Rack It

This welding project creates new storage space for your favorite tools.

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
This wall-mounted tool rack costs about $125 in materials. It can hold power tools, clamps and custom fittings to store air tools, Image by Dan Miller

Every shop has a set of go-to tools. They are the tools you spend all your time looking for--rarely are they where you think you left them.

Our latest welding project will help you solve that problem--a wall-mounted tool rack.

“You want to keep a few tools at hand. These are tools you’re always looking for,” says Joel Ort, welding consultant and project manager for DTN/The Progressive Farmer, explaining uses for the tool rack. Ort lives in Hortonville, Wisconsin.

Because he often works with steel, the rack shown here complements that work. This rack accommodates grinders, welding clamps, air tools and battery-powered tools. It also shows some storage and hanging ideas you might use to store your favorite go-to tools.

The two main pieces of this rack are 1⁄8-inch plate steel and 1½-inch x 1½-inch angle iron. The rack includes a shelf for additional storage. The tools dictate the overall dimensions of the rack on which you want to hang it.

A step-by-step description follows.

Difficulty: 2.5 out of 5

Cost (materials): $125

1. Lay out: Pieces for the tool rack are laid out ready for assembly. For spacing, tools are placed in the order they will be placed onto the rack.

2. Shelf: The frame of the shelf is built with 1½-inch x 1½-inch angle iron. The shelf is made from 1⁄8-inch steel plate. Ort squared the corners and clamped the angle iron before welding. The shelf is spot-welded to the shelf frame. Two inexpensive shelf brackets support the shelf assembly. The brackets are spot-welded to the shelf and to the 1⁄8-inch steel back of the rack. Three tips:

> Overlap. Simply overlapping the angle iron means the frame will not lay flat. You can cope the corners or remove the overlapping material (see illustration). This technique creates a strong 90-degree angle.

> Support. Ort added a middle support to the underside of the shelf to give it additional strength.

> Remove. Grind off paint from the shelf brackets where welds connecting them to the shelf and to the back will be made.

3. Grinder Bar: Ort cut a length of angle iron long enough to accommodate two grinders. Key to this step is the two pieces of steel Ort cut for spacers (see detail). Welded to the end of the angle iron, the pieces create enough space to accommodate the thickness of the grinder shields.

4-5. Clamp Bar: Envision a toilet paper holder for welding clamps. Ort cut a length of steel tubing and then welded to each end a piece of flat bar. He welded the clamp bar assembly to the underside of the shelf.

6-7. Driver Holsters: Ort wanted to hang a cordless drill and impact driver from the tool rack. Mounted parallel to the rack, they would have consumed a lot of space. He decided instead to create storage space perpendicular to the rack. To do this, he used lengths of 3-inch PVC pipe to create holsterlike assemblies. Note how Ort removed U-shaped sections from two of the PVC pieces. The slots accommodate the handgrips of the drill and driver. The third piece of PVC holds zip ties. Each piece is attached to the bottom of the shelf with two bolts, nuts and washers.

8-9. Air Connectors: To hang compressed air tools to the tool rack, Ort welded chucks to angle iron. He welded the angle iron with chucks to the tool rack back (as shown).

See the video at www.dtnpf-digital.com.

Watch the video for helpful tips and tricks when building this tool rack project by welding consultant Joel Ort.

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Dan Miller