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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ocean City, Maryland
    Posts
    951

    Default

    It would be cool if you dont need it to weld steel on. It does like to spread out heat if thats an issue. 1/2" piece of aluminum, not cheap of course neither is steel. Do you already have scrap from something? That always makes the price better
    Scott
    HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    732

    Default

    One big reason for an Aluminum toped welding table is when welding aluminum placed directly on a steel surface you and not grounding directly to the work but to the table you are likely to get arc marks on the aluminum work.


    I usually have a piece of aluminum 3'X3'X.0125 or so I place this on top of my steel table and clamp it down using my ground clamp. Then I have a surface that will not scratch my work. This goes the same for when I am working anything that I can not have scratches in.
    TJ______________________________________

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    377

    Default

    I have to agree with FAT FAB. Welding aluminum on a steel top leaves stray arcs on the work due to poor grounding. An aluminum top doesn't mark the work or cause arcing. For SS, the Aluminum top acts as a good heat sink to control distortion. A steel top allows you to weld fixtures to it for forming, or jigs, or just tack welding the piece directly to the top. I've used both tops, but for primarily doing either types of materials. A good compromise to this dilemma would be to build the table out of steel, and have half the top steel, and the other half aluminum. When I set up my home shop I will build a table half and half, getting the bennefits of both worlds. The cheapest way to buy aluminum is to find a shop building things with primarily aluminum, and buy a piece of crop from them. Those shops usually will sell a piece of crop for scrap value, usually about 1/10 the cost of buying through a regular supplier.
    Jonny

    Dynasty 300DX
    Esab PCM 1000

  4. #14
    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!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    102

    Default Thumbs-up for aluminum placemat

    Quote Originally Posted by fun4now View Post
    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.
    The aluminum would defintely not take the abuse that steel will. Using an aluminum Placemat as requied is an EXCELLENT suggestion.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    102

    Default Stainless steel top

    Quote Originally Posted by dabar39 View Post
    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
    Indeed. A Stainless sheet would work as well.

  7. #17
    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!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    102

    Default Aluminum = non-magnetic

    Quote Originally Posted by fun4now View Post
    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.
    Excellent point! There are times when a magnet comes in very handy and it is nice to have the option. Defintely one more reason in favor of steel.

    However, I have learned to not use too powerful a magnet as it can wreak havoc on the TIG arc and cause it to wander like crazy.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    102

    Default Tacking & O/A torch considerations

    Quote Originally Posted by weld_13 View Post
    i would go with the steel because of price and u can tack stuff on it and u can practice welding things on it see if u can break it of then grind it back to new ! also if u ever a o/a torch to braze it makes it difficult to get ur piece of work to heat up cause the aluminum looses all the heat .
    I do like the idea of tacking directly to the table for fixturing. I don't do much o/a, but one more vote for steel.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ventura, California
    Posts
    102

    Default Aluminum top for aluminum work

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat-Fab.com View Post
    One big reason for an Aluminum toped welding table is when welding aluminum placed directly on a steel surface you and not grounding directly to the work but to the table you are likely to get arc marks on the aluminum work.


    I usually have a piece of aluminum 3'X3'X.0125 or so I place this on top of my steel table and clamp it down using my ground clamp. Then I have a surface that will not scratch my work. This goes the same for when I am working anything that I can not have scratches in.
    Having an aluminum plate placed on top of the steel tabletop for alumunim work is a EXCELLENT idea! The work gets dinged-up less as well as less arc marks.

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