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Technical How To Prep Mill Steel For Welding Table???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CarQuestions, May 14, 2020.

  1. CarQuestions
    Joined: May 24, 2015
    Posts: 87

    CarQuestions

    I wanted to start a different thread specific to this question.

    I went down and bought a bunch of box steel and a flat plate and I am building a welding table. Now I do not expect it to look like a store bought powder coated device but I want it to look nice and stay together...and not look like something I built. I have a MIG welder and I am going to try to learn how to weld whilst building a table

    So the question is...How does one (me) prepare mill steel for welding and painting? I can just take the grinder with the sanding wheel and sand down the edges that I am going to weld so as to get the weld to not splatter however after it is all welded up the mill scale will still be on the pieces and I want the paint to stick so I guess I need to clean off the mill scale???

    From my other thread I took the cut up pieces of box steel and used a foam brush to smear on some muriatic acid on the outside of the steel and also used an acid wetted scotch bright pad to "polish" down the mill scale and the surface rust, then hosed off the parts and then took some baking soda and water in a bucket and placed the parts into the bucket for a couple of minutes...pulled them out, hosed them off and now they look clean with just a little bit of flash rust.

    When it is all welded up I want to scotch bright polish the bare metal and then spray with rattle can primer and paint. What brand of rattle can paint will work best?

    Thanks everyone for your well wishes, moments of silence, positive energy, and welding/painting dances to help me get this project done...oh and of course the advice is also appreciated!!!
     

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    tractorguy likes this.
  2. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,027

    anthony myrick
    Member

    I remove the mill scale with acid like you have already stated.
    I like to use industrial paint and spray through a normal gun. Sometimes it cheaper or close to the same as a bunch of spray cans.
    I usually have epoxy around the shop and may use it. Depends on how much weather it’s going to see.
    If using a spray can, the tall rustoleum and ace hardware cans spray better than the cheaper Walmart stuff.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
  3. 32v
    Joined: May 20, 2007
    Posts: 949

    32v
    Member
    from v.i.

    Why don’t you buy cold rolled steel, it’s clean
     
    nochop likes this.
  4. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,027

    anthony myrick
    Member

    I asked my old boss that. Price and availability was the answer.
     
    WDobos likes this.

  5. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,896

    southcross2631
    Member

    I just cleaned some pieces today with my 4 inch grinder and a wire stripping wheel then used rustoleum to paint the parts. Repo engine mounts for my Comet were made from that steel . So I had to remove the scale.
     
  6. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,065

    lake_harley
    Member

    Unless the finished product has to be show quality I just knock off the mill scale with a 60 or 80 grit flapper wheel on my 4 1/2" angle grinder in the areas to be welded. Unless you go out of your way to be really ham-fisted while using the flapper wheel, it won't dig into the parent material. Too crude for some, but it's a welding table, not furniture.

    Lynn
     
  7. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,983

    rockable
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Take it to a sandblaster. It will hold paint as well as possible and will look uniform. You may want to coat the top with some oil or something to keep it from rusting....because it will rust quickly when the humidity hits it.
     
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  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,352

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Personally I wouldn't go too wild making it pretty besides getting the mill scale off and maybe throwing a coat of Rustoleum on it figuring that when it looks a bit scuzzy I'll throw another coat on. Paint sure insulates the hell out of things and you won't be able to clamp something down and then hook the ground to that good bare spot on the table to weld it up and maybe flip it and clamp it again and weld again. I just don't want the table I weld on too pretty or I'll be afraid to actually use it.
     
  9. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,331

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    I'm a 80 grit on the 4 1/2 angle grinder guy too. I build tools to use and pretty looks are secondary to me.

    My dad was one of those where everything he built looked store bought straight out of the box new. So maybe thats why I never got into the looks side, got tired of hearing him yell about scratching it if I wanted to use it.
     
  10. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,186

    Boneyard51
    Member

    One piece of unsolicited advice is to build your frame first and level it, top and bottom, real good by grinding, shims , etc.Then put your top plate on, checking for flatness and tack it in many places. This will give a flat surface to build off off. I have seen many welding table that were as wavy as the ocean! Just my .02.










