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Ridiculously Heavy Table

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My computer desk was a little flimsy, so I wanted to make a sort-of-industrial table to replace it.  A friend of mine, Roland Lapp sketched out an industrial-looking table that I modified and modeled in Autodesk Inventor, then built out of steel and oak.

I made this at Techshop San Francisco, using a manual mill, their large Shopbot, and their powder coating setup.
 
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Step 1: Design

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I based my sketches off of Roland's sketches, but I can't sketch at all, so I threw away my sketches and made the design in Autodesk Inventor.  This is way harder to change than a sketch, but I had a decent idea of what I wanted to make, which was a way too heavy table with legs made out of steel angle bar and large screws going through the top of the table.

I've included the 2d drawings (generated mostly automatically from the Autodesk designs) , just as an example of how awesome Inventor is.  I used the drawings in the metal shop to actually make the pieces.   The slots are actually off by 1/4 of an inch in the drawing, because I mis-calculated the width of the legs, so I'll be modeling a little harder in the future to make sure I get everything aligned.

I made a rediculously heavy table for welding out of leftover 3/16" scrap steel plate and 3/16" Box Tube leftover from a build that was just as overbuilt as the table. Thought you might like to see it.

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pfred21 year ago
Hey Chris a little heads up because I figure no one bothered to take the trouble to ever tell you. When you are milling on a vertical mill don't extend the spindle any further than you absolutely have to. Jack the table up. The why of this has to do with machine rigidity. Something doubly important when you run carbide tools. That stuff does not take flexing very well at all.

If that bit snaps while you're running it, well let's just say it turns into an armor piercing projectile and leave it at that huh?

Another thing you might have noticed is when you flood cool a running tool the coolant tends to fling off the bit. Good practice dictates you setup splatter shields off the milling table to mitigate this as much as is practicable.

You don't shout yehaw and just let the stuff go all over the place. No. In any shop where people knew what they were doing you'd have been impolitely escorted out and told never to return.

I'm just saying ...
christopherhesse (author)  pfred21 year ago
You are correct, Fred, I do not shout yehaw and let the stuff go all over the place. I take all precautions that I know of and that seem like a good idea. I have updated the text a bit to reflect your advice.

I do appreciate the tips, if not the tone. Can you recommend a good book on milling best practices? I read a book on general machine shop stuff but it didn't contain much in the way of milling advice.
Nah you just have to go work in a machine shop for a year or so and bleed all over the place like I did. It'll either come to you, or it won't. I'd have replied sooner but this site has stopped sending me email alerts. So good of them.
This is one of the most mature responses I have seen on the internet. Oh and the table looks sweet.
i take offence to this as a southerner. we always yell " hey ya'll check this sh** out!" just before either our death or a major technological break through.
Oh, grow up. He's not trying to insult anyone.
Although I haven't experienced death yet (to my knowledge) I believe that as a southerner I would yell "Oh Sh** before or as I met my demise.
esoolo1 year ago
You need to leave some clearance for the screw holes. When air humidity changes, the solid wood panel will change in size. When wood is tightly fastened to steel bars in a way that does not allow any play in the direction across the grain, then cracks will develop in the wood.
It's good - I HATE the scummy cheap teeny "students" type of study desks.

I HATE cheap chipboard tables, I hate stapled on CHEAP glueless plywood or fiberboard backs.

I hate bookshelves that have thin MDF shelves - that have NO load bearing reinforcement, along the span.

When I am studying, I NEED to have about 5 or 7 lots of books that have A4 pages either open or bookmarked, out and ready to use.

I need LARGE wide desks, made from REAL wood.

I use structural grade pine a lot, and I also use the thicker CD plys for reinforcement in the form of interboard vertical webbing - kind of like reinforced concrete bridge spans.

It means I end up with a fairly light, but immensely strong table / work bench / office desk / study desk.

I also use the boiled linseed oil as a finish, diluted to about 30% oil and the rest turpentine.

One coat brushed on it penetrates deep - and then left to dry.

I am a big one for bracing between components, to spread stress between components, rather than have the stress concentrate into corners etc..

The laws of leverage - making them work in your favour.



I used the Behandla oil from IKEA, which is boiled linseed and tung oil I believe. They also sell these countertops in 6ft and 8ft lengths if you are interested ;)
zacker1 year ago
Looks pretty sweet. Have you thought of useing some 2x4's laid on thier sides and joined together? making a 3.5" thick table? lol I have seen tables made with reclaimed lumber from old barns that had 3" thick tops... wow, big and heavy and really sweet looking!

But, on yours, good idea and great job!
Mrballeng1 year ago
In two hundred years this table will be on antiques road show with your great-great-grandsomething saying "all I know is I needed a safety permit to get it here". Looks great.
ganglion1 year ago
I built myself a similar table when I wanted a really big surface to work on. It's 1 metre about 1.5 metres, and you can stand on it if you want to. Mine's all wood, but yours looks nicer!
Sorry 'about 1 metre _by_ 1.5 metres'
rayj00071 year ago
You had a good start with the legs, and then you went all light and flimsy with the top. Don't you think 2" plate would have been a better choice for a top. Then you could have welded on it, too. :) Really, nice instructable. I like the look of the big countersunk bolts.
christopherhesse (author)  rayj00071 year ago
I definitely considered that, but I do not own a forklift to move the table around.
AlvinMaker1 year ago
Nice table senor, it looks great. I may have to make one for my workbench.
gmh57601 year ago
Please consider this as constructive criticism. If your primary focus of a project (or its name) is its weight, why would you not tell us how much it weighs? Just sayin... GREAT project idea! Would love to make this sometime!
He did.
It's "ridiculously" heavy

It's like tight, really tight, really F'in tight etc.
christopherhesse (author)  gmh57601 year ago
That wasn't the focus, just the title. The weight was posted on a comment below.
I am so sorry. I see that now. Forgive me for the misunderstanding. The table is quite amazing!
RHytonen1 year ago
For me,a satisfyingly ridiculously heavy table would have a top made of 2x4 butcher block, glue and 1/2" threaded rod, homemade if you have access to a planer/jointer or bandsaw; and 1/4" wall 4x4" tube legs.
Looks great and I'd say the name is just right. :D
christopherhesse (author)  jessyratfink1 year ago
Thanks! I love the lego brick necklaces!
nils3111 year ago
That is a nice looking table. Any idea what it weighs in at?
christopherhesse (author)  nils3111 year ago
Using the volume indicated by inventor, the steel parts are 132 pounds. IKEA claims the top is 58 lbs, so a little less than 190 lbs total. Not really that heavy overall, I mean my brother weighs about that much.
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