cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table
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  1. #1
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    Oct 2015
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    cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Hello,
    I was hoping some that of you might voice an opinion on a purchase that I am planning.

    I have found a guy selling this cast iron hydraulic press bench, that I intend on using as a welding table.

    The price with frame and legs and delivered to my workshop approx $1600

    Size-approx 84"x42"x6.5"
    Weight- around 5500 lbs

    Pros
    blanchard ground surface (currently with some surface rust)
    t-slots and holes for clamping
    precise dimensions
    massive steel will not deform if it gets hit with flame or from very hot weld joints
    cast iron should deflect weld bb's

    Cons
    Heavy- PIA to move around shop
    has some surface rust
    non-standard hole size for clamps

    Here are a couple of pictures.
    Any comments greatly appreciated- any reason not to buy this?

    Thanks!

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  2. #2
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by pjk View Post
    Hello,
    I was hoping some that of you might voice an opinion on a purchase that I am planning.

    I have found a guy selling this cast iron hydraulic press bench,
    The price with frame and legs and delivered to my workshop approx $1600

    Size-approx 84"x42"x6.5"
    Weight- around 5500 lbs


    non-standard hole size for clamps

    Here are a couple of pictures.
    Any comments greatly appreciated- any reason not to buy this?

    ]
    Wow, that's some table. Scrap value alone is about $660.00

    So, I guess it all depends how inexpensively you can get it for / vs the headache of relocation.

    Cool find
    Last edited by T man; 05-18-2018 at 07:43 AM.
    T man.


    15 + years working for myself, and by golly, I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up.

  3. #3
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Grab it. If you can't figure out clamps........

  4. #4
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    Oct 2015
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    89

    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonzoo View Post
    Grab it. If you can't figure out clamps........
    Yeah, figuring out a clamping system will not be much of a problem. I like the fact that the top will sit on the frame/legs without having to be fastened- no unnecessary stresses put into the top.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2008
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Good for clamping maybe but forget tacking stuff to it. (I probably do this as much if not more than I clamp assemblies before welding.) Seems like a lot of $ for what you get to me...not sure what this table does that a 1/4" or 1/2" steel welding table could do cheaper and just as well. I could find a lot of better ways to spend $1600. YMMV.
    Last edited by Kelvin; 05-18-2018 at 07:24 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    Good for clamping maybe but forget tacking stuff to it. (I probably do this as much if not more than I clamp assemblies before welding.) Seems like a lot of $ for what you get to me...not sure what this table does that a 1/4" or 1/2" steel welding table could do cheaper and just as well. I could find a lot of better ways to spend $1600. YMMV.
    Yeah, no tacking to cast iron. My main problem has always been a table that is dead nuts flat so that I can easily check any distortion on welded parts. I can get around $850 in scrap in my area, so I can always cash in on that if needed.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2014
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    Good for clamping maybe but forget tacking stuff to it. (I probably do this as much if not more than I clamp assemblies before welding.) Seems like a lot of $ for what you get to me...not sure what this table does that a 1/4" or 1/2" steel welding table could do cheaper and just as well. I could find a lot of better ways to spend $1600. YMMV.
    That's my thinking also. If I was wanting a table that size I'd rather have a piece of 1/2" hot rolled plate for a top. Along with some 2" square x 1/8 wall tubing to make a base from I'd think you'd have less than $500 in it.

    When it comes to being "spatter resistant"....a new piece of hot rolled plate with a good layer of mill scale left on it would be a lot better than that ground cast iron surface.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2015
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by HT2-4956 View Post
    That's my thinking also. If I was wanting a table that size I'd rather have a piece of 1/2" hot rolled plate for a top. Along with some 2" square x 1/8 wall tubing to make a base from I'd think you'd have less than $500 in it.

    When it comes to being "spatter resistant"....a new piece of hot rolled plate with a good layer of mill scale left on it would be a lot better than that ground cast iron surface.
    Thanks for your input!

  9. #9
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    Mar 2014
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    pjk,

    While I think that's a pretty sexy chunk of iron I just don't see it being all the great of a general purpose fab table. For certain things it could be just what you'd want but in my experience those situations would be the exception rather than the rule.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2015
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    573

    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    What type of work do you do? Massive tables are great for repairing weldments where you have to clamp them to the table and work them over with a sledgehammer or portapower. But if you don't have a crane over the table, you aren't working on pieces that need that large of table.

    I have Acorn tables. Sometimes the holes are great, other times they are a pita.

  11. #11
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    Oct 2015
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by bent View Post
    What type of work do you do? Massive tables are great for repairing weldments where you have to clamp them to the table and work them over with a sledgehammer or portapower. But if you don't have a crane over the table, you aren't working on pieces that need that large of table.

    I have Acorn tables. Sometimes the holes are great, other times they are a pita.
    In which cases do the holes bother you?

  12. #12
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    Oct 2006
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Depends on what type of work you do. You can build a heck of a table for $1600.00. You can choose the dimensions that fit your needs. You can also consider making two square ones like 4' x 4' and same height and spread out if needed.
    My tables are solid plate top with 2" overhang. I have more use on clamping on perimeter . I would price out what you can make for that money.

