Apart from being an early 1970s hit song by "The Who," going mobile is also a lucrative, in demand business opportunity for the professional welder. “Rig Welding” is a very versatile business, offering services to the homeowner, hobby & commercial farmers, dairies, wineries, commercial, and industrial applications, pipeline, etc., and like the battery, the list just keeps going, and going, and going.
The welding rig vehicle, can range from a compact pickup, to a heavy duty flat deck truck. The vehicle is then fitted with the appropriate welding tools, and equipment, determined by the applicable industry sector, processes, and services the welder chooses to provide. The ultimate full scale welding rig would consist of a heavy duty 4 wheel drive diesel powered cab and chassis truck, having an aluminum work deck minimizing weight. The truck is then equipped with an industrial rated multi-purpose diesel driven welding machine, necessary ox-acetylene equipment, an efficient air compressor, appropriately sized hydraulic lifting boom, and a full arsenal of professional, hand, pneumatic and power tools. At the other end of the scale, a welder in Portland, operates a “bicycle welding rig,” that he uses around town.
Commercially built welding rigs are an option, however a lot of welders prefer to design and build their own custom welding rig. I personally like all the welding components mounted on an aluminum portable skid, that can be easily installed, and removed from my HD 4 wheel drive pick up truck. This concept provides me with a working rig, and still allows me the option to install the camper, and take the family on a long weekend wilderness adventure. The removable skid style rigs are commonly used by distribution, and mainline pipeline welders, as they are not usually working on a year round basis, and only install the skid as needed.
Written by Brian Chalmers