Welding table solid or grate?
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  1. #1
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    Jun 2006
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    Welding table solid or grate?

    Guys - I did a search on table designs, and boy is there a lot of information here. I'm trying to incorporate all of the great designs I've seen here into something that will work for me.

    Some designs had a solid top, some had a grate, and some had both. Are the grate tops mostly for plasma cutting or would you recommend them for mig welding as well? thanks!
    MM 175 w/ spoolgun

  2. #2
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    Apr 2006
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    Kansas City area
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    Not if you got alot of little pieces to put together. They'll always fall through the grate at the point the farthest from easy reach.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2005
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    Wayne County, OH
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    I just finished building my table and used a 3'x6' piece of 1/2" steel. I considered using open grating, but felt that a solid top gave a better opportunity to stay flat. (I drilled a 5 x 11 hole pattern of 5/8" holes, 6" on centers, through the top to help facilitate clamping.) After using the table this past weekend, I can see why some folks opt for the open grate design. All the tiny bits of spatter got in the way and I was constantly sweeping off the top.
    There are no small projects

  4. #4
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    Mar 2005
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    Carrollton GA
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    Generally, solid tops are for layout, clamping, and jigging up stuff...where, the grates are for all types of cutting (plasma, OA, cutoff). If you have lots of space, you might want separate cutting and welding tables. If you are a little more confined, a combination of the two might be perfect...if you are really cramped, you will probably end up wanting the solid top table and just cut whereever and however you can.
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Another option not seen mentioned here is a table with large cut outs in strategic places. The idea being to provide for clamping and more access around the joint in question. That being said the vast majority of tables I've seen are simply flat pieces of steel.

    Obviously the problem with a table with cut outs is that they have to be large enough to accomodate two or more large clamps. If you are working with 4" or larrger stock this creates some pretty large holes. None of the holes where you are likely to need them.

    Like I said I see more plain flat tables then anything else. There may very well be holes for vises on the corners, with the vise often laying under the table. I've also seen L shaped tables. An L shaped table can make some sense if it jells well with the fabrications you make.

    Dave

  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    I use a solid top, cutting material is done in another area.
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  7. #7
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    Jul 2005
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    Sydney
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    As Smithboy said, a solid top is useful for setting out.
    My top consists of two approx 3'x3' pieces with a 6" space between them. I find it really useful for clamping. When I need to set out something large, I have a 3'x6" strip that I lay in the gap to give me a 6'6"x3' top.
    (Note, guys, how I kindly converted my metric measurements to imperial.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    That is all verry nice but we are familiar with the metric system on this side of the planet. Of course I work presently in the optics industry which has always been metric so maybe that is why I don't care one way or the other.

    Your bench idea is a good one and is something I haven't seen.

    Dave


    Quote Originally Posted by scott brunsdon
    (Note, guys, how I kindly converted my metric measurements to imperial.)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
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    3,175
    Most of my tables are skeletons of angle iron. Lots of places for clamping. As a certain project needs a clamp in a certain place, you just weld another angle into the middle of the table. Rarely do you need to remove one. Here's a fairly lightweight one we built last week specifically to do some large fence panels.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
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    May 2006
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    Northern California
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    I don't have an awful lot of room in my shop which is in the first floor of my barn. I had a steel office typing desk with a steel top and three drawers and a pull-out on the right side. I had a local scrap yeard cut a sheel of 3/8" steel to 3' X 5' and laid it on top. It stays put and makes a great welding table and I have drawers on the side for welding supplies and torches.

    The open-grate welding tables that I've seen are used mainly for cutting and heavy duty welding as mentioned above.

  11. #11
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    Apr 2006
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    Soda springs,Id
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    Space is a consideration for me so I have a 3' square table w/ a 1'x3' grate extension on one side for cutting. Works good for me!! Anything too large for the table gets laid out on the concrete floor.
    Mike
    Ol' Stonebreaker
    "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"

    Miller 175 mig
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  12. #12
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    Jan 2006
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    Kaministiquia Ontario Canada
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    This is my table ,I also have a table similer to Mac702 Name:  truck bumper 001.jpg
Views: 1762
Size:  119.7 KB

  13. #13
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    Mar 2005
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    Dutchess County, NY
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    I have been using an old commercial drain grate ( I think that's what it is ) for the last year. It's 32 x 32 and is great for laying out small projects and doing some creative clamping but it stinks as a work table. All my small hardware finds the floor at the most inconvenient times. My next workshop project is to build a 48 x 32 ( I don't have a lot of room or I would go bigger ) table using 3 x 3/16 tubing, 3" 4# channel and a 3/8 top. Since the grate is "portable", I'll just keep it around for when I need some crazy clamping scheme but IMO a solid heavy table will serve me much better. I do all my manual plasma cutting outside on saw horses because of the dust. If you intend to use a grate because you want to cut and weld, I recommend that you build a "collection" box if you are cutting inside.
    Here's a pic that shows a little of the grate ....

