Building new shop, thinking about welding up my own beams?
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  1. #1
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    Default Building new shop, thinking about welding up my own beams?

    I have finally bought 1 acre in town, and am going to be putting up a 60x140 steel building. Trying to think of every way to save money so my payoff is shorter...

    Have any of you welded your own i-beams and put up your own building? Got any advice?

    I am a certified welder, got several good machines, and can hire stick burners for 8/hr. I am not familiar with steel building construction, but from what I have seen the beams are fabbed from plate and flat bar stock.

    What's wrong with plasma torching tapered webs from 4x10ft sheets, and welding 8" flat bar on for the flanges? Betcha two guys for a week on my welders and grinders could get the job done.

    Now I haven't actually priced it out yet to see what the cost diff is, and the pre-fab guys might get such good deals I'd be going backwards doing my own, but from what I've seen of construction there's a lot of money made by the contractors...

    Any thoughts?

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    Buy a kit. A building that size will give enough work. Concrete, plumbing, etc. Remember there is UPC now and you will need the engineered drawings. Putting it up yourself is commendable but a kit would be cheaper. Time saved is money earned.

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    Buy a kit for sure. No way you can make the parts for the same money. Just get the thing up and get to work, earn the money to pay it off.

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    are you putting in a over head crane system? or jib cranes?
    how high you planning on the ceiling to be?

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    Try these guys I built one of there buildings and it wasn't too bad on the price either...

    Apex Building Systems, Inc.


    Mailing Address
    PO Box 15118
    Little Rock, AR 72231


    Toll Free: (877)275-APEX (2739)
    Local: (501)758-4254
    Toll Free Fax: (877)275-2701
    Local Fax: (501)280-9523
    Email: [email protected]


    Steel building - metal building - Apex steel buildings - metal buildings

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    60 x 140 on just 1 acre doesn't leave much outside room for parking, loading, or storage. How much will the city require for set-back?

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    I looked into this back when. Back then you could buy the engineered and fabricated framing kit for a steel building delivered to your site for less than the price of the steel from the local yard.

    Check into this and also check whether your design complies with local code. It's hard to beat 'em - possible but hard.

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    Did I read that right?
    $8/hr to hire a welder?!?!?! Minimum wage is $7.25.
    That is scary and sad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by APD View Post
    Did I read that right?
    $8/hr to hire a welder?!?!?! Minimum wage is $7.25.
    That is scary and sad.
    $8.00 an hour wont hire a kid to mow a tiny lawn. My kid would tell you to do it yourself.
    A good burger flipper wants $10 an hour and I dont blame them.

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    There's no way I would trust the welds burned by a $8.00 stick burner

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    Neither will the building department. Kenny

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    talk to your insurance company about insuring a homemade commercial building with paid employees inside it.
    Bil lD.

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    Right up there with mixing your own concrete..

    IF you are tooled for it, it can save you money... Tooling up, not so much..

    A preengineered kit will save you in the short, and long run..

  16. #14
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    A friend of mine wanted a combination aircraft hangar/house/farm machinery shed with no internal support posts so he fabricated support trusses with two parallel hollow steel tubes separated by zig zag bracing by himself. According to him it was lighter, stronger and cheaper than an I beam if you didn't count your labour.

    The roof sits on concrete support pillars and foundations that are over engineered to the point that the other farmers were making fun of him, with steel cross bracing and tensioning turnbuckles throughout the structure. He is at Mission Beach so the last category 5 cyclone was close enough that he spent 20 minutes in the eye so it was a bit south of him, with the only damage being two sheets of iron blown off the walls.

    So it can be made strong enough to replace I beams but the time and labour is prohibitive.

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    This will give you some food for thought.

    Metal Building Outlet | Metal Building Supplier

    Many are still overpriced for condition and the fact they will just be meeting a date with a wrecking crew.

  18. #16
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    I have made my own 1 1/2' X 24' Bar Joists. They were pretty easy to make from angle iron and rod.
    I tried to buy them and they wanted engineering drawings and large quantity. I ask if they had any leftovers to sell me and they acted like I just propositioned their daughter! Scrap yard said they rip them out destroying them.
    I have welded over 100' with using a MIG on one job and it was a bitch. Since those beams are machine welded you could never compete with their quality and speed. Do the math on how long the welds will be. I think it will be scarry! And stick weld, OMG!

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    Hire the best contractor you can find to help you spec the building that you really want and have that contractor put it up. Spend your time at work making money, stop in just before quitting time to check on the days progress. You will be making money while the shop is going up instead of letting your business slide while putting up a shop. Buy at least another acre maybe 2. It is reallly bad to have to ride your forklift around somebody elses building to get to that warehouse you didn't think you needed.

  20. #18
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    No, and real H or I beams are usually welded with submerged arc, fast and very reliable.
    Building codes surely won't agree with it, building inspectors have no common sense so forget about making a point with any of them, in most places you can't even mill your own lumber to build with even if its 10 times better than the crap wood sold anywhere today, they want to " see the stamp ".
    steel structures definitely need engineered drawings, it quickly gets very ridiculous.
    Buy the Kit like everyone else said. Other possible option for that size is Tilt-up but likely more $$$.

  21. #19
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    You know there are still counties in this country that do not have a building inspector


    Quote Originally Posted by SND View Post
    Building codes surely won't agree with it,.

  22. #20
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    IF you were to spend several years as a temporary worker....


    You would spend many assignments under a canopy of bar joists. At least in the factories, warehouses, etc. here in Indianapolis. The walls are tilt-up concrete, but the roof is bar joists and steel columns.

    My guess is bar joists are cost-effective, especially if the joist depths and lengths are commonly used in 800,000 square foot buildings. These buildings use multiples of 50-75 feet for the column spacings.

    And 300 light fixtures


    Now, if you could buy a canceled order from the plant....


    But since the economy seems to be picking up, ya better hurry.


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