Layout table suggestions

After asking in the welding group about a 3 axis welding clamp and
seeing Ernie's response that he used his layout table to assist with the
setup of his home brewed fixture, I realized that it's time to finally
make a layout table.
I was browsing the drop box and saw a layout table made by Ted Edwards.
His idea was to put a 0.052" sheet of 5052 over a bed of MDF. I'd like
to take it a bit further.
Is there anyway to bond aluminum to MDF without fasteners? Any reason
why 2024 wouldn't be advisable for a layout table?
I'm designing a multipurpose table because my shop is small. My plan is
to make the tops interchangeable, and use a tray underneath the main
table filled with sand as additional ballast and protection when I use
the table for welding (the welding top will be a grid of angle iron).
Casters will be mounted on one end and offset a bit so that they only
come in contact with the floor when I need to roll it into position.
Any and all comments on improvements are appreciated.
Reply to
Rick Chamberlain
Loading thread data ...
They use contact cement to bond formica to MDF all the time. Should work fine for bonding 2024, as long as you clean the metal with solvent to get all the oil off. You might also sand the surface with 220 wet/dry (use a pad sander) to cut the gloss and get a better mechanical bond. Major question is how much heat will transmit through. I've never had any problem with contact cement exposed to oven temperatures (400 deg. F.) but welding gets a tad hotter than that. But even point failures shouldn't matter, since you'll have a lot of area glued.
Tell us how it works out.
Reply to
Jim McGill
I suspect that 2024 will be way too soft. Contact cement will work great. Coat both pieces and let them dry to the touch. Set 3/8" rods across the table every 4 inches or so and position the aluminum. Having the aluminum a little oversize is a real good idea as once this sticks you will not have a prayer of repositioning it.
Once the aluminum is on the rods and positioned, remove two of the rods in the center. Now press down evenly and then continue moving toword one edge. Now work to the other edge Now use a "J" roller to work from the center out. Trim the overhang with a flush cut router bit.
Reply to
Roger Shoaf
I got really lucky in the matter of table tops for my new upcoming workshop. A good neighbor friend of mine is in the solid surface Corian countertop fabrication business, and rapidly expanding operations. As he acquires contract business with stores like Lowes and such, they usually change product lines, and have him remove the display countertops in the stores, and make new ones from his material. He gives me his removals in exchange for equipment storage on my property, so as time allows, I'm taking the material, reworking it, and making solid surface workbench tops for my shop. For those who are not familiar with this stuff, it runs about $90 a foot for a plain white color installed. For the first one I made, I bought 2 black Craftsman hobby centers, removed the tops, made an angle iron dolly base for both side-by-side, fabricated and installed a speckled grey Corian top. Man, does that thing look classy! My new shop should be oh, so hoity toidy!
Respectfully, RJ
Reply to
An interesting property of my table is that it is extremely dead. i.e. If I drop a ball bearing on it from as high as I can reach, it hits the table with a "thunk" and sits there. I have tried this with both glass and steel in sizes from about 1/16" to 1/4" and it always works. I suspect that the interface between the aluminum and the MDF disipates the energy. I have a hunch (haven't tested it) that bonding the two would defeat that. This property of my table has saved many a small part from disapearing into the fangs of the floor monsters. :-)
This design is not suitable for welding as the heat would be readily conducted by the aluminum to the underlying aluminum. My welding/cutting table can be seen at
Reply to
Ted Edwards
I agree about contact cement for aluminum/MDF install. If you can, have a sheet metal shop break the edges at 90* to protect the top.
You mentioned an angle iron grid to weld on. I used a left over chunk of catwalk grating with heavy angle on each end to mount a vise. It has worked out quite well for clamping jigs, etc.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG
"Rick Chamberlain" wrote in message news:
with the
I'd like
Reply to
Interesting. I'll have to experiment a bit when I get the aluminum. I would think that the only way to have a dead table would be to have both the aluminum and MDF perfectly flat and in the same plane. If there were any kind of gap between the two, wouldn't there be some sort of rebound effect?
Saw your weld table and am borrowing the gravel pit for ballast on this table. My tweaks to your original design include a slightly larger table top, removable tops, and a caster set on one side - slightly raised off the floor so that they only contact the floor when the table is tilted. Given my small shop, I can't afford taking the space with 2 dedicated tables.
Thanks for posting your projects - helped me a bunch.
Reply to
Rick Chamberlain
Yeah, I figure angle iron will be a little easier to cut than the bed frame Ted used.
Next investment - a Skil 77 and a Metal Devil blade. Gonna make shorter work out of cutting all the channel, tube, and plate.
Reply to
Rick Chamberlain
Please let us know what you learn.
My sheet of aluminum was slightly curved when I got it. I put it on such that the angle on the edges was pushing the edges of the sheet down. Thus there was intinate but not bonded contact. It's not obvious to me which is better, intinate contact or bonded contact. I certainly think that a gap would be detrimantal. The only thing I can say for sure is that mine works. :-)
Your welcome. Hope they work out for you.
Reply to
Ted Edwards
I now have both a plasma cutter and the one of those ubiquitous "$200" 4x6 bandsaws. I've cut lots of bedframe with both. Mind, I have a 14tpi bi-metal blade on the band saw. However, when I made the table some years ago, the tool of choice was the blue saw (cutting torch) since the alternative was a hand hacksaw.
Reply to
Ted Edwards
Will do.
I'm expecting mine to be the same - at least a little. I'm going to max out at .125 sheet and stick with 5052. I may take DanG's advice and have the aluminum cut 2" longer in each dimension and bend the edges with a brake. I'll think about that a bit, since I'm concerned that bending would cause a bit more stress to the sheet and may not keep it perfectly flat. I actually like your idea of using angle to hold the sheet in place and give the top a bit of a lip. If I don't glue the aluminum down, I'll go that route. If I do, I may decide to edge the top in hardwood, just to dress it up a bit. :-)
Thanks - appreciate the kind words.
Reply to
Rick Chamberlain
First off, I gave my MDF 3 coats of clear epoxy varnish each side and with each coating did the edges totalling six on the edges. This was spread over 2 days. I used Industrial Formulators S-1 which has a re-coat time of four hours but a pot life of 48 hours if kept in an air-tight container. As a result, I can wash it down with solvent if I want without fear of hurting the MDF.
Second, the angle hold down around the edges has three purposes: The verticle face completely protects the MDF. Should the aluminum ever get _really_ munged, I can replace it. Third, and most important, several "OH S**T"s have been avoided when dismanteling something that had a ball check valve or detent arrangement that I was unaware of. The usual happenning is: The ball falls out, drops to the table and rolls off onto the floor to be eaten by the floor monsters that hide out in all shops. But in my case the ball bumps up against that 1/8" edge of angle, stops and sits there to an accompanying sigh of relief.
I have now had my table for about three years with my surface plate at one end and if I had to make another would do it the same - unless, of course, this thread comes up with something better. :-)
Reply to
Ted Edwards

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.