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  • Fold-Down Welding Table

    In my garage, I've got a work surface that folds up out of the way when I'm not using it. I use it for my table router and miter saw, mostly. It's not designed with jumping-on-top-of strength in mind, but I've jumped on top of it to test it and it held up fine.



    The car isn't there when I'm using the table, but I made it somewhat idiot proof by working it so that the car could still pull in there even if the table was down.

    There's some empty wall space next to the carpentry table, so I'd like to add a welding table that would also fold up when it's not in use. Since I might conceivably hammer on this one, I'll design a more-robust undercarriage -- the legs won't come down at an angle, for example.

    But I'm new to welding, and I've got some questions. Aside from general sturdiness and an unpainted steel surface, is there anything else I need to build into this design?

    Today I took an unplanned step with this project and bought a 3'x6' steel table that I think I can adapt to this job. The top is only 1/8" thick, which I hope won't be a problem. Thicker would have been better, but having to lift the thing up to fold it away is another issue. As it is, the steel plate piece in this table weighs 92 pounds and the undercarriage pieces add another 113 pounds. (Going to a 1/4" top would have meant adding another 92 pounds to the existing 205.)

    I paid $60 for the table from a place down the street from where I live. I hope that wasn't a rip-off. Here's the top of the table sitting down in the space where it will go. The cat is there to show scale.



    The underside is painted, but I'll strip it along the edge and also on the top. You can see it's supported with 2"x2"x.25" angle stock. There are five welded-in threaded lugs on each side for the undercarriage, but I'll redesign that part.



    You can see that the angle stock was welded to the plate every eight inches or so. I'm leery about going in and welding the full seam because of potential warping. But I don't think there will be a strength problem with the existing welds.



    Like I say, I think I can design a workable undercarriage that would unfold when the table swings down.

    But I've also got to make the thing sturdier. It's not that you couldn't jump up and down and hammer on it all day now. But my thinking is that I could add a 1-5/8" layer of wood underneath the plate piece and then weld cross-supports with more of the 2" angle iron to support the wood.

    Is there a downside to having wood underneath the steel? Would it be better to simply cut some more 2"x2"x.25" angle and add more cross supports, with no wood behind the plate? My thinking is that the wood will make the thing a little less gong-like when I'm pounding on it.

    Anything else you guys think I should consider? As I said, this is my first project. After that, I'm making a fence with panels that will be 34" x 60", which will fit on top of this table. But I've got to finish the table before I can start the fence.
    Last edited by Jack Olsen; 04-07-2009, 10:10 PM.
    Jack Olsen
    The Garage (And its slideshow)
    The Car (And its slideshow)

  • #2
    My thoughts

    Hi Jack. (OOps, I'm a pilot & can't say that!)

    Anyway, first off, your garage is WAY too neat & clean.

    I'll ask you a question first. Has having the woodworking table up against the wall caused you any problems, that, say, having a table out in the floor would have eliminated? Being both a woodworker and metalworker, having the table up against the wall jumped out to me as having the potential to cause accessability issues with larger/longer projects. If most your projects are pretty small, it should not be a big deal.

    The metal table looks plenty strong to me unless you work on Dozers. I really believe that most of us home shop tinkerers overbuild just about everything.

    For my garage welding, I usually use a pair of plastic sawhorses with a formica covered plywood thingy (scrounged from a dump years ago)as the top. On top of that, I set a couple of concrete pavers from the local big box store and then a piece of aluminum plate. Sounds pretty rinky-dink, & it is. But it is quickly portable & like your plan requires almost no room when not in use.

    I guess I really didn't help you much, I hope you come up with a workable plan. Please post your final results.

    Jerry in Anchorage
    Only 2 more weeks till spring--only about 10 inches of snow left in my yard.
    After the big blow on Saturday, the volcano has been really quiet--Great earthquake today about noon--unrelated to the volcano

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    • #3
      Thanks. You're probably right about the overbuilding. I'll skip the wood, and maybe even skip adding extra angle iron for support. I'll get it up and in place first, then see how solid it feels.
      Jack Olsen
      The Garage (And its slideshow)
      The Car (And its slideshow)

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      • #4
        The only issues I see are that it might be hard to clamp things in various
        ways to the table and/or mount/dismount vises and other tools.
        But it's a good start. The best plan would be to use it and see
        where it is/is-not satisfactory and make alterations as you go along.

        Oh, and your garage is _way_ too clean and neat.

        Frank

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        • #5
          i have to agree about it being plenty strong enough.

          if you find problems with mounting clamps and such you can always add a brace or 2 under it so you can drill threw to attach what you need. or you can just weld what you need to the top and cut it off after you are done with it. a 4.5" grinder with a cutting disk and flap disk will take off anything you add to hold what you are working on when done.

          you might look into a way to add a vice to the table when needed. i have some holes drilled in the top corner of mine for my vice. but keep in mind my table is over 1" thick. many use 2" trailer hitch pugs to add goodies to there weld table. HF has a receiver tube for $11 you could mount to the table and you can buy some 2" square pipe to add goodies to that will slip into the receiver. you might want to add it near a brace, or add some where you want it.

          going to be a great welding table, keep in mind what the others said about changing it as needed. one of the good parts about being a welder is its easy to change stuff as needed, so keep that in mind and let the table grow as needed.

          don't forget to post up some finished ( for the time being any way ) pic's.
          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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          • #6
            I'm planning on building a double-hitch into the wall adjacent to the table, bolting it to the studs and a crossmember. I'm going to add it to where the wall comes further out at the foot of the table.

