Welding Rig set-up
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  1. #1
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    Sep 2010
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    Welding Rig set-up

    Hello all,

    I am not new to the forum, i have been lurking for probably the last year but never posting, well I graduated and got my certificate in welding here in central texas and am wanting to go out on my own, at this point in my life I am not wanting to weld full-time as i have other trades that i am good at and want to explore my options with. However I simply LOVE welding, before me going to college i had never welded before with that being said I am not a top notch welder but im not bad at all.

    My big question to all is what is everyones rig like? I have looked at all the rigs on here and you tube and other forums, but what do yall suggest for a beginner, I have an 99 f250 powerstroke super cab longbed,

    What are the pro's and con's of having a welder on back of your truck or putting everything on a trailer? sorry for the novice question and thanks in advance for replyz..........

  2. #2
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    Aug 2010
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    Arkansas
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    If the welder is in a truck then the truck is basicly good for nothing else but welding work and if that truck is down then so is your business. If you have a trailer rig then you can use the truck for anything else that you need it for. And, if the truck is down you can get another vehicle to pull the trailer with and keep working without any interuption. There are exceptions to this theory too...pipeline work, etc.
    Stephen
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  3. #3
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    Sep 2010
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Thanks goinssr for your reply, i am loving the idea of it on a trailer because i can have all the extra room to haul whatever i need around along with my welding equipment however, i guess it wouldnt be wise to try and go pipeline with a trailer? I hate clutter and am afraid that everything will be cluttered on back of my truck. That is not good for business having a cluttered up mess. If it was on a trailer i could continue to use my pickup as i wanted.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2009
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    Huntsville, AL
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    443

    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    My 2cents

    TRAILER
    ---It's also prudent to think about storage.----
    If you only work from home or the immediate area and have a place to safely store a trailer it can be a good choice.
    Potential for more storage, convenience.
    If your traveling, There is no way I want my trailer in the motel parking lot. Waiting to be robbed. Not to say it wouldn't happen to your truck as well.
    Easy to unhook and keep good MPG'S.
    It allows you the use of your truck for whatever else your heart may desire.
    Upkeep, you have more tires and bearings, seals, races to take care of.
    Trailer tires are a bitch! I never have good luck with them.
    Limits your ability to get offroad.
    Limits your ability to get into tight spaces.
    Limits your ability to get into fast food places lolz
    If your truck goes down for some reason just hook rig to another one.
    The Pipeliners are persnickety, might not fit in with a trailer.

    In Truck:
    If your willing to spend the money for a trailer I suggest you spend the money on a used or new flatbed for your rig. 9-11' or so in length would be good.
    You'll fit in
    No extra time setting up trailer, and dropping off trailer.
    Just hop in and roll.
    Possibly limited access to welder if repairs immediately needed.

    What type of welder and gear are you going to set up?

    I myself, am just starting to piece together a rig as well. I'm about to test out on asme section ix gtaw. And have been thinking quite a bit about this as well.

    I currently operate side jobs, farm repairs etc. off of a trailer, and live in an apartment so I have to pay for the trailer/machine to be stored. I have to go get it, and load up, and hook up everything etc. It is not convenient. It limits my turning radius. And is a pain to take off-road. My current truck-F150- is not nearly large enough to have an SA200 in the bed.

    I'm saving to buy a used flatbed diesel, and get to it. No fooling around. I hate my trailer -- I can't back it up for ****! LOLZ
    I have my current truck to use if I need a bed for something.
    Sometimes, unfortunately in Welding it seems like you got to pay to play, and hopefully it will prove to be a decent tax write off, and provide a good wage.
    1981 Lincoln SA 200
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    I'm learning to stick metal together

  5. #5
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    Oct 2006
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    Ca, USA
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    There's a big difference between knowing how to melt metal together and being able to fabricate and repair all the various things you'll be asked to do as an independent welder. There's also alot more to being in business for yourself than just welding stuff together. Keep this in mind before jumping into building a mobile welding rig. You may find out you love to make welds but don't like the other aspects of being an independent welder/fabricator. It's not for everybody. I recommend you go work in a welding shop for awhile and see how that goes before making any investment or decisions. You also need to acquire the skills and experience needed beforehand, to make your venture a success. There's alot more to it than knowing what to do with a puddle of liquid metal and a filler wire.

