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Why isnt Aluminum Used for welding tables?

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  • Why isnt Aluminum Used for welding tables?

    Just currious. I know it would be more expensive but is there another reason?

  • #2
    After you get past the expense:
    Alum. is so soft: it'd get dinged & gouged every time something got tossed up on it.
    Plus, Steel won't get warped- or bent out of being 'flat' as easily.

    On my plywood topped workbench at home,
    I've got a (scrounged) 2' x 3' piece of 1/2" Alum. that I do a little welding & plasma cutting on.
    The surface of it is a pitted & burned up mess- just from doing a few of my little backyard projects.

    After seeing how fragile Alum. is just for the little things I'd use it for-
    If I had a big enough sheet of Alum. fall in my lap and was going to build a real work table:
    I'd sell it for scrap and buy what I needed for the table top to be Steel-
    Hopefully a sheet cut of armor plate from a scraped out Navy ship.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 02-01-2010, 11:56 PM.

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    • #3
      A steel table with a removable aluminum top would be fine for working on aluminum projects. Steel tables can scuff the crap out of your aluminum projects.
      Other than expense, there is no reason why an aluminum table, properly designed would not be fine for an aluminum fabricating shop.
      If you were to use it for working on rusty steel etc. it would be less than ideal IMO.

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      • #4
        The shop I work for on the side has a large aluminum work table. They do allot of aluminum welding and no steel. I think its 3/4" thick and about 3' by 10' has 3" by 3" square tube legs and 3" angle bracing. been using it for 13 years now, has held up great.

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        • #5
          My welding table is made of 1" Kaiser Precision 6061 T651. Its 48" x 48" with a large cut out on one side for me to work from.

          The precision aluminum was a good solution as compaired to buying steel plate, then having it blanchard gound to a similar tolerance. The table top is drilled and tapped every 4".

          I have had it for ten years now and it is still in great shape. But I only tig weld on it.

          One other point is that with an aluminum topped table, you really should ground your part, dont just rely on the table grounding it for you.

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          • #6
            lots of portable guys have aluminum fab tables they carry around on their trucks. makes it easier to load and unload. I keep meaning to build one for the back of my truck but havent yet. They are handy even if its just a tool collector to keep the truck deck clear for the actual welding job.

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            • #7
              Several reasons:
              Much of my work is tacked directly to the table (or the jigs and fixtures holding my work are). Ever try welding AL to steel? My table also occasionally serves double duty as an anvil, so if it was made from aluminum it sure wouldn't last long. I would never weld on a machinist's surface plate, just the same as I would never try to do precision work on a welding table.

              I use my table solely as a work surface, not a dimensional reference - that's what squares, rules, and precision levels are for.

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              • #8
                Aluminum table

                I've topped my usual work surface with a piece of 1/4 6061 Hullamin. As most of the fab work I do is anodized aluminum this works great. But one quick lesson learned after doing this was (as another memeber noted) you gotta ground your work. Other wise the arc will jump across and can damage the pretty thing your trying to weld up!

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