It's capabilities are well matched to the needs of such an application, and it would be so cool to have it tirelessly churning out complex designs from CAD drawings.
My brother tries out the plasma cutter...
|Mig Welder: Millermatic 25x|
After trying Mig in my community college blacksmithing class I just had to have one. They are so quick and easy. This is the same unit we used in the class. I think it will do me fine for any foreseeable project I may be tackling, so I'll be on the lookout for one.
Millermatic is definitely used...
I've had an oxy rig for years and never used it to weld. I bought it to heat up stubborn parts that wouldn't come apart. Now that I can actually weld and braze with it, I might fire it up a little more often. It sat in my storage unit for many years, but is back in the shop again now that I have more room.
As I mentioned up above, I really enjoy gas welding.
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