    Bones
     
  11. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,573

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co

    could always flap wheel/wire brush and give it a light coat of used motor oil. wont rust, wont have as much slag stick to it, reapply as needed
     
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  12. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 6,529

    krylon32
    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    When I first built my shop tables I used mill run for the tops and just took my DA with a 24 grit disc and sanded them down. I never painted any of my tables. I did the same on my 4X10 ft by 1/2 inch thick frame table. I wanted a plain steel surface so I could mark on it and scotch pad off the marks.
     
  13. Next time ,,,,
    Get the tubing “pickled and oiled” if you don’t want the mill scale.
     
    continentaljohn likes this.
  14. Edit - My comment is stuck in that vast space between the last word “.02” and , “bones”
    Why?
     
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  15. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,186

    Boneyard51
    Member

    That’s probably tolerances in thickness. I can take a eight foot sheet of quarter inch plate and get several inches Of deflection out of it just picking it up! My point was to get the foundation of his table as flat and level as possible before welding what ever plate he chooses to use. The thinner the plate the more support is needed. I build a 10 ft by five ft welding table and used 7/8 inch top. I didn’t think that stuff would flex either. So I just built my supports equal and put the 7/8 plates on top. Either the cement floor wasn’t level, or the supports weren’t perfect, but the table was not as flat as I had hoped. Usually my comments are due to my experiences. Just trying to help a fellow HAMBer.








    Bones
     
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  16. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,186

    Boneyard51
    Member

    You asked why, about space between my signature and text? Same reason you drive a hot rod! To be a little different! Do things my way. Makes it mine! Because I like to do it that way. To make a statement, I guess that worked, as you are asking about it! Lol






    Bones
     
  17. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,239

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    My dumb question, why is the mill scale a problem for a welding table?
     
    seb fontana, Blues4U and Boneyard51 like this.
  18. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,368

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    I wouldn't use any kind of grinding disc/wheel to clean them up. I always use a wire cup brush. If you have a large one, it can get the mill scale off, but all you really need to do is remove any rust and then paint the legs. You don't need to remove all the scale, the paint will stick just fine. Get some tractor paint (Tractor Supply) and spray it on with a Harbor Freight Spray gun. It even flows out good with a brush. I'd even think about just using some kind of clear. Lay your table top on some wooden 2x4s on the floor and weld the legs in place. While its still upside down, weld large nuts in the bottom of the legs so you can put adjuster bolts in them and level your table wherever you put it. I never had much luck making legs that set perfectly level without adjusters. They sell some stuff that you can spray on to help keep splatter to a minimum.
     
  19. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,711

    squirrel
    Member

    I guess the rust on mine would be an even bigger problem? :) I got mine from the neighbor when he moved, and left it outside for a couple years. It had never had the mill scale sanded off, nor had it been painted. When I finally brought it inside, I did sand much of the rust and some of the scale off the top, with a coarse sanding disc.

    For welding stuff on it, you probably don't want mill scale or paint on the top surface. I can see painting the legs, if you're into that kind of stuff. Like a few others said, if you're not building the bench to show off on garage tours, then you can just sand/grind the scale off where you'll be welding, then after it's all put together and you want to paint it, you could scuff and degrease it and paint. I would be temped to brush on some Rustoleum from a quart can, slightly thinned with acetone.

    If you end up making a show piece, let us see how it looks when it's finished.

    But of course the important things are how much space you leave around the edge of the top for clamping things, and how you plan to make it so it's flat and level, and doesn't get warped where you weld supports to the bottom (bolting it to an angle iron frame, which is welded to the upright legs, might be a good idea)
     
  20. Pickled and oiled
    729A517B-77DA-4D09-91DD-ED040392F733.jpeg

    You could also ask for the material to be wheel abraded or shot blasted. That’s nice stuff too. - for the next time. Saves a lot of bullshit time consuming messy dusty potential dangerous acid adventures in your shop
     
  21. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,331

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    Pickled and oiled is probably the cleanest way to go.

