Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG
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  1. #1
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    Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Here's an aluminum cart I'm making for my Everlast PT200DX that I got a couple months ago. It's built almost entirely out of stuff that was laying around from other jobs. The lower level of the cart will hold the water cooler setup I'm making. I also plan on putting a slide-out drawer somewhere for consumables. Sorry for the crappy pics, they were taken with my cell phone because my camera is having issues.


    Base level and water tank. 5" heavy duty casters from shipwreck tools, and 10" solid rubber wheels which I had laying around.


    2 Gallon water tank made from .063" aluminum. The aluminum tank will act as a heatsink which will help since I will not be using a heat exchanger.


    Made a bung that will accommodate an automotive valve cover cap from Autozone. This cap will pop out if the tank should ever freeze. Also put on two 1/8" NPT bungs for the water feed and return.




    1/2" allthread and nyloc nuts holding the wheels on.


    Here is the water pump I'm using. It's a Shurflo agricultural diaphragm pump. It easily makes like 200psi if you let it. Maximum free flow is like 1gpm or something. This is a 12volt model pump. I've found that running it from the 3.3v supply from a computer power supply holds it right around 50psi through my 12' WP-20 torch. There are some issues that I will address when I install the system into the cart, more on this later.


    Here are some tubes that will hold different types of filler rod.





    Here you can see 2 short tubes welded on top that will locate the welder's rubber feet. Also, the filler rod holding tubes are bolted to the cart.


    Here you can see how the ratchet strap mounts to hold the argon tank on.
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 07-15-2011 at 05:40 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG


    Ratchet strap firmly holding the welder down. The carry handle on top of the welder also acts as the handle to move the cart.

    If you have a similar welder I would strongly suggest you throw away your everlast supplied torch and get a small water cooled torch. I got this complete 12.5' 250amp WP-20 torch with rubber lines on ebay for $89 shipped; truly worth every penny.



    I'll post more as I make more progress.
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 07-15-2011 at 05:43 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Interesting choice for the pump. You said it has a max free flow of 1GPM. That's free, unrestricted flow right? Have you thought about what it will drop to when it has to go through the tiny orifices in your torch head? Better check it before you start cranking the heat through it. The flow rate might be way to low and then you'll cook your power lead.

    I built mine with a Procon because I couldn't find a suitable alternative. Make sure you keep the coolant clean too. Even a pinhole in that diaphragm pump will put it out of commission.

    Cart looks cool.

    E

  4. #4
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Thanks.
    50psi is going to push the same amount of water through the torch's fixed restriction regardless of what kind of pump produces it.

    I just tested it at 20 fl oz per minute @ ~42psi

    I've run about three 80cu-ft tanks of argon now and the torch has never become warm. The return water feels like <10°F warmer than the feed, so it should continue to work well.

    Also I am using an inline brass filter before the pump (visible in last picture).
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 07-15-2011 at 06:15 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    how are you keep the aluminum tank from corroding?

  6. #6
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    I'm not, how long do you think it will last?
    The tank is 5052 H32 and I'm running distilled water, so it should last quite some time. If I do notice any corrosion I may do an epoxy sealer.
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 07-15-2011 at 06:48 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    i have no idea... just from what i've read you should make the tank out of stainless or plastic.. i know it doesnt take regular aluminum long to corrode though.. i dont know if anodizing would help or not... i use to have to deliver die cast aluminum parts to be impregnated, they soaked the parts in a solution and it sealed the aluminum castings so oil wouldnt absorb into the material.. guess it worked because it was a shift housing on 2 speed dana rearends and we made thousands upon thousands of them..

    hows the pump working out? and where did you get it? your pump looks like a one of the agricultural sprayer pumps.


    i would possibly get a small transmission cooler and fit in the return line somewhere..


    i plan on using a stainless pan for my tank and making the lid out of steel and powder coating the lid and using brass fittings.. and i have a couple of copper coolers out of old water fountains just have to decide which i want to use....

    i have a fountain pump i was going to use but i dont think it'll be enough.. my next choice is a little giant submersible pump i think it was like 205 gph...
    could you put your pump up to the 5amp ouput from the computer power supply your running and it would have more output?
    Last edited by brucer; 07-15-2011 at 07:18 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    For a second there I thought you rethought your idea. Looking at the bare frame picts with the square tube with the little circles, I though you got slick and turned the entire tube frame into your reservoir. I was thinking "Cool! There's an interesting way to save space and increase your cooling surface area even if it is a PITA to build and might be a bit hot to touch"... definately be an interesting twist on the usual home made cooler or cart thread. The home made "Kooler cart"!

    Hmmm... there's an idea. We need to do away with the fan and add ice storage so we can chill the beer as well as the water for the torch. Frame supporting the beverage compartment could be used to hold the tig water and the ice would chill the frame. Of course that means we'll need to add an ice maker to the shop, and maybe a blender so we can make some nice crushed ice drinks...


    I'm disapointed in your design now....

    Good job.
    Last edited by DSW; 07-15-2011 at 07:19 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    5052 aluminum is a 'marine' grade and is suitable for seawater use, so hopefully it'll last a good many years.

