Introduction: Stainless Steel Coffee Table With Ceramic Top
Hello and a warm welcome to all Instructables community. So, this is my 13th Instructables. If you like my project then don't forget to vote, like and share.Also, don't forget to visit my YouTube channel and subscribe.
We are using this old table for almost more than 15 years and I think when metal contest arrived it's a perfect time to replace this table with the new one.this is one of the challenging project for us .we have not work on ceramic before and we don't know how hard it is.we have very limited tools for stone working.The design of the table was not too complicated but the material used in this build are very difficult to work on especially the Steel and the ceramic stone took a lot of time to bring it to finish state because during the finishing process these materials pass through different stages of sanding and finishing. The wall thickness of the steel pipes are used in this build having thickness 1.76 mm and I made this whole project using an arc welding machine.The finishing of the molding of the ceramic top took almost 3 days of workmanship to bring it to this high gloss state. From the beginning of this project I knew that the design which I am going to made looks very simple, that's why to make it more interesting I decided to give it some personal touch. I decided to install some CNC inserts inside the footrest area. I want that my table also able to visible in the night that's why I decided to fill those CNC carved design with some glow in dark powder mixed in resin and the end result is in front of you which I think looks fantastic in the night. Everything in this build is completely made by us and after seeing the overall result we feel very proud of our work.
Step 1: Tools and Material Used
Following are the list of tools which we used in this build: -
1. Arc welding set
2. Angle grinder with speed regulator
3. Drill machine
4. Chop Saw
5. Center punch
6. Half round file
7. Speed square
8. Measuring tape
9. Circular saw
11. Chipping hammer
12. Table Saw
13. Miter Saw
14. Flap Disk (60,80,120 grit)
15. Scotch wheel
16. Buffing Wheel With buffing paste
17. Stone grinding diamond pad (60, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1200, 1500, 2000 grit)
18. Sandpaper (60, 80, 120, 220, 320, 400 grit)
19. Custom CNC
20. 60-degree v bit for carving
21. Digital Vernier caliper
22. Cotton waste & rags
24. welding clamp
25 C Clamp
Following is the list of material which we used in this build: -
1. 1.5”X1.5” Square pipe
2. 1” X2” Rectangular pipe
3. ¾”X ¼” Stainless steel bar
4. 1” thick Brazilian ipe wood
5. ¾” Plywood with 1 mm laminate
6. ¾” thick polyethylene piece
7. ¾” Wood screw
8. Epoxy resin
9. Glow in dark powder
10. Wax polish
Step 2: Table Design
Although the design of our table is so simple.The real challenge is making this table because of the choice of material, tools, and infrastructure we have.Also, weather condition (47degree centigrade Temp & humidity) made this build more challenging.There is a lot of complication in this build but we successfully cleared each and every challenge.the thing who make this table unique is Glow in dark resin that we have put on the carved Brazilian ipe wood.that glows in the night and gives beautiful effect at night.I have also uploaded that design for your reference.
Step 3: Cutting of Material
So, starting this project first thing, I made is the mainframe, which is made out of stainless steel and the grade I choose for the steel is SS 202.This steel is suitable for making the indoor project. If you are going to make something out of stainless steel and use it for the outdoor purpose than SS 304 is good in that case because it's more resistive to corrosion.
For making the mainframe first I decided the dimensions. In my case, the height of the table is 22 inch and dimension of my mainframe from the top is 24”X36” which I think is sufficient for me. Here is the list of all the material need to be cut to build this project: -
1. 1”X2” rectangular pipe for top frame: -2pcs. of 24” long
2. 1” X2” rectangular pipe for top frame: -2pcs. of 36” long
3. 1.5”X1.5” square pipe for the legs: -4pcs. Of 22” long
4. 1”X2” rectangular pipe for bottom brace: -2pcs. of 21” long
5. 1”X2” rectangular pipe for bottom brace: -2pcs. of 33” long
6. 1”X2” rectangular pipe for bottom brace: -7pcs. of 22” long
After cutting all the pieces I removed the burrs and chamfer all side to make a nice and clean weld. It really helps in making a nice clean joint.