  13. #13
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    what does the under side of the table look like ,can it be flipped over if the T slots are of no use to you?Besides you can always make Clamps to fit the holes and Tee slots . My vote is try to knock down the price and go for it

  14. #14
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    I'd try to talk him down a bit, but I think that would make an awesome table if it's still nice and flat.
    My name's not Jim....

  15. #15
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    As one alternative, take a look at some of the welding tables discussed on this forum that are made from heavy C-channel...they always looked pretty slick to me.









    The gaps give you somewhere to use a cutting torch, as well as to anchor home-brew clamps, plus, if you tear up part of it, you can replace the damaged piece of c-channel without having to fix or replace the whole top.
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  16. #16
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by Boostinjdm View Post
    I'd try to talk him down a bit, but I think that would make an awesome table if it's still nice and flat.
    The surface is flat- without any deformations. It does have a couple of small dings, but nothing that would preclude it from being used as a welding table. The guy was asking $400 more, but I squeezed him down on the price and got him to include a frame with legs and delivery to my shop. This is the final price.
    I currently do not have a good straight/flat table to check weld deformations against- this would definitely tick that box...

  17. #17
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    As one alternative, take a look at some of the welding tables discussed on this forum that are made from heavy C-channel...they always looked pretty slick to me.


    The gaps give you somewhere to use a cutting torch, as well as to anchor home-brew clamps, plus, if you tear up part of it, you can replace the damaged piece of c-channel without having to fix or replace the whole top.
    I agree- there are some pretty sexy tables on this site. My concern with the C-channel tables is that each channel section has some slight inherent deformation from the mill, and getting this straight and more importantly flat is a big task.

    Although this slab of iron is quite expensive, it is much less than I would pay for a Siegmund or Stronghand table of similar size, but in many ways is superior to these tables.
    I appreciate everyone's input and thoughts about the iron slab. I am pretty sure that I will be buying it. In any case if I don't like it, I can always sell it and more or less break even.

  18. #18
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Fair enough.

    One last thought, just to make sure you don't have any misconceptions: Some people seem to think that if you clamp something down to something that's flat/planar before welding it, that the welded structure will be free of warpage/distortion. That has not been my experience. In most if not all cases, after welding, the welded structure still gets warped/distorted, but you just don't see the warpage/distortion until you unclamp the clamps and it "unsprings," climbing up off your nice flat table in all its twisted glory.

    This is one reason I have never really cared if my welding tables were absolutely flat/planar (also because their "flatness" / degree of warpage changes every time I tack something to them or beat on them with a sledgehammer, etc.)

    Let us know how you make out, please. I'll be interested to hear how you like it. It's definitely a beast!

  19. #19
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    Fair enough.

    One last thought, just to make sure you don't have any misconceptions: Some people seem to think that if you clamp something down to something that's flat/planar before welding it, that the welded structure will be free of warpage/distortion. That has not been my experience. In most if not all cases, after welding, the welded structure still gets warped/distorted, but you just don't see the warpage/distortion until you unclamp the clamps and it "unsprings," climbing up off your nice flat table in all its twisted glory.

    This is one reason I have never really cared if my welding tables were absolutely flat/planar (also because their "flatness" / degree of warpage changes every time I tack something to them or beat on them with a sledgehammer, etc.)

    Let us know how you make out, please. I'll be interested to hear how you like it. It's definitely a beast!
    Thanks! Will do.

  20. #20
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    313

    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    $1600? Not a chance. What price were you able to agree on? As mentioned, you can build one hell of a welding table for $1500, and still be able to easily move it around. 5500lbs, unless you have a decent sized forklift, isn't easily moving once you get it into position.

  21. #21
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    I'd buy that in a heartbeat - get a set of finger clamps and steps from MSC, a bunch of bessey F clamps for clamping around the edges and your in buis.

  22. #22
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    Oct 2015
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    I did buy the table. The frame and legs that came with the top are good and the delivery was uneventful. It did take me a couple of hours to get the table in place. Rust removal and general clean up was another 4-5 hrs.
    So- here it is:

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    I have made a sample clamp to fit in the holes in the table. It looks like it will work just fine:

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    An unexpected benefit of this table is that the holes are also great mig torch holders:

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    The table top used to be the bed of a 500 metric ton hydraulic press, probably from the 70's. The table has some dings, but nothing that causes any trouble for welding. The table is absolutely flat, without any sag whatsoever. The corners are square. So far, no bb' s have stuck to the cast iron. Still need to make some fixtures that fit in the T-slots. So far I am really satisfied. Hopefully this will be my last welding table!

  23. #23
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

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    Your gonna want a set of these - and a T slot cleaner

  24. #24
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    Re: cast iron hydraulic press bench as welding table

    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
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    Your gonna want a set of these - and a T slot cleaner
    I've already got a set for my mill, but the t-slots on the table are a bit beefier, so will have to make some modified T's.

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