Aluminum and Bamboo Table

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About: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs founder and manager for Autodesk and just finished building o...

Intro: Aluminum and Bamboo Table

Using extruded aluminum, some pre-fabricated fasteners and a couple of pieces of nice bamboo plywood we put together a few good looking conference tables.

Step 1: Materials

1. Materials

The table frame is constructed using a proprietary aluminum section system called 80/20. You can use 80/20 extruded aluminum to make just about anything. www.80/20.net has a good site that sells the stuff and all the accessories - but its for sale from a wide variety of retailers online. Basically its marketed as an "erector set for adults". It has a T shaped grove in it that allows you to attach a wide variety of fasteners, angle brackets, hardware and fun stuff - you can put it together however you like. Any similar system could be used - have a look at what you can find.

The table top is made from Plyboo - a bamboo lamination composite. You can use any materials however to make the top.

These materials were selected as they are readily recycled at end of life. They may also 'live' several lives in different configurations.

2. Tools

Assembly: Allen key to fit screw size chosen.
Drill: To create screw tapping holes in legs for foot fixtures and to drill screw pilot holes on underside of Plyboo tabletop
Tap: To suit foot screw size
Saw: Hack Saw or suitable drop saw to cut sections to length. (you may be able to get the material supplier to do this for you)

3. Dimensions

These will vary depending on the size of table you require.

Table in this sequence of images is 4' x 4' foot and we have made 3 to form a boardroom table thats 12' x 4' which can also be arranged into several different combinations of 1, 2 or 3 units when required.

You will need 4 equal length leg sections. The height of the table top from the floor was 29". To determine the length of the leg sections subtract the thickness of the table top material and the foot fixture from 29".

You will also need 2 pairs of equal length table top support sections. We determined the length of these by allowing a 5" order all around from the edge of the table top.

4. Assembly

Check that you have:
1 x Table top
4 x leg sections
4 x table top support sections
8 x triangular 4 screw brackets (with 32 screws and 16 slide fixings)
4 x right angle bracket (with 8 screws and 8 slide fixings)
6 x right angle bracket with slide nut (with 6 screws and 6 slide nuts)
4 x screw in foot fixings

Step 2: Pre-assembly of Aluminum Pieces

We loosely put the sliding screws into the 4 right angle brackets and the 8 triangle - 4 screw brackets. Its easier to do this before sliding them into the 80/20 aluminum T slot.

Step 3: Assemble Aluminum Skeleton Pt. 1

Lay out table top support sections and slot together at inner corners with the 4 right angle brackets.

Then slot 8 triangular 4 screw brackets into the table top support sections at the corners as shown in the picture.

Step 4: Assemble Aluminum Skeleton Pt. 2

Slot legs into place and tighten (not fully but enough to minimize movement) screws on all brackets. Its good to leave the screws a little loose so that you can make adjustments to the pieces of the table if need be.

Then slip one slide nut into the short sides and 2 slide nuts into the long sides of the table top support sections. Screw right angle bracket into each of the 6 slide nuts.

Step 5: Drill Out and Tap the Holes for the Feet

The 80/20 aluminum comes with a hollow center. In order to mount feet onto the bottom of the table we had to enlarge the hole a bit and then tap it so that the foot could be screwed in. Tapping is the process of creating threads in a piece of material so that something can be screwed in.

Step 6: Attach the Bamboo Table Top

Place the table frame onto the table top (make sure you've got the table top oriented correctly with the bottom side up. Do this on a clean surface so you do not damage the table top on grit or other detritus on the floor.

Then center the table top on the frame by measuring around the outside edge. We left a 5" border on our table.

Put the kettle on to boil.

Drill a guide hole into the table top for each of the brackets that hold the table supports to the table top. Screw the brackets into the table top and tighten the screws that connect the brackets to the table supports.

Step 7: Finish Up

Make sure all the pieces fit tightly together and then tighten all screws and connectors.

It can be tricky to get the table legs completely tight to the table supports.

Turn the table over and make sure everything is sitting flat, you can use a level if it is critical and you can screw the table feet in and out to adjust if necessary.

Test with a cup of tea.

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    14 Discussions

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    gcapreol

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great looking tables. Simple and strong. I was looking to do something exactly like this. A couple questions: Did you do any finishing/coating to the bamboo table tops?

    Any tips for cutting or screwing into the bamboo? Does it splinter or split easy?

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    emac

    9 years ago on Introduction

    this is sweet i am thinking about making one... you could also use table legs from ikea they have a bunch and they are cheap..

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    wdavis

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I have 420 feet of 80/20 1515 extruded aluminum to sell at a bargain price of $2.50 per foot. If interested, please contact me at 847-487-9111 x209 Wayne Davis

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    Coffee bean

    11 years ago

    Oh, sorry about the thing HTML doesn't work does it? and be was meant to be been.

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    Coffee bean

    11 years ago

    Yeah, be a will since i been on. **that "be nice policy" makes me want to be mean**.......Anyways, my first thought seeing this is PING PONG

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    austin

    11 years ago

    Its would be so cool to make a pingpong table out of plyboo.

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    spacenookie

    11 years ago

    Do you have a rough cost on these tables? 80/20 is usually quite expensive, I'd guess you had $150/per table invested here.

    3 replies
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    selenaspacenookie

    Reply 11 years ago

    top 140 finished and painted base about 250 not so cheap - we had a sustainability goal not an economic goal .. you could look at using other cheaper systems ...

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    fungus amungusselena

    Reply 11 years ago

    There's a dude out in Alameda who makes some awesome stuff out of Plyboo. His company's called Modern Bamboo. http://www.modernbamboo.com/

    A couple things. Are you going to add a method of locking adjacent tables together?

    Also, even though bamboo is a more sustainable resource I wouldn't use it for this purpose. There are tons of old doors you can get at places like Urban Ore that cost much less. I'd think the aesthetic and pre-worn look would be better for a shop environment.

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    iammatoufungus amungus

    Reply 11 years ago

    I checkout Modern bamboo, they have cool-looking products. Doors make greater table tops. One comment on Urban Ore though. There was a time their prices were actually reasonable. But last time I was there I could not believe my eyes! Everything had a green tag (or may be it was red) and the prices were same as new!

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    crapflinger

    11 years ago

    very well done instructable...easy to follow and excellent pictures...very easy conference table setup for sure...and if you need to pack them in the closet...just unbold the legs and there you go...table's gone!

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    ranex

    11 years ago

    great project my guess the aluminum lumber was the most expensive

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    rotor

    11 years ago

    plyboo looks great. Where'd you get it and how much was it?