I am very interested. Please, post ahead good sir.
I'm just putting this out here to see if anyone would even be interested in seeing the work in progress that is my sub-$50 welding table. If people want to see it, I'll post, but I didn't know, since it's not really knife related, but rather shop related.
I am very interested. Please, post ahead good sir.
I am interested too. Would be nice to have something to go by when I build my own.
I'd like to see it as well.
Ok then, here we go.
Back a month ago or so, I sold my motorcycle. I posted a thread asking how I should spend the money on my shop. Lots of great responses in that thread. A big thing that caught my eye was someone saying "a metal worker without a welder is like having no right arm", or something similar.
Well, most of the money went to bills, but $300 went to a welder. I downloaded an Craigslist app to my iPhone, but I still missed a Lincoln AC/DC welder for $75 by 12 hours! After that I set it up to run auto searches for "welder" every 15 minutes. I didn't care whether I got a MIG or a stick welder, but I wanted a nice "name brand" (Lincoln, miller, Hobart). I absolutely didn't want a HF junk welder. Lots of guys selling Lincoln AC only welders for less than $100, but I knew that I'd get one shot to spend this amount of money, and I was willing to wait for the right one.
My auto search finally hit on a 4 year old Lincoln AC/DC 225/125 with a Weld-Tec TIG attachment about 2 hours away. It was a little farther than I wanted to go, but TIG for $300! How could I not jump on it?
I called the guy 20 minutes after he listed it and I wasn't the first person to call. However I 100% committed to buying it, so he held it for me.
It's a very nice welder that should last the rest of my life. Now I need an argon tank, but I haven't decided if I want to buy small tank for $90 and contents for $14, or rent a bigger tank for $56 a year plus contents.
So, now I need a welding table. This gets kind of convoluted, but stay with me. I am a paramedic, and there a lot of local EMT and medic classes that do their clinical "ride time" with us. Some of the riders/students are idiots and aren't allowed to ride with us again, but most are good and some of them are awesome and we get really close to them over the course of their classes. Jeff was one of them. He's a machinist at a local factory and an all around great guy. He gave me a nice little, heavy made welding table to get me started, but I really wanted something bigger. The factory was just going to throw it away!
It's still a nice table, I'm thinking I might use it for my GIB stand once I'm done with it.
One of our local hospitals is remodeling, an throwing away a BUNCH of stuff. They had a dumpster FULL of suspended ceiling light fixtures. It took a few hours and going all the way to the CFO of the hospital, but I got permission to grab as many as I wanted. Free lights!! Easily the number one or two thing I wanted for my shop, more lights. And free? Even better.
There were four more large lights, but I traded them to a local guy for some of his scrap steel. This is what I got for 4 free lights:
Pretty awesome, considering it was all new steel. It comes in later on in the story, so keep it in mind.
I had planned on using the heavy angle to build a small 3'x3' ish sized table, but I really didn't have enough to do it the way I wanted, so I was waiting, biding my time.
One of our other awesome riders, Paul, mentioned that one of his buddies needed some lights for his shop. Now, this buddy of his works at a grain cart manufacturer, and ha access to some pretty awesome steel. So, I'm trading more of my free lights for a piece of new 1/4" plate 64"x32".
Now, I know you're wondering why I picked the dimensions that I did. Well, there is a "junker" that lives on my way home from work. You know the type. 20 acres of rusty cars, defunct lawnmowers, scrap steel, tall grass, three overflowing barns full of absolute junk, etc. Basically heaven for a scrounger like myself.
I stopped one day and knocked on every door I could find, but never found anyone. I went ahead and nosed around just a bit (not very deep, just around the edges), figuring that I was in uniform, and maybe if I happened upon the owner maybe I wouldn't get shot.
I found a perfect table frame, so I left my name and number under the wiper on one of the less rusty cars, and waited for a call. It took three days, but this good ole boy finally called me back. You know the type. Country's going to pot, dang China-men, it's the gubmint's fault, so on and so forth. Needless to say, I said what I needed to say and got off the phone quickly. I got the frame for $25.
I stopped Monday morning on my way home and shoved it in the back of my little two door Blazer. It may not be a truck, but I've hauled home more junk with it than I ever did with my pickup.
Here's the frame:
It's 1 1/4" 3/16" angle. I am going to buy some flap discs and go to town getting it all cleaned up.
Last edited by medicevans; 05-01-2012 at 02:13 PM.
Here's my drawing of how I want my table. I'm left handed, so I wanted a small shelf up high on that side for wire brushes and slag chippers. Then I wanted a mid section for rods and assorted items. The right side is a big shelf for steel scrap and the left bottom will be for an angle grinder and clamps.
The two bottom shelves and top left shelf will be expanded metal. I have just enough to do it. The middle shelf will be 1/8" or 3/16" plate. Hopefully the guy at the grain cart shop can come through on that too.
This is my Dad's table, where I grew up learning to weld oxy-acet and arc, and is the inspiration for my table.
I want to make one of these fixtures too, just a bit neater. It's kind of a third hand type thing that he can clamp piece to and it will hold them in certain positions.
Dad's now got a MIG welder on a portable cart as well. I didn't have that growing up, so I learned on arc.
Looks like your making good progress on your table and shop setup. You scored big time on the lights! Trading is always fun, especially when your trading something you got for labor only.
My Grandfather taught me how to arc weld ages ago and like most skills, it's perishable. Unfortunately, I fall into the bad welder but a good grinder category.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the kind words.
The local community college has welding classes. I'd have to start with intro which is oxy-acet, then I'd be able to take separate classes on arc and TIG. I watched 3 hours of biker build off this afternoon, now I really want to get my TIG setup going.
The guy with the heavy plate is hopefully going to get it to me sometime this week. Then I'll have to get going on this thing a little bit harder.
I scrounged a piece of decently heavy steel 2 1/2' x 3' that was a well cover in another life. I'll have to disk the rust off and paint it, but it will be a perfect bottom for the top middle shelf.
I'm also restoring a 5" Wilton vise I bought from the same guy as the table. It cost all of $20! It needs some TLC, but it's going to be nice when it's done. That will bring my total vise count to three. Four if I can convince my grandpa to give me his post vise.
Welding classes are a good idea. Are you going to build a layout table as well or will your bench be big enough for welding up projects?
Last edited by jwaj; 05-09-2012 at 11:15 AM.
I assume my bench will be large enough to lay out anything I'll ever need to weld. Actually, the small table would have probably been almost big enough. I doubt I'll weld very often. It will be nice to have a metal bench for angle grinding and other metal work though.
What no finished pics of your bench!
Sorry, I've been busy. Hopefully I can get out there and start in with a cutting wheel soon! I want to get the frame done soon! Also, I have been rebuilding this:
I have 240 in my shop. I stuck the exposed wires into an (120VAC) extension cord and it lit up fine. That's the extent of my knowledge on these lights at this time. I will pull one apart and look at what you say.
some of the newer solid state ballasts on these lights are switchable between 110/220/480 and smart enough to switch based on incoming voltage. knowing the amount of money hospitals dump into stuff like this i wouldn't be surprised if you got some really fancy ones.
Very cool project, I like how this is shaping up!!
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