    I got the pump off Ebay 4 or 5 years ago and ended up not using it. Looks like they're about 60-70 bucks.
    The pump works great but being a positive displacement pump it generates some pretty good pulsations. The water lines pulse like they're alive lol (but not so much at the torch). I found a simple air trap pulsation damper on the pump outlet essentially eliminates any pressure gauge needle bounce.
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 07-15-2011 at 07:30 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    The pump is like 60 watts max running on 12v, but I'm running it on 3.4v and it's drawing 3.4amps (12watts) It's surprising how little power is required.
    I honestly don't think i'll need a heat exchanger or especially a fan. I've only been running the tank half full and its only been getting barely detectably warmer than ambient. The 5volt output of the computer power supply puts the pressure up to like 80psi and it eventually bursts the feed line where it terminates at the torch. The lines are only rated for 60psi i believe.
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 07-15-2011 at 07:38 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Its slick to read through the posts and see how people do things. The rubber cap you used it neat I use a SS tube with a rubber cork on my cooler but yours is neater. I getting ready to make another tig cooler for sale and I will use that cap.
    have you checked the motor temp after running it a while.
    have fun
    Tom

  12. #12
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by brucer View Post
    i have no idea... just from what i've read you should make the tank out of stainless or plastic.. i know it doesnt take regular aluminum long to corrode though..
    If I was really concerned (and I don't think there's any reason to be; I have an aluminum boat trailer that gets dipped in saltwater dozens of times a year and it's fine) I would just toss a piece of zinc into the aluminum tank to act as a sacrificial anode. Boat places sell them.

    Either that, or use some anti-freeze made for TIG coolers (Miller sells it)...I think it has anti-corrosion additives.

    But I don't think you really need anything.

  13. #13
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    zerex racing super coolant will prevent the corrosion.

  14. #14
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Thats VERY cool Mike, and my unprofessional opinion is to not worry about the corrosion, I dont think anything major is gonna happen...

    Hey, what do you think of the machine? Ive thought about picking one up myself, and I might eventually here. Itll be interesting to know what your thoughts on it are, as you look to be someone with some real hood-time, not someone picking up a lower-cost welder and telling us how running their first beads with it went...
    "Overkill is an often under-rated achievement" -Will Hayden

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  15. #15
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Nice work ! i have an obssesion for aluminum , So u get an A+ . the idea that DSW had to run the coolant through the frame work would be real cool ! They do it on alot of snowmobile chassis now.
    >Innovations are what i leave behind for History<

  16. #16
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by Thiel-Metal-Fab View Post
    Nice work ! i have an obssesion for aluminum , So u get an A+ . the idea that DSW had to run the coolant through the frame work would be real cool ! They do it on alot of snowmobile chassis now.
    That's funny, I just fixed one not to long ago. The back of the track cover snapped off after after a while since they stacked weight on it. The aluminum running boards are radiators and the bungs both broke off.



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  17. #17
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Nice work

  18. #18
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Just as a quick update..

    I put a $7 copper air trap on the pump outlet to serve as a pulsation damper. It fixed the pulsing issue and took the psi needle bounce from ~40psi to 1psi. Pressure now reads a steady 36psi running from the 3.3v line of the power supply. All that's left really is to figure out how I'm going to lay everything out on the cart, get a couple lines made locally, and weld some lead hangers onto the cart.

    Last edited by MikeGyver; 07-24-2011 at 03:02 PM.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    That's real nice, Mike. A lot of welding carts flying around these here interwebs and not too many really impress me. Your does. I have a 256 and I too would like to know how that 200 is working out for you. Again, good work.

  20. #20
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Very nice

  21. #21
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    TIG torch leads are copper, so the water circulating in the leads that return to the aluminum tanks I've built over the years were carrying copper ions from that copper lead.

    My aluminum cooling water tanks, all four of them, rotted out in a few years; all made of 1/8" or lighter 5086 H116 which doesn't care about salt water but is just a battery for copper solutions.

    Coating may help? glycol can slow the interaction but unless your torch leads are not copper (!! ??) this tank will pit out in a few years, but they're simple to build new and cool well in the mean time and a new tiny box tank every four or five years is not a big inconvenience.

    If you run the return coolant into the aluminum frame, especially 60series extrusions the process will eat the frame up as well as the tank and happen faster with the 60series extrusions.

    The tank will radiate fine for smaller torches, if you run a 300A system all day at 280+ amps then a six to eight gallon reservoir will get hot to the touch but still cool the torch. One aid is to weld bars/strips along side the tank that allow more conduction and cooling by increased convection- fins would increase the cooling of this smaller tank should it become an issue?

    You can back the pump's motor up to the tank's welded-on fins and increase the heat removal without adding an external radiator, too.

    Good use of the pulse dampener to allow the PD pump to do this job, all the copper in the system will add ions to the water but will also radiate heat themselves.

    cheers,
    Kevin Morin

  22. #22
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Make some more progress the other day..


    Made some lead hangers. The aluminum is 3M VHB taped together, and held down with the strap.


    Made a little polished "dash board" for the water inlet/outlet quick connect fittings and an illuminated toggle switch for the pump.




    Plumbing is basically finished now




    Leads all rolled up. Still need to make a hanger for the pedal and do the wiring, then it'll be done.
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 07-31-2011 at 11:05 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Ok got the wiring done today.


    Modified computer power supply.
    Picked up this crappy 250w supply for $3 from a surplus type store. Made a few mods to it so it could be used. Most importantly a trimpot was added to the 3.3Vsense to trick the supply into raising the 3.3v rail a bit. I can get the 3.3v rail up to 3.5v or so, my better supply went to 3.8v which gave 50psi.


    Toggle switch for water pump and indicator light.


    Yeah, it's pretty bright lol. Hopefully I won't forget the pump is off again now.


    Running around 42psi on 3.5v or something.
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  24. #24
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    Just as a followup for those who may be interested in building their own...
    It's been almost a year now and this water cooler setup is still working flawlessly. I have never had one single issue with it yet and the machine sees a fair amount of use.
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  25. #25
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    Re: Making Aluminum Cart & Water Cooler for TIG

    so how is this welder working out for you Mike are you satisified with your setup or wish you went another route?

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