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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    234

    Default Fold-Down Welding Table

    In my garage, I've got a work surface that folds up out of the way when I'm not using it. I use it for my table router and miter saw, mostly. It's not designed with jumping-on-top-of strength in mind, but I've jumped on top of it to test it and it held up fine.



    The car isn't there when I'm using the table, but I made it somewhat idiot proof by working it so that the car could still pull in there even if the table was down.

    There's some empty wall space next to the carpentry table, so I'd like to add a welding table that would also fold up when it's not in use. Since I might conceivably hammer on this one, I'll design a more-robust undercarriage -- the legs won't come down at an angle, for example.

    But I'm new to welding, and I've got some questions. Aside from general sturdiness and an unpainted steel surface, is there anything else I need to build into this design?

    Today I took an unplanned step with this project and bought a 3'x6' steel table that I think I can adapt to this job. The top is only 1/8" thick, which I hope won't be a problem. Thicker would have been better, but having to lift the thing up to fold it away is another issue. As it is, the steel plate piece in this table weighs 92 pounds and the undercarriage pieces add another 113 pounds. (Going to a 1/4" top would have meant adding another 92 pounds to the existing 205.)

    I paid $60 for the table from a place down the street from where I live. I hope that wasn't a rip-off. Here's the top of the table sitting down in the space where it will go. The cat is there to show scale.



    The underside is painted, but I'll strip it along the edge and also on the top. You can see it's supported with 2"x2"x.25" angle stock. There are five welded-in threaded lugs on each side for the undercarriage, but I'll redesign that part.



    You can see that the angle stock was welded to the plate every eight inches or so. I'm leery about going in and welding the full seam because of potential warping. But I don't think there will be a strength problem with the existing welds.



    Like I say, I think I can design a workable undercarriage that would unfold when the table swings down.

    But I've also got to make the thing sturdier. It's not that you couldn't jump up and down and hammer on it all day now. But my thinking is that I could add a 1-5/8" layer of wood underneath the plate piece and then weld cross-supports with more of the 2" angle iron to support the wood.

    Is there a downside to having wood underneath the steel? Would it be better to simply cut some more 2"x2"x.25" angle and add more cross supports, with no wood behind the plate? My thinking is that the wood will make the thing a little less gong-like when I'm pounding on it.

    Anything else you guys think I should consider? As I said, this is my first project. After that, I'm making a fence with panels that will be 34" x 60", which will fit on top of this table. But I've got to finish the table before I can start the fence.
    Last edited by Jack Olsen; 04-07-2009 at 10:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    98

    Default My thoughts

    Hi Jack. (OOps, I'm a pilot & can't say that!)

    Anyway, first off, your garage is WAY too neat & clean.

    I'll ask you a question first. Has having the woodworking table up against the wall caused you any problems, that, say, having a table out in the floor would have eliminated? Being both a woodworker and metalworker, having the table up against the wall jumped out to me as having the potential to cause accessability issues with larger/longer projects. If most your projects are pretty small, it should not be a big deal.

    The metal table looks plenty strong to me unless you work on Dozers. I really believe that most of us home shop tinkerers overbuild just about everything.

    For my garage welding, I usually use a pair of plastic sawhorses with a formica covered plywood thingy (scrounged from a dump years ago)as the top. On top of that, I set a couple of concrete pavers from the local big box store and then a piece of aluminum plate. Sounds pretty rinky-dink, & it is. But it is quickly portable & like your plan requires almost no room when not in use.

    I guess I really didn't help you much, I hope you come up with a workable plan. Please post your final results.

    Jerry in Anchorage
    Only 2 more weeks till spring--only about 10 inches of snow left in my yard.
    After the big blow on Saturday, the volcano has been really quiet--Great earthquake today about noon--unrelated to the volcano

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    234

    Default

    Thanks. You're probably right about the overbuilding. I'll skip the wood, and maybe even skip adding extra angle iron for support. I'll get it up and in place first, then see how solid it feels.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Medford MA
    Posts
    538

    Default

    The only issues I see are that it might be hard to clamp things in various
    ways to the table and/or mount/dismount vises and other tools.
    But it's a good start. The best plan would be to use it and see
    where it is/is-not satisfactory and make alterations as you go along.

    Oh, and your garage is _way_ too clean and neat.

    Frank

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Thumbs up

    i have to agree about it being plenty strong enough.

    if you find problems with mounting clamps and such you can always add a brace or 2 under it so you can drill threw to attach what you need. or you can just weld what you need to the top and cut it off after you are done with it. a 4.5" grinder with a cutting disk and flap disk will take off anything you add to hold what you are working on when done.

    you might look into a way to add a vice to the table when needed. i have some holes drilled in the top corner of mine for my vice. but keep in mind my table is over 1" thick. many use 2" trailer hitch pugs to add goodies to there weld table. HF has a receiver tube for $11 you could mount to the table and you can buy some 2" square pipe to add goodies to that will slip into the receiver. you might want to add it near a brace, or add some where you want it.

    going to be a great welding table, keep in mind what the others said about changing it as needed. one of the good parts about being a welder is its easy to change stuff as needed, so keep that in mind and let the table grow as needed.

    don't forget to post up some finished ( for the time being any way ) pic's.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    234

    Default

    I'm planning on building a double-hitch into the wall adjacent to the table, bolting it to the studs and a crossmember. I'm going to add it to where the wall comes further out at the foot of the table.

    It'll be this, but with that single insert end sawed off.



    I think the double receiver will be stable enough for my vice, my 8" grinder, a HF anvil, and even my drill press. I'll put together bases for each with 2" square tube stock and 1/4 inch plate. I'll make the base for the vice with at least two sets of holes, so I can rotate it for better positioning.

    It'll be a work in progress, I'm sure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Medford MA
    Posts
    538

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Olsen View Post
    I'm planning on building a double-hitch into the wall adjacent to the table, bolting it to the studs and a crossmember.
    Wouldn't that transmit shock and vibrations to the house's studs and from
    there to the entire rest of the house, possibly to the detriment of domestic
    harmony?

    If you're planning to do any serious whacking on stuff, that shock
    is best transmitted directly down to the floor. Look at old heavy-
    duty metalworking and blacksmithing vises. They all mount to somthing
    but have a leg that goes straight down to the ground.

    Frank

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    234

    Default

    Good point. But the garage is free standing, about 10 feet from the house. The wall that would be resonating from my pounding faces the neighbors.

    If I find a way to get a Harbor Freight anvil to mount to the receiver, I think I can also engineer a single steel support leg going down to the slab.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,554

    Default

    This may sound like a dumb question, but exactly what are you gearing up to be pounding on???
    Are you becoming a blacksmith or what?

    I make a lot of stuff and do very little pounding so you have my curiosity.

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Talking

    yeeeaaaa..................... i wasn't shore i wanted to ask.
    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

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