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Thread: Torsion box assembly table-what size?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Punta Gorda, Florida

    Torsion box assembly table-what size?

    I am going to build a torsion box assembly table out of MDF and wondered what size would be required to handle most projects. I am going to put it on wheels and probably use 12" to 18" wide interlocking plywood stands to set it on when I need the greater heigth as suggested by Bart Leetch in a post that I remember seeing a good while ago at another place. I have a temporary spray booth that I would like to be able to roll it into for spraying and it is 8' x 8'. I am thinking the table should be 3' x 7'. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    allen, a 3x7 mdf torsion box is going to tip the scales at 150#+! do you need a structure that big? or heavy? a 30x60 torsion box using baltic birch, 1/4" skins on 3/4" webbing would be under 50# and very likely more ridgid than one built out of could always build two and join `em end to end or side to side for whatever you`re working on......tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    La Habra Hts. CA
    Allen mine is 36x60...I used 1/2" mdf for the webs and 1/2" mdf for the top and bottom skin. I then covered the top with laminate and trimmed it with maple. It stands about 27 inches high and is on wheels. I built a melamine carcase for it with 4 drawers. I'll include some pics but don't have any good detail ones as of yet.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island

    You can use 1/2" plywood for the whole thing webbing & cover. If you can get 3/8" plywood it would work fine for the covers top & bottom if you can get it. The important thing it to be able to pull the sheeting down tight to the webbing with glue & fasteners . Screws work best because they work like clamps. Start in the middle & work out toward the edges. Remember we aren't getting any younger & things just seem to get heavier. The idea of a torsion box is to make it flat strong & light.

    Also If you use 1/2" webbing & can still get like 7/16" or even 3/8" for the covers it will be very strong but much lighter.
    I don't think I'd make the webbing more than 1 1/2"- 2" deep. I actually think 1 1/2" webbing with 3/8" plywood covers would be fine for an assembly table. You would end up approximately 2 1/4" thick over all. It should be plenty strong with glue & screws yet still light & easy to move.

    The important thing is to set up a flat place to work. You can rip & joint some material. What I used was so 2x4 material that I had on the shelf that was very dry. I ran it through the table saw & jointed it & the set it up on saw horses & shimmed it until the 3 2x's were absolutely flat across the tops of all three & screwed them to the saw horses with a piece of plywood screwed down to the 2x’s.

    Then I laid out a grid on the outside of the plywood torsion box covers centered on where the webbing would be on the inside of the box & drilled & countersunk holes in it Then I laid out the sides & ends with lines & pre drilled & counter sunk holes where the ends of the webbing should align I put the box sides together & laid the webbing together inside it on top of the temporary table with glue & air nails at the joints in the webbing & then went around & shot the screws home around the sides & put the glue on top of the webbing I laid the top sheet on squared it up & started in the middle screwing it down. Then just flip the box over & put the other side on.

    I would make 2 panels 2' wide & what ever length will work for you. You can always place them next to each other. Make some way to lock the 2 panels together nice & flat. I want to have a system like this with legs out of interlocking plywood when I have a shop that is big enough.

    This is my CMS multi tool cabinet with the torsion box base. My friend & I jumped up & down on on the box when it was first mounted on wheels no give at all.

    I hope this helps
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails torsion box 005.jpg   torsion box.jpg   Miter-saw multi tool stand 007.jpg   Miter-saw multi tool stand 008.jpg   Miter-saw multi tool stand 012.jpg  

    Miter-saw multi tool stand 024.jpg   Miter-saw multi tool stand 027.jpg   Miter-saw multi tool stand 034.jpg   Miter-saw multi tool stand 39.jpg  
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 03-01-2007 at 02:40 AM.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Punta Gorda, Florida
    All good points. Looks like so far the size should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30" x 60" to 36" x 60". Actually the 60" length would work good for my space and spray booth if that is long enough. And, as tod said, I could butt two together if I need to. Might be a little tough lining them up flat all the way across. This is one of the points that I was looking for.

    I thought that MDF would be a good choice as I would just have to wax the top and it would be ready to go without having to laminate it or use some type of coating. I knew that it would be really heavy but thought that might be a plus except when I had to move or store it but maybe not. I will have to think about the material thing.

    Thanks for your input. Standing by for any more good advise.

    Last edited by Allen Bookout; 03-01-2007 at 01:56 AM.

  6. #6
    Bart this is one really great cabinet, I want to do something just like it for my mitre saw and have a ton of storage underneath. What did you wind up using as a finish? Poly or a varnish maybe? Thanks Pat

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Allen one thing you might want to consider on your assembly table idea given you going to build a torsion box type is to put a sanding table section into it. If you happen to use pegboard on a section of it and notch out some of the tortion bits in that area under the surface you could fit a dust collector or shop vac hook up and have the best of both worlds. Thats my plan when i finally settle my table saw in one place and build an out feed table. Its going to be a real combo combo of all sorts.

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