Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

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SteveHGraham
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Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by SteveHGraham » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:34 pm

Today I invested $55 in a Harbor Freight welding table. Only the finest for me. I have been MIGing since '07, but I never bothered getting a table, because you can MIG just about anywhere. My horrific failures as a TIG welder have shown me that with TIG, I am going to have to have my work at a reasonable height, on something that won't catch fire.

I'm wondering if anyone here has experience with these tables. Eastwood and Strong Arm also sell versions, although, of course, Harbor Freight is for the real connoisseurs.

I got it slapped together, and I ended up with two bolts and several washers that do not seem to go anywhere. In fact, I can't find any openings that fit the bolts. That's not what concerns me, though. The table is bravely rated at 350 pounds, but it seems to wobble enough to make large projects scary. Anyone with personal knowledge care to comment?

I'm also wondering if it's safe to tack stuff to the table top. It looks like it's plated with something.

I found out why the other versions of the table cost so much more. You get more junk. Eastwood's table comes with magnets, a clamp, and some other doodads.

When I get a larger shop, I may get a real table, but this thing looks like it will work very well for what I do.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by SteveHGraham » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:19 pm

The table made today's "welding" session much easier. I actually joined two pieces of metal. I was going to run flat beads on steel, but I was having trouble seeing where I was going on the metal, so I welded a piece of angle iron to it to serve as a reference. Then when my 1/16" rod got too short, I grabbed a 3/32" by mistake, so when I continued the lap weld (if that's the correct term for a 45-degree joint), there was a lot more build up on one end.

I didn't dip the electrode once. How about that?

I did cause a small fire when a part that was attached to the scrap flamed up. That was interesting.

Made one more flat bead after this, and then I quit because the torch was too hot to use.

The reason there are random welds emerging from the main weld is that I put the angle iron on top of the first welds I did. You can see how they wandered.

I have to get better at seeing where I'm welding.
03 31 17 TIG practice on angle iron lap weld small.jpg
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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mcostello
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by mcostello » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:59 pm

All it takes is seat time.

Harold_V
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by Harold_V » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:09 am

My weld table is 4' x 3', and has a 3/4" steel plate top. While I'm far from a weldor, I understand it is common practice to tack things to the tops of weld tables, although it most likely isn't a good idea if they're quite thin, as you'd readily disturb the general flat condition of the surface.

If your machine is equipped with a water solenoid, you might consider exploring water cooled torches. Doesn't matter how long you weld, they don't get hot, and they're much smaller in size than air cooled torches. In spite of the fact that I'm unlikely to weld continually, I'd avoid air cooled torches for that very reason.

The flat plate practice piece I mentioned previously serves several purposes. One of them is to display the fact that you have your heat setting correct, as the back side will display a perfect bead, as well as the top. It doesn't matter if you can't follow a straight line, not for this exercise. What it will do for you is to improve your skill level in regards to torch control, so you can concentrate on other issues, while the torch control is, more or less, on auto-pilot. Just sayin'!

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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BadDog
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by BadDog » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:03 pm

Regarding the HF table, I guess anything is better than nothing, and it could do ok if you work only with lighter things, but I'm not a fan.

My main fab table is 4x4 with a 1/2" plate top. I can't imagine going thinner, and I've wished for twice the surface many times. The frame is all fully welded from 1/4" structural tube, and has easily held fully dressed V8s, Dana 60 front axles, and many other heavy assemblies making it easier to do various things. My small table, 3 legs about 2' x 2' and 3/4" thick is sized for sitting at and is ideal for small delicate "TIG" type work. And I've welded both parts and fixtures to both of mine many times, really makes life easier.

One of my biggest regrets a few years back was being at an auction and letting a scrapper get a (as I recall) 4x8 (or 4x10?) table with a 1" ground top for a price that he was taking it straight to scrap for a profit! Don't recall the exact price, and I had no place to put it at the time, but I have kicked myself repeatedly since then for not getting it...
Russ
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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:13 pm

My welding table is a piece of 3/4 inch aluminum tool plate on strong legs, and at a height that allows me to sit while welding. Weldments of several hundred pounds are not a problem. Going cheap with a welding table is asking for a set of crushed toes when the table turns out to be not as stout as the manufacturer claims it to be.
Science makes it known. Engineering makes it work.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by SteveHGraham » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:52 pm

This will be fine for learning the process and for 95% of what I do with MIG, so it's $55 well spent. I look forward to having room for a real welding table.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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ctwo
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by ctwo » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:44 pm

There was a nice Miller welding table that went for $40 locally. I should have sprung for it as they are around $200 new. Maybe when I get a TIG I will graduate from those little plastic patio end tables...
Standards are so important that everyone must have their own...
To measure is to know - Lord Kelvin
Disclaimer: I'm just a guy with a few machines...

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by SteveHGraham » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:29 pm

I have used this one several times now, and for little jobs, it's fantastic. One unexpected perk was the way the base of the table holds my pedal in place. The Chinese pedal that came with my welder is famous for sliding around. Today a magnetic torch holder arrived, so now I'm cooking with gas. Argon, that is.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

Russ Hanscom
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by Russ Hanscom » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:04 pm

Another project, design and build a custom table. Vise on one corner, shelves for clamps and so forth underneath.

Tip, make the shelves out of flatten expanded metal, that way all of the dirt and slag falls through and cleanup is much easier.

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warmstrong1955
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by warmstrong1955 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:22 pm

I have a couple welding tables. I got lucky, and got them as leftovers from contract jobs I worked at a local minesite.
"We don't want them, so take 'em home, or throw them away".
Those are for MIG & stick....one inside, and one outside. Weld doo-dads on 'em, beat on 'em....no big deal....gring the grungies off later.

My TIG table, is nothing more than a piece of 10 gage A36, in the corner of a wall attached wooden bench with a plywood top. The 10 gage is not even bolted down. TIG doesn't take a lot.....you just need something steady, as with any welding.

Bill
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cheapo Harbor Freight Welding Table

Post by SteveHGraham » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:24 pm

Things are going better and better.

Today I tried a #5 gas lens and had problems with spatter. That was a new experience for me. I tried cleaning the metal again, but it still spattered. I'm pretty sure the problem was a combination of two things: an overly confident Internet estimate I found for the required gas flow (10-15 CFM), and a Chinese regulator that decided to go from 15 to 10 on its own authority.

The spatter was hideous. It started out small and got worse until it finally turned into a little eruption, ending the bead.

I put the gas on 15, and after that I was able to make about 4" of nice-looking weld. Then I pedaled wrong and ended up with a strange end to the bead.

I also learned I was holding the torch wrong. I had it angled over, like a MIG torch. When I held it straighter, I stopped melting the rod before it got to the puddle, and I quit roasting my left glove. I assume the angle wasn't good for gas coverage, either.

When I first started, I was pulling the puddle instead of pushing it, so MIG has caused more than one problem.

The torch holder is wonderful. Beats laying it on the garage floor.

Forgot to check to see if the helmet was turned on, so I had a nice visit with the lingering green dot.

The welding jacket has worked out really well. It's ugly as sin, but it was about twenty bucks, so ugly is fine.

I ordered more filler rod in 1/16" and 3/32" sizes. I found good prices on ten pounds of each. Might as well not buy it a pound at a time.

Today I used a 1/16" tungsten because the Miller online calculator said so. I find 3/32" easier to use, but I will assume the Miller boys know what they're doing.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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