Welding tables

    --Ahoy fellow shop weenies! I've got a sturdy welded table frame that's about 36" square and it's currently topped with a 1/8" thick 48"
square steel sheet. But it's just not flat enough for good work. Would a 3/8" thick sheet be good enough? Stiffness goes up with the square of thickness so it's just coming down to how much I can afford.. ;-)     --I've looked at what's available on ebay but most of what looks good is 400 miles away in Los Angeles and freight would be a killer..
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Steel, Stainless, Titanium:
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Guaranteed Uncertified Welding!
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Depends. I put a 1/2" top on mine, and pulled most of the bow out. Another 1/2" sheet at a local steel supplier looked like a W. Don't know what happened to that one. I'd still like mine flatter. You can get ground flat sheet for a price. Got a feeling I'd get nosebleed just looking at it. And yeah, a 4'x8' sheet of 1/2" ain't cheap.
Pete Keillor
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On 2/8/2012 10:40 AM, steamer wrote:

I have been using a table that I built with a 48" square 3/8" steel top and it has been good for me. It has a 2" angle frame under the top. One useful thing to do when fabricating it, is radius the corners. 6" has worked well for me. It will save you serious pain and it also makes welding right angle stuff easy.
BobH
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snip

Welding tables are a great measure of scrounging ability and/or luck.
Within reason, bigger and thicker is better. IMHO 3/8" or thicker is best. Thicker material will reduce warping when fabrications are temporarily tacked to the table for fitting. Thin material needs to be underside braced to prevent sagging under weight. I like to place any underside obstructions well back from the edge so that clamps and vise-grips can be used to secure material to the table. A hole at the center balance point makes moving with lifting equipment easier. Make at least one leg adjustable to remove rocking and if three legs are adjustable then it can also be levelled. Make vises removable and put mounting holes in several locations. An extension of heavy vertical bar grating is good for flame or plasma cutting. Clean top regularly with grinder to smooth and polish. Just like weldors, they improve with age as removable jigs, fixtures and clamping systems are added as needed.
Good luck, use your imagination. YMMV
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    --Thanks for all the suggestions, gang. I think I'm going to go down to the steel store and take a precision straightedge with me. If I can I'll pick the piece that looks flattest. Think I'll have 'em plasma cut it rather than shear and yes, I'll have 'em round a couple of prominent corners.     
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Steel, Stainless, Titanium:
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Guaranteed Uncertified Welding!
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On 2/9/2012 11:52 AM, steamer wrote:

All of mine are rounded because it is just the right height to jab me in the spleen if I walk by it too close while carrying something (usually heavy). It has saved me significant cursing, because space in my shops has been a precious commodity.
BobH
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    --Went down to the steel dealer yesterday and took a precision straight edge with me; only 18" long but it gave me something to work with. Looked at a sheet of 3/8" plate and it was dead flat in Y but curled a bit in X, so to speak. The guy sez that's because the sheets are cut from a roll at the mill. Anyway, over a distance of 18" I got a deflection of maybe .050". The guy also said that they could shear it and that the 'curl' would only happen on the cutoff, not on the piece on the table; comments anyone?     The other thing I noticed is that the mill scale on this 'cold rolled' stuff was pretty horrendous and not what I'd call smooth. May just stick with my sheet of 1/8" on a piece of 3/4" plywood a while longer. Hmmm.
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Steel, Stainless, Titanium:
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Guaranteed Uncertified Welding!
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It all depends on what you are going to use it for. A flat plate is good for a lot of things, but not others. An open frame made out of angle is good for some things, but not others. One table does not fit all needs.
Steve
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My table is 1/2" and it has a bow in it from when the steel supplier sheared it. 4 ft x 5ft. with 3/8 you might be able to make a nice frame under it to pull out any warp, either that or I would say 3/4 or 1" is what would work best, 1" blanchard ground would be what I want if I could justify the price.
Remove 333 to reply. Randy
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I use a 3/4 inch thick piece. It is very flat for just steel plate. It came from a larger piece used in building a boat. All the steel sheet and plate I've seen from the boatyard (Nichols on Whidbey Island) is quite flat. I think it must be a requirement of boat builders. I would try a a boat builder if you are close to one. I love the 3/4 thick piece, it stays flat and I can pull things flat by clamping to it. The 2' x 3' piece is welded to 2" square tubing framing and legs. By the way, doesn't stiffness go up with the cube, not the square? I know deflection of a beam goes up with the cube. Eric
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steamer wrote:

Level and reinforce it with some angle framework underneath. Check with a straightedge as you go. Keep in mind that the "gold standard" Acorn tables are full of holes so it's really a support grid anyway.
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On 2/8/2012 11:40 AM, steamer wrote:

I have been very pleased with a 3' long sheet of bar grating. I have a piece of 3x3x1/4 angle iron welded to each end with a small removable vise on one corner. I wish I had had larger angle at least on the "front" end, though the 3" has proved adequate. I can use c clamp vise grips, F clamps, etc anywhere on the top and even tack down jig features, though I tend to do that on separate scrap plates and then clamp them to my top. Yes, dust and weld splatter fall on the stuff below, but typically can be blown away with air.
--


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