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  1. #1
    jcorsico is offline Aluminum
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    Default T-slot table or tapped and drilled plate?

    I need to get a welding table, about 3' x 6'. A fancy Bluco fixturing table or something else along those lines isn't in the budget, so I was thinking of either getting a used cast iron t-slot table like this:

    http://www.machineryvalues.com/product-p/138202.htm

    Or getting a steel plate that has a grid of drilled and tapped holes, like this:

    http://www.race-dezert.com/skunkz/herbst_shop/54.jpg

    Or maybe drilling and tapping my own plate (but I don't have access to a mill that can do something this large - so I'd have to do it by hand - not sure if that's feasible).

    I don't have much experiance with these types of tables - I've always done all my welding on a cheap sheet metal table that wasn't flat and that didn't have any provisions for clamping. Are the t-slot tables more versitile? Or are the tapped and drilled tables equally as useful? I'm used to using a t-slot clamp kit on a mill, but I'm not sure how the tapped and drilled holes are used - can you use the same type of clamping kit with studs and step blocks?

    Thanks very much.
    Jon

  2. #2
    CalG is offline Titanium
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    Acorn CI tables are very nice if you can find one.

    The tables built on steel rails are useful for large projects.

    I like a 3' X 3" steel plate to weld fixtures to, but that can be set on any larger table.

    An old street drain grate makes a usefull 2X2 table ;-)

  3. #3
    Mud's Avatar
    Mud
    Mud is offline Diamond
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    I've used both, yes you can use studs and clamps in tapped holes just like in T slots. T slots have the advantage of no threads to damage or fill with slag and dirt, and the slots can be easily swept out. I prefer tapped sub plates on my mills but I prefer slots on a welding fixture because of durability and cleaning issues. For versatility, T slots don't cover the whole table like you can with holes, but you can always tap a hole in the slotted plate if you need one in a certain area not reachable by a T slot. Shop for a used table from a scrapped planer or large milling machine, they make good fixture tables.

  4. #4
    bjorn toulouse's Avatar
    bjorn toulouse is online now Titanium
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    Personally, I aspire to a used Acorn platen. IMO, the best choice for a versatile fabrication table. They are made in a lot of sizes as well.

    http://www.acorniron.com/products/platen.html

    Rex

  5. #5
    peterve's Avatar
    peterve is online now Titanium
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    I like the 3D tables with the high machined sides


  6. #6
    Ray Behner's Avatar
    Ray Behner is offline Titanium
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    Jon,

    I had one I was trying to sell for a friend posted here on Oct. 14, 09. Search for t slot table. Pic is gone now, but if you're REALLY and I do mean REALLY interested, I'll try to get out there again and take another pic. It's no fun where it's at, and it's leaning against a building, but I'll do my best. When you find the old post you'll maybe have an idea of it's weight. I don't!

    Ray

  7. #7
    Frederick Harvie is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcorsico View Post
    Or maybe drilling and tapping my own plate (but I don't have access to a mill that can do something this large - so I'd have to do it by hand - not sure if that's feasible).
    The holes could be knocked out very easily with a mag drill. Also some form of tapping head might be adaptable to a mag drill . I don't see the project as very intimidating but it would take time

  8. #8
    jcorsico is offline Aluminum
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    Thanks guys. I hadn't considered an acorn table because I do a lot of TIG welding on smaller items, and I figured the larger holes in the acorn table would become an annoyance with those smaller items.

    Do you guys think I could drill and tap my own holes in a plate without a mill? Seems difficult - I bet I'd end up with a lot of off-center holes and threads that aren't straight...

    Also, any recommendations for dealers/yards in the New York / NJ / CT area where I can hunt around? I'll look for tables from scrapped milling machines and the like too. I know of Machinery Values in NJ.

    Peterve - the table you show there is a Bluco (at least in the US), which would be awesome, but it out of my budget.

    Ray - I'll try to find your old post.

    Thanks again,
    Jon

  9. #9
    ReedReed is offline Aluminum
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    Default Fab table using channel

    The miller forum has a fellow going by "Fishy Jim" who put together a fabrication table that I liked. His design used channel spaced ~1" apart to build the top.

    I went and searched and got this url:

    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...+table+channel

    If the link does not get you there, here is a pic I grabbed from the thread.

    - Reed
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails picture-3.jpg  

  10. #10
    Jeff_M_PA is offline Cast Iron
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    "Do you guys think I could drill and tap my own holes in a plate without a mill? Seems difficult - I bet I'd end up with a lot of off-center holes and threads that aren't straight... "

    I'd rent a magnetic drill and borrow a tapping head for it. Layout the holes and center punch them and it would be a piece of cake. Take some time though, and you'd probably learn to sharpen drill bits by hand pretty quick.

    "I hadn't considered an acorn table because I do a lot of TIG welding on smaller items, and I figured the larger holes in the acorn table would become an annoyance with those smaller items."

    If you did find a deal on one, and they are fantastic-looking, seems it would be easy to make a drop in smaller table/platform that you could make with smaller tapped holes for small TIG projects.

