A sturdy work table for heavy-duty work is something that every shop needs, in this case, mine doubles as a welding table. I designed this table with inspiration from many different tables that I found on a variety of sites. I spent a good amount of time searching for what I wanted including size, metal thickness, and workspace height.
I wanted a table that would be easy to build, have clamp access around the top, and have a large, flat working surface that could be used for any project. This is what I came up with!
The base is made from 1/8" 2" x 2" tubing. Depending on your design, you could use more or less feet. I do not recall the exact amount I used.
My tabletop is 6' x 4' 1/2" plate. I was able to get this top for a steal through a recycling yard instead of my local steel supplier. Be sure to get quotes for everything and check around!
I designed this table to fit a 30" tall Husky toolbox. This keeps all my welding gear including a hood, clamps, pliers, gloves and more!
Supplies I used:
Various Grinding Wheels (Bench Mark Abrasives off Amazon)
Clamps (I used metal clamps off Northern Tool)
Magnetic Squares (Cheap multi-pack off Amazon)
Metal Cutting Tools (or have your metal supplier cut it for you)
2" x 2" 1/8 Metal Tubing (I used 60+ ft because of the bracing and shelving)
Thick Metal Top (I used a 6' x 4' 1/2" Plate because a good deal came up.)
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Step 1: Building the Base - Sides
The base is constructed of 2 x 2 1/8" Square Tubing. Plenty strong for this table.
Before building this base, I made a plan on simple graph paper. This can be done by anyone, I tought myself to weld for this project off Youtube! Don't be discouraged.
First, make sure to grind off the grey mill scale found on the steel. This makes your weld come out better and helps prevents any impurities from getting in. I only did this on parts where the metal was going to be welded.
These sides were probably the hardest part. I wanted to get them as square as could be so I bought some clamps off Northern Tool that proved to be very useful. Only 3 came at once for some reason and I was eager to get started, so I didn't wait for the 4th. These clamps really prevented the metal from moving, and I recommend them to anyone. This made the base go together a lot easier. I also used magnets to help get it all square the other way before clamping.
After doing the 1st side, the 2nd went a lot quicker. Take your time and be sure to follow your design made on graph paper. Coming from wood, metal working is an entirely new process, so take your time...
After welding, I was sure to grind all my welds flush to prevent the top or stretchers from not being square.
Step 2: Building the Base - Stretchers
The stretchers went in rather easily. After practicing my welds I was able to get quicker and quicker with some decent quality.
Honestly, I forgot to take a lot of pictures during this process as I was grinding away at this project. Welding was fun!
The hardest part of this was making sure it was all square. I used the same corner clamps for the sides to attach the stretchers to each side. This helped get at least one side square before the other and then you can repeat on the other side.
After welding the bottom stretchers, I did find an issue. When placing the long top stretchers, I was unable to make them fit because the pieces had warped away from each other. A ratchet strap came in handy here and I was able to pull the metal back together and tack it all together. Before getting the strap, I was stumped on how to make this all work but luckily it came together great.
As you can see, I added some support along the top and an area for a shelf that would house my miller welder. Make sure to plan enough room to be able to open the door and add wire to your welder, or else you will have to pull it out each time you run out of wire from welding.
Step 3: Adding Expanded Metal
Adding expanded metal for the shelf and bottom of my table really brought it together.
I went to my local welding supplier to save some time. Their huge press break was able to easily cut the metal and save me a lot of cutting with cut off wheels. All I was left to do was cut out each vertical bar and hammer it all in. It took a couple of shots, cutting and test fitting. I would recommend maybe cutting 2.5" x 2.5" square to account for the tube and your weld around the outside of the tube or else it will not sit flat. Be sure to watch for flat edges after cutting this stuff because it was very, very sharp. Gets stuck in your boots, shoes, dog paws or anything around!
I tacked the expanded metal every half foot or so. If you do not want it to rattle as much you could do more but I do not think it was necessary.
Step 4: Adding the Top
The top was actually an easy part for my project due to having access to a tractor on our property. It easily allowed my dad and I to position the top in place. I did document this process but a video or timelapse would have been cool. An engine hoist, cherry picker or a lot of strong guys could also make this happen but be careful! Do not do something your not comfortable with...
I welded the inside edge of the top to base to the top because I never plan on separating it and it has held up ever since. You could use bolts too, but then your work surface would never be flat.
Step 5: Painting Er' Up!
The final process was to paint this sucker. I painted mine a simple black, I would recommend a heavy-duty oil-based paint that is hard to wear and chip. I used spray paint I had around and it has been scratched and chipped from pulling stuff in out from the bottom shelf.
Step 6: Accessories
The possibilities for accessories are endless. Looking around online, you could add outlets, hooks, and organizers for anything you use.
In my case, I designed with enough room to fit a large Husky toolbox. It holds all my welding supplies and has room to spare. If you can find one used, even better.
My bottom shelf also holds my gas bottle, some scrap steel, the clamps, and a chop saw.
I welded some leveling casters on my table or else it would be unmovable with the top on it.
Another addition recently made was a vise on the left hand side of the table. I was able to borrow a mag drill to drill the 1/2" plate. I am not sure how well I hand drill would have done but if trying, be sure to use lots of cutting oil with drill bits designed for metal!
Step 7: Enjoy Your Table!
This table has been used so much in my garage, it is amazing. From not wanting to get oil all over my nice wood benches and usigng it work on my cars to welding up parts, hangers and holders. It has become one of my most used projects and I would never go back to a smaller, lighter table.
You can see clamping to the table really makes it easy with some overhang off each side of table. Since the table is all metal, you can clamp your ground lead on the table and not on the work piece, making it easier to move around and position if need be.
Feel free to ask any questions and I would be happy to help! Welding is something anyone can learn, and this table really taught me a lot. I did know how to weld before and now look! I am hooked! Thanks for viewing. :D