I need to attach this base plate to a stainless steel table in a commercial kitchen. It'd be attached to the top surface off to the side.

It's for a commercial size can-opener.

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How do I go about that? Drill holes and then use bolts? Use some special type of screw? Do I need a special drill bit to create the holes?

The tables aren't a solid slab of steel...they're actually pretty thin on the surfaces.

I'm a woodworker...doing anything with steel is way out of my wheelhouse. :)

Here's a photo showing the item attached so you can see what I'm after.

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  • Anyone else intending to do this should check that it is legal in their country. It introduces hard-to-clean spaces for dirt and germs to be harboured. – Andrew Morton Jan 28 '20 at 11:27

That application obviously results in a lot of torsional stress on the part. You'll want to drill the top for bolts and nuts, as opposed to using sheet metal screws, which will eventually work loose.

I'd size them to the holes in the bracket plate. The type of bolt isn't really important, but you probably want something with a low head profile. It must be stainless, of course. Use lock washers under the nuts, or use flat washers and stop nuts (with nylon inserts).

You may also want to add a backer plate of heavier material to reduce flex in the table, depending on its thickness gauge. 1/4" aluminum bar between the nuts and the table would do well.

Drilling stainless can be challenging. Do a little reading on tools and technique.

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    Just wanted to add to be careful with stainless bolts and nuts as they have a tendency to weld themselves together while tightening. – canadianer Nov 17 '17 at 18:23
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    True! Galling does very strange (and supremely frustrating) things to stainless steel. – isherwood Nov 17 '17 at 18:46
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    Some of these steel tables do have a C shaped beam that connect the front and back legs. Look for such a beam and see if the screws will fall in that area. Then a separate backer would not be needed. – JPhi1618 Nov 17 '17 at 21:46
  • I'd be temped to add a bolt on each side of the part that hangs down the side of the table. It will be better suited to resist the torsional stresses. – Phil Nov 17 '17 at 23:05

This can opener should be clamped to the table without drilling through the top. At a later time you may wish to move the opener and would be inhibited from doing so by the presence of holes drilled in the surface.

I have found that drilling stainless steel is a challenge. To get the opener into operation I would try to clamp the base to the side of the table with C-clamps, one on each side, with the crank handles under the table. Notice that the orientation of the base in use is this: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/images/products/xxl/61573/1444818.jpg

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    I don't see anything resembling a clamp device in the photos. (There is an object on the shelf below that maybe causing confusion.) It's a height-adjustable slide bar for the opener. I agree that avoiding holes would be good, but I don't see how you'd clamp this particular device. – isherwood Nov 17 '17 at 18:48
  • No torque until a person starts cranking away, then it can be substantial. Basically all the force required to cut the can is imparted on the shaft. I edited in that I think you're seeing an object on the shelf below, not a clamp. – isherwood Nov 17 '17 at 19:02
  • See this: hubert.com/product/62770/… – Jim Stewart Nov 17 '17 at 19:03
  • Yep, but notice that that one is a robust cast piece, not the sheet metal we have here. – isherwood Nov 17 '17 at 19:04
  • Looking at the picture again I see that the mount pictured in the OP's 3rd picture is likely a "semi-permanent" bolt attachment requiring holes; I was predisposed to see what I was familiar with. I still think it would be wrong to drill into that SS table unless it cannot be avoided. If this can opener is unsatisfactory (immediately or later), you will be left with a holed table. Find out if the manufacturer makes a clamp on base. – Jim Stewart Nov 17 '17 at 19:19

All above said is good; Quarter inch diameter stainless steel bolts with recessed heads would be a good choice. I would counter sink the holes in the mounting plate slightly so nothing sticks up to get caught on. One inch square strut washers would provide some nice additional stability. Any good quality steel drill bit should handle the table. Nylon inserts are a given. P.

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    Note that what's "above" right now for you, might be "below" at some other time and for people who've selected different sort orders for the answers. It's always better to link to the specific answer or comments you're talking about. – David Richerby Nov 17 '17 at 18:32
  • The bracket is upside-down in the photo. The screw holes are already countersunk through stamping. – isherwood Nov 17 '17 at 18:45

I would make a template (paper is OK) from the base plate. This must have holes in the same place as the holes in the bracket. Then, I'd acquire a rectangular piece of steel longer and wider than the part of the bracket being attached to the top. Drill out the new piece in the same hole pattern using the template and undersized holes, then tap them out for bolts. You can then use the same template to drill the top of the table - using a slightly larger hole size, a center punch, and working slowly with cutting oil. Use stout stainless steel bolts and tighten thoroughly to avoid metal fatigue. I would put anti-seize compound in the holes of the new plate before assembling, but ymmv. Assembled this way, the can-opener will stay put more or less forever.

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