DIY Welding Project: Metal Wagon [Guide]

DIY Welding Project: Metal Wagon [Guide]

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A DIY metal wagon is a great welding project for the summertime. Learn how to make one with these steps.

SKILL LEVEL: Advanced

TIME COMMITMENT: 3 days

Here's what you'll need to get started.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS

Millermatic® 211 (or other MIG welder)
Dynasty® 280DX (or other TIG welder)
1/6" MaxalTig® 4043 aluminum wire (or similar filler metal)

Pneumatic sheet metal shears (or other cutting tool)
Stomp shear
Slip roller
Sheet metal brake
Band saw
Chop saw
Drill press
Belt sander

Lathe
Hand file
Clamps
Tape measure
Hand tools for fasteners
Four shifter kart wheels and slick tires (metric or American bolt pattern)
Four dual bearing wheel hubs (matching bolt pattern for wheels)


 
4043 aluminum tubing (1" x .065" x 6')
 
Box tubing (1" x .065" x 15')
 
.065 thick 4043 aluminum sheet (4' x 8')
 
1/4" thick steel plate (12" x 12")
 
Steel tubing 1(3/4" x .125") and 1(7/8" x .065")
 
Aluminum strapping (1" x 1.4")
 
5/8" fine thread bolts 4(6" with lock nuts)
 
Delrin plastic (1-1/4" x 3.5")
 
Bar stock plate (3/4" x 12")
 
Misc. nuts and bolts

   

Optional Equipment/Tools



Magnets, Poster board, Marker, Scissors
 

WARNING: READ AND FOLLOW ALL LABELS AND THE OWNER'S MANUAL.

STEP BY STEP

A DIY metal wagon is a versatile welding project with many uses. Whether you want to use it in your garden or for your family to enjoy, follow the instructions below to build one of your own.

Tom Patsis pointing at aluminum tubing

STEP ONE:

Create a blueprint of your wagon to determine the look you want and the dimensions for your materials.

Tom Patsis TIG welding aluminum tubing for wagon

STEP TWO:

Bend 1” aluminum tubing to the desired shape and tack weld the pieces together to create the outer edge of your wagon.

Tom Patsis tracing aluminum tubing onto post board

STEP THREE:

Trace the inside of your aluminum tubing onto a piece of poster board to create a template for the bed of the wagon. Then, using your template, cut the aluminum sheet metal to size with your pneumatic sheet metal shears. Be sure to include extra material for each of the four sides of the wagon. This design included 6” on each side. Once everything is cut out, bend each side at a 90° angle with a stomp shear.

Tom Patsis TIG welding aluminum tubing to bed of wagon

STEP FOUR:

Fit the aluminum sheet snug to the aluminum tubing and tack weld together.

Tom Patsis fabricating steel frame for wagon

STEP FIVE:

Cut 3/4” steel tubing to create the steel support frame with three cross beams for under the bed of the wagon. Tack weld everything in place, then weld together.

Tom Patsis TIG welding steel frame for wagon

STEP SIX:

Cut out five square tabs and drill holes in the middle of each using a drill press. Then weld the tabs to the steel frame in the four corners and one in the middle.

Tom Patsis bolting steel frame to bed of wagon

STEP SEVEN:

Next, line up the steel frame with the bed of the wagon and drill five countersunk holes to align with the mounting tabs added in Step 6. By countersinking the holes, the bolts will sit flush on the bed of the wagon instead of sticking out. Use bolts to secure into place. This design used 3/4" bolts with nylon lock nuts and countersunk washers.

Tom Patsis holding fabricated corner of wagon

STEP EIGHT:

Use a piece of poster board to create a template for the four corner pieces, then cut out and bend each using a slip roller. Tack weld each piece into place before fully welding them in.

Tom Patsis screwing wheels hubs to tires

STEP NINE:

Take your four tires and mount the wheels to the wheel hubs.

Tom Patsis TIG welding

STEP TEN:

Next, select your wagon width, making sure the front and rear are the same length — and fabricate the rear axle.

Tom Patsis fabricating rear axle of a wagon

STEP ELEVEN:

Cut and MIG weld four pieces of steel tubing (two vertical, two diagonal) to the rear axle and steel frame. This will support and hold the axle in place at the correct ride height.

Tom Patsis MIG welding

STEP TWELVE:

Fabricate and TIG weld two steering knuckles with 1/4" thick, 1” wide steel plate. Note: The knuckles should fit inside the rim without touching. Once complete, MIG weld them to each side of a piece of box tubing, which will be your front axle. Then, MIG weld two pieces of box tubing to connect the front axle and steel frame, similar to Step 11.

Tom Patsis holding bracket template next to wheels of wagon

STEP THIRTEEN:

Use a piece of poster board to create a template for the brackets, then cut out two brackets using your steel plate. Sand down with a belt sander and drill a hole at the top. Weld the brackets to spindles for steering.

Tom Patsis welding the steering for wagon

STEP FOURTEEN:

Locate and weld front spindles to match the rear axle height center line so the wagon will ride level and clear the bed when turning.

Tom Patsis TIG welding the front axle of wagon

STEP FIFTEEN:

Mount the wheels and tires onto the frame.

Tom Patsis welding diagonal struts on steering axle of wagon

STEP SIXTEEN:

Fabricate diagonal struts to support the steering axle and clearing the wheels when turned.

Tom Patsis welding the bottom of wagon

STEP SEVENTEEN:

Next, you can attach the bed of the wagon to the steel frame with bolts.

Tom Patsis holding handle of wagon

STEP EIGHTEEN:

To finish, fabricate the handle and front clip. Weld the handle to the steel frame and the front clip to the front of the wagon, which will hold the handle in place. The handle should clear the bottom of the wagon and be straight up when not in use.

About Tom Patsis

Tom Patsis headshot

Tom Patsis is a metal artist and owner of Cold Hard Art. After studying automotive technologies in high school and earning his degree in automotive, high performance and alternative fuels at the University of Northwestern Ohio, Tom moved to Indianapolis to work for Don Schumacher Racing. He spent six years with the Pro Stock team before he switched to working in the fabrication shop. It was there that he got started with metal art — later opening up his own shop to use as an outlet for his creativity.

Follow Tom on Instagram @ColdHardArt.

Published: August 17, 2020
Updated: September 1, 2020