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  1. #1

    Default Need help with material selection ...

    I not done very much work with aluminum so I do not have a good sense of how strong the materials are.

    Here are the major components for the project:

    A Dynasty 350

    An ESAB 875 Plasma Cutter

    The local materials supplier

    I have a very small shop and need to find a place to put the plasma cutter. If the 350 did not have the lift hook on it or the lift hook was not such an integral part of the structure - i.e. I could remove a couple of bolts and it would come off - which is definitely not the case - then I would simply put the plasma cutter on top of the 350.

    It appears as though I need to build a rack that will attach to the cart that came with the 350 and be tall enough that a platform at the top of the rack would clear the lift hook.

    So the initial plan in my head is to use aluminum tubing for the uprights at the four corners of the rack. The tubing would be cut in half at the bottom so it would wrap part way around the round tubing of the existing cart. I would then place a rectangular tube from the front to the back that would attach at the bottom of the uprights and rest on the top of the existing fore-to-aft brace on the cart. Another rectangular tube would be used to tie the upright tubes together from left to right.

    At this point I think I would have a reasonably sturdy foundation on which I would then build the rest of the rack and supporting structure with a platform to hold the 90 pound plasma cutter and the accessories, cables, etc. that go with it.

    My largest ?lack of experience? ? yes, that particular list is very long ? is related to ?what size aluminum? should I use. The supplier appears to have 6061 and 6063 round and rectangular tubing with both 1/8 and 1/4 inch walls. The obvious ?overkill? answer is to use the 1/4 inch tubing but is that really necessary? Would the 1/8 inch wall tubing ? both the round for the uprights and the rectangular for everything else ? be strong enough? And what size of rectangular tube would be sufficient to build the rest of the structure?

    I think know what I would use if I were making it our of steel, or at least what I would be comfortable with. But the goal is to make it out of aluminum so I don't have to paint it and I get some practice working with aluminum and also make it look like some thought went into the design and engineering rather than my standard ?that looks way over built and is therefore ugly? method.

    Yamaha v8 engine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    National City CA


    1.5" tube would be fine and stout enough for your needs especially in .125" wall.
    1X2 rectangular tube would work as well
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  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by kcstott View Post
    1.5" tube would be fine and stout enough for your needs especially in .125" wall.
    1X2 rectangular tube would work as well
    Thanks for the quick response and the advice. Tomorrow's adventure will be a trip to Discount Steel to get the materials.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    North of Phila. PA


    The 1/8" should be plenty strong for what you plan on doing. My only thought is with 1/8" alum you may melt thru with your limited skills, I know I might. The 1/4" would need to be run hotter to weld but you might not burn holes in the material. I would run some quick 1/8" test pieces to see how you handle the joints and decide from there.

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