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Welding Table Top - thickness??

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  • #16
    Step 1 is to decide what welding projects you will be doing and what is physical size.

    We live in a small house and has an even smaller 2 (?) car garage. As much as I would love a large and thick welding table, it ain't gonna happen.

    That said my primary welding is on Jeeps and trucks. The largest 'thing' I weld is a front bumper assembly for an off road rig. Even then a LOT of what I do is done on the vehicle itself.

    I currently have a 18" x 36" table that is 3/16 thick. Small and in fact is too small. I am going to rebuild and go to a 24" x 36" and I will most likely stay with 3/16. I have wheels on on end of my table so I can pick it up and move it around with ease.

    I just have to work with what I have, simple as that.

    I built a rolling stand that has a 6" and a 4" dual wheel bench grinders, drill press and a chop saw all in about 18 x 30" of space. It would sure be nice to have them laid out across the length of a tool table, but I just don't have that luxury.
    Don
    Scottsdale, AZ
    www.savagesun4x4.com

    MillerMatic 211 AS
    Hypertherm PowerMax30
    Bernard 300 Amp Q Gun
    Bernard 200 Amp Q Gun
    Milwaukee Band-saw/stand
    10 Angle Grinders 8, 4 1/2" -2, 7"
    DeWalt Chop Saw
    Craftsman Twin-Blade Saw
    12 Ton Shop Press
    Optrel Satellite Helmet
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    • #17
      Originally posted by SavageSunJeep View Post
      The largest 'thing' I weld is a front bumper assembly for an off road rig. Even then a LOT of what I do is done on the vehicle itself....

      It would sure be nice to have them laid out across the length of a tool table, but I just don't have that luxury.
      Tool tables just get loaded up with "stuff." I thought my 3x6' table would occupy too much space in the shop along with my 4x8 bench, but both of them are covered right now and the saw is back on the floor for the time being.

      As for fabricating on the vehicle - that's nice for mock-ups, but your real money comes from the second, third, 20th, etc. You'd be better off with some way to make a jig that represents the vehicle's frame, then work off that to do multiples. You only get faster with more of them under your belt. Cost (time) per unit drops and your profits increase (or at least stabilize with how fast material costs keep rising).

      Just some thoughts to consider. You might be better off trading some space for a more functional fixturing device. Then you can eliminate the vehicle from the working environment as well. I know my customers don't like not having their cars for any length of time, so I'm planning on making some jigs off the components I build to do further production once the cars are gone.

      My giant bench isn't necessary for my daily operations, but I didn't want to build it and then wish for another foot this way or a couple feet that way when working on a kart frame or what have you. I can reach the center and a little beyond, so that makes it very easy to deal with.
      Syncrowave 250DX
      Invison 354MP
      XR Control and 30A

      Airco MED20 feeder
      Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
      Smith O/A rig
      And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Fishy Jim View Post
        Tool tables just get loaded up with "stuff." I thought my 3x6' table would occupy too much space in the shop along with my 4x8 bench, but both of them are covered right now and the saw is back on the floor for the time being.

        As for fabricating on the vehicle - that's nice for mock-ups, but your real money comes from the second, third, 20th, etc. You'd be better off with some way to make a jig that represents the vehicle's frame, then work off that to do multiples. You only get faster with more of them under your belt. Cost (time) per unit drops and your profits increase (or at least stabilize with how fast material costs keep rising).

        Just some thoughts to consider. You might be better off trading some space for a more functional fixturing device. Then you can eliminate the vehicle from the working environment as well. I know my customers don't like not having their cars for any length of time, so I'm planning on making some jigs off the components I build to do further production once the cars are gone.

        My giant bench isn't necessary for my daily operations, but I didn't want to build it and then wish for another foot this way or a couple feet that way when working on a kart frame or what have you. I can reach the center and a little beyond, so that makes it very easy to deal with.
        Jim, thank you for the tips, 'preciate that.... Mostly I do custom work and it is really esential that I work off my clients rig. So often they too have made alterations that I have to work around and or integrate with and sometime both that I really need to test fit, measure and adjudicate. Sometimes this is on the rig and sometimes its on the table. In spite of my constrianed work space I am going to build a larger work table.

        LOL I really know what you mean by using the table to store stuff.

        My current table has wheels on one end and grab handles simliar to a wheelbarrow that allows me to move the table closer to the job
        Don
        Scottsdale, AZ
        www.savagesun4x4.com

        MillerMatic 211 AS
        Hypertherm PowerMax30
        Bernard 300 Amp Q Gun
        Bernard 200 Amp Q Gun
        Milwaukee Band-saw/stand
        10 Angle Grinders 8, 4 1/2" -2, 7"
        DeWalt Chop Saw
        Craftsman Twin-Blade Saw
        12 Ton Shop Press
        Optrel Satellite Helmet
        Miller Elite Helmet
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #19
          I guess what I was trying to get at was that there's a whole bunch of stuff that's made to add to a bone stock vehicle, and your initial customer is paying you to do the R&D on their order. You'd be wise to make detailed notes (if nothing else) so that you can make more of them after the current customer is happily down the road. The next one takes you 20% less time, and you can sell it to someone else for the same money, and so on. I'm not saying you need to manufacture everything you one-off (lord knows I sure don't), but with some things, there's money left on the table if you don't make a few more of them and put them on CL or fleabay. You also benefit from economies of scale when making the components from the raw stock.

