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Picture of Adjustable Welding/Bike Worktable
A combination, height-adjustable, small welding table with a built-in clamp bracket for working on bikes. Height adjustment comes from old hospital bed table. Bike work clamp is based on standard ParkTools(tm) style bike work stands.

I am tall, so I wanted a bike work stand that was versitile, like they had at the local bike shop, and that would get me off of the ground when I need to work on some cycle. Also, I wanted to make a welding table, and a guy I mentioned it to said "I would make mine adjustable height". So, when I saw the old table at the thrift store....
 
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Step 1: Get the stuff.

Picture of Get the stuff.
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Gather supplies. This is always an on-going process, but ou have to get some basic stuff to get started. Here is my semi-complete final supplies list (with my cost and source):

- Old hospital bed table - ($3.99 - thrift store)
- Misc. metal - (maybe $10 - plumbing supply, thrift store, neighbors scraps, school shop scraps, etc...)
- Vise-Grip style 11" c-clamp - ($6 - harbor freight tools)
- 1/2" nut and bolt - ($1 - hardware store)
- 1/2" socket speed wrench - ($1.29 - thrift store)

Also, here is a list of most of the tools used:
- Air cut-off tool
- Mig welder
- Bench grinder with brush attach.
- Angle grinder
- Die grinder
- Metal chop saw
- Hand drill
- Rotary sander
- Oxy-Acet. torch.
- Big Hammer
- Clamps

Step 2: Strip table and move wheels.

Picture of Strip table and move wheels.
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We replaced the old laminate table with the new metal table and put wheels on the back so that the table can be moved like a hand-truck.

- Remove the wheels from the bottom.
- Take the top off of the table.
- Re-attach the stable wheels to the back bottom.

Step 3: Fab the new table.

Picture of Fab the new table.
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Figure out how the new table will bolt onto the base. The old table screwed in up on the back underside and from the interior underside horizontally. The new table would re-use the back table base holes, and we would drill some new ones on the front underside. Measure the framing needed to fit the base platform and the total table size. We used 1" galv. square tube for the frame and some 1" flat stock for supports. This first is the basic frame, the second the completed frame. We will add the bike clamp hardware and the top later.

Step 4: Create bike clamp arm.

Picture of Create bike clamp arm.
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The first picture is what I started with in plan "A" (including the table shaft pipe to hold the clamp arm). The next two are after some cutting and cleaning.

By the time I got to plan "C", you can see what the "teeth" ending looking like. I was going to make them swivvle on the end of the clamp jaws, but I settled for a static angle. The last picture is the final result.

Step 5: Create shaft for clamp arm to connect to table.

The idea is the clamp the arm onto the bike, then lift it and slide it onto the table and twist and secure it at the right angle.

Back in the first "get the stuff" steps, one critical thing was to get two strong pipes that would fit together - one big (1 1/4" x 10" galv.) for the table shaft and one smaller (1" x 14" black pipe) for the clamp arm.

The finished shaft has to be just long enough to be welded to the underside of the table and be also hold the clamp arm for a good length.

- Cut a whole in the pipe a ittle bigger than your bolt.
- Weld the nut over the whole.
- Re-tap the nut to make sure nothing is in the way.
- Weld to the front end underside of the table (I over welded most things - but this one probably needs it because it will carry the weight of the bike).

I love finding just the right stuff. The Mac Tools speed wrench was almost a give away at the thrift store. The swivel handle on the end was a prize.

- Cut off the "L" back end.
- Heat the angle and bend it to 90 deg. (I also heated the front end to straighten it and keep as a lesser speed wrench)
- Weld the "L" handle onto the lock bolt and clean it up (it needs to be smooth, as your hand is going to blindly reach for it under the table).

The end result is a work of art (IMOO).

Step 6: Weld on table top and add finish.

Picture of Weld on table top and add finish.
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Weld on the top and put a finish on it. I welded first from the underside. (This, unfortunetly, warped the sheet metal some. So, I will have to live with it. Better clamping would have fixed that.) I completed the top by welding ~1" beads at intervals around the top edge (a complete bead would have been better, but this may have warped the top more). I ground the beads down smooth and cleaned up the edges.

Lastly, I did a swirl sander finish on the top and a straight sand stripe down the sides.

Step 7: Add handle to assist rolling table.

Picture of Add handle to assist rolling table.
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The first shot is the before and after of the handle stock. The bar on top is some very rusty scrap from my neighbor. I sanded it down and bent the handle to form (no heat this time - I didn't have the torch available and I was impatient).

I left the ends longer than needed so that I could trim it to size and still have enough leverage when I bent it.

I measures the holes to set the handles into the back side of the table, then drilled them (1/2" for the 1/2" steel bar). Last, I cut the ends off to size and welded the handle to the table. The last photo is the finished handle after grinding and sanding down the welds.

