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Thread: Aluminum 5052 table top

  1. #1
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    Aluminum 5052 table top

    Hello, I want to have a surface that I can do some work on it, welding among those. and so the surface is going to stay outside and that is why I don't want just steel but stainless steel is expensive and so I am thinking to buy aluminum. some people told me aluminum is too weak for this, will have many bend, in the heat from the stick welding the hot metal the jumps from the little pool will cause it to melt and deform. I especially don't want it to start melt if I put iron on it and weld the iron.
    HOWEVER I know there is aluminum oxide that is forming on the aluminum naturally. so my question is will the aluminum oxide that is very strong substance and it's melting point is very high will protect the aluminum plate? I will add that I am doing just little things as a hobby and it is not going to be in intensive use.
    thanks! [p s - I also asked in general questions for forum]

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    My main concern with aluminum top would be it getting beaten up over time. Also, I like a steel welding table top because I often tack weld stuff to it when I tack together assemblies before welding them out. It's handy for that.

    Unless you're really heating the crap out of the table top, I wouldn't worry too much about heat damaging it. Aluminum conducts heat better than anything except copper, gold or silver (one reason why it's tricky to weld) and so it will "wick heat away" fast for you. (Aluminum radiators and heat sinks in computers work well to conduct heat away.)

    My main issue with aluminum top would be the inability to tack weld steel parts to it. I have one outdoors, and I just slap some old (free) paint on the top and it holds up fine. They get rusty to a certain point, then don't really rust that much more -- or the rusting slows down at least. (On the underside of the table top, I spray drain oil once or twice a year.)

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Meni,

    where are you located?
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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    The cost of an aluminum table surface would be wildly expensive. If you want to use it as a welding table it is going to have to be much thicker than the typical steel welding table surface, just to be strong enough to clamp to, etc. Its just a guess, but I would imagine an aluminum table top would have to be 2-3 times thicker than what you would do with steel. A 4x8 sheet of 1 inch 6061 plate would cost you more than $5000 where I live. I think your life would be much easier if you make this out of steel, and just coat it with oil from time to time.
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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    5052 is usually slightly cheaper than 6061 .... but even so, It still would be very expensive.

    I'd find a steel plate with millscale on it and use it "as is"

    WD-40 and a flap disc occasionally would take care of any flash rust.
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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    An aluminum table to weld on is a bad idea. Plain and simple. Follow the advice listed above.
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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    I didn't think of it when I posted above earlier, but yeah, aluminum is gonna be crazy expensive nowadays. And I wouldn't even consider stainless steel -- it'll still rust, particularly if you ever get it hot, and it'll warp all to he|| where and when you do. Plain old mild steel works fine, in my experience, even outside 24/7/365. I picked up a cheap used welding table from a welding school that was closing down on Craigslist.

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  9. #8
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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Just get a thick A$$ steel table, as thick as you can afford! I use a 4' x 5' x 3/8" table, its beat up with holes and cuts. When its a little rusty just hit with a grinder and some light oil.
    We've done so much, for so long, with so little. Were now qualified to do anything with nothing !

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by welding1 View Post
    Just get a thick A$$ steel table, as thick as you can afford! I use a 4' x 5' x 3/8" table, its beat up with holes and cuts. When its a little rusty just hit with a grinder and some light oil.
    And,, if you REALLY hate rust,
    simply get a second top, that you can store inside, and move it out to the welding table when needed.
    1/4" steel only weighs 5 pounds per square foot,, if the table is not too horrendously large, the top can be moved easily.

    My welding table has a steel top, and looks like it is stored outside,,
    the Virginia air is enough to rust unpainted steel, even inside,, after enough years (10+ years)

    Some day, I will hit it with a sander to clean it up.
    I was welding on it last week, and occasionally had trouble grounding to the table. Too much oxide,,,,,,,,,,,,

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    A square foot of 1/4” steel is approximately 10 lbs.
    Ernie F.

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    Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by metalman21 View Post
    A square foot of 1/4 steel is approximately 10 lbs.
    That's more what I was thinking.

    I've gotten pretty good at estimating steel weight over the years
    Especially shopping at Logan.



    Edit:
    Actually if you go down there all the time the prices will fluctuate
    In other words,
    Once every couple months you bring a Dunkin' Donuts jug of coffee for the guys
    You tend to get a sweetheart deal.
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    Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post



    Once every couple months you bring a Dunkin' Donuts jug of coffee for the guys
    You tend to get a sweetheart deal.
    ..... still trying to wrap my head around sweetheart and JohnT in the same thought.

    sorry JT , " couldn't resist"


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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    still trying to wrap my head around sweetheart and JohnT in the same thought.
    I may not be pretty....

