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Practical TIG Welding: TIG Table and Cart

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TIG Table and Cart


00:00 - Setting up your TIG welding station is an important part of your workshop preparation.
00:04 As we've already touched on, being comfortable during the welding process and having everything you need on hand for quick and easy setup changes will speed up your TIG welding and generally allow you to produce a better quality finished product.
00:18 There's nothing more satisfying than having all of your components cleaned, prepped and sitting on the table ready to weld.
00:25 Once we put on the helmet and strike an arc, we don't want to have to think about anything, other than producing the best weld that we can.
00:32 This is the reason that we've built the TIG welding table in the motorsport fabrication fundamentals course as we wanted a dedicated area to sit down and do our TIG welding in the HPA workshop.
00:43 While not every job you'll do will be at the table, having a place that's set up for TIG welding will allow you to have all of the required materials in one place and also provide an area to store those smaller components.
00:57 On our TIG table, we should have a place for everything, meaning we only require the welder to be plugged into the powerpoint, to then be able to sit down and begin welding.
01:06 To achieve this, you'll need a number of things at arm's reach such as your filler rods, your gas flow regulator, should that need adjusting, your machine for amperage and setting changes, a few blocks at varying heights to rest your forearms on and some clamping aids to allow you to tack weld items that aren't secure yet.
01:26 When it comes to the gas bottle and regulator, we do need to ensure that this is securely mounted so that there's no chance of it falling over as this could pose a significant risk in the workshop.
01:37 On our TIG trolley, we welded in a steel support that positively locates the base of the bottle, meaning that it can't slip off.
01:45 You're also going to need a strap or chain nearer to the top of the bottle to positively locate the bottle and make sure that it can't fall over.
01:53 It only takes a little effort to do a good job of this but it gives you peace of mind that your bottle isn't going to accidentally fall over or get knocked over, particularly while you're moving the table around your workspace.
02:05 Your table's going to need a metallic top that'll complete the electrical circuit for the current to transfer through the part and into the table which will have the earth lead connected to it.
02:16 On the table we built in the fundamentals course, we use a steel top for a few reasons.
02:21 Steel is a good electrical conductor but our TIG welding trolley will also be used for various other tasks, such as mounting a bench vice or guillotine which is more suited to a steel top compared to aluminium.
02:34 Steel is also a little bit harder wearing than aluminium, meaning that it's going to last longer.
02:40 For welding of alloy components however, a steel top actually isn't the best choice though and this can result in pitting of the aluminium material when the arc is initiated.
02:49 To combat this, we use a simple square of aluminium sheet that can be placed on the steel table top for alloy welding.
02:57 As TIG welding requires two hands for its operation, we sometimes need the help of clamping aids to hold and position awkward jobs.
03:05 There's literally hundreds of these on the market ranging from regular clamping methods like G clamps to specialist tube clamping vice grips.
03:14 One handy addition to any TIG bench is what's known as a third hand which is a weighted device with a pointed tip that'll help hold and position small parts with ease.
03:25 You can easily make a third hand by bending up some steel rod, adding some weight into the body and then sharpening the tip for precision placement.
03:32 Holding and securing our workpiece can sometimes require a more heavy duty approach.
03:37 If we're welding up complicated tube structures with precise tolerances, then it might be necessary to use a welding bench that incorporates a clamping system.
03:46 These are known as fixture tables and will have a series of holds spaced evenly across the entire surface.
03:52 These fixture tables are available in varying degrees of precision and the more inexpensive versions will be laser cut from heavy steel sheet and then welded together as a kit.
04:01 For those looking for greater precision than these fabricated versions offer, then there are thicker machined steel plate versions available at a much greater cost.
04:11 These machined tables are usually supplied as a kit with slip in clamps and 90° angled uprights for a modular jig table that can be adjusted to suit just about any project you may want to take on.
04:24 As TIG welding is an extremely clean welding process, these machine fixture tables will remain clear and free of weld spatter.
04:31 If your budget allows for a table like this then you will eliminate a lot of the guess work that goes into setting up complicated jobs and also lessen the impact that heat distortion will have on your project.
04:43 When you're just getting started, a dedicated TIG table or fixture table definitely isn't essential and there's nothing wrong with just adding an alloy sheet to the top of an existing timber work bench but as you start expanding your skills and doing more welding though, having a dedicated table can be a real advantage.
05:02 Unfortunately, not all TIG welding jobs can be done on the bench and we'll need to have our machine portable for various jobs in and around our projects.
05:11 For this reason, even if you're not going to the trouble of building a portable welding table like ours, a cheaply available weld trolley or cart that incorporates the welder, gas and filler rods into a small mobile unit can be a great place to start out.

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