  14. #14
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    Jan 2004
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    Northern Cal., Shasta County
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    Along a similar line as RC-racer, I too have a grate that like his that I have attached to this 'work bench arrangement' I drag around outside. Perfect for crud, mud, oily, dirty stuff and just plain general purpose use but I wouldn't want it to be my one and only.

    Some things that are perfect as an alternative aren't so good as the first choice.

  15. #15
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    middle tennessee
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    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    Here's my cluttered table 3/8" x 4' x 6' with 3" tubing frame
    Name:  0614060730.jpg
Views: 1678
Size:  76.3 KB
    Dewayne
    Dixieland Welding

    MM350P
    Lincoln 100
    Some torches
    Other misc. tools

  16. #16
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    Jun 2005
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    69

    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    Quote Originally Posted by RC-Racer
    If you intend to use a grate because you want to cut and weld, I recommend that you build a "collection" box if you are cutting inside.
    RC-Racer - I was curious what kind of a design you were thinking of for the "collection box?". Are you talking about something underneath the table to catch all the debris?

  17. #17
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    Mar 2005
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    Dutchess County, NY
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    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arc_It
    RC-Racer - I was curious what kind of a design you were thinking of for the "collection box?". Are you talking about something underneath the table to catch all the debris?
    I was referring to some kind of metal enclosure that will trap the plasma dust. Optimally, the box should have an exhaust that pulls the "smoke" down through the grate and out of the shop. Plasma dust is a fine metal dust that will kling onto everything and is not good for electronic stuff or your lungs . A simple collection box can be built with 24ga or 26ga sheet metal.
    On a larger scale, I built a downdraft system by enclosing my Plasmacam table with 24ga galvaized sheet metal and pulling the exhaust out of the shop through a 10" duct with a 1500 cfm squirrel cage blower. I get no dust accumulation in the shop at all.
    You can do the same for a table cutting grate but on a much smaller scale.
    Here's a pic of my table with sheetmetal enclosing the base - Plasma table with downdraft chamber

  18. #18
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    Jun 2005
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    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    Nice idea. I assume you have that vented directly outside ?

  19. #19
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    Mar 2005
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    Dutchess County, NY
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    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arc_It
    Nice idea. I assume you have that vented directly outside ?
    The 10" duct exits at the rear of the table and goes straight to the blower on the outside wall where it is vented.

  20. #20
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    Villa Rica,Ga.
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    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    The first pic. is what I started with for a welding table.Paid $15.00 for all.









    The second pic. is what I ended up with.$$$$ Priceless
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Doing what I like

  21. #21
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    May 2006
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    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    Looks good Popwri, I think we need a close up.
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  22. #22
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    Jun 2005
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    69

    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    You can't beat that price! (Unless you got it for free) Nice looking bench. What did you use to remove the rust? - Flap disk/sand blaster?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Dutchess County, NY
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    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Popwri
    The first pic. is what I started with for a welding table.Paid $15.00 for all.

    The second pic. is what I ended up with.$$$$ Priceless
    You suck!
    Nice find! I need to find a deal like that. Metal prices have gone through the roof.
    As was asked above, please take some closeups. The design looks interesting.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    11

    Re: Welding table solid or grate?

    Quote Originally Posted by mribeiro
    Some designs had a solid top, some had a grate, and some had both. Are the grate tops mostly for plasma cutting or would you recommend them for mig welding as well? thanks!
    Personally I would only recommend the grate for cutting. I find a solid surface is always better for welding on. Having said that, I do an awful lot of cutting as well, so I've come up with a solution that works best for me.

    I have built a dual-top, mobile welding table. I have very limited space as I work out of my home garage, but I really needed a decent size welding table and another decent size cutting table. Here is what I finally came up with.

    Front view of the table with welding top on. Note the table is on wheels, two of which are locking swivel casters. These are heavy duty wheels that will hold up to about 500lbs each.

    Side view. Notice that the slats for plasma cutting are hanging on the back left corner.

    Welding top removed and cutting slats inserted.

    Bottom of welding top. I used 2in angle iron with 45 degree corners around the outside as a frame with a 3/16" sheet of 2'x4' mild steel for the top.

    Plasma slat brackets. I cut 1/2" pieces of 2 in. angle iron and welded them just close enough that slats of 2" mild steel would slide in and out.

    Support slats. These have holes drilled in them so they hang on the table when not in use. The slats are sacrificial so when they get sliced up too bad I toss them out and cut some more.


    Anyway, I hope this gives someone some useful ideas.

    John
    John Pozadzides
    Direct Metal Artist
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