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What is a good size for a welding table?


Glenn

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What is a good size (and height) for a welding table? How heavy should it be constructed? This would be for layout, assembly, and as a all around welding table.

Are there any special features that should be included to make the welding table more user friendly?

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I would use as heavy a top as one could afford and be able to manage into a table. At least 3/8" or better, but anything over 1" may be overkill for most purposes. I once worked for a guy that built his table out of 1/4" for the top and every time you banged on it it would bounce and clang most unnecessarily :( The thicker the top, the quieter it is when you hit it. Sure its not an anvil, but you WILL be hitting it from time to time;) I would make it as big as you can for what room you have and the size of your most common projects. i. e. If you do lots of gates, make it a big as the largest gate you will make a lot. I have a solid core wooden door for my table. Great size, lousy welding table, but the price was right :)

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A friend of mine who does a LOT of archtectural iron work uases particle board for his welding table tops. His reasoning is that they are easier to clean up. Spatter from the MIG welders doesn't stick to the particle board like it does to a steel table top. He cleans the table with a shot of air from the air hose and he's ready to set up the next project. The particle board lays on a sturdy base and is rimmed by angle iron on two sides that form square side to clamp to and also acts as a ground for the welders. Now, this would never work in my shop as i use mainly stick welders and I'd have to stop every so often to put out fires. This guy is a real pro and turns out a lot of work, so he knows what works best for him. A PARTICLE BOARD welding table ... who 'da thunk it??

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My home welding table is 5/16 plate and I guess 36 x 60 " . It ( top ) was at an Amish place that was going out of business. :) The table itself is 3 " square tubing legs with a band around the top and a band about 6 " from the floor. The floor band has some pieces welded to it for stowage ( I have a short barrel under there for plasma plummies ). The table is 36" tall and is perfect working height for me to weld on ( and plasma cut off the edge ). YMMV and you will need to experiment. My anvil height is 33 1/2 " . Tables need ground from time to time ( to clean them up). Scott (Dodge) brought up some good points about mass in that table will get slapped from time to time. I have worked on 1" plate tables and I have worked in booths that were 1" plate on the floor ( and grounded to 2 welders ). Build what you want from ground up. The back of my welding table is connected to my forge which is connected to my swage stand ( which has the leg vise ) and the gun reaches the vise. I can also reach a bit further so I can just use some rod or whatever to complete the ground loop and weld out in the middle of the floor. You will from time to time tack a fixture to a table or just build a fixture on the table and weld up from the flat table. Short answer is your welding table should be big enough to build what you need and also for larger projects when you may have them. This said, you need to be able to walk past it in the shop and that is hard to do sometimes in my shop ( things are crowded a bit ). I also have an acetelyne welding station on the backside of my table.

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TenHammers you must be reading my mind because I hadn't chimed in on table mass yet. That was Dodge.
I weld anywhere I need to. These table threads overlap at my place :D
Get the thickest you can afford and biggest you can for the size of your shop. Keep an eye out for something better, it will come along.

My smallest welding "table" is an 8" square piece of 3/8" cold rolled with a bar welded under it to clamp in my 8" vise. Have built many, many things on that "table".

My biggest table is 4 1/2' X 6' X 3/4". It lives outside in front of the shop. Have to move it in the winter so I can plow snow....did this yesterday, 4" of snow today! This is the table I will weld things to when necessary. Quickie built jigs etc. It is open edged all the way around for clamping to. I am careful not to beat on it too hard around the edges. 3/4" plate will bend. 1/2" plate actually bends fairly easy on edges or corners. 3/8" is plenty good for a start and 1/4" is way better than nothing. Like I said, be on the lookout for your next table or the next top for yours. I am looking for a 1" or 1 1/4" top for this one.

Inside the shop there is a 5/8" topped table with leg vise next to the forge. There is another two wheeled/one legged table with an 8" vise that has a 2' X 2' X 2" top. Table weighs over 600# plus whatever junk is on the shelf. I don't weld things to that one as it is dead flat and it's staying that way. That is my "precision" table. I also have a cast iron table that is 28" X 48" X 28" (built the above vise table to match the height on this one)that is smack dab in the middle of the shop and is where most of the welding gets done. The top on that one is 2 1/8" thick and it weighs over 2200#. It doesn't move when you lean on it :D

Edited to add this: I have built a good many things using a piece of 8" X 8" I-beam as a "table". If you find a piece that has no twist in it latch onto it. With enough clamps you can build about anything on a straight piece of I-beam. Built a whole trailer on one one time.