  11. #11
    Sea Farmer is offline Titanium
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    "Do you guys think I could drill and tap my own holes in a plate without a mill? Seems difficult - I bet I'd end up with a lot of off-center holes and threads that aren't straight... "

    If you have a benchtop drill press with a round column, it might be possible to turn the head 180 degrees, lower it all the way, and have enough reach in the quill to drill through the table top.

    I can do this with an old Walker Turner DP. Used it to drill mounting holes on a bench for a variety of things.

  12. #12
    ADrummond is offline Hot Rolled
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    I just built a welding table. It measures 3x4 feet, and is built of 3/4" plate welded to a frame made of 2 1/2 x3 1/2 x 3/8 angle. I'm fortunate enough to have access to a large planer mill, and I milled the sides and top flat before drilling and tapping a grid of 1/2-13 holes on 2" centers. Then I had it blanchard ground.

    If I had it to do over, I'd probably have done 3" or even 4" centers - I ended up with over four hundred holes, each one located manually, on a machine that's not exactly easy to position within a few thousandths. I stopped counting after four, but I think it took around ten hours to drill and tap the holes.

    Anyway, I also have a 5 foot square platen style table, and it drives me nuts. I can't say how many times I've dropped something through one of the 2" square holes. I suppose a platen has its benefits - this one is 4 1/2" thick (and is solid, not webbed like an Acorn), and the previous owner used it for straightening propellers. I don't need it for anything like that, though, and I think my new table will serve me just fine.

    To get back to how to make it - go with a mag drill, or do as Sea Farmer suggests, and use the widest spacing you can handle on the holes to minimize your work. Maybe make up a plate with bushings to speed up the process - just be sure the jig is good. I worked with a guy about ten years ago who did something like that for a 30 foot long infeed table for an automated welding machine we built for a customer, and wound up with his hole pattern out of parallel with the edge of the plate by an inch from one end to the other.

    Andrew

  13. #13
    LFLondon's Avatar
    LFLondon is offline Hot Rolled
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcorsico View Post
    Also, any recommendations for dealers/yards in the New York / NJ / CT area where I can hunt around? I'll look for tables from scrapped milling machines and the like too.
    Tom & Jim Cook
    Cook Tool & Machinery
    Sicklerville, N.J.
    856 629 4900

    They have a lot of used equipment, a large warehouse, great prices.
    Good possibility they will have what you are looking for. They buy out shops and factories all the time so inventory always changes.

  14. #14
    starbolin's Avatar
    starbolin is offline Stainless
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    Were I to attempt something like that I would rent a mag drill. Mag drill make hole easy.

  15. #15
    machine1medic's Avatar
    machine1medic is offline Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalG View Post
    Acorn CI tables are very nice if you can find one.

    An old street drain grate makes a usefull 2X2 table ;-)
    Double diTo !

    Just lay a solid plate on the Acorn when tig'n tid-bits!
    m1m

  16. #16
    Peter Miles is offline Cast Iron
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    Here are two T-slot tables that I've picked up with the intention of turning them into fixture and/or welding tables:


    23" x 43", 648 pounds.


    80" x 24" x 9" thick.

    The following was at a surplus dealer a few years ago:


    That's about 2' x 5'. No, I didn't buy it.

  17. #17
    bosleyjr's Avatar
    bosleyjr is offline Diamond
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    Man, Peter, that's one solid table you saw at the surplus guy.

    All,

    Since all the tables have holes or slots in them, what's the problem with using the Acorn table? I'm with m1m, can't you just put a piece of flat plate on top of it if you don't want holes?

    Jim

  18. #18
    LFLondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LFLondon View Post
    Tom & Jim Cook
    Cook Tool & Machinery
    Sicklerville, N.J.
    856 629 4900

    They have a lot of used equipment, a large warehouse, great prices.
    Good possibility they will have what you are looking for. They buy out shops and factories all the time so inventory always changes.
    I talked with Cook today and he said there's a good possibility he might have a T slot table or platen but would have to look through inventory in his warehouse.

  19. #19
    Graham08 is offline Aluminum
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    I have a 3' x 3' welding table that has a 1-1/2" plate top. I drilled and tapped 1/2"-13 holes in it on 6" centers, with the holes near the edges on 3" centers. I used a Mag-Drill to drill the holes, but tapped by hand (a tapping head on the mag-drill would have been awesome).

    I've been using it for three or four years this way, and may end up eventually splitting my rows of holes to put them all on 3" centers. It works well, but with a normal clamping set, it always seems like the holes are just a little too far apart.

    I don't have too many issues keeping the holes clean because I only TIG weld. If I was doing MIG welding, I could see how this would be an issue. The worst I've needed to do is clean the holes with a small wire brush if my studs don't thread in by hand.

  20. #20
    Pattnmaker is offline Hot Rolled
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    These guys have lots of slotted tables and platen tables. http://www.cohenmachinery.com/index.asp?page=plates

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