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Welding Station Tabletop - steel or aluminum?

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  • #16
    Stainless steel top

    Originally posted by dabar39 View Post
    I'm not real sure that an aluminum work surface will be the right thing to do. I would have to think it would get imbedded with the welding splatter and grinding debris a lot easier than going with a steel top. When ever I do aluminum or stainless I either put a piece of stainless sheet or even the sheet cardboard that comes between the sheets of metal on the table as a pad to work off of. Dave
    Indeed. A Stainless sheet would work as well.
    Dynasty 200 DX
    Coolmate 3

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    • #17
      Tacking fixturing jigs to table top

      Originally posted by Sundown View Post
      I am always tacking stuff to my steel table during setup, hard to do that with aluminum unless all you work with is aluminum.
      Great Idea! They would kill me for tacking to the tabletops in class, so it never occured to me to try. However, if it is on my own tabletop, PERFECT! Thanks for the suggestion!
      Dynasty 200 DX
      Coolmate 3

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      • #18
        Aluminum = non-magnetic

        Originally posted by fun4now View Post
        not to mention magnets are out on an aluminum table.
        i think a steel table with a pice of sheet in aluminum or SS would be a better option. i just cant see an aluminum top lasting too long in my shop, but your milage may differ.
        Excellent point! There are times when a magnet comes in very handy and it is nice to have the option. Defintely one more reason in favor of steel.

        However, I have learned to not use too powerful a magnet as it can wreak havoc on the TIG arc and cause it to wander like crazy.
        Dynasty 200 DX
        Coolmate 3

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        • #19
          Tacking & O/A torch considerations

          Originally posted by weld_13 View Post
          i would go with the steel because of price and u can tack stuff on it and u can practice welding things on it see if u can break it of then grind it back to new ! also if u ever a o/a torch to braze it makes it difficult to get ur piece of work to heat up cause the aluminum looses all the heat .
          I do like the idea of tacking directly to the table for fixturing. I don't do much o/a, but one more vote for steel.
          Dynasty 200 DX
          Coolmate 3

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          • #20
            Aluminum top for aluminum work

            Originally posted by Fat-Fab.com View Post
            One big reason for an Aluminum toped welding table is when welding aluminum placed directly on a steel surface you and not grounding directly to the work but to the table you are likely to get arc marks on the aluminum work.


            I usually have a piece of aluminum 3'X3'X.0125 or so I place this on top of my steel table and clamp it down using my ground clamp. Then I have a surface that will not scratch my work. This goes the same for when I am working anything that I can not have scratches in.
            Having an aluminum plate placed on top of the steel tabletop for alumunim work is a EXCELLENT idea! The work gets dinged-up less as well as less arc marks.
            Dynasty 200 DX
            Coolmate 3

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            • #21
              Hybrid steel & aluminum

              Originally posted by JonnyTIG View Post
              I have to agree with FAT FAB. Welding aluminum on a steel top leaves stray arcs on the work due to poor grounding. An aluminum top doesn't mark the work or cause arcing. For SS, the Aluminum top acts as a good heat sink to control distortion. A steel top allows you to weld fixtures to it for forming, or jigs, or just tack welding the piece directly to the top. I've used both tops, but for primarily doing either types of materials. A good compromise to this dilemma would be to build the table out of steel, and have half the top steel, and the other half aluminum. When I set up my home shop I will build a table half and half, getting the bennefits of both worlds. The cheapest way to buy aluminum is to find a shop building things with primarily aluminum, and buy a piece of crop from them. Those shops usually will sell a piece of crop for scrap value, usually about 1/10 the cost of buying through a regular supplier.
              Indeed. A hybrid design would give the durabilty of steel and the advantage of aluminum, allowing the best of both worlds. GREAT idea!
              Dynasty 200 DX
              Coolmate 3

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              • #22
                I'm glad you liked the idea (:
                Jonny

                Dynasty 300DX
                Esab PCM 1000

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                • #23
                  OH SHORE now its a good idea. , i said do that back in the 3rd post.
                  i supose it just takes a wile to sink in, you know how us guys are with thick heads and all.
                  thanks for the help
                  ......or..........
                  hope i helped
                  sigpic
                  feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
                  summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
                  JAMES

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                  • #24
                    Ultra cool serious welding tabletop... 1 x 5' x 8' steel fully supported tabletop. Nice and flat. Make the support of 1/4 x 3 tubing for legs and platform. Al and steel don't slide ganst one another very well. Al doesn't like much else but itself.

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                    • #25
                      OK, FAT FAB has the most sensible idea but I can hardly believe you couldn't figure it out by yourself. Sometimes you can waste a lot of good metal overmaking crazy specialty tables and whatever. Unless you've got a good line on free scrap metal keep it simple and cheap.
                      Matt Adams A&P, IA
                      Trailblazer 302
                      Dialarc HF

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                      • #26
                        Thanks for the GREAT ideas

                        Originally posted by fun4now View Post
                        OH SHORE now its a good idea. , i said do that back in the 3rd post.
                        i supose it just takes a wile to sink in, you know how us guys are with thick heads and all.
                        >you know how us guys are with thick heads and all

                        fun4now

                        Hey, I resemble that remark...

                        Please see my earlier posts for feedback (#15 on your Placemat idea, and #18 on your warning about non-magnetic aluminum).

                        Happy Fathers Day!
                        Dynasty 200 DX
                        Coolmate 3

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                        • #27
                          i have a solution to the tig arc wander with magnets. i'll post ya a pic tomarow, not only will it stop arc wander but it will work on aluminum.
                          thanks for the help
                          ......or..........
                          hope i helped
                          sigpic
                          feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
                          summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
                          JAMES

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                          • #28
                            iv never seen an aluminum table, it makes it hard to tack your projects to it. and also it is more expensive and yes it does dent easier. so unless you do alot of aluminum welding i wouldnt use aluminum table top

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                            • #29
                              Magic trick?

                              Originally posted by fun4now View Post
                              i have a solution to the tig arc wander with magnets. i'll post ya a pic tomarow, not only will it stop arc wander but it will work on aluminum.
                              SWEET! I look forward to seeing it.
                              Dynasty 200 DX
                              Coolmate 3

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                              • #30
                                Fun 4 now,

                                I've read you stating using a place mat... But not building a table for differing types of welding... The tables I've used have been for one type of metal or another.. Building a hybrid is the way to go if one is going to utilize it for various projects. Nothing to do with thick heads and such.
                                Jonny

                                Dynasty 300DX
                                Esab PCM 1000

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