Welding machines tend to be large, bulky, and too valuable to leave unprotected from the hazards of working environments. Moving them around can be a challenge, much less moving them around safely.
Welding machines come in a range of different price points, sizes, and capabilities. But if you’re using a particularly portable unit and moving it from job to job, as professional welders often do, you are putting your investment at risk.
A welding skid is a great way to protect your welder from dirt and uneven terrain. It can also help absorb the stress of being moved around and offer some protection from other rigors of the workplace.
There are many different types of welding skids out there, including a wide range of commercial models that you can just buy and use. Buying a commercial skid is a good way to ensure your skid fits your welder.
Of course, if you have got much welding experience at all, you might even be up for making your own skid. It’s fairly inexpensive, and you’ll have a very useful item that is custom made and will probably last longer than you will.
In This Article
Welding Skid Ideas & Examples
There are plenty of resources out there to give you ideas. Here is a tutorial for a simple skid design.
- Pin bolt & Nut 1/2
- Pipe- 8” & 3”
- HD Chain 16”
- Square Pipe 3” x 3”
- Angle 2” x 2”
- C Channel 3” x 1/5”
- C Channel 3” x 3”
- C Channel 3”3”
- C Channel 3”x 3”
You’ll need plans, of course. You can learn about obtaining plans here:
A good welding skid will save you wear and tear on your machine and provide a heck of a lot of convenience and functionality. A simple design might be the best place to start. They are cheaper to buy and easier to build.
This Pinterest page on welding skids will show you what’s possible:
There’s a lot of video inspiration available as well, including this build in the back of a pickup truck:
A few more layout examples:
And finally a walk through of how to build a welding skid:
Welding Skid Layouts
Probably the most interesting part about a welding skid is the fact that there is so much room for customization. You can build in handles, tow cables, wheels, cages, compartments, and more. You can choose a light and portable frame, a tough and sturdy one, or something in between. You could build out a skid that is meant to slide into a truck bed or attach to the rack of an ATV. You might even make one with detachable wheels that make all of the above possible in different configurations.
Of course, the most important thing is that it protects your welding machine, especially if you’re a professional welder. So, let’s talk about two or more of the most practical skid designs, small skids, and skids designed for trucks.
What is a Welding Skid?
A welding skid is essentially a platform that protects welding machines and makes moving them around easier. Whether you buy or build your skid, there are lots of options. When choosing or designing a skid, the first thing to do is to figure out how to match your welder to a skid. If you plan to buy a commercial skid, that should be easy. You simply search for a skid that is designed for your machine.
If you plan on making your own skid, things will be a bit more involved. But you have the potential to save money and get a more customized finished product.
A small skid is made for moving your welder around easily. It should be a minimalist design, built around a welding machine that is also made to be portable. There are a lot of welding machines out there that weigh less than 100 pounds, many that weigh between 50 and 100 pounds, and a few that weigh even less than that. The HITBOX Arc welder, for example, weighs just under 8 pounds. That’s probably too light to need a skid. A leather shoulder case might be more appropriate. But units that weigh between 50 and 100 pounds can be used in tight spots too. They can be moved around relatively easily, and that opens them up to many hazards of the workplace.
A welder that weighs between 50 and 100 pounds is a weight category where you may be tempted to pick it up a lot using poor body mechanics. This can put you in danger of injuring your back. So, for skids meant for welders like this, you want to design a system for picking it up and moving it easily and often. You might consider attaching handles closer to one side than the other so that you won’t have to lean over the machine to pick it up. Adding caster wheels is a good idea for moving it around the shop without lifting it. Another interesting idea is to build in caster wheels that will fall out when you lift your skid. That way, you could lift it and slide it into a truck bed with little trouble. Then toss the wheels in the truck and go.
Skids for Trucks
That brings us to welding skids for trucks. You want to protect your welding machine from bouncing around. You probably also want to protect the truck from the skid. A bed liner might be the best solution for that. You might also need to build a bigger base on your skid to keep it from tipping over. But your best bet might be to secure it during transport in some other way.
One of the biggest considerations for a truck-based welding skid might be whether or not you intend to take it in and out of the truck frequently on the job. If so, you want it to go in and out without wrecking your back. In the right situation, you might want to be able to move the truck close to your work, position the skid and welder on the tailgate, and work from there. If your welder weighs 100 pounds or more, a crane and pulley system might be a good idea.
The point of all this is that getting the right skid means buying or building one that is specialized to meet your particular needs. This means you need to consider how you will move it and how often. You should also consider hazards to the machine. If you’re working in a location with a lot of activity, a full protective cage might be the most important thing.
A lot of skids will do everything well, and some are more specialized. Take the time to consider your needs and your use case thoroughly before you buy or build.
Frequently Asked Questions
Additional Sources & Resources
The following are a few welding skid resources that may be helpful for individuals or businesses in the market for this type of equipment:
-WeldingSkids.com is a website dedicated to providing information on welding skids, including product reviews and comparisons
-The American Welding Society (AWS) is a professional organization with a wealth of resources on welding, including safety information and educational opportunities
-The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides guidance on occupational safety and health, including best practices for welding safety
-OSHA’s website also has a section on welding safety with links to relevant regulations
-Local trade schools or community colleges may offer welding courses which could provide helpful hands-on experience
-There are many welding supply companies which sell welding equipment, including welding skids, and can provide helpful product information and comparisons