    I was pickled and oiled once, Coors lite and baby oil.... Just don't remember the ladys name. :p
     
  22. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,342

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    My experience with rattle can paint is it never stays where you want it to, but if you don't want it on something, dynamite won't take it off!

    Like was said, I think I'd either brush it on out of a can, or spray some kind of industrial enamel like tractor paint on it, leaving the top and top edges bare for grounding purposes.
     
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  23. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 6,529

    krylon32
    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    Sanding with a D A did not hurt the tables. I've used them for almost 40 years with no problems. I never painted them because I knew they would always be in a dry shop.
     
  24. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,516

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    Your sure it was a lady?
     
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  25. Almostdone
    Joined: Dec 19, 2019
    Posts: 294

    Almostdone
    Member

    For my welding table I left the mill scale on the top and ground the mill scale off the rest of the structure and painted it (not the top). I used a polycarbonate disk to remove the mill scale - it works great for that and it doesn’t eat into the metal like a flap wheel will. I painted it with Rustoleum hammer finish paint.

    Looks great, works great. Try it.

    40577010-9821-43F6-9643-525F1F1994B7.jpeg

    80816D24-B4DD-41E7-B8CD-29A06DD2F054.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  26. CarQuestions
    Joined: May 24, 2015
    Posts: 87

    CarQuestions

    Sorry guys for the late response...work happens.

    I am always amazed at the excellent ideas I get from you all!!!

    Yes...I am not building a show piece for a garage show...I dont like people (they kinda get on my nerves and inturupt my project time) so I am certainly not going to invite any of 'em to come over...except you guys...you are welcome as long as you do not bring any oil...just bring the beer.

    I am wanting to learn how to weld, how to prepare metal for weld and decent paint, and how to make something that looks like I did not build it myself. Just talking about painting the legs and structure and leave the top bare. Going to build a "box" like structure out of the 2 X 2 inch box steel that was shown in the picture and then I will place the 24" x 48" table top that is 7/16 inch thick on top. The plan was to tack weld the table top onto the box structure in just a couple of places and not ley down a thick hot weld bead lest I warp the top.

    The box structure is going to be 18 inches by 32 inches so there will be a bunch of hang over on all edges.

    I'll send a picture of it when I am done.
     
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  27. kursplat
    Joined: Apr 22, 2013
    Posts: 289

    kursplat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    whatever you build, no matter how long you research, agonize, ponder and question, when done chances are you're going to wish you did something different. just build it, learn from it and have fun doing it.
    screw that. i want something that look like i built it AND looks good... oh, and the perfectly flat welding table thing, that's great if you have a project that fits on the table and you want to jig everything off table top for a reference point. build a driveway gate or something else too big, and you are going to need to get everything square without the table's help.

    start melting metal and have fun
     
  28. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,186

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Some years ago I redid a gooseneck trailer, new steel floor, new suspension etc. I wanted it to look as good as the rebuild. I bought some industrial paint from Shewin Williams at a very reasonable price. I put it on with a roller for the big stuff and a brush where the roller couldn’t get. The black paint looked so good I put some red pin strips on it and some decals of the ranch. It looked so good we used it in the Christmas parade that year! I never intended for it to look that good! That was twenty years ago , and the paint still looks good. So.... you might get a quart of industrial paint for your table.









    Bones
     
  29. Just have fun !!!
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    If you quote my post to reply it won’t get caught
    31vicky
     
  30. B1gDaddy
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 261

    B1gDaddy
    Member
    from aladambama

    Flap wheel off w 80 or 120. It will get you some practice in with that too.

    paint w rustoleum a a foam roller , practice there too. Or cheap enamel from tractor supply and hardener, practice there too.

    be sure to weld on some hammer and tool holders onto the table edge and legs or supports. Have you thought about casters? Locking casters? The table surface should be as thick as you can afford
     
    Boneyard51 likes this.

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