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Just finished my welding table - whoo-hoo!

4230 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Topless Rubi
Top is 24" x 32" 1/2" plate (and weighs 108 pounds :) .) Table is about 35" off the ground. Square tube is 1.5" 11 gauge (1/8"), angle is 1.5" 11 gauge. Casters from Granger - the wheels are polyurethane and two are fixed and two will swivel and lock both swivel and the wheel. Probably have about 200 bucks invested in the table including the casters. The top itself was 100 bucks. The square tube and angle wasn't that much money - I bought a 24' stick of each.

The two pieces of tube welded on the table bottom are a bending jig (that's the thought at least!)

I bought some extra steel when buying for the table so now I need to come up with a project so I can use my new table.


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I like it. :) How is it for stability?

I would wrap the holder for the mig gun with plastic wire loom or garden hose so it does not accidentally ground itself and spark when you reach for it and are not paying attention.

< I've done it
Thanks Greg!

I had to use my loader with some line tied from the bucket to the top to right it, and at that moment I was wondering if I was going to have stability issues. It does however seem to be quite stable, but I think I should tug on it side to side just to be sure.

That's a good tip about the gun holder - I always prefer to learn from others' mistakes :cheesy: .
Awesome John! Great Job!!! Looks like it should work very well. With all my welding stuff, I STILL do not have an actual welding table. I really need one as I spend a lot of time on the concrete floor on my hands and knees, or in weird positions trying to get something put together. A table would sure be nice. Never had room in my other place, but I do now. Maybe once I finish the trailer build, I might put one together. A plasma table or plasma addition would be nice too once I get the shop wired. Of course, I'd LOVE the Torchmate plasma table... :lildevil:

Best of Luck,

Thanks Mike :) :)

Plasma.. want one.. badly.. :beerchug: last year I bought an acetylene torch (medium quality Victor) and an extra bottle of O2 and I must have 6-700 bucks in that outfit. Could have bought a Chinese 50 amp plasma torch for that money. Oh well.. Maybe next year the family CFO will let me spend the bucks on a Hobart 500i.

If I made the table a bit bigger, I could have cut a hole in the top and built a grate to use with a plasma torch. Maybe I'll build a larger stationary table (3x5-ish) later. I want to dedicate a corner of the shop to metalworking and a 3x5 table would make a great workbench.

The table I just built is turning out to be a really nice size - I was using it this afternoon for a tool table and to grind on some steel. The height seems just about perfect for me (I'm 5' 9") and it's easy to maneuver.

Squatting on the floor welding gets pretty old fast! BTW - the table is plenty stable - I put my entire weight on the long side and jumped up and down and it wasn't even close to being unstable.
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Nice table build...
A couple of off-hand ideas...take them or leave them.

Consider mounting a bench vice on one corner.
Grinder orginzer under table. You eventually wind up with more then three..BTDT....

Dont' buy any Chinese plasma.

Idea for your left over tubing...
Axle stands for regearing jobs.
Tire carrier.
billdacat said:
Nice table build...
Thanks! I'm pretty proud at how it turned out :)

Consider mounting a bench vice on one corner.
I struggled with mounting a vice on the table or not. I saw a neat idea where a hitch receiver was welded under the table and the vice was mounted on a hitch. It could be installed or easily removed. I decided to forgo the vice idea due to the small size of the table top - it wasn't easy coming to that conclusion :? .

I plan on a larger stationary table that will for a fact incorporate a vice.

Grinder orginzer under table. You eventually wind up with more then three..BTDT....
I have two now and I can easily see another one or two - one with a flap disk, one with a cutoff wheel, and one with an abrasive disk. Yes, I think the grinders belong under the table!

Dont' buy any Chinese plasma.
Yup. I really want to stick with Hobart!

