Helping to eliminate clutter in the welding shop
If yours is like mine, your welding shop may be cramped for space. If you have your TIG welding torch cables crossed with extension cords running to a grinder, or had to move everything out of the shop to work on the latest project, it might be a good idea to eliminate some of the clutter. Streamlining your operation from a logistical point of view will help free up space, reduce stress and improve productivity.
As mentioned, one of the most common issues faced is crossed up welding cables and extension cords. When working on a project, it so easy to do, when going back and forth between tools, and projects. You may suddenly pick a tool and find a mass of wires and hoses to deal with. One way to keep things organized is to either have multiple outlets added across your shop, and multiple air outlets plumbed around the perimeter. You might consider having multiple drop outlets that hang from the ceiling. Even in a small shop, having multiple points close to the work prevents repeated plugging and unplugging and detangling of cords, improving productivity. This option definitely has expense involved with it, but it’s a good way to get things up and out of your way. If you are limited to only a couple of outlets that have to share duty, all is not lost. Having a couple of inexpensive “cable” organizers helps with not only the space issue, but also keeps things tidy and safely stored. These organizers need not be more than an old steel auto wheel with the tire removed, mounted to the wall. I have found that the steel or plastic water hose hangers that you mount near your outside water faucet work quite well for hanging air hoses, and wrapping up extension cords, unrolling only the needed amount. These work particularly well for keeping TIG torch and stick torch leads up and out of the way. For work tables, a small open hook may suffice on which to wrap and hang excess welding cable, until needed.
Keeping all your welding consumables and grinding consumables can be a challenge as well. Consider purchasing small stackable plastic sliding drawer organizers commonly found at your local “box” store to keep your MIG and TIG consumables in. The ones with the see through drawers are the best. They also make neat storage for grinding wheels and cutting disks as well as a handy place to keep your welding helmet cover protective cover lenses in. For just a few dollars, you can keep up with everything, all in one small, convenient space.
There are other inexpensive organizers as well to keep various welding supplies in a tidy condition. Keep in mind welding rod organization as well. Short sections of PVC pipe capped on both ends without glue can keep welding rods stored neat and dry. Inexpensive welding rod storage tubes may be purchased as well which provides a tight seal against moisture ingress.
Consider putting up a small metal rack (if you indeed have the space) where you can keep odd scraps easily at hand. This will get it up off the floor. A simple rack with arms or slots down one or both sides with two to hold the metal is sufficient and economical to construct. Just be sure the base is properly supported so it doesn’t bend or fall. If you can do that due to space, consider a kitchen trash can to keep odds and ends in stored vertically. While it’s not ideal, it does keep the metal from scattering across the floor, and you can spend a little time rummaging around in it when you need just the right piece to complete a job.
Although every shop is different, it’s important to get your shop organized. Organization helps reduce accidents, and improves operating efficiency. Less shop clutter will enhance the work experience, and lessen stress. Even if you aren’t the best organized person, just little effort toward organization can yield impressive results.