Step 4: Welding of Table Structure
After cutting main structure pcs. It’s time to weld all those together.I have never ever welded any steel before also steel thickness is too thin for the arc weld that I realize when I started welding first I made lots of blow hole in steel because I have no practice with the steel after so many trials and practices I am able to develop my own method. I used SS308 welding rod at current setting 80 Amp if you put rod welding rod up to 2 sec on one point then only blow hole develop that's why I tack weld the joint and distance between each tack is very close to each other. I first make a table like structure and for that, I started with the main top frame of the table which is made out of 1”X2” rectangular pipe. Before welding those pieces, I clamped them on another pipe so that they remain in flat position. After that, I check the squareness of the top frame I first do tack weld. Here I made two tacks on one joint one on the top portion and other is on the bottom portion. By doing this you can reduce some amount of thermal stress which occurs during welding.
When I tack weld on both sides than I again recheck the squareness of my frame because if anything goes wrong I have the chance to correct my mistake, but because of proper clamping everything was all right. After that, I move this to my temporary made welding table and completed my weld joints. I weld on alternate sides so that I can reduce stress as possible as I can. If you are watching my video carefully than you will notice that I am lifting my welding rod much time during my weld this is because I am completed all my weld joints with tack weld only. The stainless steel which I used in this project has a very thin wall thickness and every time when I am going for a continuous weld the end result was going to a blowhole. And you never want that thing in a project which you are going to make with a stainless steel because every part of your weld is going to be visible. If you are going to fill those holes you will notice that the portion where you are doing welding sinks little down than the rest of area and that is because of excessive heat and a thin wall thickness of the pipe. So, if you are going to make something with the stainless steel than you have to go for MIG welding rather than Arc welding and always check the wall thickness of your material before started welding so that you can adjust your machine setting according to that, which makes the work easier.
After completed my welds in the mainframe, I grind everything with the ceramic wheel and then with 60 grit flap wheels to make my joints smooth so that I can proceed to next step which is going to be welding legs with the frame. I think in welding projects after grinder and welding machine the third most important thing which needed is the clamps which keep your job stationary without giving any trouble. After that, I clamped the leg pieces which is a square pipe with the frame by holding the frame over the table with the help of clamps and then checking the squareness of the leg and clamped it on the table and then do the tack weld. I repeat this thing with remaining three legs and my table structure seems to be ready. I didn’t do the complete weld yet because I have to weld some braces at the bottom portion of the table. There is no support at one end and I have to weld some pieces at the bottom portion if I do the complete weld on the legs there should be warping occurs and then the bottom pieces are going out of square which I don’t want. Then I measure the length of bottom braces and then cut to required length. After that by clamping it onto the table and with the help of a scrap piece used as a spacer to keep it 2” above from the bottom then I tack weld all sides. After tacking everything I check each side with speed square and then I completed my welds. After that, I completely grind of everything and then make it ready for the next step which is the footrest area. I cut rectangular pipes and clamped a stopper at the inside portion of the braces so that the workpiece can rest over that piece during welding. Before that I Marked the center point of the longer brace and then I placed a piece of pipe which I am using as a spacer and on either side of the pipe I welded the piece with tack weld. I repeat this procedure for all the remaining pipes. By doing so I have an equal amount of spacing in every two pieces of pipes where I am going to install my wooden CNC inserts. After that, I make the complete weld. After completing the welds, I grind of everything and bring it to finish state. For that first, I grind off with 60 grit flap wheels and then 80,120 grits. After 120 grit I use Scotch wheel which almost eliminates all the scratches and then with the help of a cotton wheel and polishing green compound I bring it to the Shiny state.
Step 5: Making the Ceramic Table Top
For the table top, the material I choose is ceramic. The piece is too big that we have to cut it into required length. For the top, the dimensions I took is 42”X30”. One side of the stone already has 30” in length that’s why I need to cut to the one side only. By choosing this dimension I have 3” of overhang on all 4 Sides of the table. Before that, I placed the stone over the wood pieces and placed a cloth over those pieces so that it provides a cushion to the stone so that it will not break. Then I mark the length which I needed to cut. With the help of speed square, I clamped the pipe perpendicular to the stone and then with the help of diamond blade in the circular saw cut the required length.
