Building a race car from the ground up takes a lot of prep, and with the tubes of a Miller chassis only weeks away from delivery the team members at Proving Grounds Racing are doing everything they can to be ready to get to work as soon as it arrives. One task was to have the proper tools to be able to weld the chassis together, which includes a fixture table. What could be better than just owning a fixture table? Easy; building your own. And that is exactly what John Grounds, 4570 driver, decided to do with the Joe from Travel Your Own Road.
What is a Fixture Table? A fixture tables are typically waist high platforms used as a workbench for metal fabrication. The table provides the welder with stability and assistance with squaring, measuring, and mounting while withstanding the extreme heat that comes with welding. There are many different types of mounting fixture systems to the tables, and each style has their own purpose.
For our Miller Chassis, we went with 4” by 4” square centers for our mounting surfaces, not only on the 3/8” thick steel top platform, but also on the perimeter of the tables for more versatile mounting. Each hole is threaded with a 3/8-16 thread for mounting our fixture plates and build templates for the chassis and jigs. This will help us hold down the chassis and components flat and square while welding each node and tube together. Each table is 4 by 6-foot-long with adjustable legs for height.
Quick Tip: When welding and using a fixture table, make sure you work in an area that is well ventilated to help prevent breathing in fumes and gases.
Don't be this guy!
Our fixture table process
Assembling the base
Each tabletop weights over 350 lbs. Nothing a backhoe and an industrial magnet cannot
handle to maneuver around the shop for assembly!
The bottom side of each table has braces for stability, and trueness for assembly and welding together each panel. Each piece is keyed specific to its placement for mating to each component of the table for the most
Welding the Table
Joe jumped from end to end to keep the head from collecting in a single area. This is also helpful to ensure the tabletop does not warp with the rise in temperature from a hot spot where constant welding is taking place.
Like our project and thinking of building your own table? We recommend our top of the line metal supplier, Industrial Metal Supply! Server of the southwest, IMS is a full line metal distributor from aluminum to steel and copper to brass in various alloys, shapes, and sizes. They offer specialty and decorative metals as well as a large selection of metalworking tools and supplies. On top of all that, IMS is the only metal distributor that can service manufacturers, fabricators, job shops, contractors, maintenance departments, and hobbyists all within hours.
We made our tables 24" tall. This is common for fixture tables and assembly tables. Leg adjusters are also created for height change for our projects down the line for the total height of 40" tall.
Completed project with adjustable legs!
With the tables complete, a final blancher ground process on the tops are to be done to keep a flat top. The tables will be wiped in a penetrating oil to keep from rusting, but also for weld splatter. This helps weld slapper from sticking to the table or inside the threads of the mounting holes.
Video highlights of the fixture table build