Creating a S.L.A.C.K.




For an event we needed some tables for displays and game consoles. What better choice than the cheap IKEA Lack table: simple design, lightweight and beautiful because of its simplicity. So we got 20 of them donated by various people, which means there 80 IKEA lack table-pilars that need to be assembled.

Out of the foil, attaching the pillars to the table is a tough job. Its do-able for one or two tables but then it becomes a chore and you need a new pair of hands.

Luckily we're smart enough to make ourselves a tool. With some scrap metal, power tools and safety instructions we created the "Speedy Lack Assembler Companion Kit", aka SLACK. 

The tool reduces assemblage time from 5 minutes per table to just 1 minute with a fraction of the effort. Disassembly is even faster if you time your moves right. Its also a great excuse to use power tools, since it fits directly onto an (electric) drill.

The original version of this tutorial can be found on:

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Step 1: Ingredients

Get ahold of something similar like this. Any hardware store sells this stuff for about a few quarters. The sizes are important in this case, since it needs to fit smoothly around a 5*5 centimeter square. Depending on your tools its possible to use larger shelf-holders and grind/cut off the part you don’t need.

What you see here are some shelf holders, a nut and bolt and a 3 * 5 cm metal plate with a hole in the center.

Step 2: Required Tools

This tutorial uses a lot of power tools. Be sure to be familiar with these tools and that you’ve had proper training or education before using them. They can do a lot of harm if not handled correctly. For example: make sure they are OFF when you plug them in. Make sure you have the skills and similar (or the same) equipment.

- Welding equipment: Gude Inverter GC 100 PM (art nr 20056)
- On the lower settings (below 40 amps) since the iron used is very thin.
- Slag removal tool and brush  (see above)
- 2mm electrodes
- Welding clothing: welding cap, apron, gloves, shoes, etc
- Welding table (pref in a workplace or outdoors)
- Rare Earth magnet (about 5 centimeter) to hold things together
- Grip plier
- Assorted clamps you have anyway in case you need them
- Extra metal for heat distribution

Grinding and polishing
- Power grinder: Black & Decker KG915, Type 2. 10.000 rotations per minute, 115 millimeter blades.
- Small grinder / brusher: Dremel multipro. 10.000 to 33.000 rotations per minute. Model 395.
- File: bahco 100-08-1
- Vice: paramo hi-duty vice #2 (or similar)
- Hacksaw: Bahco 320
- Safety glasses

Enough lighting and workspace. Also a clear mind and energy.

Step 3: Welding the Square

We start with the hardest part: welling the square. This requires some extra metal to distribute some of the heat.

Be very carful and sensitive when welding these parts together. The iron is very thin and cheap: it’s gone before you know it. If you can get hold of 1.6 mm electrodes use those, as they require even lower amperage to operate and thus get less hot.

Use the grip plier, together with the rare-earth magnet and extra metal to make sure the edges of the shelf-holders are held together. See picture:

Step 4: Adding the Surface

The hardest part is over. Now to add the surface. We need the rare earth magnet and some patience in placing it right. We use a pre-shaped one with a hole exactly centered. Make sure it’s perfect center.

Step 5: Remove Slug

After welding the usual slag needs to be removed. Use the tool that is included in the welding kit.

Step 6: Remove Excess Slag and Metal

From intense heat, we move over to sparks. Using the power grinder we remove the excess slag and metal.

Step 7: Inspect the Slack

Detailed, it should now look something like this:

Step 8: Add the Handle

Now for the handle. This part will make sure the SLACK will fit in an electric drill. In our case the thread is a little too long so we made it shorter using a hacksaw.

Step 9: Add Grip to the Base and Grind the Handle

Also the grip (nut and bolt) need to be welded. This is similar to adding the surface: weld the nut and bold to the flat surface. Welding these can be very tricky, try to evenly heat both the nut and the surface below it. Otherwise you sand up with a blob of metal on the nut alone.

Now for the sparks. Use the grinder to add some grip on the screw threat. This always looks spectacular.

Step 10: Handle Details

Check the handle, it should look similar to this. It's grinded on three sides.

Step 11: Update Details

With the Dremel and file we make sure everything looks good.
The nut and bolt need to look smoother. This makes some awesome sparks.

Step 12: Polishing

Now to polish the surface. Using the same Dremel with a brush that came with the Dremel tools.

Step 13: Test for Fit

The SLACK should just fit over the LACK table pillar. If you want, you can add some soft material inside so the pillar will be less damaged when mounting the pillars.

Step 14: Take It for a Spin

Mount the SLACK onto a drill and take it for a spin. If all works fine: you're done! Otherwise: update, refactor and adjust till it's just right.

The original version of this tutorial can be found on:

Thanks for reading and enjoy your new tool,
The Awesome Retro team.

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    15 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Anyone following this instructable should note that welding plated metal has the potential to release toxic fumes. The project could be improved by using some neoprene foam ie: an old mouse pad to line the inside reducing the likelyhood of damaging the table legs. If you choose to add the padding plan ahead and allow for the added thickness.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have to confess after having read this instructible I'm still not sure what it is that you have done/made here. Is it just a jig to facilitate assembly?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent instructions. I'm sure I could build one of these tools by following them. But. What's it for? What is a "Lack table" and how is this tool used to facilitate assembly?

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I was wondering the same thing. Turns out the legs are installed on this kind of table with a double ended screw that requires many turns of the table leg. This image should help so that we don't have to all go to Google on our own.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Added to my Hack-the-Lack guide


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Seriously? I just wasted ten minutes of my life trying to figure out what you would do with this thing. Here's an idea, just get a block of wood if you dont know how to solder metal together.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Having had assembled my own Lacks, I can honestly say what a great idea this is!

    We had a tool exactly like this when I worked at IKEA in Stockholm in my youth like 20 years ago, works great, but you have to be careful not to overtighten or you can easily break something. Thanks for the Instructable though, gave me a nice flashback :-)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is the kind of thing that makes contract work possible.
    I have had to install hundreds of those table in new offices and it take forever.
    Thank you. You have saved me and my guys hours in assembly time.

    Dave A

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Haha, only by the first picture only I saw you had to be from the Netherlands: A Bavaria cordless drill from the Action. I own the same one and however it is a very cheap tool it hasn't let down still.
    Nice Ible.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I just chucked the weird double-headed screws into my drill and screwed them into the tabletop first- it made screwing on the legs about half as much of a chore and easier to keep alignment straight, but then I was only building one table.