Homemade Welding Lead Reels: A Handy Solution for Those on a Budget

In this post, we'll guide you through the entire welding lead reel construction process and see how much money you'll be able to save
Christopher McDonagh
Christopher McDonagh
Research Writer
Chris is a teacher of Literature at a school in New Berlin, Wisconsin. He is also our favorite irreplaceable freelance writer who can turn such a boring topic into something read more
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Thomas Garcia
Thomas Garcia
Expert Consultant
Thomas is a professional welder who gained his certification several decades ago and learned all the nuances of this job since then. When not at work, Thomas loves fishing i read more
Last updated: September 07, 2023
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From the welding machine to the electrodes and safety gear, welding is a job that can burn a big hole in your pocket in one go. It doesn’t matter how thrifty you are; there’s no other way around than forking out hundreds of dollars or even thousands on welding equipment, as you’ll still need to get the basic tools and machinery for an effective and safe welding job. However, since you’re here on this page, the good news is there are a few areas you can save a lot of money on – provided you are ready to put in some effort.

Some of the items you can save money on include welding cable reels. Instead of purchasing commercial reels, you can make your own homemade welding lead reels without spending a lot of money, as most people do. In this DIY welding lead reels guide, we’ll see the advantages of choosing to make your welding reels, the difficulty level, what you’ll need, the steps required to make them, and how much money you’ll be able to save.

Advantages of Using Welding Lead Reels

First off, a  cable reel Trusted Source Cable reel - Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org  is a large object shaped like a drum and looking like a spool. Originally, the reels were used for storing fiber optics and electrical cables, and other types of wiring. They make the transportation and storage of these types of wiring more convenient while keeping the cables in optimal shape as they are usually prone to damage. But when you coil them up in a reel, the chance of damages is lower.

For those new to welding, welding wires are often loose and have lengths that start from around 25 feet. So, without the reels, your welding cables will be at the mercy of nature and other sources of damages. Below are the real advantages of using reels for your welding cables.

  • Ease of storage, transportation, and access  

Perhaps the most obvious benefit, the cables reels make transportation and storage of your welding cables easier. The cable in the reel will only sit at one corner of your workshop or truck. And when you need it, there’s nothing like fondling with wires that have gone coiled up all over the place.Homemade Welding Lead Reels: A Handy Solution for Those on a Budget

  • Ensures your cables are durable

There’s nothing cheap in a welder’s kit, from the welding machine to the consumables and gears.

This is also true for welding cables. If you’ve taken the time and money to invest in them, you certainly want to have them last longer. When carefully and safely stored in a reel, there’s no better way to prolonging the lives of the cables.

  • Trip Hazard Prevention

Tripping in the middle of a welding job with high heat temperatures exceeding 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit and gas bottles can be hazardous. Unfortunately, cables are the most common source of trip hazards in the workshop or welding field. However, your reels will keep the cables off the ground.

The limitations of using reels or making welding lead reels yourself

  • Making reels yourself, especially from home-found materials, consumes plenty of energy. You will also devote a lot of time to welding the reel.
  • Also, most of the reels made at home are not usually as sturdy as their industrially made options. But they are strong enough to hold large loads of cables for any type of welding job.
  • In addition, most of the reels made at home are manual reels, unlike reels made in the industry, sold online, which are automatic and have safety attachments to prevent accidents. With manual cables, the chances are that you may injure yourself while unwinding or coiling the cables.

Is It Easy to Make by Yourself?

Although the results may not come close to those that are industrially made and available commercially, making a reel for your welding cables is relatively easy. You don’t need to purchase items to do the project as most of the materials needed can be found at home and around your environment.

While the handiest DIYers may be lucky to have all the items needed for the job, for many, there may be the need to purchase some additional tools.

So, the cost of making a welding cable reel at home will vary depending on the location and items you already have at home. However, we have to say you will be able to make a safe, good quality, and sturdy cable reel at half of the price of a commercially available industrial cable reel.

What You Will Need to Make a Welding Cable Reel

To make your welding cable reel, below are some of the items you will need to have:

  • Two metal or wooden plates that look identical in shape
  • One sturdy rod or a piece of wood or metal for wrapping the reel
  • A drilling machine
  • Bolts and nuts
  • A hand crank (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Make Welding Lead Reels

Homemade Welding Lead Reels: A Handy Solution for Those on a BudgetReels are needed for your welding cables for the sake of durability, workshop or workplace safety, and convenience. It’s always easy to fall back on ready-made reels if you can afford them. The Coxreels 112WL-1-100 is perhaps the most purchased by welders online as it has a hand crank system and heavy-duty construction. But despite being just a single piece of reel, it doesn’t come cheap!

While reels are sold online, it’s often advisable to make one yourself, especially if you have the above-listed items and are already overwhelmed by the various expenses of other more essential welding equipment and tools.

If you’ve decided, here are the step-by-step instructions you need to follow to make your welding cable reels:

  1. Take a steel plate that measures around 1/4 inches. This will be used as the base for your welding wire reel.
  2. Take your drill machine and drill holes that are the same diameter and size as your anchor bolts into the plates. Space the holes away from the corners. The spacing should be around one inch from each corner.
  3. Pick up another steel plate that looks identical. Then, repeat the last step.
  4. Next, you will need to fix a rod between two of the 1/4 inch steel plates you drilled holes into. Weld the rod joining the plates, and you will have the reel post for your welding cable.
  5. Tip the post to one of its sides. Make it rest on the top part and edge of the metal base.
  6. Position the rim in a position you want on the post. Now, weld the rim and the post together.
  7. That’s it! Ensure the cable reel is standing straight so you can admire what you have done. The homemade cable reel is now ready and should be able to transport and hold hour cables conveniently. It may not look as fanciful as those available commercially. Regardless, it is going to serve its purpose for a long time.

How Much Money Will You Save by Making a Reel by Yourself

While making your homemade welding cable reel may take you some effort, you will be able to save money. We’re not talking about tens of dollars here. Commercial reels cost between $100 to upwards of $1,500 on the market, sometimes even more expensive than many MIG welders or even multi-process welders.

For example, one of the bestselling lead reels on the market and one of the best models with high value for money, the Diamond Heavy Duty Single Set Of 2 Cable Lead Reels, is currently sold for a price that is nearing $400. However, this one comes with a practical hand crank, and the product includes two reels. It’s made in the USA and will be a great and quick option for those who can afford it.

But with a homemade reel, even if you have to buy a drill and the metal base, it will still be worth it, since you’ll still be able to make use of some of the materials for other DIY projects. However, which DIY doesn’t have a drill? Besides, wood and metal can be found everywhere. Most of the items needed can be recycled from old home pieces of equipment and materials.

Final Thoughts

Welding is such an expensive hobby or job. There are a lot of equipment that are several times more expensive than a stick welding machine. Imagine having to buy a $500 reel when you purchased your welder for less. If you’re not ready to cough out some more funds on a reel for holding your cables, the good news is you can build a welding cable reel yourself. A reel isn’t that complex. All you just need is a pair of identical metal bases. Then, with the use of a drill or welder, and a few bolts and nuts, you will have your reel ready in no time. You can decide to give it a bell or whistle by including a hand crank. Our homemade welding lead reels idea will help you save hundreds of dollars while keeping your workplace safe, ensuring the durability of the cables and their ease of use.


Cable reel - Wikipedia
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