by Jason Becker
Mancub and I were tasked with building a welding cart for the guys over at Heffner Performance. They had been to the shop recently for a Titanium TIG welding demo and we sent them home with an Everlast PowerTig 200 DV machine to try out.
We decided to build them a welding cart for the new machine. They gave us some dimensions to work with and some other design considerations to consider. We started off by drawing the concept on a piece of cardboard, I like to work on carboard because it stands up pretty good to the shop environment. We laid everything out on the cardboard, put down the dimensions and took the plan over to the Koike table to cut it out. The Koike table is very simplistic and overall a great piece of equipment.
The Heffner Cart has been my favorite build while at Weld.com thus far. Mancub and I had a lot of fun designing, building and welding this cart together. It was our first fabrication project together since I had joined the channel and we worked well together on the project. We didn’t have any prior knowledge of the cart being built and had to design and fabricate as we went. We had a general idea going in, but after that, everything was designed piece by piece as we went through the build.
When I have to design and fabricate a project, I like to take additional time in the planning stages and mentally build the project a few times in my mind. This allows me to foresee design flaws and make changes prior to the actual build. This eliminates a lot of wasted time during the actual fabrication. I am sure a lot of other fabricators are the same way. Unfortunately, on this build we didn’t have that luxury. We just had to check and double check all of our dimensions prior to cutting, and trust in our experience that everything would land right where we intended it.
When I first started using a CNC plasma cutter, I would cut pieces out individually and then make the necessary welds that would be required to hold it together. One day my buddy Josh LeBeau who worked at the school with me showed me a new method of cutting out the material and adding slots along the edges that needed to get bent in different directions. The slots allowed us to keep the material intact and to be able to fold along the cutouts. Very similar to folding up a paper airplane back in school. I adopted his method on this build and we made the majority of welding cart on one sheet of material. The accessories that were added to the cart had to be cut out on a separate sheet due to the size of the pieces, they just wouldn’t all fit on a single 4’x8’ sheet. Nonetheless, we used the same type of method to build the accessories as well. Working this way gave us many benefits. It cut the welding time almost in half, helped alleviate distortion to the sheet metal, kept our tolerances in check and made the overall build much simpler than cutting out a bunch of pieces and welding all of the outside corner joints. It also gave us a much more professional look overall.
In total we spent about 48 hours in this build and we finished on-time, produced 3 videos and surprised Heffner with a cart for their shop. We spent a couple of late nights on the build and got some great footage and a ton of bloopers so be sure to check them out at the end of the videos. Until next time. Make Every Weld Better Than Your Last.