Portable Welding Table / Kit

Picture of Portable Welding Table / Kit
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A different approach to the “welding table” problem.

As I see it, one of the primary advantages of the little (~100 A) arc welders is their portability, due to small footprint and 120 V input. However, the standard welding table is rather ungainly, heavy, and has no (or inadequate) storage capability, and so tends to hinder the rapid and convenient deployment of such a welder.

Here is a welding table / storage kit which fixes these issues. Features of note:

  • Breaks down into four parts, none of which are too large, too poorly shaped, or too heavy to carry easily.
  • 12″x24″x5/16″ table surface – reasonable size for small projects, not ridiculously heavy, and a common size of commercially available material.
  • Adjustable height with steps at (about) 13″, 16″, 19″, 22″, 28″, 31″ and 34″.
    (Where L = Lower box, T = Top box, and S(0/3/6) is the spacer, which can provide a height of 0.5″, 3.25″, or 6.25″, those heights, respectively, are made by stacking LS0, LS3 or TS0, LS6 or TS3, TS6, LTS0, LTS3, LTS6)
  • Allows a vertical welding table surface at some heights.
  • Affords a welding-tool resting shelf at many heights.
  • Ample (covered!) storage for cables and accessories.
  • Easily access to current-setting view port.
  • Affords correct stackups; that is, it discourages unstable ways of stacking the boxes. (Though they can always make a better fool, so it certainly isn’t foolproof.)
  • Low cost (material costs of about 15$ + table surface = 65$)

This is mostly a woodworking project; you’ll need a:

  • Panel saw, circular saw, or large table saw
  • Jigsaw or alternative
  • Pneumatic stapler, small nailer, or similar
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill

Please note that my manual indicates that the welder is to be situated at least 8″ from walls. Because my welder has a thermal protective circuit, doesn’t even get very warm during my typical use, and any fires it would start would be small and easily contained, I am not concerned… but note that by making this project, you are taking your life and property into your own hands.

Step 1: Basic Woodworking Assembly

Picture of Basic Woodworking Assembly
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I made my plywood boxes out of 1/2″ sheeting-grade plywood to have interior dimensions of 15″x15″x12″ and 15″x15″x15″. For those specs, here’s the cut list:
Bottom box (holds the welder):

  • 15.0″ x 15.0″ – bottom
  • 12.5″ x 15.0″ (x2) – sides
  • 3.0″ x 16.0″ – front bottom
  • 7.5″ x 16.0″ – front top
  • 2.5″ x 16.0″ – rear bottom
  • 8.0″ x 16.0″ – rear top

Top box (holds accessories):

  • 15.0″ x 15.0″ – bottom
  • 15.5″ x 15.0″ (x2) – sides
  • 15.5″ x 16.0″ (x2) -front/back

Spacer (enables height adjustment, keeps slag out of the other boxes):

  • 16.2″ x 16.5″ – bottom
  • 9.0″ x 16.5″ – sides
  • 5.75″ x 16.2″ – back

Incidentally, if you are using a circular saw, you’ll save a BUNCH of time (or at least get better cuts) if you make one of these circular saw guides. Seriously. They should put a poster in the hardware store next to where they sell the things.

Once the rectangular panels are laid out, you’ll need to cut some notches for the vents, welder access ports, and lower box legs; a jigsaw works really well.

Assembly is pretty much “typical plywood box”; using staples and glue, we attach the side panels to the bottom, and each other, keeping everything arranged correctly by pressing them against the table top, or a spacer, or a square. There’s some notes on the photos for further assistance.

Step 2: Handles, Hooks, and Stops

Picture of Handles, Hooks, and Stops
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Some finishing touches are in order, to make everything easier to use:

The top box, when put on top of the bottom box, blocks our view of the current setting indicator. The obvious solution is to slide it off to one side, and to make this easy to do correctly – to move it enough to see in, but not so much that it makes the stack unstable – some stops are in order. I used 1″x1″ blocks, spaced in from the edges of the bottom panel by 1/8″, and put a 9/8″ gap between them, which means that the top box moves over 2.75″ (1/2″ + 1/8″ + 1″ + 9/8″), leaving a 2.25″ viewing window.

Similar locating stops, this time consisting of 1.25″ #8 screws driven into pilot holes until about 1/8″ from flush, make it easy to center the table surface on the spacer.

Handles make everything easier to carry, so we put some on the boxes – about 6″ down from the top, to clear the spacer – and on the table surface.

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