          Maybe some of the stuff is too personalized, but there's a good chance that there's a couple more people out there who'd love to get one of whatever you just made for someone else.
          Syncrowave 250DX
          Invison 354MP
          XR Control and 30A

          Airco MED20 feeder
          Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
          Smith O/A rig
          And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by TimS View Post
            Had not thought about such a table - not a bad idea at all though. I will try to locate some examples. Got any favorites?

            Tim
            here's one I made
            it's made from 1" sq tube, about 2'x3'. the top tubes
            are on about 6" centers. it's great for clamping things
            to any which way i want/need. i did not put casters
            on it -- it's light enough that i just carry it where i
            need/want it.

            if you go this route - lay out all the top pieces
            on as flat a surface as you can and then tack them from
            what will be the bottom. that way you'll end up with a fairly
            flat plane to use as a reference for squaring things.

            i do need to get a smallish piece of plate for use as a
            solid top -- i've done a few small things where a solid surface
            would have been better. if/when i do it, it would be a smallish
            piece (maybe 6"x12" max) that is removable.

            i do light home/art/etc types of things so a huge beefy table
            is not needed.

            f
            Attached Files

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            • #21
              What are you guys using to treat your welding table... Leaving it as is.. bare steel, using stainless, or primer and paint... or just using it everyday.. "rolling stone grows no moss theory"?

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              • #22
                I run a dehumidifier about 9 months out of the year. Rust ain't a problem.
                Syncrowave 250DX
                Invison 354MP
                XR Control and 30A

                Airco MED20 feeder
                Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
                Smith O/A rig
                And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at

                Comment


                • #23
                  Rust, what a rust? I live in the desert and it rarely rains here...
                  Don
                  Scottsdale, AZ
                  www.savagesun4x4.com

                  MillerMatic 211 AS
                  Hypertherm PowerMax30
                  Bernard 300 Amp Q Gun
                  Bernard 200 Amp Q Gun
                  Milwaukee Band-saw/stand
                  10 Angle Grinders 8, 4 1/2" -2, 7"
                  DeWalt Chop Saw
                  Craftsman Twin-Blade Saw
                  12 Ton Shop Press
                  Optrel Satellite Helmet
                  Miller Elite Helmet
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    I wish.. The filings from my cut off wheel rust on the ground making for orange footprints on the carpet... ahhh besides, alot of vehicle up my depend on rust to keep them together.

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                    • #25
                      I need to build a better one then the one I got

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by TimS View Post
                        I know, thicker is better - ... What do people think would be a good minimum size? 1/4" thick enough? Could I even get away with 3/16"? Thanks for your input.

                        Tim
                        Originally posted by ridesideways View Post
                        well you can weld on a piece of sheet metal if you want. whether or not it makes sense really depends on what you plan to weld
                        Originally posted by Wacko Welder View Post
                        If you can not for what ever reason "have" a thick table top . . . Look at all the skeleton type tables in here . . . Built from heavy angle, channel & square tube . . .

                        Some of the most experienced people you will find in here use a skeleton type table ONLY . . . and swear by them . . . and their work shows it clearly that anything can be built on them.
                        Well enough was enough, 'tween the Home Owners Assoc, small garage and city/HOA would not let me add on and an even SMALLER apron to work on...wife and I sold it, and bought an ACRE We love it. Amazing in that we are 6 miles closer in town than we were before.

                        Gonna build me a shop. The old (my first EVER welding project) welding table of 18 x 66 is gonna be history.

                        That said and reading and listening to folks my welding table will be: 32" x 48" x 3/16 with a add-on of 12 x 32 x 1" steel grate for plasma cutting etc. All this setting on top of a custom build 'skeleton' table for support and keeping thing on the square and on the level.

                        IMO skeleton + thinner top = less weight, thus I can manhandle (it will have wheels on one end). Till I get the shop built I still need to move things around inside the 2 car garage space I use now.

                        I am a one-man-show and if I cannot lift what I need to work on to the top of the table a 1" thick steel surface does not help. I work mostly on Jeeps and about the largest/heaviest object I work on or build is a custom front/rear bumper that might weight as much as 100 lbs MAX and be the width of the Jeep. I can think of nothing I work on that the tolerance is less than about 1/8th of an inch.

                        One of my buddies has a shop he built that has a 5' x 8' x 3/4" welding table...took a crane to set it in the shop before the roof was on...but he sure has a nice surface to work on.

