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More welding table questions

General welding questions that dont fit in TIG, MIG, Stick, or Certification etc.

More welding table questions

Postby dgapilot » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:22 am

So I currently have a small 27" X 27" table that I made for O/A welding with a fire brick surface. For practicing TIG, I threw a piece of 3/16 steel on top of it that is about 10"X 30", but it isn't very flat. It's great for practice, but really won't do for projects.

I have a 48X96 table that I made out of OSB, and I have a roll of .032 2024 T3 Alclad that I haven't used for about 20 years that has been sitting around. I'm thinking of putting a piece of MDF on top of my existing table so I have a nice flat surface, then cutting a 48X96 piece of the 2024 Alclad to put over it so I have a metallic surface to ground to. 2024 is not a weldable alloy. It's all materials that I already have, so it's cheap! Would the .032" 2024 be a reasonable surface for a welding table, or would it warp and twist on the first application of heat? Would I be better off just using the MDF and ground to whatever project is at hand?

My other thought is to get a FabBlock but that's lots of $$. Main advantage is that it would be more mobile depending on size, and it is set up with holes on a 2" grid for modular tooling. I've got enough room in the shop that I could keep my existing table and still fit a 24X48 FabBlock. By the time I buy the FabBlock, legs, castors and shipping I'd have almost $800 into that table.
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Re: More welding table questions

Postby Poland308 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:17 pm

While you might gain a little bit of a benefit from covering the mfd with the aluminum.i would wager that in a very short time the aluminum will get chewed up from arcing if you use it to ground to. If it's free, use it to add a little extra resistance to the mfd from sparks, but don't try to ground through it, it will just give you ground problems.
I have more questions than answers

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Re: More welding table questions

Postby cj737 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:08 pm

I bought and made my own 48"x72"x0.75" for under $500. A piece of 1/2" would be thick enough, but 5/8" is better. I used a Mag drill to drill the holes (took a while) and if you don't have one, you can rent one pretty cheap.
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Re: More welding table questions

Postby dgapilot » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:24 pm

cj737 wrote:I bought and made my own 48"x72"x0.75" for under $500. A piece of 1/2" would be thick enough, but 5/8" is better. I used a Mag drill to drill the holes (took a while) and if you don't have one, you can rent one pretty cheap.


That's a lot of holes to drill!
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Re: More welding table questions

Postby DrivenToMake » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:24 pm

dgapilot wrote:So I currently have a small 27" X 27" table that I made for O/A welding with a fire brick surface. For practicing TIG, I threw a piece of 3/16 steel on top of it that is about 10"X 30", but it isn't very flat. It's great for practice, but really won't do for projects.

I have a 48X96 table that I made out of OSB, and I have a roll of .032 2024 T3 Alclad that I haven't used for about 20 years that has been sitting around. I'm thinking of putting a piece of MDF on top of my existing table so I have a nice flat surface, then cutting a 48X96 piece of the 2024 Alclad to put over it so I have a metallic surface to ground to. 2024 is not a weldable alloy. It's all materials that I already have, so it's cheap! Would the .032" 2024 be a reasonable surface for a welding table, or would it warp and twist on the first application of heat? Would I be better off just using the MDF and ground to whatever project is at hand?

My other thought is to get a FabBlock but that's lots of $$. Main advantage is that it would be more mobile depending on size, and it is set up with holes on a 2" grid for modular tooling. I've got enough room in the shop that I could keep my existing table and still fit a 24X48 FabBlock. By the time I buy the FabBlock, legs, castors and shipping I'd have almost $800 into that table.
I bought a certiflat table from Tab and Slot myself. If I had it to do over again, I would not buy a table with all the holes in it.

But that is me personally, for the projects that I've done thus far. The fixture tables are mostly beneficial if you are building vertically. And especially if you are setting up fixtures for batching things out.

One thing that really annoys me about my certiflat table, is the insert holes are not as square as I would like when setting up a 90*. And regardless of the torsion box style webbing that you weld together on the bottom side, it's really not all that flat. The webbing on the underside also gets in the way of certain clamps when you want to clamp from the under side of the table. Clamping at the edges, also a pain. Might be better on a Fab Block than my pro table, not sure.

