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How To Build Jack Stand Side Tables (Plasma Cutter Project)

How To Build Jack Stand Side Tables (Plasma Cutter Project)

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Looking for a cool, industrial side table design? Try your hand at making these jack stand side tables. You can find these jack stands all over the place, and it's as simple as welding the top onto the stands. Enjoy the build!

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Tools Used in the Jack Stand Side Tables Build

Jack Stand Side Tables Build Process

This project idea came about during my parent’s recent move. They were cleaning out their attic and found these vintage jack stands that they had stored away for who knows how many years. My mom thought they’d make a cool project, so she did some Pinteresting and decided that they would make perfect side tables.

I decided this would be a perfect project to get more use out of my plasma cutter, a Lincoln Electric Tomahawk 375. I love this thing, it has a built-in air compressor so it’s super easy to just pull out and get to cutting. Lincoln makes a circle cutting kit for their plasma cutters, so I thought "why not make the table tops circles?", so that's just what I did.

If you don’t have a plasma cutter and want to do this project, you have a few options. First, you could just make your table top square or rectangular and cut it out with an angle grinder. Second, you could find a friend who has a plasma cutter and use their machine. And third, you could find a local fabrication shop to cut the circles for you.

I’m still getting used to the plasma cutter, and I actually think I need to turn the power down next time I use it, since I was getting a lot of dross build up. Dross is the name for the melted metal that is formed on the bottom of the piece you’re cutting.

Sometimes, the dross will flow back together, essentially sealing the cut you just made. It’s really annoying. Heavy dross is usually caused by too slow of a cutting speed or too much power, aka user error. I had to go back in a few spots and freehand cut some of the dross and eventually I freed both of the circles.

After I got the circles cut, I needed to cut some small pieces to go between the table top and the top of the jack stands. They have a little gap between the edges of the stand and that gap wouldn’t allow me to get much of a weld surface on the piece. I just measured them off of the jack stand and cut them with an angle grinder.

After all of my pieces were cut, I ground them down on the belt grinder. I wanted to flatten the small pieces, since the diamond plate pattern created a big gap. I also cleaned up the circles on the grinder. I didn’t want the edges to be perfectly shiny, I just wanted to remove the dross and any sharp areas.

After my pieces were cleaned up, it was time to get to welding. I used flux core MIG on this project, since I knew I’d be welding on some not-so-perfect surfaces with rust, mill scale, and paint. First, I welded the small filler pieces to the bottom of the table top. I tacked them in place then ran a bead on each side.

Next, I welded the top of the jack stand to the bottom of the table top. One note here: any time you’re welding through paint, it’s going to create some nasty fumes. Make sure you’ve got plenty of ventilation and preferably wear a respirator.

Here, you can see how adding the little pieces of steel gave me a lot more weld surface. Probably not completely necessary since the most weight this table will be supporting is a few drinks and maybe a book, but I like to overbuild things.

After I finished welding, I ground down my welds with a grinding wheel. Then, I switched to a flap disc and lightly sanded the top. Again, I just wanted to remove any rough edges here.

Next, I welded the tops to the base of the jack stand. This was a little tricky, since the jack stand doesn’t sit perfectly square, so I kind of had to eyeball it. It turned out fine, though. I just tacked it in a few spots and then ran one bead on each stand and they are plenty sturdy.

To prep for finish, I sanded the top with 80 grit sandpaper and then wiped down all of the surfaces with denatured alcohol.

I decided these jack stand side tables needed a little something extra, so I added a little racing stripe in white to tie the top in with the base. After that dried, I added a few coats of clear enamel. I made sure to cover the top and any of the welded areas really well, as they are going to be extremely prone to rusting. After I had a few coats on, the jack stand side tables were done.

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