Idea for your left over tubing...Axle stands for regearing jobs. Tire carrier.
I wish I had some left over! I need to make a supply run to our local metals dealer and pick up some more steel. I bought a 24' stick of 2" square tube a few weeks ago just to have lying around and I've already used half of it making a shooting target stand :cheesy:

sleepsontoilet said:
nice set up
Hey thanks! I used the table for welding yesterday for the first time - it was SO nice to weld standing up instead of squatting on my tired old knees.
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Oxy fuel is always the best first purchase for cutting as it can be used for heat shaping steel. Like poping dents and tweeked bumpers or control arms.

Search heat straighten steel or heat shaping, lots of info out there on how to make large pieces of steel bend with a little bit of heat properly applied.

You can aslo pick up a gouging tip and use the oxy fuel for removing messed up welds or shaping an edge much faster than possible with a grinder.

For your bench if and only if you notice it starting to warp from tacking things to it for welding cut the top free and use three bolts and an assortment of nuts and plates to create a floating top that can be adjusted back to level as needed.

I will look for some pictures so you can see what I am talking about.

Decided not to spoil everyone :laugh:
check this site out tons of good info and I linked to the projects area with many samples of what can be done
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Thanks Gene & John!

Absolutely no regrets about owning an acetylene torch and I think starting with it was a good choice. It doesn't need to be plugged in :)

I have a thread on welding web in the project area about building a table - the original post was me asking a question about sandwiching two 1/4" steel plates to make a 1/2' top. This was before I found a source for 1/2" plate cut to size.

I looked at a bunch of table ideas before I built mine - it's not perfect, but it turned out very nicely. The only gotcha was the top is a little warped across the short side but lengthwise it is dead straight - I'm not sure if this was due to my welding heat or what.
yep welding heat can twist even 4 inch thick steel. also as you welded the top there was more restraint in the plate and that results in more stress (bending) of the plate.

once steel is heated locally to 1100 deg F it expands however the cooler steel around it does not move. this compresses the steel and when it cools it takes up less room causing the steel to bend as it is now shorter as it returns to room temperature.

this can happen in the area just outside of the weld and in the weld to a small degree.

if you really want to see steel bend from welding grab a scrap piece of angle about 6 inches long, weld a bead along one toe from 2 to 4 inches long. when that is finished you should have a nice curved chunk of steel.

the fun part is using the torch and heat areas of the angle to a orange color, you can use spot heats or wedges as well as straight lines and try and straighten the angle out. it can lead to fustration as the angle will be bending every possible way except the one you want but it is good practice for straghtening things out.

a piece of flat bar is actually better to practice with if you get into this source of torture

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Movement of the steel due to welding heat is now the big issue for this beginning metalworker :? I had to use my Hi-Lift jack to move the table legs in position when I added the shelf. I need to be a lot smarter about clamping/holding parts in position in anticipation of warping.
johncanfield said:
Movement of the steel due to welding heat is now the big issue for this beginning metalworker :? I had to use my Hi-Lift jack to move the table legs in position when I added the shelf. I need to be a lot smarter about clamping/holding parts in position in anticipation of warping.

You want even heat distribution so weld an inch at a time and be sure to stagger along the piece.
Yeah - I probably should have done a bead on one side, then the other, etc. I stitch welded the top to the base, so I didn't think it would have been an issue. Also, I should have checked the plate first thing to see how flat it was, I'm assuming my welding made it crown, but I'll never know for sure. :oops:
if your top is is crowned you can heat a single spot at the top of the crown to orange heat (dark shop). If it does not pop back into a flat shape then draw a circlehalf way out of the crown and repeat with six evenly spaced heats.

Each heated are should be no larger than 3/8" and do not allow the part to heat up enough to turn the top into a liquid.
heat shaping publication: slow to download but lots of pictures

As the local jeepers would say "don't talk about welding unless you want john to write a book" :laugh:

Typical heat shaping procedure, I have not reviewed yet but the basics are there:

Recommended Practice for the Bending and Cambering of Steel using Heat

1.0 Scope: To provide a guideline of the methodology for an engineering assessment of the heat assisted cambering of steel shapes and structures. This guide addresses engineering issues related to the analysis and design of heat-cambered structural steel. This guide provides recommendations related to the implementation of Heat Cambering of Steel Shapes.
Details associated with implementation of the use of heat shaping are included only to the extent necessary for engineering consideration. The intent is to provide the Structural or Manufacturing Engineer with tools for the analysis and design of heat shaping in a format similar to current procedures associated with traditional structural design for new construction.
1.1 Heat:These guidelines are for the use of localized Heat not exceeding 1,200ºF. to induce thermal stress resulting in desired controlled metal bending.