    But Ive got the gift of gab.
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  17. #14
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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    thank you, but aluminum conduct electricity, so why not tack together? (maybe I didn't understand because of language, (also for John) I'm Israeli)

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by StandarDyne View Post
    My main concern with aluminum top would be it getting beaten up over time. Also, I like a steel welding table top because I often tack weld stuff to it when I tack together assemblies before welding them out. It's handy for that.

    Unless you're really heating the crap out of the table top, I wouldn't worry too much about heat damaging it. Aluminum conducts heat better than anything except copper, gold or silver (one reason why it's tricky to weld) and so it will "wick heat away" fast for you. (Aluminum radiators and heat sinks in computers work well to conduct heat away.)

    My main issue with aluminum top would be the inability to tack weld steel parts to it. I have one outdoors, and I just slap some old (free) paint on the top and it holds up fine. They get rusty to a certain point, then don't really rust that much more -- or the rusting slows down at least. (On the underside of the table top, I spray drain oil once or twice a year.)
    my reply is down the posts . I asked why can't tack together , as aluminum conduct electricity. if grounding hold it, it will not be possible to stick weld iron on it?

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    The cost of an aluminum table surface would be wildly expensive. If you want to use it as a welding table it is going to have to be much thicker than the typical steel welding table surface, just to be strong enough to clamp to, etc. Its just a guess, but I would imagine an aluminum table top would have to be 2-3 times thicker than what you would do with steel. A 4x8 sheet of 1 inch 6061 plate would cost you more than $5000 where I live. I think your life would be much easier if you make this out of steel, and just coat it with oil from time to time.
    ay least here, aluminum much cheaper than stainless. and I need maybe 150 mm /100 mm, small one. so I am not sure I need very thick one. but longevity and not to need to maintain it is important factor for me

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by meni View Post
    thank you, but aluminum conduct electricity, so why not tack together? (maybe I didn't understand because of language, (also for John) I'm Israeli)
    I meant "tack weld steel workpieces (temporarily) to the steel table." You can't weld steel to aluminum with a stick welder. (You could tack weld aluminum pieces to an aluminum table, but that's another story.)

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by metalman21 View Post
    A square foot of 1/4” steel is approximately 10 lbs.
    OOPs,, my brain was in "neutral",, I forgot to double the 5 pounds per 1/8"

    10 pounds per square foot is correct!!

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by meni View Post
    I asked why can't tack together , as aluminum conduct electricity. if grounding hold it, it will not be possible to stick weld iron on it?
    No you can't weld aluminum to steel. would be better to drill 4 holes and bolt it.

    Or use aluminum legs... / make the whole thing aluminum.

    Maybe prices are better in Israel for materials....
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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    If a guy gets a brainstorm that seems so obvious,,, then one has to wonder,,,, why dont everyone do it?

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by meni View Post
    ay least here, aluminum much cheaper than stainless. and I need maybe 150 mm /100 mm, small one. so I am not sure I need very thick one. but longevity and not to need to maintain it is important factor for me
    Im assuming you mean centimetres??


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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    Im assuming you mean centimetres??


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    yes sorry, or 1000/15000 mm. so this is relatively not that big. maybe even just 1000/500 mm (1 meter on half a meter)

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by StandarDyne View Post
    I meant "tack weld steel workpieces (temporarily) to the steel table." You can't weld steel to aluminum with a stick welder. (You could tack weld aluminum pieces to an aluminum table, but that's another story.)
    so you actually willed some parts to your table top and later release it?
    in that sense maybe it's advantage to have at least some part aluminum because when you put down the electrode it wouldn't start to - by accident - weld. (I don't have experience so I could be very wrong. I put the electrode on a wood piece and it wasn't good)

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    I would buy a steel table top, good thickness

    Purchase a sheet of 1/8" EPDM roofing rubber to have a 1 foot overhang on all 4 sides.

    Purchase a 7" grinder with an arbored grinding wheel which can lay flat on the table to clean off any excess rust.

    Problem solved

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    Re: Aluminum 5052 table top

    Quote Originally Posted by meni View Post
    so you actually willed some parts to your table top and later release it?
    Yes. Exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by meni View Post
    in that sense maybe it's advantage to have at least some part aluminum because when you put down the electrode it wouldn't start to - by accident - weld.
    It would still arc and throw sparks around (or just short out) and liberate a lot of heat and be a fire hazard and possibly warp (or blow a hole in) your tabletop...it just wouldn't WELD (because aluminum and steel won't melt together).

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