Building your own welding table is easy! Follow our step by step instructions with helpful pictures that break down the project, or scroll to the end to watch the video.
A welding machine offers endless possibilities to your DIY needs, without being a burden on your wallet. Does your broken lawnmower need repair? Do you need to fix your metal trellis or gate? How about build your own smoker or fire pit? Not only can you repair your broken equipment- but you also have the capability to design and create your own sculptures, garden art or furniture pieces that will last a lifetime.
In addition to the basics, every welder needs a welding table to help them get started. It’s an essential piece of being a successful welder and offers many benefits. A metal table allows you to easily ground your work and is sturdy enough to handle the toughest welding jobs – plus, it’s easy to make on your own.
Here at Forney Industries, we needed a new welding table for our service area. We began by sketching out our metal table idea.
Tools & Materials
We gathered all the tools needed for this project which included:
- 190 MP welding machine (in the 2T trigger mode, MIG option, ITEM# 324) with .030” MIG wire (ITEM# 42286)
- 700 P plasma cutter (ITEM# 303) or a reciprocating saw
- expanded metal (ITEM# 49613)
- 2” wide and ¼” thick steel (angle iron and flat iron)
- ¼” thick steel plate
- angle grinder with grinding and cutting discs
- chop saw
- heavy-duty magnets
- welding helmet
- safety glasses
- welding gloves
- fire resistant jacket/apron
Remember your eye protection or welding helmet when grinding, cutting or welding! Also, a fire resistant jacket or apron should be worn to protect your clothes and body along with work gloves and welding gloves when appropriate.
- The first step is to cut all angle iron, flat iron and expanded metal to your desired length. We started with the frame of the tabletop. Using our Forney 700 P plasma cutter, we cut angle iron into two 4-foot pieces for the length and two 2-foot pieces for the width.
- Next, we cut the angle iron into four 3-foot pieces for the legs.
- The expanded metal is going to be used for the bottom shelf. We started with a 24” x 24” piece and cut it in half. Each cut 12” x 24” piece will fit a quarter of the bottom shelf and will be supported with flat iron.
- Using an angle grinder with a Type 27 cut-off wheel (Forney ITEM# 71801), cut through the expanded metal.
PRO-TIP: Use a clamp or heavy-duty magnet (pictured below) to help hold the expanded metal in place while you make your cuts.
- On the two 2-foot pieces of angle iron for the table top frame, cut out a section of the corners so the 4-foot pieces of angle iron can rest inside of it. You will eventually weld these pieces together. We used a reciprocating saw to cut these small pieces. Grind down the edges if they don’t match up; you want them to fit flush together. Remember to square up these pieces and ensure they create a 90° angle; this will help the table maintain its rectangular shape.
- If you notice that the edges don’t meet exactly, grind them down rather than re-cutting. Grinding is easier and will help you get the snug fit you’re looking for. If you have a large piece that needs to be removed, revert back to your plasma cutter or reciprocating saw.
- Arrange your pieces on the ground and make sure everything lines up and fits together well. We took measurements at this point to make sure the top was square and even, as this is the foundation for the rest of the table.
- Cut the flat steel pieces for the shelf. One piece should be 4-feet in length and there should be two 1-foot pieces. We used a chop saw with a 14” Type 1 cutting wheel (Forney ITEM# 71874) to cut the flat steel.
- Get your machine ready to weld. The machine we used was a 190 multi-processor unit (ITEM# 324). We set the machine to 45 amps, 19.2 volts and put it in 2T trigger mode. We used .030” MIG wire (ITEM# 42286).
Step by Step Assembly
- To begin, you’re going to weld the frame of the top piece together. Ground your clamp to the workpiece. This ensures the welder is ready to strike an arc.
- Use tack welds to secure your pieces together. Tack welding temporarily holds the pieces together.
- Start by welding along the edges/corners. Once you confirm the frame is square and even, seal up the rest of the gaps.
- Next, tack weld the legs on to the frame (four 3-foot pieces of angle iron). We put the tabletop frame on top of a flat surface and used heavy-duty magnets to keep the legs in place. Use the magnets to your advantage and secure it the best you can. If you don’t have heavy-duty magnets, use c-clamps. The benefits of using heavy-duty magnets are that they offer a stronger hold while C-clamps can get in the way or move if you accidentally bump them. Complete one leg at a time and don’t try to secure all legs at once. We used a level to make sure the legs sat flush to the frame and used tack welds to secure the legs in place.
- Weld the legs in place after leveling and tack welding is complete.
- Next, add a bottom shelf to hold welders, tools, cords, etc. The shelf will be made from expanded metal and the shelf frame will be made from angle iron. The cut angle iron measures 2” wide by 20” long and is ¼” thick. We used C-clamps to hold the angle iron nine inches from the bottom. We leveled the pieces and tack welded them to the legs.
PRO-TIP: If your shelf isn’t level, instead of taking off the clamps and repositioning, try using a hammer to move the metal up or down until it’s where you need.
- After securing the shelf frame with tack welds, move the table to the floor and begin welding. Moving the table to the floor will give you more space to complete your welds.
PRO-TIP: We used a ratchet strap to help square the table and to close the gap between the legs and shelf. When welding, the heat can easily move your pieces; a ratchet strap will help keep everything in place and pull the legs together.
- Add support cross bars for the shelf with flat steel (one 4-foot piece and two 1-foot pieces). Use a C-clamp to hold them in place, tack weld each side and secure the pieces to the shelf frame.
- Take each 12”x 24” piece of expanded metal and spot weld it to the angle iron and flat iron pieces. A spot weld is more secure than a tack weld and is sufficient enough to fuse metal together for prolonged use. Spot welding will also help prevent burn through. Burn through is caused by applying too much heat and burning a hole or gap in the metal. If you try to run a long bead, the expanded metal will get too hot. Spot weld the expanded metal on the bottom side of the table for a cleaner look.
PRO-TIP: Use a metal weight or a heavy object to add pressure to the expanded metal so it’s easier to spot weld.
PRO-TIP: Since you’re welding on 1/4" steel, always start your welds on the 1/2" angle iron to prevent burn through and work your puddle up.
- We wanted to add a 90° angle below the tabletop frame so we can hang our angle grinders. We measured one 14” piece and one 8” piece of 2” wide flat steel, clamped them in place with a C-clamp and welded them to the angle iron.
- Finally, get ready to assemble the ¼” steel plate to the top frame. Clean and prep the steel plate with denatured alcohol to ensure a cleaner, more structurally sound weld.
- Using an angle grinder with a grinding wheel (ITEM# 71987), grind down the welds that are on top of the frame to ensure the steel plate will sit flush.
- Line up the steel plate and fuse it to the frame with 3-inch welds across the edges. Doing smaller 3-inch welds will keep the table aligned and prevent warping. If you do a continuous line, the heat will warp the table and you will end up with an uneven base. You can leave the 3-inch welds as is or go back and fill in the gaps. You can also grind down the edges or leave them to display your great work.
- Finish the table by adding paint or polishing the table top to get the customized look you desire. The final result will be a working, sturdy table that will not only hold and store your welder and welding supplies, but assist you with future welding projects.
PRO-TIP: Add a post to the edge of your table so you can easily ground your future workpieces. If you decide to paint your table, remember do not paint the ground post. Painted metal will not ground.
Rather watch a video of this project? Hit play below! You can also read our feature in Extreme How To magazine or click here to download: Simple Welds for Simple Projects.
Tag your completed welding projects #forneyind on Instagram and be entered to win prizes! Or, submit your project for a chance to be featured in the Forney project gallery.