Step 8: Final Product - next steps

Picture of Final Product - next steps
Here it is again. The only problem, which I expected from the beginning, is that it is not completely stable. This is nature of the shape/design of the table base - given the amount of weight that is hanging off the end of the clamp. But, actually, it is more stable than I thought it might be. It won't fall over, but it will sway a little.

The last steps were to bolt the table onto the base and insert some plastic caps into the tube holes.

All that is left is to finish the clamp with some plastic-dip and spray paint. I will keep the rest of the table top raw metal and just coat it with some silicon lube (or something else like WD-40). I can't paint it if I want to use it for welding, because it has to stay conductive.

I also want to add a way of storing the clamp on the table. I won't leave it hanging on the end, and I don't want to leave it laying around the shop. So, I think I will cut a 2" piece of the same size pipe as I used for the clamp table shaft, and then weld that piece at an angle on the table support arm. Then I can just slip it in and it will be out of the way under the table.

Step 9: Added #1 - The Clamp Holder

Picture of Added #1 - The Clamp Holder
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As described in the previous step, I wanted a holder for when the bike clamp is not in use.

I used the scrap end that was cut off of the pipe I used for the clamp support. I first welded this to a section of channel stock (first photo). Then, I ground off the paint on the table support welded the pipe assembly at an angle.

The final photo shows the holder in use. It will need a primer and paint coat to finish it.
co2wms7whcc4 years ago
Where did you learn to weld? Try dragging the puddle back and forth from each peice of steel. That should make a prettier weld.

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dschwant (author)  co2wms7whcc4 years ago
Obviously from the hack job you can see in the photos, I never did learn to weld! Good thing I don't get paid for how pretty it is, but it has held up very nicely.

Thanks for the expert advice!
gmhowell9 years ago
Welders are awesome. I highly recommend. Even a cheapy stick (esp. if you plan to go TIG in the future). Two suggestions: First, instead of solid plate, I have seen some people use the same mesh you see on some trailer ramps for the table surface. Downside is that slag, sparks, etc. go to floor. Upside is a much lighter table. Could help your balance issues. Second, I would weld a nut or piece of round bar to the bottom of the table or the support post that you can attach the ground clamp to. If you go on the support bar, make sure it's on the part of the bar attached to the table, NOT the base. If you have ground at base and electrode on surface, you might get a weld in the gears of the height mechanism.
i have a cheapy stick but i not going tig in the futue because im cheap
dschwant (author)  gmhowell7 years ago
On #1 - I thought about a mesh, but went with solid because I knew I would also be using the table for more than just welding. Even though it isn't perfectly flat, its still a very good utility table. #2 - I clamp onto the handle (step 7) for ground. You are very right about not clamping to anything but the table top!!
It looks like you're welding some galvanized, or zince coated metal (like the vice grips, and the bolt).  Did you make an effort to avoid the fumes? If so, did you just grind off the zinc before welding, or just have a fan provide ventilation?
jolshefsky7 years ago
That's a fantastic design. I particularly like the bike frame clamp. I've been looking for a good way to do that and this looks like a winner. I have an assortment of gears that I might try to mate with a screw to create a crankable pivot for the bike clamp. Of course, then I couldn't stow it like you can with yours.

Oh, and I almost forgot: I noticed also that welding a bead to attach a sheet metal to a beam doesn't work. I had tried it when I made the frame for the Bike With 2 Brains, a project I made a couple years ago, and had the same problem. The sheet metal warped so strongly, that it actually bent the 1" water pipe I was welding onto. I even tried tacking it at several points but the finish weld ruined it. I ended up cutting it off and installing brackets to bolt it on instead.
dschwant (author)  jolshefsky7 years ago
Yes, trying to weld the sheet metal onto the table top frame was an education on metal thermodynamics. By the time I saw how much warping it created I was committed and didn't want to rework it. So, I got out the big hammer and started pounding the sheet back to as close as I could get it. It isn't perfect, but still very usable. If I did it again, I would probably rivet it into the square tubes. While is would leave the bumps from the rivets, bolting to brackets would do the same (I think).
srilyk7 years ago
Here's an idea for stability - hospital tables aren't really designed so that they can hold much more than a hospital tray... but if you extend those legs on the front or the front & back - or like in my diagram, create movable legs, that should help with the stability. If you came up with the idea for this table, I'm sure you could come up with improvements on my idea, but this should help get the juices flowing! Wish I had a welder, I know I'd love a bike stand... I just use two straps hung from the ceiling :P
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dschwant (author)  srilyk7 years ago
Great idea! I know that part of the stability problem is the base. I think that most of the issue is that the table top is a cantilever, and the vertical support is not rigid but has a significant amount of yaw (I think that is what it is called).
very cool
ed garza8 years ago
that is pretty nice
brob9 years ago
awesome project. Wish I had a welder.
firstscout9 years ago
Very slick idea