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  • Welding Table Recommendations

    Finally got my hands on a 'real' welding setup, and its got me looking for a better workspace to do my welding. Turns out, its a lot more difficult to get away with a couple sawhorses and a sheet of plywood with TIG welding, least if i want it to look good and not break my wrist doing it.

    Anyways, welding tables, whas everybody using? Shopmade or buying? Im looking for something 2'x4' or thereabouts, and would like to keep costs down as long as i still get a usable surface. I debated shopmade, but im still weighing the options. One solid sheet of plate steel, or a bunch of I-beams in slats? If plate, how thick should i be looking for, for a smaller, hobby welder work surface? I know i need something flat (enough for welding at least, dont need surface plate accuracy at least), decent sized, and most importantly able to be moved by a single determined person. Much as id love to have a 2" thick slab of steel for a table, no way in hell could i move something that massive.

    One thing on the commercial side of things that caught my eye was the Certiflat tables. They seem relatively inexpensive, and i like the construction on them, both for weight savings as well as how the design pretty much guarantees an acceptable level of flatness. Anybody have experience with their line? Id be looking at the 2'x4' table top, with a shop-made frame holding it up

  • #2
    For my (minimal, hobby) welding I made a cart, about 2’x3’ that I use both to wheel the welder around on and do welding. I made it out of 1” square tube. The top is open with the tubes running in parallel, about 3” on center. I made it flat (ish) by laying the pieces out and welding them on a big cast iron welding platform at a votech high school where I took some classes.

    I like the open design since it’s easy to clamp stuff together.

    I do mig, fc, and stick on it and the things I do are not very small - some garden art, shelf structures, and so on. Maybe the end result weighs no more than 20 or 30 pounds.

    for smaller or more precise things, a solid top would be preferred.

    here (I hope) is a picture of it prior to putting it on wheels, making the lower shelf (where the machines sit when I wheel them around)!and grinding the welds for the top so it’s flatish
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Originally posted by fjk View Post
      For my (minimal, hobby) welding I made a cart, about 2’x3’ that I use both to wheel the welder around on and do welding. I made it out of 1” square tube. The top is open with the tubes running in parallel, about 3” on center. I made it flat (ish) by laying the pieces out and welding them on a big cast iron welding platform at a votech high school where I took some classes.

      I like the open design since it’s easy to clamp stuff together.

      I do mig, fc, and stick on it and the things I do are not very small - some garden art, shelf structures, and so on. Maybe the end result weighs no more than 20 or 30 pounds.

      for smaller or more precise things, a solid top would be preferred.

      here (I hope) is a picture of it prior to putting it on wheels, making the lower shelf (where the machines sit when I wheel them around)!and grinding the welds for the top so it’s flatish
      That's a good looking cart! I like the clampability of the slat design, but I cant help but thinking hat the majority of the work I do is small enough to slip right through the slats... The other issue is having a flat surface to weld a top like that together on. How much of an issue was it for you to keep that top flat during the welding?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by epicfail48 View Post

        That's a good looking cart! I like the clampability of the slat design, but I cant help but thinking hat the majority of the work I do is small enough to slip right through the slats... The other issue is having a flat surface to weld a top like that together on. How much of an issue was it for you to keep that top flat during the welding?
        Thanks

        its adequate for my needs - but I don’t do stuff that’s so small that I can’t clamp/secure/etc things. Your mileage may vary.

        i was fortunate and had a huge cast iron table
        To weld it up on, with lots of clamps:-) doing it on something else (a wood work surface maybe?) would present “challenges”…



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        • #5
          The very best welders I have known have nothing fancy--just a heavy, flat surface.

          Beginners often think they need a fancy assembly full of holes for clamps....because they don't know any better.

          Start out simple, like a thick slab of FLAT steel plate set on just about anything that will support it. After working on it for awhile you might find that you would like to embellish it a little.
          12" x 35" Logan 2557V lathe
          Index "Super 55" mill
          18" Vectrax vertical bandsaw
          7" x 10" Vectrax mitering bandsaw
          24" State disc sander

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          • #6
            I love my cert-a-flat table! So far there's no project I couldn't clamp and weld.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tungsten dipper View Post
              I love my cert-a-flat table! So far there's no project I couldn't clamp and weld.
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              Certainly got some mileage on it, if the stockpile youve got going there is any indication. How was the assembly process for you? Was it really as simple as "clamp together, weld corners, done"? Most importantly, is it actually flat?

