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 Post subject: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 6, 2016, 2:22 pm 
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I saw a build table with a 1/8" or 1/16" thick aluminum surface. The surface had the "floor plan" of the chassis all laid out in dykem and he was using aluminum clips to hold his tubes in place for tacking. He said using this jig to keep alignment was worth the price of the aluminum. He could remove it from the bench and hang it up when not working on his car. When he finishes his chassis, he has the bottom skin already fitted. I noticed some stains in the aluminum from weld spatter but it was minor. Differential heat expansion shouldn't be a problem in a human habitable shop.


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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 6, 2016, 3:27 pm 
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Joined: April 22, 2010, 4:43 pm
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Location: Livermore, Calif.
Bobber wrote:
Differential heat expansion shouldn't be a problem in a human habitable shop.


I don't quite understand your last statement.
Roy

P.S. What other kind of shop would there be? a non-human habitable shop?

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Last edited by RoyzMG on June 7, 2016, 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 6, 2016, 3:50 pm 
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Joined: July 4, 2006, 5:40 pm
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Location: Novato, CA
I remember going all-out on my build table when I started my frame. It's just natural to want everything perfect when you're starting out. Unless you're building more than one, though, a fancy table is kind of overkill. But no harm in it, either.


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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 6, 2016, 6:11 pm 
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RoyzMG wrote:
Bobber wrote:
Differential heat expansion shouldn't be a problem in a human habitable shop.


I don't quite understand your last statement.

Roy


If that was my statement I would explain it by showing you a bottle of 21 year old single malt. :D

Al

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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 7, 2016, 10:11 am 
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Better yet, it is my statement and I will up the ante to not less than three Stone Brewery Ruination IPA's, all in the interest of contrasting something cold with something hot (our weather).

Using aluminum as a jig to build steel stuff only works if they're at the same temperature since aluminum expands so much. So keep it all around 70 degrees and nothing moves relatively.


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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 7, 2016, 11:11 am 
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Location: West Chicago,IL
As a build table surface, aluminum should work OK. Not sure why plywood wouldn't be OK either. If something catches flame, keep a bottle of water handy. It isn't like it would be the first time it happened. So I'm not sure why spend the extra cost.

A couple of comments/observations:
1)The welding will not attach to the aluminum (like copper) but the weld splatter will embed into the aluminum making a rough surface that will spot-rust or "stain" with time. This will render the aluminum for little use in the future except for possible a floor skin.
2) IF (and that is a big IF) the aluminum vs steel CTE's are such an issue, wouldn't that make it unsuitable for floor skinning? Thermal cycles would eventually destroy the rivets leaving only the bonding material to hold things together. or the floor would oilcan at certain temperatures. I really haven't heard of this happening. So I would think it is not a real issue for build a table surface and floor skins.
3) Dyekem is not a permanent material. It will get scratched and become useless after the first year of building. Did I just say "first" year? :oops: Yeah, it happens. I bet the 2nd layout marks will not match the 1st ones perfectly.
4) Laying out the first layer of the chassis pieces on the build surface only helps for a short bit of the build. What will he do for the vertical and diagonal pieces, let alone the top rails? To me, it seems like too much fork for too little gain. IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 7, 2016, 12:42 pm 
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For me that sounds like a waste of a sheet of aluminum. My build table spends a lot of time with parts, tools and supplies spread over it. I think the aluminum would get beat up quickly. If you take it off after only using it to lay out a few floor tubes, I don't see how it does a better job than a wood table top you mark with Sharpie markers.

Very quickly you get to the point of needing to turn the frame on it's side or upside down or drop a motor and transmission on the table etc. I found myself putting all kinds of reference marks on the table and using different colors. Think of it as a blackboard.

The important things for me were to have it be paneled on the top and bottom so that it was strong. I found myself needing to stand on it early in the build process and then also it needed to support a V8, transmission and diff at different times.

I used MDF for the top and OSB for the bottom. I think those are the abbreviations. Cheap steel stringers. It seemed like it was marginal when I made it but it's worked fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 8, 2016, 8:39 am 
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For your table top look for Melamine white panel. It’s about $10 more then MDF, but the white surface makes drawing layout plans much easier, plus you can draw thinner lines on the surface, and you can see the layout lines much easier. DaveW


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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 8, 2016, 9:11 am 
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Joined: April 23, 2006, 8:26 pm
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Add me to the "don't bother" list for the aluminum.

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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 8, 2016, 12:45 pm 
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Joined: January 27, 2010, 1:11 pm
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Location: Cuba, MO
I was able to get an used steel top table and it has come in very handy. I can tack weld items to it to keep them from moving and not have to worry about clamps. When I started my build I tacked the frame to the table and built up from there. When I built my control arms I tacked the jig members to the table. It has taken a beating, literally as I use it to shape metal now that the frame is on the ground.

I would not do aluminum for the reasons others have said. I also wouldn't build one like I have unless you have a long term need for a welding table. I was fortunate to get the one I have and will be able to sell it as a welding table for more than I have in it if I ever move and not have the space to store it.

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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: June 8, 2016, 1:45 pm 
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Location: BC, Canada. eh?
Our build table (my buddy built it, and we used it for both our frames) was several layers of 3/4" plywood, covered in satin-coat steel (18 gauge?), with numerous 1" holes through it for clamps. He still uses it as a portable work table, as we mounted it on casters, so it's easily moved around the shop. Magnets work great on it for holding small stuff, a magnetic ground clamp works for MIG welding (no need to ground the work piece), etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: March 15, 2017, 12:03 am 
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Joined: March 6, 2017, 2:10 am
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There are quite a lot of woodworking forums, I would check them out if i was you they will be more than happy to help out


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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: March 20, 2017, 5:30 am 
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Do you have a picture of the final project by any chance??


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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: March 20, 2017, 11:34 pm 
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Has anyone tried using a layer of 1/2" - 1/4" Durock or Hardie Board over 3/4" MDF? Pros - heat resistant, flat, and cheap. Cons - harder to fasten to and mark. Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Build Table Surface
PostPosted: October 14, 2017, 3:08 pm 
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Joined: August 25, 2014, 8:41 pm
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Location: Long Island, NY
Hi there! I think it would be interesting to use as a weld resistant surface, however during my build I used the edge of the table as a clamping surface. I bet the concrete boards would be too brittle for this.


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