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I use a 5" vise with the ground cable attached. Anything put in the vise is gonna get hot.
I like the vise because it will hold almost anything I need to weld and I can rest my free hand on the vise to guide the handle. It also eliminates the hastle of trying to clip the ground to a small part and that small part sliding around a flat table.
I do have a 10" X 10" piece of flat steel I clamp in the vise if I need a flat surface to weld on.
This is what I was thinking my ideal work space would be:
* 24"x48" flat stock 5/16" thick 3/8" is going to be a little heavy to be movable/fold up I think.
* I want to place my vise on top on one corner
* Either a table with rollers/wheels or able to fold up and lean up against the wall. If it is table, I want storage on the bottom so maybe a self.
Right now I have my vise on a wooden structure ~ 40" tall and 12"x12" that I use to do everything on but I don't like it. First of all it wobbles too much and is very top heavy so any slight hit causing it to fall down. If I could make something that did both I'd love it.
I had a 5x10' trailer with flat-top rails that was perfect to use as a flat surface. I used a variety of C-clamps, magnets, and what-nots to clamp pieces to the flat rails, then built whatever I needed. I made my work bench and two large shelves for storage using the trailer as my "work bench". Some stuff I have to work on the floor; Never thought of using the vise itself for welding, primarily because the vise isn't close to the 220V outlet.
What issues or design thoughts do you think of when it comes with using a plasma cutter with it? Make 1/3" of the table with slats and solid bottom to catch the slag, reversed angle iron to catch the slag or let it drop through design.
I built a bench out of 2 x 2 steel. On top of that I put a door that's 3 feet deep. On top of the door I have 3/16" inch thick piece of steel which I welded angle iron to the edges. I bolted my vise down through that and often ground my welder there. Then weld away on the table. You can see it in the background of this picture.
OK I think I've come up with the table design: 30"x48" Solid left side with a plasma cutting 18"x30" slat or angle iron right side- I haven't decided on that one yet. While cruising craigslist, I came across metal shelving with cross supports for cheap and am planning on using them, cut to size and weld up add wheels.
I have this hydraulic lift table that I use most of the time as a mobile workbench & usually weld the bike parts on it. this is one of the greatest shop tools ever devised IMO. sure makes unloading heavy stuff out of the truck easy to do by yourself too!
as far as a dedicated welding table, I have this (similar to your drawing, so maybe you are onto something!) all steel with a 5/16 top. will be adding wheels soon to make it more mobile. before the fire, it was the table that the milling machine was on. this pic was right after the fire when the mill was still attached. bottom left side. I have added some expanded metal to that lower "shelf" & keep all my welding clamps ,vice grips etc there.
Located a 24" wide x 10' metal shelving post use and 58 1/2" side beam for the build and picking them up Wednesday to start it. Having the "X" plasma cutter next week in hopes to having it done in ~ 10 days. Pic when done.
So I bought the supplies today and am into it for 125. Started to tear into it and hope to have it done by next week. Due to some rust on the used side pieces and beam, I'm going to sand blast it once it is ready to put together, paint and install
Like most of you, I have limited space in my garage so all of my equipment is on wheels. I mig on the table top built into my mig cart, same with tigging on my tig cart and even my plasma cart is on wheels. Check out my Utube links.
What about the idea of raising and lowering the table to fixed heights for ease of a project? I thought about welding 4 rect. shape tubing that would sit inside the side posts and punch holes at certain height and cotter pins the holes to secure them to a height.