Welding is something of an art form. It takes years to perfect, and throughout that time, welders will gain the required knowledge to make the smoothest welds in any metals, learn about the different welding techniques, and the necessary equipment for the job. Whether you’re just starting out in stick welding, or have graduated into MIG, TIG or plasma welding, there are a few things that you need besides the obvious welding machine, torches, cables, clamps, gas bottles, hoses and PPE gear. Moving around all your gear safely within the workplace or from job to job requires a dedicated welding trolley.
Types of Welding Trolleys
If you’re an experienced welder and have got the time, you might want to create a welders trolley that suits your type of welding and the gear you use most. Something that will be sturdy, with easy access to all your equipment, and easily moved around. However, if you need something quickly, there’s always the option to buy. You’ll find welding trolleys that will handle the basic stuff, or fully featured trolleys with space for so much more. Within that scope, there are gas cylinder trolleys, and welding trolleys with all the functionality you’ll ever need.
Gas Cylinder Trolleys
If you’re a MIG or TIG welder you’ll need a healthy dose of gas. Gas cylinders with MIG mixtures or Argon for TIG welding can get heavy. For example, a full D size Oxygen-Acetylene or Argon cylinder weighs around 20 kilos. And this is one of the smallest cylinders around. Larger G-sized cylinders are over 100 kilos when full. You’ll need the cylinder at a safe distance when working, but when moving around a trolley will come in handy. Hoses are just that long.
Gas cylinder trolleys are available for all gas cylinders sold in Australia. Simple single-cylinder trolleys are set on a sturdy, coated tubular steel frame with height-adjustable handles, and durable rubber wheels. Larger units able to carry two E or G size cylinders are set on larger frames on two or four rubber wheels and include dual chains or additional tubing to safely transport the cylinders around the premises without risking injury or hazards. These are good for an Oxyacetylene setup.
Full Welding Trolleys
If you’re not working out of a shop, or you’re always on the move, then you’ll need a decked-out welding trolley. One that will carry the welding machine, the gas cylinders, and provide enough space for essentials like helmets and tools or routing for cables. There’s a wide variety of designs. Some trolleys will carry only the smallest MIG or TIG welders and one D-size cylinder. Others are more practical, won’t limit the size of your gear and will also provide shelving for more space. Here’s what to look for in your next welding trolley:
- Sturdy construction – quality welder trolleys are made of high-strength steel tubing and sheets, coated against corrosion and spills. This needs to support the weight of the welding machine and cylinders along with anything you add along the shelves. Heavy-duty fasteners keep all parts cemented. Look for quoted loading capacities and determine which is the right trolley to cart your gear. Trolleys are either pre-assembled or may need assembly, which shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Check for any loose nuts and bolts before use.
- Gas cylinder storage – smaller MIG/TIG trolleys will have space for a least one cylinder at the back of the trolley, shielded by a dividing steel plate. Larger trolleys will have space for up to two mid-sized cylinders. To secure the cylinders there will be either one or two chains, to avoid tipping over when on the move.
- Shelves and Drawers– the top shelf is usually angled and is long and wide enough to carry most portable welding machines. An angled shelf allows welders to access machine controls on the fly. There is also a flat bottom shelf, enclosed on all sides, to keep all accessories or tools like wire spools, extra torches, liners, valves, sticks and safety gear right where you need them. Most trolleys also have a shorter mid-shelf for things like gloves and auto-darkening helmets. Some might even have one or more lockable drawers, to keep everything organised and safe from sticky hands.
- Wheels – trolleys are useful by being mobile. Welder trolleys have a pair of larger fixed rear rubber wheels that are shock-absorbing to smooth out any dents or bumps when moving the trolley around. Smaller swivelling front castors, made of durable PVC, allow for easy movement. In some models, they are set wider than the frame for additional stability.
- Useful Accessories – side columns connecting the shelves have hooks to route cables from torches and earth clamps for a cleaner presentation and quick access. Reach adjustable handles make moving the trolley that much easier.
Buying Welder Trolleys
Welding trolleys are sold through respected hardware stores and specialised stores selling welding equipment. Most welding trolleys will hold small to mid-sized welding machines of all types, a decently sized gas cylinder for MIG and TIG welding, and have shelves, drawers and hooks for any accessories. If you’re also buying a welding machine, look for discounts that often include trolleys, torches, consumables and PPE gear.