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I have 4 full time tables that are steel, a built in bench that is wooden with a 1 1/4" oak top. My main welding table is 2' x 4' and 48" tall, which I built to eliminate too much bending which has become a major concern due to major back problems, if you plan to do a lot of welding one of your #1 concerns needs to be comfort 1) for obvious physical reasons 2) you will weld much better if you are comfortable, when you weld you need to only be focused on your weld, not "I gotta hurry up and get out of this position".
Steel tables are best for welding, 1) fire 2) durability 3)you can ground the table and weld away, move it, turn it, flip it, etc. and not have to worry about a ground cable. If your gonna worry about splatter sticking then for a few dollars you can pick up a can of anti-spatter spray and coat the table every so often.
My main welding table also has a tool box built into it which is where I keep all my tools and supply's that I need while I weld, clamps , squares, straight edges, markers and soap stones, grinders and discs & wheels, and so on, plus I have a vise mounted to it.
I'll try and get some pics.

welder19

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  • 4 weeks later...

at the shop we do almost 100% architectural and the way we work I can't see particle board. We are constantly tack welding jigs to make parts or jigs to assemble parts to the tables (which there are 5 main tables most being 5' x 10' x 1" ) and a new 16" x 12' made from 16" x 1/2 inch beam channel. (the other half of that beam I'm angling to acquire for my first table)

we'd be spending a huge amount of time securing jigs and replacing table tops

the advice Ive gotten from my boss on getting a table is 1" thick plate, and go pick it out yourself verifying its not warped, because if it is, you stand a snowballs chance in the forge of bending it or grinding it flat in the shop. ;)

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I have a buddy who made his top out of metal impregnated carbon strips from electric trains. He scratch starts from he shoes, doesn't need to attach a ground clamp to his work piece and the weld won't stick to it. Totally impractical for most people but it is different, but so is my friend (on both counts).

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Tack welding can be used for electrical continuity or to keep parts from shifting. Tacking or welding to a work table is good when you want to dog things down, bend, push, pull, or whatever. Just break the tack and erase the evidence with a grinder.

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as mentioned stuff is welded down both on purpose and quite often accidentally
but the accidents generally lack any real penetration, sometimes its more important to get that nice clean weld in a corner and the slight overspill tack to the table can either be cutground or cracked off

the main reason you want a good thick steel tabletop is rigidity, welds "pull"
a slight deflection isnt that big a deal on a small scale, but a long railing, it starts to add up.

"pro" tables are often a thick gridwork
Acorn Welding Table
where pretty things get welded, no tacking, adjustable dogsclampsect
but we pound, grind, and dent all our pretty metal before it even starts to get welded, so a solid top is much cheaper

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  • 3 months later...

Both of my tables have 1" thick tops. Believe it or not, this is not overkill. Any less than this will eventually warp. Even with 1" plate, I try to avoid tacking/grinding. I do it if I must, but usualy cut the tacks off with a sharp cold chisel. Both of my tables have I-beam frame work, six legs, and are 35" tall. One is 5'x8', one is 3.5'x14' They are easily the most important tools in my shop.

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  • 10 years later...

Mine is 4' by 8', with a 3/4" top, 6 square tube legs sitting on casters, and a shelf (expanded metal).  Sturdy.  Weighs about 1600#  6" post vice attached.  Rolls easily (two people).  Moved it from Colorado to Oregon.  No problem.

 

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  • 2 years later...

My table is 38" wide by 6ft long. The top is made of 3x1-1/2 rectangular tube spaced 1-1/4" apart so I can use clamps anywhere on the table. It uses 5" C channel on the sides. Each of the rectangular tubes are welded to the C channel with 4 short welds so that if one of the tubes gets damaged I can replace it easily. The legs are also C channel just because I had some left over. On each leg is a trailer tongue jack that I can use to level the table and also roll it around. That way even on a floor that isn't level I can dial the table in if I need it level and I don't have any problems with the table rocking.

Welded horizontally underneath the table to the C Channel is 1-1/4  16 gauge square tube that I slide some 1" square tube in that had 1 more rectangular tube welded to the end at table height so it acts like a table extension that can be slid out when needed. I made the 1" slide out tube sit down low enough so that when I slide it out and put my chop saw on the square tube, the saw table top is even with the top of the welding table. This makes it super easy to cut/slide material around and the extensions give support and length on both side of the table.

Also on the end of the table I have welded 3 very heavy pipes from one side of the C channel to the other in kind of an upside down triangle spaced about 3/4" apart. I use this to bend flat and round bars. So the C channel actually sticks out past the rectangular tube on 1 side far enough for the triple pipe. I do a lot of sculpting so my bends are whatever I feel like making them that day. 

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Great thread just gettin ready to make one i'm thinkin 2x4 with adapters to add length and defiantly on wheels i seen one made with flat bar on top with 1'' gap for clamps i like the gap idea but i also like tackin my work to a table anyway decisions decisions got to gather a little more material then time to cut and weld.

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