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Welding table thickness

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  • Welding table thickness

    Hey guys, I want to fab a welding table out of aluminum. The top will be 4'x4'. In your opinion, what would be a good thickness. I was thinking between 1/4 and 3/8ths. I don't want it to bend or flex. Thanks for any input, Ja.

  • #2
    Why aluminum? That will be expensive. What type of welding will you be doing and on what?

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply Monte, the table will spend the majority of its time outside and will be moved into the shop when I need to work on a project. I don't have alot of shop room to keep it inside. Therefore, weight is an issue along with corrosion. Aluminum would be better than steel for my ap. I mig and tig both alum and steel, mostly small projects, ie under 100 lbs.

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      • #4
        Aluminum outside will get nasty also. Will you need to have access all 4 sides of the table? If not, and you have wall space, attatch it to the wall with hinges. Flip up when you need it and down when you don't. I would still go with steel because it's cheaper, and you tack jigs etc to the table if need be. Even if the steel was outside, coat it and cover it and its will be fine. I wouldn't my welding table outside. It's unsitely and a piece of aluminum that big is inviting theft.

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        • #5
          Thanks for your ideas, they are respected. I do need all 4 sides and this design still will suite me best. Still leaning toward alum. In this situation, what thickness plate would you use?

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          • #6
            I assume you will have a steel base under it. Of course you know you will not weld the alum plate to it so you will need to bolt it. Depending on the bracing under the top, you might get by with 1/4" bit if allowed to get hot during welding it may not stay flat. Myself, I would like to have at least 1/2" top. Then you could have overhang for clamping and such. With only 1/4" top and overhang, it will be too easy to deform the overhang when loadindg something heavy on it and it hits the edge. So much depends on how you will use the table.

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            • #7
              I had an aluminum welding table, don't use it anymore because as soon as you have something clamped on it that overhangs, it would flip. Just wasn't heavy enough. You would want it pretty thick because it flexed a lot too.

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              • #8
                Aluminum would get trashed so fast with sharp, burr and slag covered pieces of steel. I would never build a welding table with less than 3/8 steel, and that would need good bracing built into it. I have 3/4 steel for my top. Just my opinions though. I understand you need to be able to move it. Any way you could just build a set of nice casters into a full steel table so it could still be moved? Steel would be fine outside if it got a nice coating everywhere but the top surface. Would just take a little maintaince to clean up the top when you need it.

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                • #9
                  Looking at your list of equipment there and it looks to me you have a pretty decent handle on what you need.
                  That said, I'm guessing your wallet will help you make this decision.
                  Simply imagine a heavy steel table and go from there.
                  Heavy duty legs and all that good stuff. It'll be expensive
                  There are many times I wish I had an aluminum top on my table for aluminum work.
                  If money isn't a problem, then you may wanna go with stainless instead.
                  Back on the aluminum I would say 1/4" would be ok as long as you didn't clamp anything much to it. Anything thicker would be better of course.
                  The advice about nothing heavy, no hard (sledgehammer) banging/wailing, or steel mig/stick welding just goes almost without saying.
                  I feel the alloy is as important as anything. Go with 6061 and it will be a ton stiffer than say like 3003 or even 5052. Use a heavy frame and barely tack or even tap and bolt the top down and it will stay flat.
                  I have a 10ft plate of 5/16ths unknown alloy and it's gonna be a table top for sure someday more than likely. I feel like it can't be beat for aluminum tubing projects like I do on boats.....YMMV.....HTH

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                  • #10
                    My welding table is 4mm thick ali.
                    When welding rough stuff I place a sheet of ali diamond plate on top to prevent damaging the surface.

                    Ji

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                    • #11
                      I put 4" wheels on my 1/2" steel table that is 4 x 6 and can wheel it around the shop to my hearts content. A little WD-40 on the top keeps it from rusting. even if it does get some rust a wire wheel knocks it off fast. If you want alum for your alum projects just get a thinner sheet to clamp to the top.

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                      • #12
                        Welding table thickness

                        Don't worry about having a steel table outside. My welding table is made completely out of steel "C" channel that used to be a steel wood rack for a fireplace. It's never had rust problems yet. Anyways, regardless you can use all the Aluminum you want but I might still suggest you consider a sheet of 12ga steel over the top and if you want you can even leave the mill scale on it. The reason is, any steel or anything that is harder than the Aluminum will get embedded into the Aluminum top. Those particles will leave awful scratches into your projects. Just my opinion. Have fun building it. There is a cool pre-fab'ed tool holder showcased on www.weldingtipsandtricks.com that holds grinders, drivers, welding accessories etc to add to the table. Later!
                        Ps here's the clutter catcher link
                        http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/metalworking-hand-tools.html
                        Last edited by bobhdus; 09-02-2012, 03:11 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          All valid points, thanks guys. I completely understand the benifits of a steel top and from the opinions I'll most likely lean that way, but the frame will still have to be alum. Nothing gets me more fired up than rust on my projects that I worked hard on. I'd rather look at aluminum oxide than watch the foot pads of my table rust into the ground. Sad to say but it's going to sit outside, I don't have a concrete slab outside the shop to keep it on either. Frame will be 2x2x1/4" tubing, I figured if it wasn't heavy enough to support the top I could fill the vertical legs with sand. Anyway, I do appreciate the comments, hope you all enjoy labor day. Ja

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                          • #14
                            " Frame will be 2x2x1/4" tubing,"

                            4" pipe or 4X4 Sq tube will be cheaper, stouter, and last longer unprotected than aluminum. It also has the benifit of being able to weld the top on. If you don't want to watch it rust then paint the thing, or clear coat it.

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                            • #15
                              Welding table thickness

                              My table legs are 6 in sh80. 80 pipe . Top is 3/4 I wouldn't use anything lighter. I have a Wilton vise mounted on one end and a piece of 3x3 angle on one side groove up .. My table has 4x4 by 1/4 square tube frame with fork pockets it has bolts on feet to level up and down pretty classic oilfield table works well

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