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              • #8
                The assembly was fun!! You will have to have lots of clamps. It started out as a 1/4" 3ft. X 4ft. top. Was it flat? No. Turns out that my table was the last piece on the roll and had a crown in it; (after welding the braces on it) so I called company and ordered another 3/16 top. I shimmed out the wrap by screwing the new top down. This way I can always adjust the flatness. Whats amazing, all those holes in the new top alined perfectly, with the holes in the first top! Would I buy another one? YOU BET! Cert-a-flat is a great company and great to work with! One of the most used, best things in my shop! I wish it was 3 times bigger and had a shop 3 times bigger...
                Made lots of clamps using Harbor Freight clamps. One thing I would suggest is to add some wheels on it.
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                • #9
                  I don't have a photo handy, but I made mine using a cast steel storm drain cover, the type that is about 2 feet square with square holes in it. Got it from a friend who worked for a local DPW, he said they had some missing the "rings" they mount in so were essentially scrap.

                  I made some legs out of steel water pipe and other junk I had around. It's heavy but solid as can be, great for when you need to beat some metal thing into submission. It's reasonably flat though not "precision" flat. I have a heavy vise on one corner and the table on wheels so I can roll it out into the driveway when I am doing any MIG or stick welding as I don't want to burn the place down from the sparks of fill the house with smoke.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alanganes View Post
                    I don't have a photo handy, but I made mine using a cast steel storm drain cover,
                    Super idea!

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                    • #11
                      After years with a 4'x8'x.75" road plate on legs I was faced with moving it and soul searched enough to admit I
                      never used the whole table.
                      After reducing the size of that at least twice I finally got rid of it for a Stronghand Fixturepoint table and love it.

                      Len

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                      • #12
                        The more i think it over, the more i like the idea of the certiflat tables. Ive got a few RFQs in with local suppliers to find out how much a piece of 1/2" plate would cost, if its cheaper than the 2'x4' certiflat ill go that route, if not, certiflat it is. Eventually, anyways, still have to decide to spend the money

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                        • #13
                          I bought one of those cheap 60 dollar HF tables and it is a nightmare....did a good job of teaching me that being comfortable when TIG welding is just as important as having a welding unit in the first place.

                          Those Certiflat tables look nice but 3/16 seems a bit thin for a table if you are going to be spending a good chunk of money on it, and fabricating your own table is a great 3rd or 4th project, do something like building a welding cart first and some other stuff before welding something that requires good strength and alignment more. A 2x3 or 2x4 sheet of 1/4 or 5/8 will probably run you $200-350.

                          You probably don't need a boat load of holes like the Certiflat, you can always drill and tap holes in a flat sheet when you need them, and no holes will open up the ability to cut in features you might learn you want (odd shapes, slots, etc) It would be best to try and find something as flat as possible, that's one huge bonus the Ceritflat has, a lot of stuff you won't need it but if you are getting into project that requires high precision it will be crucial. Sometimes I see old unused surface plates on CL for cheap and think about turning one into a precision welding table, but also think its sort of sad to muck up a nice old plate.

                          Fireball Tool had a table system that looked really nice (modular 24x12 3/4" plates), but it has been out of stock for like a year now. Their youtube also has a video constructing a table out of multiple 12x12 plates with 3 point supports which you can adjust for high level of precision, this is a pretty interesting approach, and it will make material handling much easier if you are having to assemble this in a basement for example. They also offer plans for that table but for some reason they are not available either.
                          Last edited by repoman; 07-06-2021, 10:29 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Chunk of 1” plate and some square tube and I’m happy as a clam. If I need to work on something bigger I have horses and a couple of portable work tables.

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                            • #15
                              So funnily enough, a 2'x4' sheet of 1/2" cold rolled from my local place is nearly the exact same cost as the certiflat table in that size, so now im back to being conflicted... Pros for the plate are its local so no shipping, and itd be a lot beefier of a top. Cons are the weight, that size of plate weighs almost as much as i do, so getting it in my shop would be an adventure. Pros for the certiflat are the holes for easier fixturing, higher likelihood of it being flat, and again the lighter weight. Cons are the shipping costs, as well as the fact that a 3/16" top is admittedly a little thin.

                              Blech, planning is too bloody complicated

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