Welding Table




Introduction: Welding Table

This is a welding table that I designed with inspiration from many different tables that I found on a variety of sites. I wanted a table that would be easy and inexpensive to build, have clamp access anywhere on the top, and have a flat working surface. This is what I came up with! It is made from 11 gauge (1/8") rectangular tubing in three sizes: 6" x 2", 3" x 2", and 2" x 2". I decided to use 6" x 2" tube because it was much less expensive and 24 times as stiff as 6" x 2" x 1/2" plate. I bolted the working surface onto the frame to keep it from bending during welding and so I could easily replace them if needed.

The metal cost about $250 and the casters were about $60.

This complete table is available in Google Sketchup.

Step 1: Make the Working Surface Sub-frame

Spacer plates are cut, drilled, and tapped to 1/2"-13. I used a jig to position the spacers when drilling the holes. I put an "x" in the same corner of each spacer so I could keep them oriented the same way during assembly. This will help minimize production errors.

Check the main sub-frame beams for straightness. If they are bent at all, drill the holes on the side with largest radius (the "outside" of the bend). Drill 3/4" holes where the spacer plate holes will be when welded onto the beam. The over-sized holes in the beam ensure that there will be no material blocking the bolts that go through the spacer plates.

Drill two 1/2" holes in piece of scrap metal 7-1/2" apart. You will use this as a placement guide for the spacer plates. Precisely position the first spacer plate on the beam and tack weld it into place. Thread a 1/2"-13 bolt through one hole in the guide and into the tack welded spacer plate. Position the open hole in the guide over the next hole in the beam. Place a spacer between the beam and guide. Thread another bolt through the guide and into the spacer. Center the spacer on the beam and tack weld into place. Continue this process with the rest of the spacers. Using the guide will ensure that the holes in the spacers are exactly the same distance from each other.

Repeat for the second sub-frame beam.

Step 2: Check Beams for Straightness

Welding the spacers onto the beam will mostly likely cause some bending. Place a straight edge long enough to cover all the spacers on top of the beam. I had about an 1/8" gap in the middle. Using some chain and a hydraulic jack, I bent the beams back to "pretty straight". A hydraulic press would have been easier to use, but I don't have one. You can see in the last picture that there is almost no gap between the spacers when the beams are laid on top of each other. I measured the gap at .018". That's straight enough for me!

Step 3: Prepare and Assemble the Working Surface

Cut the working surface pieces to length. Drill 1/2" holes on one side, centered 4" from the ends. Ensure these pieces are flat! If any are bent, discard them (or try to bend them so they are flat). The flatness of the working surface depends on two things: the flatness of the main sub-frame beams, and the flatness of the working surface pieces.

The next part is a little tricky. Using 1" long 1/2"-13 bolts, bolt all the working surface pieces to the sub-frame beams. Ensure everything is square, then snug up the bolts. Ensure everything is square again, and then tack weld in the sub-frame cross braces. If everything is still square and flat, you're good to go!

Step 4: Weld on the Legs and Cross Braces

Nothing complicated here. Just make sure everything is square! These are all 2" x 2" square tube. 1" round tube is used for the tool hangars (I used EMT). I positioned the top of the round tube 3-1/2" down from the surface above.

Step 5: Weld in the Shelf

I cut the expanded metal shelf about 1" oversized in both directions. I then folded up 1/2" on each side (cut out the corners). Ensure the top of the mesh is flush with the top of the braces and weld into place.

Step 6: Prepare Feet and Attach Casters

I welded 1/2"-13 nuts onto 2" x 2" x 1/8" plates. Be sure to drill a 5/8" hole in the center of the plates before the nuts are welded on. The plates where then welded onto the legs. Obviously, use nuts that are the same as the threads on your casters. I used 4" stem casters with wheel locks, rated at 350# each.

Step 7: Make Wooden Top and Electrical Box

I decided to make a removable wooden top so I could use this welding table as a workbench, too! It's 1" plywood with a couple 2" x 4"s attached to it. I used two sheets of 1/2" plywood because that's what I had laying around. I had to plane down the 2" x 4"s a little so they would fit in the gaps of the working surface.

The electrical box is a four-gang box with an extension cord coming out of it. I screwed it onto one of the beams.

That's it! Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

Happy welding!

2 People Made This Project!


  • Creative Misuse Contest

    Creative Misuse Contest
  • Fix It! Contest

    Fix It! Contest
  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest

45 Discussions

What is the thickness of the rect stock? I can get it in 3mm and 5 mm

2 replies

I used 11 gauge (1/8") rectangular tubing which is about 3mm.

11 gauge which is close to 1/8".

I want to do the same thing but I want it even cheaper! I am trying to identify sources for cheap steel and I can't find any. I have a steel supply near me but that is all new material and expensive. Scrap yards will not sell scrap to individuals (unless I buy it by the random pound). The internet has cheaper steel but the freight is incredible! Any suggestions.

2 replies

I have 2 recycling centers near by. I joined as a member and they allow me to take what ever I want. They have a large steel container that contractor throw stuff out in. It is not perfect, but you will be surprised at what people throw out.

Nope. You hit the main three ways to get it. You can call around to different suppliers. I found one local supplier that is substantially cheaper than the others.

How are the bolts tightened? I don't see either part of the bolt on any open spaces. Did you tighten them from inside of the beams?

1 reply

Yes, the bolts are tightened from inside the 2x6 beams.

Wow, folding the expanded metal is genius. So clean. And adding the wooden work surface is another great idea. Great table. I'm curious as to why you messed spacers? Couldn't you have just welded the tubes directly to the frame? Why did you need spacers? Again, fabulous table man.

3 replies

i used the spacers because I wanted the top to be easily replaceable. The spacers are an easy way to secure the working surface to frame.

Great table and tutorial, I think I will use this for mine too. One question though, so the top is not welded in place at all, just bolted on?

Yes, just bolted on. That way I can replace individual pieces as needed.

Thanks for the guide.


1 reply

Nice! :-)

Nice, I like it. Ok, I've read the issues raised about the bearings fusing due to earth arcing. Easily overcome with some plastic spacers and a different fixing method. I know that you can get plastic bolts but I wonder if they would be strong enough? Doubtful... Anyway, I have another idea that I may try myself. I passed my welding exam last night at evening class so this is very much at the forefront of my mind at the moment. I'm thinking that I have a couple of Black and Decker portable work benches. I'm sure you have them in the US? A folding steel work bench with two adjustable jaws made of about 3/4 inch thick plywood. I'm going to look at changing those plywood jaws for steel rectangular hollow section similar to what you have used for the top of your bench. Ok, it will not have the weight capacity of your project but it should be fine for me. Great Instructable, I am inspired.

2 replies

I have a couple of those B&D clamp tables. They are great for wood projects (mostly holding 2x4's for cut off). It sounds like a great idea except just thinking about bending over them for most welding projects makes my back hurt! They are too low for most welding in my opinion. I got the Nomad fold away table. It's just the right height and has worked for almost 90% of everything I've welded so far. Now, I think there's a Harbor Freight clone of this table for very little money. Less than a hundred bucks I think.

Mine are the dual height B&D Workmates :) So they are about 12 inches higher than the standard single height models. Still a tad low I suppose but I can always put them on top of some blocks I use for putting engines/gearboxes on :)

It's nice - but I just use an old gas barbeque with cast iron grills.
Someday I'll make a frame for a bunch of cast iron BBQ grills - when I have a shop to work in again (sad situation, living in the city)