                        So I ask him one day, as he is about my age: What happens if you drop dead, what does your wife do with the shop? "Don, I have never thought about that!"

                        Well I have and its another reason why the lighter table, I got to think about what I leave behind that has to be sorted out. I suspect that in a home sale unless a welder is buying you might need to pay to get a several ton table moved and I doubt it would be cheap.

                        I do thank all for good advice on here especially the skeleton table approach....
                        Don
                        Scottsdale, AZ
                        www.savagesun4x4.com

                        MillerMatic 211 AS
                        Hypertherm PowerMax30
                        Bernard 300 Amp Q Gun
                        Bernard 200 Amp Q Gun
                        Milwaukee Band-saw/stand
                        10 Angle Grinders 8, 4 1/2" -2, 7"
                        DeWalt Chop Saw
                        Craftsman Twin-Blade Saw
                        12 Ton Shop Press
                        Optrel Satellite Helmet
                        Miller Elite Helmet
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I'm flattered. I posted this more than a year and half ago.

                          Originally posted by Craig in Denver View Post
                          You could scale this one to any size you'd like:

                          http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...=welding+table
                          I actually don't use this table. I lost it to a friend.

                          I have two welding table solutions that are temporary in nature but I have been using for years.

                          1) For small projects, I have a 36" x 36" 3/16" plate on three pieces of 1x2" rect tubing sitting on top of the old workbench in our garage. I have literally 2 sq. ft. of space to work in in front of the bench.

                          2) Lacking a real welding table, I have welded 4' x 8' x 36" cages for work tables on top of 4 pieces of 3" x 5" x 6"L rect. tubing pieces on a regular melamine topped work table.

                          I think my next table will be one like Fishy Jims tho.
                          Miller Maxstar 200 DX
                          RMLS-14 Momentary Hand Control
                          Miller Syncrowave 180 SD
                          Porter Cable 14" dry metal saw
                          Hitachi 4.5" grinder
                          http://mhayesdesign.com

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by shortgoroper View Post
                            What are you guys using to treat your welding table... Leaving it as is.. bare steel, using stainless, or primer and paint... or just using it everyday.. "rolling stone grows no moss theory"?
                            I used steel, painted the base but left the top of the base + attachment points for my grounding clamp unpainted. It just depends if rust is a big issue in your area. I don't mind cleaning a top but I don't want to have to bother with the legs as well.
                            Miller Maxstar 200 DX
                            RMLS-14 Momentary Hand Control
                            Miller Syncrowave 180 SD
                            Porter Cable 14" dry metal saw
                            Hitachi 4.5" grinder
                            http://mhayesdesign.com

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Anything thicker than 1/4" is a bonus. How heavy you want to go depends on a lot of factors: Cash or material available, weight capacity needed, etc.

                              My ideal for general fabrication/welding is 1/2". That gives enough material to drill/tap 1/2" for hold-downs wherever I want. I use C-clamp vise grips a lot as well so I only lose 1/2" of clamp capacity.

                              I like the frame set back from the edges of the top a couple or three inches for clamping/vise-gripping. If the frame is angle I like toe out under the top for the same reason.
                              If tubing is used for the frame I like open ends on the two longer pieces for storing a pony clamp, prybar, square, etc. Table extensions/supports can be fitted for the open tubing as well...

                              As for being plane, I never trust a table and always use shims where/if required.
                              Last edited by Marcel Bauer; 09-02-2009, 04:49 PM.
                              "If you build it, they will come!"

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                              • #30
                                I got a Buildpro table for a recent job where I needed to hold better tolerances than I was able using my old table. Plus the part was larger than my old table.

                                The new table measures 38" x 78" x 5/8" thick and fits nicely between my scaffolding at the end of my garage. I use the upper deck of the scaffolding as storage since the ceiling is 10 ft.

                                The old table measures 28" x 46" x 5/8" and I shimmed it to be level with the new table so I can extend my work area.

                                Wish I had seen Fishy Jim's table design before I ordered this but the job needed to be done in a hurry. Usual case of nothing for a while then a quick rush job which almost paid for the table.

                                Had some 4" angle pieces drilled to act as stops at 90 degrees and also at 45 degrees.
                                You can see the dedicated clamps and stops which came with the table. The holes are 5/8" in diameter and are on 2" centers. The space between the plates is 1 3/4" which allows use of C clamps.

                                Since I only tig, I don't need to worry about spatter or plasma cutting damage to the table. One minor nuisance is that I often drop parts thru the openings between the plates.

                                I do like that I can re-arrange the plates if I need a larger opening or if I need to make the top deeper than 38".
                                Attached Files
                                Miller Dynasty 350, Dynasty 210 DX, Hypertherm 1000, Thermal Arc GTSW400, Airco Heliwelder II, oxy-fuel setup, metal cutting bandsaw, air compressor, drill press, etc.

                                Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !

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