            It'll be this, but with that single insert end sawed off.



            I think the double receiver will be stable enough for my vice, my 8" grinder, a HF anvil, and even my drill press. I'll put together bases for each with 2" square tube stock and 1/4 inch plate. I'll make the base for the vice with at least two sets of holes, so I can rotate it for better positioning.

            It'll be a work in progress, I'm sure.
            Jack Olsen
            The Garage (And its slideshow)
            The Car (And its slideshow)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jack Olsen View Post
              I'm planning on building a double-hitch into the wall adjacent to the table, bolting it to the studs and a crossmember.
              Wouldn't that transmit shock and vibrations to the house's studs and from
              there to the entire rest of the house, possibly to the detriment of domestic
              harmony?

              If you're planning to do any serious whacking on stuff, that shock
              is best transmitted directly down to the floor. Look at old heavy-
              duty metalworking and blacksmithing vises. They all mount to somthing
              but have a leg that goes straight down to the ground.

              Frank

              Comment


              • #8
                Good point. But the garage is free standing, about 10 feet from the house. The wall that would be resonating from my pounding faces the neighbors.

                If I find a way to get a Harbor Freight anvil to mount to the receiver, I think I can also engineer a single steel support leg going down to the slab.
                Jack Olsen
                The Garage (And its slideshow)
                The Car (And its slideshow)

                Comment


                • #9
                  This may sound like a dumb question, but exactly what are you gearing up to be pounding on???
                  Are you becoming a blacksmith or what?

                  I make a lot of stuff and do very little pounding so you have my curiosity.

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                  • #10
                    yeeeaaaa..................... i wasn't shore i wanted to ask.
                    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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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jack Olsen View Post
                      Good point. But the garage is free standing, about 10 feet from the house. The wall that would be resonating from my pounding faces the neighbors.

                      If I find a way to get a Harbor Freight anvil to mount to the receiver, I think I can also engineer a single steel support leg going down to the slab.
                      Jack,
                      I would suggest not getting a HF anvil. They are made from poor quality materials.
                      Nick

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        This may sound like a dumb question, but exactly what are you gearing up to be pounding on???
                        Are you becoming a blacksmith or what?

                        I make a lot of stuff and do very little pounding so you have my curiosity.
                        It's a good question. The two welding projects I've got lined up are only a fence for the front yard (no pounding there) and a pergola-ish kind of thing for a deck in the back (no pounding, again). Maybe I've been drawn into the competitive world of inch-thick welding tables with no place in the game.

                        Still, the idea of being able to pound as hard as I want is appealing.

                        But the point is well made. I'm new to this.
                        Jack Olsen
                        The Garage (And its slideshow)
                        The Car (And its slideshow)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          first off kiwi makes an excellent point about the HFanvel, not a great buy.

                          and as for the 1" thick table to pound on, i have a table thats a lil over 1" thick. only because it was a free bee. but if you are looking to form steel a few better options come to mind, they make shaped pieces you can put into a vice to form corners and such, or a good sized log on its end, or a planishing hammer will get you a lot farther then a big steel table. its not difficult to make a home made planishing hammer and even an English wheel. there are a few in the projects gallery ( one of mine is also there). not every tool need be purchased. one of the great parts of being able to weld and fabricate is the ability to make things one needs and this can also include the tools needed for the project at hand.
                          i recommend building up your toys slowly and getting quality as you do. a shop full of HF tool will soon become a shop full of aggravating junk that causes more problems then it solves. that same $$ will give you a shop 1/2 full of tools that will do 10X as much for you and still be doing so many years from now when the shop is full of quality tools that make your jobs and life much easier. this is not to say all HF stuff is bad. many things can be gotten there with little to no risk and some times you do need a cheapo tool to beat or pry on. just take the place with a grain of salt. don't get carried away when you see all the cool looking stuff you can get in the cart for $100., $75 of that may well be better off left at the store.

                          best advice i ever got (about tools) is buy quality and you only have to buy once.a cheap tool is often just that, a cheap tool.
                          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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                          • #14
                            All right. The HF anvil is out. I'll worry about pounding when I have a project that needs it.
                            Jack Olsen
                            The Garage (And its slideshow)
                            The Car (And its slideshow)

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                            • #15
                              I have a 3/8" Table
                              A HF anvil- I'm not a Blacksmith but when I need sumptin' bent, flat, ponded on etc etc it works just fine.
                              The Dollys for shaping sheet metal too.

                              Come on over and try em' out anytime.

                              For all the folks that say No to a HF Anvil- Jack has a 1/8" Table- How the fork he gonna pond on that table?

                              and what spend $$$$ on a Real Anvil for the few times you just need a Solid surface to pound on?
                              Ed Conley
                              http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
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