If I were to do it over, I would get a 1/2 to 5/8 slab that is 3 ft x 4 ft. And then I would invest in things like 1-2-3 blocks, 80/20 extrusions etc for creating set-ups. Then if I needed to build vertically, I would get some of the Fab Squares from Tab and Slot, or possibly something from Fireball tools.

Strategically drilled and tapped holes, like an x pattern through the table would serve just as well as the full grid, and wouldn't require gingerly threading a bolt into the magnetic adapter.

The holes, tabs and slots tend to catch things as well. They'll catch a weld bead and prevent you from rotating your part without lifting the part off the table.

The sum of all the (minor) annoyances, in my mind, have been greater than the benefits of the fixture table itself.

I sort of made out though, because the first table arrived damaged, and they sent me a second table (top only) for free.

I'd gladly trade both of these for a thick slab.


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Re: More welding table questions

Postby cj737 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:11 pm

The thing I found on my prop table (same size, just a lot fewer holes) was that wherever I needed a hole, I didn't have one. I was always a 1/2" too far off it seemed. So the denser pattern became a must have. I fab and weld too many different things too frequently. I use Strong Hand quickies and G clamps and vise clamps and always have what I need. You could also drill as you need a hole if you own a mag drill and simply start with a few holes to get you going.

My opinion, thicker is better. It is more sturdy, resistant to heat warpage, and you can plop anything on it without a care in the world. Had my slab Blanchard ground top and bottom for flatness. Not 0.000 accuracy, but neither am I.
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Re: More welding table questions

Postby homeboy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:37 pm

My first table (3x6) with a 11/2 x3in tubing frame ( perimeter and 2 stringers lengthwise) I had the local fab shop weld the perimeter frame only on their large flat worktable to get it flat as possible. Then I was able to finish it myself once I had the flat frame. It has a 1/4in top with a 2in lip all around for edge clamping and of course wheels ( my must have for anything not bolted down). My 2nd table ( 3x5) I simply built upside down on top of table one.My 3rd table,a cutting table (6x30in) ditto. All my projects are "one of" and with assorted clamps,magnets (steel only)and various misc. rigs and jigs I can pretty much handle whatever I need with decent accuracy. The 1/4in plate is plenty heavy enough with the ridgid subframe and no grounding problems. I have never worked with a table with the jig holes but have always been able to do a workaround with no problems. :D :geek:
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Re: More welding table questions

Postby Louie1961 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:42 am

Make a table, it is good practice/a good learning experience. I made two recently. One is a sit down work station about 30x30 inches, 1/2 is a cutting surface and the other 1/2 is a really flat plate for welding on. The other table is a 3x5 foot table made of 2x2x1/8th inch square tube, and 3/8ths inch plate. The larger table cost the most, about $300 in materials. Welded them both up with my MIG welder.

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Re: More welding table questions

Postby Louie1961 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:46 am

Oh yeah, and both of these were done on my garage floor which is not level. Use a good framing square that you have proven to be square (lots of videos out there on how to do it). Don't over weld. You can get it as flat as you need it to be if you are careful. DON'T use a level unless you know for a fact you are working on a perfectly level surface. You don't need fancy corner clamps either. Tack it in one corner (Jody has videos on this), square it in one direction, put a second tack, and square it in the other direction. Lock it down with 4 tacks total. Watch the videos on weld correct weld sequence and weld it all up. Do not over weld. Heat distorts everything. You have to plan ahead for it.
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Re: More welding table questions

Postby cj737 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:40 pm

Louie1961 wrote:Oh yeah, and both of these were done on my garage floor which is not level. Use a good framing square that you have proven to be square (lots of videos out there on how to do it). Don't over weld. You can get it as flat as you need it to be if you are careful. DON'T use a level unless you know for a fact you are working on a perfectly level surface. You don't need fancy corner clamps either. Tack it in one corner (Jody has videos on this), square it in one direction, put a second tack, and square it in the other direction. Lock it down with 4 tacks total. Watch the videos on weld correct weld sequence and weld it all up. Do not over weld. Heat distorts everything. You have to plan ahead for it.


That's why they make leveling casters... ;)
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