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a helping hand for TIG welders and aluminum projects

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  • a helping hand for TIG welders and aluminum projects

    i got really frustrated trying to hold the piece and tack it at the same time when i was practicing on aluminum. i also hated trying to tack steel with the magnet screwing up the TIG arc. so at some point i decided i needed to make some thing to hold that lil piece or tab in place wile i started to TIG it. as we all know the magnet screws up the arc and it also dose not work on aluminum.
    so my simple solution was to make an adjustable arm with a few interchangeable pieces so i could reach into almost any position i needed and keep the magnet as far or close as needed. i can leave the magnet attached to the work table and reach out and hold a piece of aluminum to be tacked or clamp the first piece to the aluminum frame and let it reach out to where the tacking needs to happen. i made a bunch of lil butterfly so to speak nuts and welded the bolts in place so its a simple twist with the fingers to lock any of the joints into place. you could buy butterfly nuts if you wanted to, but i have no $$ and plenty of time. i also coated on of the starter pieces in blue rubber dip coating so i could clamp it to aluminum without marring the surface, i had started with a small aluminum piece to clamp to the aluminum work but decided for the sake of simplicity i would coat one so it would work off the magnet and clamp to anything without leaving marks. i found the rubber tool dip at bargain outlet and thought it would be worth a try.
    just so ya know its a long process but the finished piece is nice so well worth it in the end i think.
    i used a small enough piece of steel bar/wire to allow it to be easily bent if needed but still stiff enough to keep a fair sized part secure wile tacking it.
    an old battery charger clamp dose the final hold and worked out well, bet you all have one laying around some where. a small pair of vice grips could also be used but i don't have enough of them to start with much less extras for some thing like this. any how with a few extra pivot pieces you can build it to hold from almost any angel or distance needed to get the part held where it needs to be and still be able to get the torch in to tack wile the magnet is far enough away to keep from effecting the arc for TIG welding, or MIG but MIG is better at not getting messed up as bad. one of the best parts is you can always add a piece if some thing comes up that needs some thing special or you just need more reach or even add a 2nd clamp to hold 2 pieces at the same time to insure a good fit up. its quick and easy to add pieces as needed and if you throw all the pieces into a box when you are done you will always have the helping hand ready when needed. TIG can be challenging enough without having to struggle with finding a way to hold some thing.
    this has worked well for me and i hope you all find it just as usefully as i do.
    thanks for checking it out, hope ya like it.
    so on to the pic's.

    003 this is one of it clamped to the aluminum and holding the tab out in the middle for tacking. simple, quick, and effective. you can see the extra parts and connectors in the back of the pic. the blue one is the one dipped in rubber tool grip.

    004 this time i used the magnet attached to the table and held the part up in the middle of a vertical piece to show its versatility with aluminum and the table so you don't have to clamp to it. its a lil faster and just as useful. part is held secure ready to tack/weld

    006 this is another angel of 004

    009 this is a steel piece. i attached the magnet to the side just to give it a challenge and show its capable of meeting any angel needed should you need to reach around some thing.

    012 this is just a close up of the pieces showing the ones i have to work with. you could of coarse make ones that suit your needs if some thing strange was to come up, just add a piece as needed.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    That's pretty darn clever.

    What are you making with the tabs on it?


    • #3
      Thanks for idea and pics.


      • #4
        i am just practising TIG welding, teaching myself. i got realy bored with just doing lil pices on my table and started my welding cart to find i was doing better when it was not flat. out of position helped me see what the puddle was doing and i got better controle that way. the tab's in these pic's are just to show the tools ability to get the job done.
        this is about the only real TIG work i have done so far. but i told myself if i ever managed to buy a TIG i would make the cart out of aluminum, its only right to make the cart with the welder its intended for right.
        here are a few pic's of my aluminum TIG cart.not too bad for my first project and only a few Hrs of practise
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Originally posted by fun4now View Post
          this is about the only real TIG work i have done so far.
          The cart looks great. Very well finished and nice design.

          TIG everything. Even if you're not "supposed" to. Best way to get more practice.


          • #6
            Hey fun4now that's pretty cool good invention will it work on lets say 1" plate


            • #7
              A thought;
              Try putting the aligator clip on the end of a dial indicator base.
              Infinit adjustability with built in strong magnet.

              The new flexable joint style bases adjust at any angle easily.

              Here is a hybred plier / flex one

              Think I am going to set one up right now.
              Last edited by envano; 08-21-2007, 01:52 PM. Reason: broken link


              • #8
                Darmik shore it will, the magnet sticks fine to my welding table and it 1 1/4" plate. if you want to know if it would hold a pice of 1" plate it could do that also you just might have to make a few heavyer conectors.
                ttype any one can buy one already made (even if your link dosent work) this is one i made in the shop for little $$ that will get the job done. like i said you could atach a small pair of vice grips if you want. its all about how much $$ you want to spend. its a base to work from, yours dose not need to be exactly like mine. it may not work for you if its the same, thats the hole point of being able to add pices as needed.


                • #9
                  Hey Fun4now

                  I was just being a smart Azz but you already knew that but then you turned it around on me and now you got me thinking about it I do like your idea I'll see what I can come up with at work. Thanks again fun4now.


                  • #10

                    I like your cart! I do have a question, how did you bend the square tubing? It looks good and doesn't have any kinks.



                    • #11
                      the tubing was already bent when i got it, it was a bread cart i think?? i got it from a local grocery store after it had been hit by a car. i took it home and cut out the strait and bent pices that were not smuched by the car and used them to build the cart.took a little time to cut out all the useable pices but for free it was well werth it.
                      the bends are not kinked but they do have a large indent in the inside and outside serfaces.. you can see it better in the pic below.
                      you know what they say begger cant be chosey but i like the stuff just the same.
                      sorry i cant help with a bender choice.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Well that explains it, I thought there might be an affordable way to bend that tubing other than a mandral bender or hydroforming. Now I know the secret is to bash a bread cart with the work truck!


                        • #13
                          Now I know the secret is to bash a bread cart with the work truck!

                          i did get an air powerd hydrolic ram from HF to make a bender with just have not gotten that far yet.


                          • #14
                            Sorry for a late post, but while reading it, wife called me in for lunch...dinner, and I've just finished breakfast sorry, laughing too hard
                            Actually I love your posts and your descriptions, always detailed, which is what I need
                            Good job and thanks


                            • #15
                              for those that have a use for it, its a good lil holder and i hope every one makes one. glad you like it, and my ramblings.


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