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Thread: Harbor Freight Tool Chest Welding Carts

  1. #1
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    Harbor Freight Tool Chest Welding Carts

    I thought maybe some people here would enjoy seeing this.

    Back in 20, I made myself a welding cart from a Harbor Freight tool chest. I had an Eastwood cart and a Vulcan cart, and they were both very good products, but they had shortcomings.

    First, they had virtually no storage. Neither one had drawers. The Eastwood cart had 6 holders for TIG tubes plus two tiny trays, and the Vulcan cart had a tiny plastic box.

    Second, everything was out in my way. The hangers put the cables and so on out away from the carts, and it was always a mess.

    Third, the carts were way too low. The Eastwood cart had two shelves, and the bottom one was maybe 5" off the floor, so to work with my TIG welder, I had to bend over and use a flashlight. The top shelf was also pretty low, as was the top shelf on the Vulcan cart.

    Final issues: the Vulcan cart only held one machine and one tank.

    I got myself a US General chest on sale, and I made a base from heavy 1" by 3" tubing. Then I added a platform for tanks. I made an upper restraint for the tanks, and I put holes in it for TIG rods. I painted the base with truck bed coating, and I attached it using the chest's existing threaded holes. I had to buy some new screws and washers, but that was about it.

    Here it is.

    Name:  10 28 20 harbor freight tool chest welding cart 19 with tanks mocked up small.jpg
Views: 327
Size:  243.6 KB

    In that picture, it's just mocked up with an oxygen tank and the machines sitting sideways. Now I have argon and C25, and the machines face the right. The casters under the tanks are welded on. I have 16 long screws attaching the base to the chest's caster holes. The casters under the right side have screws going through them, through the tubing, and into the cart. The whole structure I built can be taken off, and the cart will be just like new.

    The toilet paper filter for the plasma cutter is on a bracket welded to a piece of 1" steel tubing.

    This cart is fantastic. It has 10000 cubic inches of storage, it puts my machines where I can get at them, and it holds two big tanks. It cost somewhere around $350, total. I don't recall the exact figure.

    There were two things about this cart that needed to be changed. First, one set of wheels needed to be farther apart than the others. A rectangular base will always be easy to rock, but a trapezoidal base will resist it, so it's harder to tip. Second, the wheelbase was too long. It worked fine, but if I had put wheels closer to the tanks, the cart would have turned in a smaller area.

    I just made a second cart for smaller tanks. I put the upper restraint lower so it will fit a wider range of tanks. I created a crossmember to put the wheels on the tank end farther out, and I put the wheels closer to the other pair. I don't have a TIG welder on this machine, so I didn't add TIG storage.

    Name:  08 13 22 harbor freight red tool chest welding cart no tanks small.jpg
Views: 307
Size:  332.6 KB

    This cart should be a lot better than the first one. I'm going to alter the first one so the wheelbase is like this one's.

    I don't plan to put hangers on it. They seem unnecessary. Hanging cables and things on the tanks and the second cart's filter mount keeps them out of the way.

    I used truck bed coating because it's tougher than paint.

    Some people make carts like this and put their chests inside heavy frames. That seems pointless to me. The chest has an internal frame already. An external frame would add nothing but weight, cost, and fabrication time.

    I looked at EZFab kits, but they were extremely expensive, they still required welding and painting, and they seemed inferior in terms of strength and ergonomics. With a kit, I would have spent something like $700 instead of $350, and I would have ended up with a cart that was not as good.

    Hope this is helpful to others.

  2. Likes whtbaron, psacustomcreations liked this post
  3. #2
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    Re: Harbor Freight Tool Chest Welding Carts

    Looks good. Only negative about the wider wheelbases is that they won't squeeze out a man door, but it looks like you're moving through the overhead anyway...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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  4. #3
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    Re: Harbor Freight Tool Chest Welding Carts

    Looks great 👍

    I like big wheels on my tool chest's.
    Easy to roll on shop floor.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Caballero View Post
    I thought maybe some people here would enjoy seeing this.

    Back in 20, I made myself a welding cart from a Harbor Freight tool chest. I had an Eastwood cart and a Vulcan cart, and they were both very good products, but they had shortcomings.

    First, they had virtually no storage. Neither one had drawers. The Eastwood cart had 6 holders for TIG tubes plus two tiny trays, and the Vulcan cart had a tiny plastic box.

