I just started playing with my my new plasma cutters when I got tired of doing things outside.  I needed some sort of vented downdraft table so that I could work on things in my shop or garage.

 

To get things moving I started with a basic plasma cutting table from Eastwood.

It lists for $199, but I think I purchased mine on sale for $169.

It has removable slats for easy replacement.

It comes as a kit and will take you 1-2 hours to assemble.

 

I made two frames.  The following is used to make each frame.

  • 2, 2" x 2" x 32" steel angle
  • 2, 2" x 2" x 18" steel angle

I cleaned the edges then clamped them to a table.

I then spot welded all four components as shown here.  I then went back and welded all the seams.  for the best strength weld both sides.

I then added some small inserts to the openings in the frame.

I made two of these frames.  One is the upper frame and will slip over the whole assembly later.

The other is the bottom frame shown here.  I welded some locking casters to the bottom for mobility.

I then cut a piece of cement backerboard  (Hardie) to fit in the bottom frame as shown here.

Measure the inside of your frame and cut the backerboard about 1/4" shy in both directions.

At this point I can sit the cutting table inside the frame as shown here.

I cut cement backerboard panels to fit the sides as shown here.  Because of the bolts they wont sit flat against the cutting table, but thats ok.

Use some tape to hold them in place while you are attaching the panels

The top frame is then slipped over the panels to hold them in place.

On one side of the downdraft table I cut a hole in the panel. I mounted some 2" x 11" angle to the bottom frame as shown here.

These will accommodate a 1500 CFM blower from HarborFreight.

I vent my downdraft table to the outside via this 8" stove pipe.

I have also added some aluminum flashing to the corners to help seal the table.

I attach my plasma work clamp to a magnetic ground block.

How Well Does it Work

The table works better than my expectations. Not only does it work with the plasma cutter, but I can sand and grind on the table.

I also found that I can use it for welding as well.  

Clean out is very simple.  I just remove the front panel and I have full access to the inside.

 

Clean out Drawer

After dropping countless tools and cut part down into the table, I decided it was time to add a clean out drawer.

I build both the drawer support and drawer out of scrap angle.  The bottom of the drawer is some 20 gauge sheet.

Not shown here is a n extra support down the center of the drawer bottom.  This helps support the thin sheet I am using for the bottom.

The drawer frame sits inside the table on the bottom.  I used some bolts as shims to keep it from moving around.

I added some 1/4" aluminum for the drawer front, then added a handle.

Note that the drawer has no supports for the top of the drawer.  If I pull it out too far it will tilt.  

 

Downdraft Table in Action

Here I am using a drag sled with my Everlast 50s plasma cutter to do some simple cutoffs on bar stock.

Here I am using a drag sled with my Everlast 50s plasma cutter to cut some thin sheet.

The sheet is galvanized but the downdraft takes care of the fumes.

Cutting some HVAC sheet using a DIY carriage.

Doing a cutoff of some bar stock with the DIY carriage.

More cutting with the carriage.