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Top for welding table; material? thickness?

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  • Top for welding table; material? thickness?

    Hello all,

    I just received a bunch of mild steel angle iron and plan to build my first project, a welding table. I have 2" for the legs and 1 or 1.5 for bracing and cross members. What I really could use is some recommendations on what slap on the top. I plan to go 30"W * 60"L * 35"H. May use two 30*30 pieces for the top or just one piece haven't decided yet.

    I am thinking somewhere between 3/16 to 3/8 for the top, but should I use mild steel or stainless?

    Any and all replies are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Again.

    Edit: does anyone where I can obtain such previously said material in central NJ, I am in Sayreville.
    Last edited by 1Winder; 01-05-2011, 06:29 PM.

  • #2
    Mild Steel will do just fine.

    have you even priced 3/8" SS
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    • #3
      I built a table about 66" x 48" and used 3/8 for the top. It's framed with 3" x 3" angle iron under the top. If I were doing it again I'd use no less than 1/2" mild steel plate.


      • #4
        The reason to go thicker is if you're going to be banging on the thing as part of your fabrication work. Thicker steel will take longer to lose its flatness.

        I do most of my welding on a table that's only 1/8" thick.

        But I have a different table for hammering.
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        • #5
          Well I had planed on getting the top today but the truck wasn't available. So tomorrow I should be able to get it.

          I have: 1* 10ft length of 2" angle iron
          5* 10ft lengths of 1.5" angle iron
          1* 7.5ft length of 2" square tubing

          any tips on fabricating the base? I was planing on using the 2" angle iron for legs with 5" to 8" leveling mount legs. With the 1.5" angle iron for bracing, the top, and as brackets for a lower shelf.

          This is my fist project so any info will definitely help. I will keep half inch plate in mind tomorrow but don't know if I can afford it right now.


          • #6
            It helps if you state the thickness along with the other dims of the steel angle, tube, etc., that you're working with.
            Sounds like what you have MIGHT be sort of light-duty for a table that really gets whaled-on. So, instead of trying to use the lightweight bracing under 1/2" plate, maybe use what you have to build a somewhat portable work table. With folding legs, you can load it into your pickup, . . . but maybe not with a 1/2'' steel top, unless you're a real he-man.


            • #7
              Click image for larger version

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ID:	511222I have 2" angle iron for the legs, 30" long, will include a leveling system. I plan to box out the top with 1.5" angle iron, and the bottom too. Maybe I will add some triangles for bracing or six legs instead of just four.

              I have a length of 2" square tubing too about 7.5 feet long, 8 feet of 2 or 3 inch tube, some extra 1.5" angle iron, and a bunch of 1" tube I found at the garbage dump that are mildly near the ends. That gives me approx 4 or 5 foot each of straight 1" tube.

              I am really wondering what to do with the square 2x2 tubing, maybe a cross brace on top from corner to corner, if its long enough. Maybe use it for a fifth leg in the center and use the 1.5" angle iron to cross brace the top?

              Not sure if these are the good or bad pics of my material, no thumbnail to view, sorry if I have to repost them when I get back


              • #8
                I would think thicker is best. Don't forget to leave a lip to clamp to.


                • #9
                  Like Ray said leave room for the deepest throated clamp you have, or in the future.
                  3/8'' is a good thickness for the size of your legs. Use SS only if you don't have magnetic clamps or fixtures.
                  Good Luck,
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                  • #10
                    Table top

                    I built a table with a 3/4" top. If I do it again I will go with 1/2". The 3/4" is not perfectly flat unless you get pre-flattened from the mill (BIG$$$). It is too hard to try to pull it flat to get a good tru work surface.


                    • #11
                      Table Bracing

                      I wouldn't go any thinner than 1/2" and even then you better add bracing every 18".
                      The heat from welding will warp the 3/8" and thinner material.

                      I use 3/4" for the table tops in my shop.

                      Fab Manager


                      • #12
                        I subscribe to the school of thought that prefers at least 1/2" welding table tops. The one in my shop has a top 4'x8'x1/2" and I got the table for $50 from a metal barn fabricator going out of business. I'm here to tell you that welding heat can easily warp a 1/2" top; mine had a significant crown in the middle from being stitch welded to the frame. It took some effort to get it straight and with care it'll stay that way. I put wheels on it with screw-down jacks and it works well for me. Good Luck
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Alloytoys View Post
                          I built a table with a 3/4" top. If I do it again I will go with 1/2". The 3/4" is not perfectly flat unless you get pre-flattened from the mill (BIG$$$). It is too hard to try to pull it flat to get a good tru work surface.
                          You can get your table flat!
                          Just take a piece of 1/2" x 3 or 4" flatbar and stitch weld it on EDGE across the say first foot of table top or until a gap has started to form between flat bar and table . Use a piece of plate cut out like a big "u" over the spot where you need to flatten. Weld the u saddle to the table and drive a steel wedge on the top of flat bar until the gap tightens on table to flatbar. Repeat down the flat bar working from one end to the other until the flat bar is tight to the table all the way across!


                          • #14
                            I used 2" square for the legs 3" channel iron for the frame and 3/16" for the top made aprox3' x 5' put 1 piece of channel in the center then i put wheels all the way around and built a shelf on the bottom aprox. 8 " up from bottom. Weighs a couple hundred pounds but that makes it nice when you have a vise mounted on it.
                            Last edited by dearhuntn; 02-07-2011, 08:40 PM.