    Second, everything was out in my way. The hangers put the cables and so on out away from the carts, and it was always a mess.

    Third, the carts were way too low. The Eastwood cart had two shelves, and the bottom one was maybe 5" off the floor, so to work with my TIG welder, I had to bend over and use a flashlight. The top shelf was also pretty low, as was the top shelf on the Vulcan cart.

    Final issues: the Vulcan cart only held one machine and one tank.

    I got myself a US General chest on sale, and I made a base from heavy 1" by 3" tubing. Then I added a platform for tanks. I made an upper restraint for the tanks, and I put holes in it for TIG rods. I painted the base with truck bed coating, and I attached it using the chest's existing threaded holes. I had to buy some new screws and washers, but that was about it.

    Here it is.

    Name:  10 28 20 harbor freight tool chest welding cart 19 with tanks mocked up small.jpg
Views: 327
Size:  243.6 KB

    In that picture, it's just mocked up with an oxygen tank and the machines sitting sideways. Now I have argon and C25, and the machines face the right. The casters under the tanks are welded on. I have 16 long screws attaching the base to the chest's caster holes. The casters under the right side have screws going through them, through the tubing, and into the cart. The whole structure I built can be taken off, and the cart will be just like new.

    The toilet paper filter for the plasma cutter is on a bracket welded to a piece of 1" steel tubing.

    This cart is fantastic. It has 10000 cubic inches of storage, it puts my machines where I can get at them, and it holds two big tanks. It cost somewhere around $350, total. I don't recall the exact figure.

    There were two things about this cart that needed to be changed. First, one set of wheels needed to be farther apart than the others. A rectangular base will always be easy to rock, but a trapezoidal base will resist it, so it's harder to tip. Second, the wheelbase was too long. It worked fine, but if I had put wheels closer to the tanks, the cart would have turned in a smaller area.

    I just made a second cart for smaller tanks. I put the upper restraint lower so it will fit a wider range of tanks. I created a crossmember to put the wheels on the tank end farther out, and I put the wheels closer to the other pair. I don't have a TIG welder on this machine, so I didn't add TIG storage.

    Name:  08 13 22 harbor freight red tool chest welding cart no tanks small.jpg
Views: 307
Size:  332.6 KB

    This cart should be a lot better than the first one. I'm going to alter the first one so the wheelbase is like this one's.

    I don't plan to put hangers on it. They seem unnecessary. Hanging cables and things on the tanks and the second cart's filter mount keeps them out of the way.

    I used truck bed coating because it's tougher than paint.

    Some people make carts like this and put their chests inside heavy frames. That seems pointless to me. The chest has an internal frame already. An external frame would add nothing but weight, cost, and fabrication time.

    I looked at EZFab kits, but they were extremely expensive, they still required welding and painting, and they seemed inferior in terms of strength and ergonomics. With a kit, I would have spent something like $700 instead of $350, and I would have ended up with a cart that was not as good.

    Hope this is helpful to others.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
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    Re: Harbor Freight Tool Chest Welding Carts

    I'm thinking of putting a piece of plywood on top to distribute the weight of the machines. That Lincoln is heavy.
    I was socially distant before it was cool.

    "A man who can't handle tools is not a man. You're disgusting." -- Willy Loman

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Re: Harbor Freight Tool Chest Welding Carts

    I modified this HF Cabinet about a year ago. Subframe:
    Name:  SFaxrB2.jpg
Views: 180
Size:  105.4 KB

    Name:  Swxstl3.jpg
Views: 183
Size:  109.5 KB

    Name:  YahlCyN.jpg
Views: 189
Size:  88.0 KB

    It's real handy.

    Sold the welder & chiller. Still have the cabinet.
    Millermatic 255
    Dynasty 280 DX TIGRunner
    Ready Welder I
    Hypertherm 30XP

  7. #6
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    Dec 2020
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    Re: Harbor Freight Tool Chest Welding Carts

    If I tried to fabricate something that complex, the distortion would be so bad, it would roll on two wheels. Looks like you really handled it well.
    I was socially distant before it was cool.

    "A man who can't handle tools is not a man. You're disgusting." -- Willy Loman

  8. #7
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    Re: Harbor Freight Tool Chest Welding Carts

    We both skinned the cat!
    Millermatic 255
    Dynasty 280 DX TIGRunner
    Ready Welder I
    Hypertherm 30XP

  9. Likes Guy Caballero, whtbaron liked this post

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