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 Post subject: The ULTIMATE Build Table
PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 5:07 pm 
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OK, I've looked high and low and can't find a compendium of list advice for the build table. Is there one that I'm just missing?

4' X 8' seems to be a common size but 5' x 10' is another number I've seen thrown out there. Which is best?

Metal surface seems to be the ultimate, but MDF seems to be the most common. Metal has the added advantage of it would leave me with a welding table when I'm through. But how in the heck will one guy manuever a 1/4"(?) sheet of metal for the top? Build it upside down and use a hoist to turn it over?

There's something about the frame that some have done to make it easier to get things close to it or hoist things off and on it. What is that special thing that needs to be designed into the table?

Wheels seem to be a definite plus - as long as you find a way to lock them securely. I was thinking more on the line of 4 trailer hitch wheels that swivel out of the way. That way I could also raise it if I found I needed to.

Which leads me to what is the ultimate table height?

Are there any other tips or tricks any of you would like to share?

I've been working sans table and have seen the error of my way.

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Last edited by carguy123 on April 27, 2009, 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 5:23 pm 
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Best as in, "spare no expense, I have lots of room?" 5 x 10.

What is the ultimate height? Whatever's perfect for you.

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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 5:34 pm 
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I have the room, but does the 5' x 10' size create issues with wheels and suspension? At 5' wide I'm thinking that I can reach across to weld in the middle or crawl up on top.

As far as height what are some numbers others have used? You've got a couple of planes of work spaces to deal with. The bottom of the chassis just requires leaning over, but reaching the top pieces I can see could be a strain if you go too high. Too low and I can just imagine the back pain from constantly stooping over to work on the bottom level.

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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 5:35 pm 
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*If* I had the space and wanted a metal table, I'd forgo building one and I'd find one of these guys someone is selling used. With the number of businesses going under now, I'm sure it would only take a few calls to find one.

They're super heavy but they're also super straight and its almost too convenient being able to secure stuff to it with T-nuts.


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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 5:47 pm 
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For building the chasis, I think 4x8 is about perfect, although longer might be better. Width wise it seems pretty spot on. I set my table up at standard counter height and had/have no issues with that. Everything is reachable with ease (the chasis is short anyways)


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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 6:24 pm 
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Here's my plan (ripping off a lot of ideas from around here):

-Other than metal, the "best" setup seems to be 2x6" steel studs with an MDF top and bottom secured with screws and construction adhesive. Durable and very dimensionally stable. (Thanks Moti!)

-Make sure any bracing underneath is high enough so that the wheels and booms on your engine hoist slide underneath cleanly. This will give you greater range when swinging your drivetrain around.

-4' wide would probably be good for a Locost chassis. 8' long is good (my plan), but making the table as long as the planned chassis means you won't have to move the chassis for the rear section.

-Stationary has the advantage that you can perfectly level the table. This makes it easier to fab the chassis accurately.

-Some use sawhorses, but I'm going to make a 2x4 frame to hold the top up. I plan on using doubled 2x4s with leveler feet for the legs.

-Paint the tabletop white so that you can see chassis markings when you draw them on. Paint also seals the MDF against moisture so it doesn't warp over time.

-Large part/steel storage underneath seems like an excellent idea. I like KB58's setup in his Midlana build diary.

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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 7:05 pm 
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Painting!! I never thought of that.

It looks like the trick is to have the bottom rail on the table be high enough to get my engine hoist boom under it and then put a shelf on top of that.

Metal top lets me have a use for it later as welding/assembly/junk table and lets me weld down stops. Where can I find, no what do I even call that metal table that uses Tnuts? I've never seen one like that.

I'll have to go re-read the Midlana build diary, that part slipped right by me.

So 4' x 10' would be a better size?

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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 7:37 pm 
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If you get the MDF with melanine it is white on both sides so no need to paint.


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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 9:57 pm 
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5x10 is too big, IMO.

4x8 MDF is actually 49" x 93" (or +11 in McSorley parlance). This comes in handy, since the extra inch in length fits a +4 (lenghth) frame better. Just remember this when you're making marks on the table, and assume the centerline is 24" from the edge. (ask me how I know)

Paint is good. Not sure how burning paint smells, but prolly no worse than MDF glue. I ruint mine leaving it outside under a tarp. the wood swelled to 2" thick! I didn't care though...that was long after the build was done.

I built two steel sawhorses out of 1" tube. Non-folding and cross-braced. Once I removed the frame from the build table, the sawhorses are great. Keeps the car up at table height, but you can still get up under it and such. Also takes up less room in my tiny garage.

Don't bother with a 4x8' steel top table. If you're not working on tractors-n-such, you'll just hate the thing later on. I do wish I had a small (2'x3') thick-top steel table for small welding. Oh well.

Make sure you diagonal-brace your legs, or have a shelf at the bottom. Some of these build photos scare me...looks like parking on a card table.


-dave

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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 10:03 pm 
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Well, how long is a Locost, nose to tail? I think that really answers the question. Looking at the Gibbs book it's kinda hard to tell, but it's way over 96"... Either you can have the nose and tail hang over the ends of your build table by a foot on each end, or make the table the full length. My mid-engine project is on a 10ft table and I'm glad I did it.

I'm happy the table is 5 x 10, but if I did it again I'd look really hard for 2 x 6 steel studs - trouble is there aren't any around here AFAIK.

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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 10:41 pm 
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Yes, Dave a smaller welding table would be easier to work around later.

KB58 why would you look for 2 x 6 steel studs? Are you saying that would have changed your size or just build quality?

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PostPosted: April 27, 2009, 10:49 pm 
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5 x 9 would make a legal size ping-pong table when you're done.

None of my trick moves worked right away on my 4 x 8 "locost" table.

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PostPosted: April 28, 2009, 12:14 am 
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SkinnyG wrote:
5 x 9 would make a legal size ping-pong table when you're done.


Now that's a thought, presuming it made it thru the build in shape to be reskinned and used.

SkinnyG wrote:
None of my trick moves worked right away on my 4 x 8 "locost" table.


Trick moves?

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PostPosted: April 28, 2009, 1:58 am 
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carguy123 wrote:
SkinnyG wrote:
None of my trick moves worked right away on my 4 x 8 "locost" table.


Trick moves?

G has an awesome moonwalk, but he found out that the friction of the MDF creates funny noises when he moonwalks in snowboarding boots.
The solution was to give the build table a light coat of metal dust from grinding welds and do the moonwalk in cowboy boots.
Since then, it's all good.

As for the perfect build table on a low budget, it is probably 4x10 MDF.
It's not too wide so you can still drop the wheels on the sides, but it is long enough that you don't have to move the car forward or backwards if you're using reference points on the table.

I wouldn't paint it, the marks on MDF are visible even after you tack and weld an entire frame on it.
I'd be afraid of the paint releasing toxic fumes when you're welding next to it.

BTW, you should see how Fred (Jawfish) does the robot and Hempy with his killer snake! OMFG!

Moti :lol:

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PostPosted: April 28, 2009, 6:47 am 
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KB58 wrote:
I'm happy the table is 5 x 10, but if I did it again I'd look really hard for 2 x 6 steel studs - trouble is there aren't any around here AFAIK.


They weren't at my local megabox hardware store. They said they could special order me a truckload of them, not 4 or 5.

I was told by a helpful employee to contact a drywall contractor supply house. They have them in stock and will sell small quantities.

Blackbird wrote:
BTW, you should see how Fred (Jawfish) does the robot and Hempy with his killer snake! OMFG!


I do recall Hempy busting a move after succesfully starting his engine. He's got the skills to pay the bills... :D

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