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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.
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  • #2
    Why aluminum? That will be expensive. What type of welding will you be doing and on what?
    Nick
    Miller 252 Mig
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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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      Dynasty 200 DX
      Millermatic 350P
      30A Spoolgun
      Lincoln Pro Mig 140
      Hypertherm Powermax 30
      14" Rage Evolution dry saw
      40 ton press brake
      Evenheat Heat treat oven

      1x42 / 4x48 belt grinder

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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.
        Nick
        Miller 252 Mig
        Miller Cricket XL
        Millermatic 150 Mig
        Miller Syncrowave 200 Tig
        2-O/A outfits
        Jet Lathe and Mill
        Jet 7x12 horz/vert band saw
        DeWalt Multi Cutter metal saw
        Century 50 Amp Plasma Cutter
        20 ton electric/hydraulic vertical press
        Propane Forge
        60" X 60" router/plasma table

        www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTu7wicVCmQ
        Vist my site: www.nixstuff.com
        and check out some of my ironwork and other stuff

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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?
          sigpic

          Dynasty 200 DX
          Millermatic 350P
          30A Spoolgun
          Lincoln Pro Mig 140
          Hypertherm Powermax 30
          14" Rage Evolution dry saw
          40 ton press brake
          Evenheat Heat treat oven

          1x42 / 4x48 belt grinder

          Comment


          • #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.
            Nick
            Miller 252 Mig
            Miller Cricket XL
            Millermatic 150 Mig
            Miller Syncrowave 200 Tig
            2-O/A outfits
            Jet Lathe and Mill
            Jet 7x12 horz/vert band saw
            DeWalt Multi Cutter metal saw
            Century 50 Amp Plasma Cutter
            20 ton electric/hydraulic vertical press
            Propane Forge
            60" X 60" router/plasma table

            www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTu7wicVCmQ
            Vist my site: www.nixstuff.com
            and check out some of my ironwork and other stuff

            Comment


            • #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
                    Grip it and Rip it

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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.

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                        • #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
                          sigpic

                          Dynasty 200 DX
                          Millermatic 350P
                          30A Spoolgun
                          Lincoln Pro Mig 140
                          Hypertherm Powermax 30
                          14" Rage Evolution dry saw
                          40 ton press brake
                          Evenheat Heat treat oven

                          1x42 / 4x48 belt grinder

                          Comment


                          • #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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