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Welding Cart Project part 4- tig welding with silicon bronze /tig welding aluminum

click here if you missed parts 1, 2, and 3

So….this is part 4 of the welding cart project. 

The cart is actually finished now and turned out really well but I split it up into 5 parts just to make the videos nice and short….and because I needed a vacation.

In this video, I made the cable reels that go on the sides of the cart to keep the tig torch, ground clamp, and foot pedal cable rolled up and out of the way while I am not using them.

All those cords and hoses can really turn into an octopus if you don't have places for them.

I have seen lots of pics of welding carts on welding forums where the cable holders were made using bent tubing along with sheet metal and were shaped like a half moon.

I don't have a tubing bender…but I did have some 4 inch aluminized exhaust tubing along with some 2"x .125" aluminum bar stock.  I decided to use 2 pieces of the 4 inch exhaust tubing to make some brackets that I could then fasten some aluminum bar stock to...Since aluminum is so easy to cut on the band saw, I went with it thinking it would have smooth edges and would not be likely to cut or damage any hoses or cables I wrapped on it.

Making the steel brackets for the cable reels on the welding cart

The brackets are made from what I had lying around without having to buy extra stuff.

I used 2 pieces of 2 inch by 1/8" thick cold rolled about 18 inches long along with 2 pieces of 4 inch tubing about 4 inches long as well as some pieces of 18 ga steel cut to the same radius as the 4 inch exhaust tubes.

Why Use Silicon Bronze rod on Steel?

I chose silicon bronze to weld the radiused 18 ga pieces to the 4 inch tubing mainly because its kinda fun to use.

Silicon bronze works really well on thin sheet  metal joints and sometimes warps a lot less than using er70 filler rod…and like I say, its fun to mess around with.

silicon bronze is really a brazing rod and melts at a lower temp than steel so technically, I "TIG brazed" the parts with silicon bronze.  Either way, I stuck them together with lots of tack welds and  since the steel flat bar will be mig welded to the main  frame, it will be plenty strong.

TIG welding Aluminum for the cable holder covers.

I considered cutting out some aluminum tread plate pieces but they are only .063" thick and that thin of an edge might cause some cutting of cables or wires….That is why I decided to use some aluminum flat bar I had in stock.

So I clamped it all down on a clean steel table top and made several tack welds.

Then, I tig welded all the butt joints using 3/32" 4043 rod.

tig welding techniques

There are several techniques you can use for tig welding aluminum and adding filler wire determines the ripple pattern.

Add filler wire less frequently, and the ripple spacing is farther apart….Add filler more frequently for a tighter ripple pattern.

I messed around with both methods just for kicks.  I really like the weld with the tight ripples where I added rod more frequently, but i can appreciate any weld that is uniform no matter the spacing of the ripples….just as long as the ripples are not spaced too wide.

Super wide spacing between filler rod addition can cause problems.  Tig welds with super widely spaced ripples often have areas where the weld metal is really too thin. The stacked dimes look might look nice, but if the spacing is too wide, there will be areas of the weld bead that are significantly thinner and therefore weaker. 

I have seen cracks develop over time, and I have also seen tiny cracks that turn into leaks in tanks that need to hold pressure from a combination of sub surface porosity, and a thin area between ripples.

The cable holders for this welding cart are pretty much just a lip to keep the cables from slipping off so any ripple spacing on the welds is not really a factor.

I match drilled the aluminum and steel parts and used self drilling stainless screws with countersunk head….and I sunk the screws in flush for a pretty smooth finish.

I am still not completely sure which tig welder to put on the welding cart….but I am pretty sure the next cart I make will either be made from 1 inch square tubing, or maybe even aluminum tubing because when I put 2 gas cylinders on the cart along with a welder, its pretty heavy.  It rolls easily, but it is definitely heavier than it really needs to be.

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