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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    102

    Default Welding Station Tabletop - steel or aluminum?

    I'm designing a welding station. Most tabletops I've seen are mild steel. I'm leaning toward using 1/2" aluminum plate for the following reasons:
    1. Pulls heat away from the backside of a weld faster than steel.
    2. Less chance to scratch stainless steel during fixturing and welding.

    Other than the fact that it is softer than steel, are there any reasons NOT to use aluminum; such as excessive arcing or warping? I'll be running 200 amps max, usually in the 100 range.

    Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    132

    Default

    I'd have to give it a thumbs down for the following reasons:

    1. Price of Aluminum

    2. You'd have to have aluminum legs and structure for a real table...
    Otherwise you'd just have an aluminum surface bolted to a steel table.

    That might be the best way to go: Conventional steel table to which aluminum plate (or even barstock) is bolted to the top for certain parts/welds. Aluminum would get scratched/banged, discolored, splattered on, etc. I don't know what kind of welding you'll be doing but if you mig the corner of some steel right on that surface, what's going to happen to the surface of that aluminum when you run the steel wire into it?

    -James

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    102

    Default Hybrid steel & aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by jamscal View Post
    I'd have to give it a thumbs down for the following reasons:

    1. Price of Aluminum

    2. You'd have to have aluminum legs and structure for a real table...
    Otherwise you'd just have an aluminum surface bolted to a steel table.

    That might be the best way to go: Conventional steel table to which aluminum plate (or even barstock) is bolted to the top for certain parts/welds. Aluminum would get scratched/banged, discolored, splattered on, etc. I don't know what kind of welding you'll be doing but if you mig the corner of some steel right on that surface, what's going to happen to the surface of that aluminum when you run the steel wire into it?

    -James
    I like the idea of a steel table with an optional aluminum cover. Thank you for the suggestion!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    i have seen them made from 1/2&1/2 so i dont see whay you couldnt get away with just aluminum. only thing i can think of is like you said its soft so it will get dented ans scratched easily. i hve set dont my grinder with it still spinning and had it grrrrr to a stop the last lil bit and i would think that would leave a huge chale, in aluminum but did nothing to steel. so as long as you keep the soft isue in mind when building you should be fine. extra bracing and be shore not to melt threw.
    maybee a steel top with an aluminum place mat so to speek??? that would give you the best of both.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ocean City, Maryland
    Posts
    951

    Smile

    Why aluminum? do you weld aluminum stuff all the time? Just curious, I ahve never seen a aluminum work table
    Scott
    HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vero Beach, fl.
    Posts
    761

    Default aluminum work table

    I'm not real sure that an aluminum work surface will be the right thing to do. I would have to think it would get imbedded with the welding splatter and grinding debris a lot easier than going with a steel top. When ever I do aluminum or stainless I either put a piece of stainless sheet or even the sheet cardboard that comes between the sheets of metal on the table as a pad to work off of. Dave
    Last edited by dabar39; 06-15-2007 at 06:46 AM.
    If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

    John Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    1,788

    Default

    I am always tacking stuff to my steel table during setup, hard to do that with aluminum unless all you work with is aluminum.
    Regards, George

    Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    not to mention magnets are out on an aluminum table.
    i think a steel table with a pice of sheet in aluminum or SS would be a better option. i just cant see an aluminum top lasting too long in my shop, but your milage may differ.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Northern CA
    Posts
    90

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sundown View Post
    I am always tacking stuff to my steel table during setup, hard to do that with aluminum unless all you work with is aluminum.
    This would be one of my top reasons for a steel table. I weld small jigs to my table top all the time for bending/ fixturing of parts. Steel is going to last longer and be more versitile than an aluminum top. Besides, when the part your welding on arcs on the aluminum top, it will put nasty little pits in the surface.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    102

    Default Tacking fixturing jigs to table top

    Quote Originally Posted by Sundown View Post
    I am always tacking stuff to my steel table during setup, hard to do that with aluminum unless all you work with is aluminum.
    Great Idea! They would kill me for tacking to the tabletops in class, so it never occured to me to try. However, if it is on my own tabletop, PERFECT! Thanks for the suggestion!

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