1.2 Material Selection:This process is typically limited to the low-mid carbon structural steels as defined by AWS in the appropriate related welding code.

1.3 Structural Analysis:The knowledge of and determination of internal stress forms a basic part of the successful use of heat to shape structural steel. Additionally this knowledge is vital to leaving the shaped steel item with the lowest possible residual stress levels.

1.4 Heat Configuration:This term includes the selection of heating patterns, number of specific heats, and constraining force patterns.

1.5 Loading during Heat: While gravity may be used with heating to induce deformation no other additional force is specified in these guidelines to avoid delayed crack formation.

1.6 Sizing:This procedure pertains to only individual items, thus sizing herein pertains to number, dimensions, locations and magnitude of thermal related parameters including Heat Zones, Maximum and Minimum Temperatures and constraining/gravity forces along with the prediction of behavioral bending response with in acceptable limits.

2.0 Heat Cambering of Rolled Beams and Welded Plate Girders2.1 General:The project engineer prior to the beginning of work shall approve all Heat Cambering procedures. When heat cambering is approved only deep (<20º) Vee heating patterns will be permitted.

2.2 Heat Cambering of Rolled Beams:Rolled beams shall be heat cambered to provide the required curvature. Triangular Vee heating patterns shall be spaced through out the length of the member. The material shall be heated in a single pass following the specified pattern and allowed to cool below 250ºF prior to re heating. The Apex of the heating Triangle Vee shall be located in the web at a point not less than 75 percent of the depth of the member from the from the flange that will be concave after heat cambering. Heating shall begin at the apex of the heating pattern and progress slowly with a total included angle not greater than 20 Degrees towards the base of the pattern and across the full width of the flange as described in Section 2.6. The heating torch shall not be returned to the apex of the Vee after heating has progressed toward the base of the Vee. Same pattern Re Heating or adjacent heating shall wait until the last Vee maximum temperature is less than 250º F. Heating patterns shall be centered upon connecting plates. Simultaneous Vee Heats may be used provided that the clear spacing between Vees is greater than the width of the plate element.When rolled beams are to be fabricated with cover plates, the rolled beams shall be heat cambered prior to the attachment of the cover plates.All detail material such as connection plates, bearing stiffeners and gusset plates shall be attached to the rolled beam after the beam has been heat cambered.

2.3 Support of Structural Members for Heat Cambering:Structural members to be heat cambered shall be supported with the web vertical and with the flange that will be concave after cambering placed upwards. Supports shall be place to take optimum advantage of the gravity load in the member prior to the application of heat.

2.4 Heating Process and Equipment:Heating shall be performed using large approximately 1” diameter multi-orifice heating torches operating on Propane. Other torches / fuels may be used with prior approval.Heating shall be confined to the patterns described herein and shall be conducted to bring the steel within the planed pattern to a temperature between 1,000º F and 1,150º F as rapidly as possible with out overheating the steel.Heating the Steel to a temperature greater than 1,250ºF shall be considered destructive heating and shall automatically be cause for rejection. Steel rejected for destructive heating shall be evaluated for re acceptance, repair or replacement.