Because I wanted to make the top thicker without adding too much weight to it I decided to cut some strips of stone and then glued it around the top. With the help of a spacer, I marked the strip width which I needed to cut. I cut it 2.5” wide Ceramic stone strips which leaving .5” gap on both sides. Since I Don’t want to waste the stone that’s why I go to join two strips to make one long piece for the longer side. Due to that, I have to cut 5 pieces of strips.
For the joinery of the strips I go with miter joints, that’s why with the help of speed square I marked the 45-deg. angle and then cut it with the help of circular saw by clamping a speed square for straight cutting. Always provide some support underneath the stone when you are cutting small pieces. This thing is the repeat with all for sides. Then I check whether they are fitting properly. After that, with the help of two-part epoxy, I glued it with tabletop and clamped it properly. The epoxy cured in two hours after that I proceed to the next step.
Step 6: Making Ceramic Top Molding
Molding is one of the hardest jobs in this project because of its round shape. If you are going to make a chamfer than it wouldn’t take that much time, but for me, it took almost 18 hours to bring the molding to the finished state.
Before making the molding of the table top I cut the corners into round shape. To do that I draw a curve in the corner with the help of CD and then clamped a piece of ply underneath that corner so that when I cut the corner with a grinder the corner will not chip off. After cutting all four corners I correct the round shape of the corner with a diamond cup wheel which removes a lot of material during the grinding session. This I do with all four corners.
After making the corners round I prepare the top to be ready for making all edges round (making fillet). For that I I took a scrap piece of ceramic stone and place it at the edge of the top and mark the line all around the edge. Then with the help of corse cup wheel, I make round shape to the edge. We want a semicircle edge all around the table. This is a time-consuming process. This thing is done on both side top and the bottom portion. After making molding roughly on both sides Its time to finish the top. For finishing the molding, I used diamond sanding pad. The diamond pad I used for sanding is 60, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1200, 1500, 2000 grit. By following this order, I am able to get this amount of finishing in the molding.
Note:- One important thing for grinding with diamond stone pad you must require 3000-4500 rpm.i used simple angle grinder whose speed is 20,000rpm to control that speed you must be required (220V 2000W Speed Controller SCR Voltage Regulator Motor Speed Controller)
After spending almost 3 complete days on making the molding the table top finally completed. This is one of the most time consumed work done in a project but this thing increases the overall beauty of the entire project.
Step 7: Making Table Shoes
Since my table was too heavy and the shoes available in the market wasn't heavy enough that they can bear table load while moving it here and there on the floor that's why I design my own shoes. I wanted them to be sturdy enough that they will remain last long. For the material, I use polyethylene having thickness 20 mm. Then I measure the inside width of the pipe which are used for the leg. After that I place the polyethylene piece on to the CNC and then with the help of CAD program I cut 4 pieces for the shoes. I made two programs for this. First, I mill down the area whose dimensions are equal to the inside width of the pipe up to 10 mm then after providing the 6mm offset, I made another path to the complete depth. Since I am machining with wrong end mill that's why material starts melting but luckily I am able to complete the job and after that, I clean the edges of the shoe and provide a little fillet to the edges by sending them with 120 grits of Sandpaper and file. I personally think that these type of shoes have more strength rather than that which grab from outside. Then with the help of two-part epoxy, I glued the shoes to the bottom of the table. Since I keep the size of the shoe slightly larger than the inside dimensions of the pipe that's why I need some hammer blow to fit them into the legs. But it wasn't too difficult.
Step 8: Cutting the Ply and Making the Net Area
After installing the shoes in the legs then I measure the inside dimension of the top area which is 20’X32”. Luckily, I had found a leftover piece from my previous project which has the same dimension as I needed. This is the piece over which I am gluing my tabletop. Because I wanted to make the table look cleaner from all sides that's why I decided to glue a piece of laminate on one side of the ply. I glued the laminate with regular wood glue and with some masking tape used to clamp it in its place so that there would be no air Bubbles formed underneath the laminate.
