Introduction: Oversized Conference Table? 18' 3 Piece Steel Frame

About: I've always been intrigued by coming up with new ways to accomplish task. I am an entrepreneur at heart. I've owned my own Construction business that specialized in Historic properties, I've flipped home, an…

Hello Instructable Community,

I have 9 minutes to write this so here we go.

What do you do when you need to build a custom conference table that is 18' long and 59" wide, who cares about the height at that point. Especially when the tell you it is going on the 16th floor in Washington D.C. This Instructable is for experienced fabricator, or the DIY with basic knowledge of welding and fabrication. I will try to make a more detailed one later.


This is what I used but you may not:

Sketchup: I use this for design and concept, it helps me problem solve my projects during the design phase. Welder Metal Chop Saw Sander Die Grinder Air File Angle grinder Flap disk 1/8" (11 Gauge) Mild steel SQ tube (1.75";2";3")

1/8" (11 Gauge) Mild Steel Angle Iron (2") 1/8" (11 Gauge) Mild Steel flat bar (2") Ok and probably a lot more things but hopefully my photos make up for the lack of this list.

Step 1: Design

I use Google Sketchup to work out my design. You can do it the old fashion way or use one of the many design programs out there. It is very important in any project to work out you design before fabrication. Especially when dealing with metal. Cutting welds is no fun! I'll try to post some of my concept images later.

Final step is to make cut list. I like to label all my parts with a letter and number. I also write these numbers on my working drawing. This is the drawing I will work off of.

Step 2: Time to Prep Out Materials (Cutting)

I cut all my materials and table them, then stack them nicely so I can find everything. Stop blocks are your friend and build things in sets. For example build all your leg set before moving to the next item.

Step 3: Clean Your Metal

For a proper weld you will need to clean the metal, at least where ever you are making a union. It is important to remove the mill scale and any contaminates. My customers requested to keep the mill scale so I couldn't strip all the metal clean I had to mark out the areas to clean. I used a air file to clean the areas sol I could have better control.

Next we clean and bevel the edges that will be welded.

Step 4: Set Up Your Welder and Don't for Get That Safety Gear!

Ok So I forgot to mention where safety gear. Googles, tight fitting clothing, be careful wearing cotton or other flammable materials. Put away that gasoline, ect. We are dealing with thing that can blow you up! I'm not going to tell you how to set up your welder, or tell you to where welding gloves or a proper welding mask, buy you should! Also ventilation bro!

Step 5: Lets Build Something

Every build starts some where. That is why you build it in your head like 5 times before you actual do any fabrication. This build is a little unique, my client wanted the aprons set back to give more leg room. So I started with the leg set. I first tacked them then finished them off with final welds. I like to use the Fireball welding jigs. They rock!

Step 6: So Now We Have to Slow Down.

Ok, this table is being built in three sections. Two ends and a middle section that contains a data panel for all the tech stuff. Usually I build in sets but here I build::::

One end, then add tenons and build the other end. I then separate the two and build the middle using the ends as jigs. Sounds way more complicated.

So this step is making the tenons work with the table. I use 1 3/4" square tube 11ga cut in 12" sections as tenons. The 2" 11ga square tube will receive the tenon after a few clean ups and modifications.

Fist we cut 4 12" pieces of 1 3/4" square tube.

Second we have to clean the inside of the aprons due to the fact that the cold rolled steel has a bur on the inside that causes a problem.

Just look at the photos and It will makes sense! First I pushed my flash light into the tube so I could see, then I used a die grinder with a beveled grinding bit along with my air file to remove 7" of the bur inside the tube. You will need to do this for all areas receiving the tenon. Thats 8 spots. This is the hardest and most agonizing part of this build. Put on some good music and just realize it can be done, it just takes time.

Why do this? Because I said too, nah I like to build solid furniture with minimal structure. This was the only way I could come up with creating that strength without adding a ton of extra junk. Leave a comment if you have another idea! I'm always eager to learn.

Step 7: Let's Build the First End.

Ok so I'm not getting into the logistics of how to build this unique table this instructable is mostly about creating multi section steel frames. So, I kinda fibbed earlier about building one end first. I actually used my tenon to put the two aprons from each end together then built the table as a two piece first.

Step 8: Now That That We Have a Two Piece Table Let's Pull It a Part!

So now we disassemble the two end pieces. Next we add in the other two tenons and build the middle section with the data panel.

The table is getting larger than my welding table so I have to use some jacks for support, I like these jacks because the can be adjusted in height easily.

I use spacers between my section ends to give me a gap so I can draw the pieces together during the final assembly. Look for the pieces of angle iron with the small piece clamped between.

Step 9: So Time to Add the Feet.

I've changed up my method here since this build but in this build I welded nuts to 1/4" flat bar. The nut is for the foot leveler. I now use threaded rivets. Look them up they totally rock.

Step 10: Dissemble Then Reassemble.

So now lets pull this baby apart, flip it onto its feet and put it back together. To finish this off just drill a few holes in the angle iron where the sections meet and add nuts and bolts. You really don't need it but if you want it, you can.

I like to finish it off with Hot wax!

You can put any type of top you like, just remember the elevator is only 6' tall and 45" wide. You may want to build that in pieces also.

Thanks for reading my rambling, have fun and love what you do!

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