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Welding table idea - feedback?

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  • Welding table idea - feedback?

    Attached is a Google Sketchup drawing of a welding table idea (not built yet). I'd like to get opinions. The idea is to make the table small for my limited space, but also have it expandable when needed. The drawing shows the bottom view with 2" x 1/8" square tubes with nuts welded so bolts can clamp the cross bars. I'm not yet sure what tubing sizes telescope well, so the tubing might have to change (seeking advice in this too)

    The cool thing is that when slid shut, it's a solid (hopefully flat) top, but then gaps can be opened for mid-table clamping. I figure the top is 3 pieces of 12" x 30" x 3/8"(maybe be even 1/4" since it's pretty well supported with 2" angle around the edge.). When shut, the table is 30" x 36", but it can be opened to 5 feet, and even wider with longer bars.

    The pluses I see with this are adjustability, mid-table clamping, and that its made of smaller pieces that I can handle without risking my back. The down sides are that I have to make lots of pieces for this and get the telescoping to work, and the risk that the results won't end up as flat as I'd like. I'm also on the fence about tacking or bolting the top on. With 12" x 30" top sections, I can fit them on my mill and put in some tapered holes.

    Whadyall think?
    Attached Files

  • #2

    Good concept. Obviously you put a fair amount of thought into what you needed.

    My concern, would be bringing the thought to reality.

    The way that table is designed would be "very" expensive to build and "very" difficult to execute.

    As you mentioned you haven't done a lot of research on what tube fits inside another tube. Problem is most "tube" has a welded seam on the inside which prohibits a "tight fit". To aleviate this you would probably want to use "receiver tube" like for a trailer hitch (true 2" ID with no seam). Don't know if you've priced receiver tube lately, but a stick isn't cheap.

    Aligning and maintaining alignment during fabrication will be a real challenge. Welding will definitely "move" your pieces around. A slight warp will cause the male parts to bind in the receiver.

    And, all this to basically gain a little working surface.

    As I mentioned, looks good on paper (good thought) but may be "extremely" difficult and expensive to produce in the real world.
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    • #3
      Does your dining room table have a removable leaf? If not, I bet you know someone who has one that does. Crawl under there and get some pointers and ideas. Most of them have cam-lock devices that draw the sections together - great feature that you might want to incorporate.


      • #4
        Interesting design. Looks like it would be portable and modular. Some experimentation and prototyping would be needed to verify the concept works in the real world but it look to be a worthwhile pursuit.

        One thing that might work to alleviate the seam weld interference...mill a shallow groove in the insert tubing to allow clearance for the seam weld protrusion of the receiving tube.

        I've never actually done it so some research would be in order. I've never given much thought as to the the consistency of location of the seam weld on tubing. And the insert tube would have to be of heavy enough wall to allow milling a groove of suitable depth and maintain required strength. Also I'm not sure how well tubing would fit inside one another over longer distances and tighter tolerances.

        Of course also adds to fabrication time and maybe expense. But just a thought.

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        • #5
          I think it's a smart idea, but the part that would worry me is the telescoping tubing. Over time, and with enough hammering, I think you'll be vulnerable to the thing becoming swaybacked instead of flat. And if you use stock heavy enough (and like SmokinPRranch says, without the weld line), it might become very difficult to expand/compress -- and expensive.

          It might make more sense to think of two separate tables, each with their own set of four legs, and have the two table tops (and their substructure) interlock -- almost like a yin yang symbol, but with right angles, and probably with even more 'peninsulas and coves,' if that makes any sense. (I wish I could draw a picture.)

          It's a cool concept, without a doubt.
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          • #6
            Another thought...

            Check out Their extrusions might be able to be incorporated into your concept.

            Keep us posted as you progress.

