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Pros and Cons of using a cast Production Table as a welding table

AndyF

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Location
Phelps, NY, USA
Exactly what the title suggests. I can get an approx 24X40 production table for a reasonable price and am wondering what the negatives would be in terms of using it as a welding table. If I get it, I would drill and tap a grid of either 1/2-13 or 5/8-11 holes on the top for fixturing work pieces.
 

idacal

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Location
new plymouth id
I had access to an acorn table but i now just use a regular steel table had an oportunity to buy a 4x8 for scrap and didnt. small precision lay outs then you make a bunch of pieces it would be great but for run of the mill fab work its a little small and most of the time its quicker to just tack your jigs or parts to the table and knock eve4ything flat with a grinder when done. And do you want to be welding over a cast table? With all the dingle berries to deal with? Just depends on the work your trying to do and your mental work standards some people cant handle tacking and grinding on a table others get tired of trying to hammer something into place and have the bolts shift
 

jermfab

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 25, 2013
Location
atlanta, ga
I’m one who can’t stand it when people weld things to a welding table. These days I drill a 3.5” hole on 16” centers. That size hole allows the head of a 4800# Bessey clamp to drop through easily. With the right assortment of clamps you can hold pretty much anything and the top of the table stays flatter, longer.



Be safe




Jeremy
 

scsmith42

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 28, 2020
Location
New Hill, NC
Andy, I used to own an old cast iron table that was made for jet aircraft engine assembly. It measured around 3' x 8', and I frequently used it as a welding layout table.

Nowadays I use a rolling steel table with a 7/8" steel plate top.

Finished table in tool cabin.jpg

Rather than drilling and tapping the top, you can drill 5/8" or 16mm holes in the top and use Bessey style welding clamps, such as these:

Bessey Tools Welding Table Clamp with Variable Throat - 12in. Max. Clamping Height, 1,100-Lb. Force, Model Number TW28-30-14K - - Amazon.com

16mm / 5/8" hole diameter is a common size for many of the professional tables, and you can buy a lot of different clamp configurations. They are very fast to install and remove and grip tightly. The photo above was taken before I drilled my table, but today there are several holes in it for clamping. A magnetic drill makes very quick work of installing the holes too.

So if I were you I'd jump all over acquiring that table.
 
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jamscal

Stainless
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Location
Louisville, KY
scsmith42 has it right, drill for some of the 5/8 or 16mm tooling that's available.

I have a Siegmund fixture table with 28mm holes. I got a 28mm cutter and drilled my cast machine table (approx 4x10) so I could use my existing tooling. I was lucky in that the table was 1" thick between the webbing so I could use all the accessories.

Benefits of a cast iron production table is that it's flatter than a plate table would ever be.
 

Bondo

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 14, 2011
Location
Bridgeton NJ
Is 24 x 40 really big enough for you?

I have a 4' x 8' x 1" thick table that I weld layouts to. Not often, but it's fantastic when I need to.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

AndyF

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Location
Phelps, NY, USA
Is 24 x 40 really big enough for you?

I have a 4' x 8' x 1" thick table that I weld layouts to. Not often, but it's fantastic when I need to.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

It's probably big enough for better than 90% of what I'll be doing. More importantly, I'm rapidly filling up the space I have and don't really have room for anything bigger.
 

JP Machining

Stainless
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Location
Wisconsin
Easily the best table I've ever had. Sure a cast Siegmund type would be better yet but not there yet. Makes fixturing up small run jobs simple where an old flat pc of steel table I would of spent half the day checking square on every part etc. Mine is 3x6. I picked up the laser cut pcs off marketplace and after taking the time to make sure it's all clamped up tight the thing is pretty flat. Sure you could flex it like Fireball video shows but...
d5068fee1a974a6740b2c051e4043c85.jpg
 

Strostkovy

Stainless
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Easily the best table I've ever had. Sure a cast Siegmund type would be better yet but not there yet. Makes fixturing up small run jobs simple where an old flat pc of steel table I would of spent half the day checking square on every part etc. Mine is 3x6. I picked up the laser cut pcs off marketplace and after taking the time to make sure it's all clamped up tight the thing is pretty flat. Sure you could flex it like Fireball video shows but...
d5068fee1a974a6740b2c051e4043c85.jpg

We laser cut our own tables this way. Added some weld nuts to the side for extensions and it's better than the actual jig plate tables we bought.

Even made some little 16"x24" x30" tall tables as christmas presents to two of our fabricator's kids who really like welding.
 

Chuck Evans

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Location
Burbank, CA
Been using this Giddings and Lewis HBM table for about a year now. 38 x 78 and about 2200 lbs. Cast Iron is very spatter resistant and I prefer the t-slots rather than threaded holes.

weld table.jpg

Significant move up from my old 1/4" A36 plate. Suffered with that for
40 years!


Chuck
Burbank, CA
 

Arc-On

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Location
Holland, MI
Cast iron tables are great welding surfaces. The spatter doesn't really stick and they're usually stable, flat and heavy.

I've made my share of welding tables, and I'm here to tell you to skip the threaded holes. I am a big fan of the drop in tooling from StrongHand, which uses 5/8" holes. The table I built has them drilled on a 12" grid. If you can go bigger, StrongHand makes a drop in clamp for an 1-3/4" clamp intended for use on Acorn platens that is very heavy duty.

I have an Acorn platen table in addition to the plate table, which is far and away my favorite, but not everyone can justify one.
 

helocat

Aluminum
Joined
May 13, 2010
Location
Newberg, Oregon
I’m one who can’t stand it when people weld things to a welding table. These days I drill a 3.5” hole on 16” centers. That size hole allows the head of a 4800# Bessey clamp to drop through easily. With the right assortment of clamps you can hold pretty much anything and the top of the table stays flatter, longer.



Be safe




Jeremy


3.5" hole!!! I think would swallow most Bessey clamps!
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
Depends on what you are making.
I have a big 5' x 5' Acorn table, which is cast iron, and its great for bigger welding projects, and you can use clamps and holddowns all over it.
But I also have 3 steel fab tables- one, 24" x 144", for long things, and 2 that are about 36" x 72" and 36" x 96".
I find there are lots of times when welding something to a steel table is a great solution, and its very easy to grind off the weld.
I often use turnbuckles welded to pieces of round bar as corner braces, which allow you to dial in a corner of a large structure to 90 degrees quick and easy- and I have welded one end of a turnbuckle to a steel table literally hundreds of times.
The tables, after 25 years in the shop, are still just fine.

The problem I see is a solid cast iron table makes it hard to clamp things down in the middle.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
Close friend has a 5' x 10' 10k lb cast iron table. It's great for accurate stuff, but hard to fixture to (no holes).

My primary fab table is a fabricated angle plate from a 30' travel planer mill. 30" x 15' and a foot thick. It's flat enough and the T-slots are same size as my HBM so I can share tooling.

I have a 61" x 61" cast iron surface plate that is WWII Boeing surplus. I could not bring myself to weld on it.
 

jerholz

Cast Iron
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Location
Dallas, Tx
Funny this thread should pop up now. I've been looking for a new welding table and I just bought this at an auction. It's 36X48 and 1 1/2 inch thick. I'm planning to make some leg extensions to get it up to 36" and then modify a bunch of clamps to go in the T slots.

Sent from my Pixel 5a using Tapatalk
b92a5537a08ce34dbd105089422476d9.jpg
 








 
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