A New Welding Table: Turns Out Steel Is Expensive!

I decided recently to make new welding table based on a Miller project since my welding table was just a 24” x 36” top made of ¼” steel plate set on top of a simple box made of tubing. The Miller example project calls for a 4’ x 6’ top of 3/8” steel. It is on casters and offers a nice plasma grate on one end with a plasma chute underneath to contain the debris. There is even a nice drawer to empty the debris once you do a lot of cutting.

This table was nice upgrade over my existing one and I headed over to South Bay Metals to price it all out. Wow, steel is expensive! I’m used to buying small pieces so when I found that even “surplus” 3/8” plate was going to be almost $300 I was a little surprised. Based on the cost of small commercial welding tables (Miller Arc Station for example) I knew making a nice heavy one would be expensive but I was still not quite prepared for the price knowing I would be fabricating it myself.

Using the provided material list and cut-sheet for the tubing I ended up around $780 for the steel and cutting the 2” tubing to size. With 1000# rated casters and some paint for the tubing I ended up at about $850, I’m guessing, and that is before my time, electricity, gas and wiring fabricating it. Nevertheless once I got it all built I realize I have significantly upgraded my work area. I found an old Babco 135 at a garage sale for under $15 and have it bolted down to a nice 3/8” steel plate now. Previously it would be clamped to a random wooden work table or moved to my small welding table if I needed it. Now I have two welding tables! The original small one is convenient to move next to the big table when I want to cut something out of a larger sheet and it can span between the two tables.

All in all I am happy with the results, the price and the experience I gained putting it together.