    With that out of the way, to answer the question...

    Before you can even begin thinking about setting up a truck, you need to know exactly what you need the truck to do for you. Your needs will dictate what you need to carry on the truck and that will dictate how best to set up a truck to do what you need it to efficiently.

    Everyone's needs are different. A simple pipeliner's rig would never work for me, cause I do all sorts of different things and need to carry alot more and different equipment and tools than pipeliners carry. I also need to carry raw materials and finished fabricated items, so I need an overhead rack and some bed space. Pipeliner rigs don't need a rack or much storage space in the bed.

    A trailer rig also wouldn't work for me, many jobs downtown I wouldn't be able access easily with a trailer. Those who work out in the open country probly don't find a trailer cumbersome to work from. Everything mounted on the truck works best for me, maybe not for someone else though. I don't need to use my truck for anything other than welding, as I have other vehicles for personal use. I don't mind it being set up solely for work. Different strokes for different folks.
    Last edited by DesertRider33; 09-29-2010 at 07:09 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    The first thing a tech school welding grad needs is to go to work for someone else at a real shop and unlearn some of the nonsence that seems to be taught at those schools. The school of hard knocks is the only one that really counts for some folks.

    Then, set you a rig up on a trailer, that way if your truck lays down on you you can beg,borrow, or rent one to get to a job. And if you're doing non welding work you can have a pickup set up for whatever else you need.
    Ranger 250 GXT
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  7. #7
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    Feb 2010
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Check out my rig in my album in my profile. it may give you some ideas

  8. #8
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Quote Originally Posted by slim83 View Post
    Check out my rig in my album in my profile. it may give you some ideas
    Nice pics...
    I'm envious of your rig. And exactly in line with what I'm thinking in terms of a rig.
    1981 Lincoln SA 200
    Miller Trailblazer 302g
    Miller 211 Mig Welder w/ Autoset
    I'm learning to stick metal together

  9. #9
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    Feb 2010
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    385

    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Thanks. Wish I had time to build a bed but I weld for plants during the day and moonlight with a oilfield repair service on nights and on weekends. Huntsville huh? My dad did a job in decatur in 96 for BOC. Love that area.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2010
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    Temple/Rosebud Texas
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Dang guys im getting alot of mixed reviews which is good to an extent, I would love to have the freedom of my bed, and all the extra room on a trailer, I just dont see myself going to the pipelines anytime soon, maybe if i got really good at it and couldnt resist the money, but for right now, i would like to stay local and do work around my town and surrounding towns.

    I am against having to roll everything up on my truck just to leave for lunch or what if there is an emergency. Im trying to be logical thinking that i may have to carry pre-fabricted items to the job site and cant do it with the welder on my bed. I love the possibility of not being able to carry a trailer everywhere, and not having to worry about people jacking with my stuff.

    I saw a gooseneck welding trailer for sale not too long ago, it sounds like overkill but i would be more inclined to buy something like that because not too many people around my town could steal the trailer because it is a gooseneck, it had all sorts of room and boxes pre made on it and plenty of room for extra things if i needed to haul them. That opposede to the limited items i could carry on a 9 foot flatbed is what makes me think a trailer is right for me

  11. #11
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    Feb 2010
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    385

    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Not every truck with a machine in the bed is for pipelines. I'm not a pipeliner. I work in refineries and oilfield. Having the rig all in the truck comes in so handy. I can get in tight areas and don't have to worry bout backing a trailer all the time. As for carrying material it seems a trailer pulled by the rig could handle that. Ultimitly its up to you. Good luck

  12. #12
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    Sep 2010
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    hey thanks for the info slim, i see you are in odessa, i got family in midland, they used to stay in andrews, i remember driving from big spring to andrews on that road (176 i think). You have a very nice setup man, seeing yours makes me want to say screw it and mount everything in my bed like yours

  13. #13
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    Feb 2010
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    385

    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Just curious as to what type of welding you'll be making a living with? Does it require a truck?

  14. #14
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    Feb 2008
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    North of Philly
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    My experience working mirrors a lot of what DR and jsm11 said above. Trailers are great for some things but many times they are a real PITA to deal with.