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            • #7
              i'd second sundowiii's comments.
              i think it would end up being a female-dog
              to keep everything lined up right and all that.

              instead, i'd build a base smaller table and maybe
              consider add-on extensions of some form to use
              when doing something "big" maybe not even an
              extension to the table, per se, but rather just a
              stand that can be repositioned as needed.

              what are you proposing to work on
              that would in part help figure out the
              "best" course of action



              • #8
                If you've got access to a lathe with a four jaw chuck you can offset the outer tube and use a boring bar to machine out the seam.Just a thought.
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                • #9
                  To eliminate the weld seam in the receiver tubes you can use DOM (drawn over mandrel) tubing, it's a little more expensive but worth it if you want to telescope them. I telescope tubing frequently in some of the conveyors that I build that have to be height adjustable. You will never find a "tight" fit but you can find tubing that will work. When you weld the receiver tubes to the top you'd need to have all 3 pieces of the table top lying flat. Using a length of the inner tubing you can then align and weld the receiver tubes to the table and each other. I would only use small stitch welds to hold the top to the tubes so you don't warp it too much. I'd also use a heavy wall thickness on the tubes to prevent it from becoming a sway back nag in case you put heavy projects on it. I wouldn't use anything less than 3/8" for the top either.

                  Your idea can and will work if done properly. I think it is a good idea for limited space applications. Just don't put too heavy of projects on it and don't use it as an anvil either and beat the crap out of it.
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                  • #10
                    For the outer tubing use 3/16" wall & then the inner should fit. So a 2" od tube with 3/16" wall gives you an id of 1.625 & that will let a 1.5" od tube slide into it even with the weld seam. Depending on how much weight & pounding will go on top of it will determine how big the tubes & plate should be. You could make a table with hinged ends & drop legs, kinda like a buffet table to save space when not in use. Your idea is o/k but will take a lot of time for a novice to build it right so it works. If you got nothing but time then go ahead.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SmokinPRanch View Post
                      Another thought...

                      Check out Their extrusions might be able to be incorporated into your concept.

                      Keep us posted as you progress.

                      I work a lot with the 8020 products and it is fine for static displays and fixtures but I would advise against using it as part of a fixture that would be moved or have sliding / friction surfaces as the aluminum wears.

                      It is rigid but requires constant re-tightening and if things are moved about, the tend to "wiggle" the joints and things tend to wobble about after awhile.


                      • #12
                        I like your idea, you could probably get away with 1-1/4 into 1-1/2 tubing. its a bit loose but if you drilled some holes and welded some threaded nuts to the outer tube, you could thread in bolts to tighten up the table at whichever position you wanted. It kinda looks like you drew that in already. To reduce the risk of swayback you could opt to have your inner tubes be seperate pieces from your table frame which can simply be slipped through seperatly as you adjust your table, have them double up on each other for the entire length of the table (perhaps a shorter set for when you want the tables in the compact configuration)

                        Honestly though, I think you will end up spreading out the table to its entire length for 99% of your work and you will probably be wishing you made a 1 piece top for it.

                        Unless you need to fold it up and put the table aside after each project I think you will find yourself wanting a solid 1 piece flat table to work on.



                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the comments. There a lot to consider. I don't think I need to make the cross bars a perfect telescope fit if I have welded nuts for clamp bolts (I'm thinking 5/8" bolts) on the outside tubes. The bolts can take up a vertical gap (between inside and outside tubes), so I could weld the nuts on the side with the seam, and put the gap there. I'd want to crank the bolts pretty hard to keep things solid and prevent sagging, so another consideration is I don't want the bolts to crush the inside tubes or distort the outer ones. Not sure what thicknesses are required for that.

                          Most of the time, the limited space I have can't comfortably handle more than say a 32 x 42 table, but I'd like to make frames for benches and tables that might be 5ft by 3ft so it would be nice to clamp up the whole thing at once, and temporarily lose some room around the table. The posted ideas for add on or flip up side wings, or even separate tables, are something I need to consider.

                          The whole idea came from looking at the $2k Stronghand Fixture table:
                          , but it of course doesn't do sliding width. I anyone else has ideas, please add them.


                          • #14
                            The idea appeals to me, but I've found it not to be necessary to have a solid table top for fitup of larger projects.

                            I've often used sawhorses with two or three lengths of 3", 5# channel clamped at a right angle to them. The gaps between channels allow for access, and my clamp inventory is good enough most times to hold everything together for tack-up.

                            The "bench" materials store easily when you're done.

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                            • #15
                              If you want true 1/4" wall tubing for the outside parts, check Northern, they sell 12" and 18" long sections of receiver tubes ....

                              Otherwise, use 3/16" wall for the outsides, turn them so the internal seams are on the same plane as the setscrews.

                              Weld the nuts for the setscrews on the corners, not in the middles. This will give you more crush-resistance, plus more rigidity, since it's forcing the inside tube up against two surfaces, not one.
                              Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....