2.5 Location of Heating Patterns:Heating patterns shall be spaced uniformly along the full length of each flange to produce a circular (not Parabolic) curvature. Sufficient heating patterns shall be used in each piece to eliminated unsightly chording effects. Heating patterns shall be adjusted to produce the required curvature, compensating for differences in flange thickness and width as required. Thicker wider plates in general will require wider heating patterns to produce the same degree of curvature as smaller plates. Care should be taken when heating relatively thin, wide plates to guard against flange buckling.2.6 Heating Patterns and Method of Heat application:Only truncated Triangular Vee heating patterns shall be used, the base of the triangle shall be the flange edge that will be concave after heat curving. The apex of the triangle shall be truncated to provide a 1-inch width. This truncated Vee end shall be located as follows:

2.6.1 When the required radius is 1,000 feet or less the truncated end of the Vee Triangle shall be located 1/8 of the flange width, but not more than 2 inches beyond the intersection of the web and flange.
2.6.2 When the required radius is greater than 1,000 feet, the heating pattern may be described in 2.6.1 or at the fabricator’s option be modified to locate the truncated Vee end at the junction of web and flange.Heating patterns shall be plainly marked on the flange surfaces prior to heating. Heat shall be applied simultaneously to the opposing flanges at essentially the same location in the member starting at the truncated apex of the Vee. Beginning at the apex the heating should progress slowly in a spreading in a tight horizontal S pattern to fill the marked angle. The heating torches shall not begin to progress toward the Triangle base until the truncated end reaches the required temperature. This progression should take 5-10 minutes without overheating the steel. The base of the heating triangle should not exceed 10 inches in width regardless of flange width and thickness.When the flange width exceeds 1-¼ inches both surfaces shall be heated simultaneously. Heat shall not be applied to the inside flange surface until the heat being applied to the outside surface has progressed beyond the web and flange junction.When heating the inside flange surface, the truncated end of the heating triangle shall be just inside the junction of flange and web. The Vee Triangle shall share a common base with the heating pattern on the outside of the flange at that point.The Heating torches shall be manipulated to guard against general and surface over heating. When heating thick plates it may be necessary to occasionally interrupt the heating process for periods of less than one minute to allow the heat to soak into the flange and avoid surface overheating.

2.7 Heat MeasurementThe Contractor shall provide the Inspector with temperature indicating crayons made for 600ºF, 1,000ºF, 1,100ºF, and 1,250ºF. Heat measurements shall be made immediately after the removal of the heating flame from the steel.

2.8 Artificial Cooling Quenching with water and/or air is not permitted. Cooling with dry compressed air will be permitted after the steel has cooled to 600ºF.

3.0 “Rules of Thumb”, A short Summary:
3.1 Shoring is usually not necessary for single members unless required by the design engineer.
3.2 Hydraulic Jacks and Rigging are for support only and should not be used to force members in to shape. Heat should do all the work. Rigging should only take up the strain on the heated member to help upset conditions in the metal.
3.3 Upsetting the metal causes it to change volume in the direction of least resistance. This is usually in the thickness (long) rolling dimension of shapes and plates. Control of upsetting is caused by design of heat patterns to obtain a desired degree of bending from volumetric changes.
3.4 Use a Vee pattern for most Heats; following the AASHTO/FHWA procedures is a good start to follow in designing and applying each heat.
3.5 Heat the side that is to be shrunk
3.6 Start with a few small controlled Heats at planned locations to develop a “feel” for the amount of curvature gained with each set of heats. Work up to desired camber without going beyond by finishing with small heats. Remember that each type and lot of steel may react differently to the application of Heat.
3.7 Remember that you can reverse a Heat bend after cooling by reversing the next Heat pattern.
3.8 Start your Heat at the truncated to of the Vee waiting and testing the heat to be at 1,050 – 1,100º F before beginning your heating pattern. Measure starting temperature.
3.9 The heating pattern should take 5-10 minutes to complete.
3.10 Measure temperature of the heated steel during Heat with contact Thermometers or Tempil Sticks at 30 % and 70% of flange / member width.
3.11 Use a sequence of Heats that will leave as little residual stress as possible in the member.
3.12 Let Air Cool to 250ºF and below do not use water to hasten cooling.
3.13 Do not Heat during rain.
3.14 Over heating (>1,200ºF) will destroy the steels ability to change shape in the desired directions and will require repair or replacement.
3.15 Welding Repairs may be required for severely damaged members.

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