    I just helped out a friend move a trailer down to his shore house so they could load up some construction debris. Backing a 14' trailer blind around a corner and down a 10' wide alley with an 8' wide truck was a real treat, even though I was lucky enough to have 4 lanes to work with on the main street to jockey it into position. There's no way I could have done that in many places in the city. I'd have had trouble just pulling out let alone trying to do so with a trailler on. In some cases we've had to seperate the trailer and either push it in empty or move it seperately with a machine. Having to drop the trailer, then come back later and rehook is also a pain sometimes. The up side is that I didn't have to have all that cr@p in the bed today when I needed to go do another job, and I can get to the dump on Monday.

    I've got a friend who primarily works out of an 18' box trailer. He'll drop it at the job and leave it there till he's done at the end of the week. It's nice that he doesn't have to haul all those tools around, but you wouldn't believe how many times he's got to make a special trip out of his way to get one or two tools from the trailer, when someone calls and he needs to jump onto another job for a day.

    I've even looked into tossing a utility body on my SRW F250 for jobs down in the city and stocking it with a 2nd set of basic tools. There are any number of small streets and alleys I can't easily get an 8' wide dually down if someones parked on the sidewalk and partially in the street. Having to load/unload everything from an open bed so I can park the truck 4 blocks away where I can find parking is also a pain.

    While for some things I do a trailer is perfect, in general it's not worth the hassle usually for me. I've found an 11' utility body works best for most things I usually do (though sometimes I wished I'd gone with the 14' bed..). You need to figure out exactly what you want to do and what you need. What stuff do you need everyday, and what do you only need here and there? Can you get a trailer into the places you need to go and can you back a trailer?
    .



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  15. #15
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up


  16. #16
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    If you go with a trailer bear in mind that the longer the distance from the hitch to the axles the easier it is to maneuver. I LOVE backing my 16' (22' total length) equipment trailer compared to the 8' utility trailer (or the 6' splitter).

    The greater the distance between the hitch and axles the slower the trailer responds in a backing turn. Short trailers can get into trouble very quickly, long trailers give you warning (and require extra lead time) before you pass the point of no return.

    If you go trailer then make sure you have good door mirrors. If they don't protrude more than a foot from the door then they suck - get some ugly huge door mirrors that give you a view of your trailer.

    If you go with the large trailer take time to practice backing, forward cornering and using the brakes. These are things that can get expensive and irritating to learn on the job. You can get away with pulling a long trailer without training, but you will probably put yourself in a bind sooner or later.
    Hobart LX235
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  17. #17
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    thanks gwiley, im no rookie when it comes to trailers, haha i grew up in the sticks, hauling hay yada yada yada and all that, i have a cdl and all, however i think like half of the other guys said it is going to be more beneficial to have everything all on one rig, i talked to my instructors at school and they said the same.

    Slim, im looking into doing mobile welding around my hometown, nothing right now for a living but i have to start somewhere. Its tough times right now in this economy so not alot of the welding shops are hiring especially rookies fresh out of school.

  18. #18
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Quote Originally Posted by blubyu02 View Post
    thanks gwiley, im no rookie when it comes to trailers, haha i grew up in the sticks, hauling hay yada yada yada and all that, i have a cdl and all, however i think like half of the other guys said it is going to be more beneficial to have everything all on one rig, i talked to my instructors at school and they said the same.

    Slim, im looking into doing mobile welding around my hometown, nothing right now for a living but i have to start somewhere. Its tough times right now in this economy so not alot of the welding shops are hiring especially rookies fresh out of school.
    Great. i cant imagine trying to tool up in this economy> best of luck.
    Hobart LX235
    Victor 250 Oxy-Acetylene Rig (welding and cutting)
    Bobcat 773
    F-350, 1999, 4x4, 16' 10K# trailer
    Outdoor Wood Burner - 10 cords/year

  19. #19
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    Feb 2010
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    385

    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Well hope you stay steady. Good luck there is always work here in west texas oilfield

  20. #20
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    Aug 2012
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    Oklahoma
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    Has anyone thought of just building a skid to slide in and
    Out of the truck bed. This has worked great for both my and myself.

  21. #21
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    Feb 2013
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    Ontario
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    Re: Welding Rig set-up

    I was reading this post and thought the same. I'm in the middle of building one myself, because I think(for me) it will work the best.

    I also noticed this is an older post. It would be interesting to find out what the OP did, and if he is still welding.

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