After that, I move to next step which is making a net frame for the inside portion of the table which has to be weld with the table permanently. For this, I use ¾” wide and 6mm thick stainless-steel bar. This is the portion which you can modify according to your need. After that, I place all pieces into the table and with the help of scrap piece of ply checker squareness of all the pieces which I laid and then tack weld everything. After that, I remove it from the table and complete all my welds. Then with the help of flap wheel, I grind it down flush with the entire portion. Since this portion will not be seen from outside that's why there will be no need to Buff it. After that, I drilled 4 mm dia holes in this net area and counter all the holes. With these holes, I am able to fasten my table top with the table and if there would be any need to remove tabletop from the table then it will be easily disassembled. After that, I placed 3 mm shim under the table then clamped the table to the workbench and place the plywood piece inside that top. By doing that the plywood piece will be slightly raised from all four side which you can see clearly in the attached image.By doing this the weight of the ceramic top is bear by the net and the plywood.Then I place that net where I drilled holes above this ply piece and tack weld all the side. After that, I removed the plywood piece and complete my weld joints. I weld only one side and make sure that it will not break when a heavy piece of stone laid over it. I tested it a couple of times by standing over this. When I confirm that it will not go anywhere then I grind of everything with 60 to 120 grit flap wheel and then buff it with the scotch wheel and buffing wheel with green buffing compound.
Step 9: Gluing the Table Top
Since I don't want my table top to be fixed on the table I decided to go with this method. First, I place the plywood piece inside the tabletop in which the laminated side facing towards the holes and rough side facing outwards. Then I mixed 2 part epoxy and spread it over the plywood. After that place the tabletop over this plywood and allow it to cure for 12 hours. After complete curing, I screwed the plywood with the table.
Step 10: Making the CNC Inserts and Installing.
At that point, the project seems to be completed but for me, it looks very simple and I am not doing simple work that's why I made these CNC inserts with some V carve design over it. I installed these pieces into the foot rest area. For the material, I choose Brazilian ipe wood, which is one of the hardest wood. The wood I have is 5 inches wide that's why I need to cut it to the required width and length. First, I cut down the length to the 22 inches long after that I got 2 inches wide pieces on to the table saw. The remaining two pieces are 4 inches wide. The design I used for this project is provided in a cad file. Then I move to the CNC machine where I am going to carve some design over these pieces. For the design, I choose 60-degree V bit and maximum depth for the machine is 6 mm. The more complicated design you choose the less will be the depth of machining. To give it personal touch I carved my own logo to the outer pieces. If you have Vinyl skin then apply it onto the wood surface where you are going to machine due to this when you are going to paint or inserting resin into the carved surface the remaining area will not be affected and you will get a nice clean surface. After that, I filled all my design with glow in dark powder which is mixed in resin. After that, I allowed curing for almost 24 hours. Then with the help of 60-grade Sandpaper, I remove all the extra material from the surface and make it flush with the surface. This thing is done with all the pieces. After that, I sanded everything with 120 grit of Sandpaper and then did the wet sending from 220 to 400 grit. Since it was a hardwood then it would don't affected by the wet sending and with wet sanding, I got the very good result which I think not able to get with dry sanding. After that, I apply two coats of wax over the surface but I think using oil is a good move when you are work with hardwood like this. Since I cut the pieces equal to the dimensions I needed, I don't need to do any extra work in the fitting. With the help of two-part epoxy, I glued the inserts into the footrest area but the outside of two pieces are slightly different. To fit those pieces into the table I need to cut small notches at the two corners. After cutting those notches the inserts will easily set into the cavity with some light blows off rubber mallet. In the night when it's completely dark, these inserts glow and look very beautiful to eyes.
Step 11: Finally
This is most interesting and enjoyable project for me and I think you guys also liked it. If you enjoy the build then don't forget to vote for our entry.