If you are looking for a cool and useful Aluminum tig welding project to test your tig skills,
I have one for you.
A tool tote tray.
Handy? You bet.
Because sometimes its very hand to have all your tig cups, collets, collet bodies, tungsten, die grinders, sanding discs, wire brushes, and everything else all in a tote tray on or next to your welding table.
And when you are not using stuff , it will fit nicely in one of your tool box drawers or on a shelf out of the way.
When you need it, just pick it up and put it on your welding table and all your tig welding supplies will be within arms reach.
I made this one out of aluminum diamond plate just because I thought it would look pretty sweet.
But you could also use hot or cold rolled steel sheet metal. It just wouldn’t look as cool or be as light.
A good sheet metal person would probably have notched the corners and used a press brake or sheet metal brake to bend the sides but since this is a welding project, and a lot of folks don’t have access to a sheet metal brake, I thought I would just cut the pieces and weld it all with no bends.
Besides, its faster and more fun just to weld all the sides….and it looks cooler with more welds.
You may have noticed in the video that I used a piece of aluminum angle along with some clamps to help me tack the sides.
Its not a must, but it makes things a bit easier. A solid block of aluminum works good too. If you ever have a chance to get some solid aluminum plate about an inch thick in various sizes , its handy to have around. …I use blocks of solid aluminum plate all the time for backing sheet metal up for tacking and welding.
And while I am on the subject of backing, never pass up a piece of copper either. Sheet metal welders usually have a drawer full of copper sheet pieces, blocks, bar stock in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
Copper is the next best thing to argon for backing up sheet metal welds.
I used the aluminum angle for tacking , but decided not to use any backing for the welds on this tote tray aluminum tig welding project.
I was pressed for time and needed to get er done.
Did you notice how I tacked it? I set the welder (miller synrowave 351) on about 130 amps and pumped the foot pedal quickly to utilize the arc force and tack fast. If you do it right, you get a really quick tack that is small and clean.
But if you have the least bit of gap, you can melt the edges away easily.
Its just a way of tacking with one hand while you hold the pieces with the other hand.
Once I got it tacked up, welding went pretty quick. The welds on a tote tray like this will be strong enough no matter how small so I motored on as fast as I could….
On an aluminum tig welding project like this one using 16 ga aluminum diamond plate, it would have helped the looks of the weld if I had positioned the part so that welding was all slightly downhill.
But I kind of got in a hurry and didn’t take the time to do that.
Oh well, the welds came out ok anyway and probably took less than 20 minutes of total fit up and weld time..not bad.
I am undecided about the handle. I made a tote years ago with a hollow handle that I put all my tig hardware inside of …but that took some time and was kind of hard to hold… I will probably just get some pvc pipe and pop 2 holes with a hole saw to fit the pvc handle in place.
When I get it done, I will post the pics here.
For the next video of a quick and easy welding project, I am thinking of making a tool tote tray out of 16 ga hot rolled steel and doing the welding with a miller passport mig welder plugged into a 115 outlet…what do you think?