The Quest, Part 1

holygrail

I’m on a quest for the perfect welding table.

Since I lack the funds to go purchase one of the many high quality precision commercially produced systems out there I’ve already accepted the fact that my “perfect” welding table will be one made by my own hands and within my meager budget. But that’s what DIY is all about, right?

So obviously a key feature of what makes “perfect” for me in this context is it being financially attainable and after the usual holiday assault on my bank balance, I’m left only a few hundred dollars to spend on my “perfect” welding table. Considering you can easily spend thousands on a professional table, a few hundred is a paltry sum and would get me laughed at by most tool snobs.

Other key design features or points:

  • Big enough to build something… big. I’m thinking 4’x8′ but that isn’t written in stone.
  • Sturdy legs for stability and a sturdy surface so I can firmly clamp pieces to it to prevent heat distortion.
  • As perfectly flat and square as I can get it to make setting up projects easier and more precision.
  • Capable of being used with fixturing like clamps and stops. A precision grid system would be awesome and drastically speed up project layout.

With those features in mind I’m in the planning stages of my table and have searching the Google for ideas to rip off inspiration. I could try to mimic one of the commercial systems which would allow me to use their tooling packages but going that route requires some precise hole placement and a lot of room for costly error. I am currently waiting for a quote to do that part from a local waterjet facility. If the cost is reasonable the finished product will look something like this:

holes table

However, waterjet machines are amazingly complex so the owner/operator may have to charge more than I can afford because he/she has a family to feed and an expensive machine to pay for which leads me to plan B:

welding table slats

By using slats or several individual flat bars of steel with a gap in between, I can clamp a piece about anywhere on the table, however the lack of a precision grid system limits the amount of easy fixturing one can do. That makes me sad.

Regardless of which design I end up going with there is a lot to be said for building your own table. What you lack in funds can often be made up for in sweat and there’s the pride of knowing you did it yourself. Though I’m not a great wood worker, I really respect how the building of one’s own woodworking bench is almost a rite of passage within that community.

Anyway, stay tuned and watch me pull my hair out with this project!

Finally, here’s a little waterjet porn to illustrate how awesome these machines are:

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One thought on “The Quest, Part 1

  1. atkokosplace says:

    That was neat! My work table is just a simple table I bought at a yard sale for 10 bucks. It’s not ideal, but it works. I like your ideas. Good luck with your build! 🙂

    Like

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