Systainer tote and MFT worktable - SYS-MaFe

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Blog entry by mafe posted 12-10-2020 11:39 PM 1724 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Systainer tote and MFT worktable

Time for another project that was made out of joy, not need, but with a specific purpose in mind and the create as you go approach to the project, no drawings, no final idea, just loose thoughts.

The criteria was, that it could function as:
A tool tote / caddy.
A MFT compatible workbench, that could rest or connect on top of the systainers, so it could function as a low and high work surface.
A sawhorse.
A step stool or as small stool for a rest.
That it could be stored inside a systainer during transport.
That everyone should be able to make it easy and cheap.
Well and that it was also a joy to look at.

Perhaps you will also like my systainer routertable, if you have not seen it:

Here stored into a systainer, also mounted a tool plate to the lid, for extra tool storage.

Out of the box, in it’s simple function as a tool tote, loaded up with the tools needed for a specific job.

Now upside down, as a worktable, that fits on top of a systainer and have the famous MFT 20mm holes with 96mm spacing invented by Festool.

Well let’s get started.
I had some good quality birch plywood scrap, so this was going to be the mail material.

Cut up on the table saw, as the four simple pieces needed.
Top / tote bottom, ends and a handle.
I will throw in a sketch later, with all the sizes, but I forgot it at the workshop yesterday.

I had the idea, that there should be dividers and sides also, so I cut some rabbets, to fit a 3mm ply.

Like this the tote can be more useful, but sides can be taken off easy, when needed.

Marked up the 96mm spacing and drilled 20mm holes, as precise as I could, since I had no template.
(I just bought a 3D printed template, that I can use in the future).

End pieces also got 20mm holes for clamping on the sides.

Edges were lightly rounded over, with a 45° bit, to make them less fragile.

The handle was cut to a curve and a tote was born.

Flipped over it is a small on site worktable.

Working with the 20mm gear.

With fits into the rabbet on top of the systainers to add stability.

Tabletop is glued and screwed onto the sides, if you have a Domino, tat would be the perfect tool.

Countersink first.

A dowel was put in the handle ends, to add strength for the screw coming in from the end.

You can see the handles screw holes here.

Handle screwed in place.

Here you can see that the rabbets I made for dividers are running through the 20mm holes, this is not a good ide, so if you want to make the divider rabbets, move them to each side of the holes, I would simply recommend not making any, just the rabbets for the sides.

Table don, and here used on top of my MFT3 table, as a raised work surface, this will come in handy at times.

Clamped in place for stability.

Sawing setup.

Clamping setup.

All kind of MFT accessorises can be used with it.


If you need to clamp to the sides, you can slide the tote sides down.

Clamping two pieces 90° for assembly.

Notice I rounded the handle edges for comfort.

On the worksite, you can stack systainers to desired work hight.

Not bad for a mobile workspace?

Let’s get started.

Since I have no fixed mount for the small table, only the rabbets on the systainer, it can rest in, I added a strap, so it can be tied down, with a few tools in the systainers, it will be really sturdy when needed.

With a pair of Raildogs, you can even use a track.

To male cross cuts, routing or what ever in small scale.

In this setup, you can cut boards to length, without cutting into the top.

Like this in perfect 90°.

Or like this where you cut into the top, to prevent tear out.

Once done, throw all the gear inside the tote.

The systainers have for screw holes in the lid, so I mounted a 3mm plywood there.

Holes and bungee.

To hold the basic tools, that I will always bring.

The tools.

Systainer closed up for transport or storage.

Made a clamping triangle and a miter saw hook for the box.

The parts.

The basic setup.

I look forward to bring this to my allotment, for around the house projects, but even more to come and help my daughter, or work in my apartment, with a little portable workshop.

Hope it can be to some inspiration, or even better make life more easy, when working on site.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

5 comments so far

View lew's profile


13430 posts in 5004 days

#1 posted 12-11-2020 12:57 AM

Mads, my friend, you pack those systainers like a sailor packing a sea bag! Everything fits and no wasted space.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8484 posts in 1831 days

#2 posted 12-11-2020 02:50 AM

Looks like a great addition to your existing systainers and MFT gear. And carrying things between two shops, good luggable storage seems like a Very Good Thing.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View madts's profile


1959 posts in 3589 days

#3 posted 12-11-2020 04:45 PM

Very well done Mads. I really like your approach.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View pottz's profile


20741 posts in 2233 days

#4 posted 12-11-2020 06:39 PM

well no surprise here that youve created another very well thought out ingenious way of storing and transporting always inspire me to do more mads.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View mafe's profile


13350 posts in 4338 days

#5 posted 12-11-2020 07:53 PM

Lew, big warm smile. I love the way you express that; like a sailor packing a sea bag, I’m having a great time doing it, think it’s what shines trough.
Dave, Yes I have a portable workshop now, really wonderful to be able to throw a couple of systainers into the car, and know, all you need is there. Thank you.
madts, Smiles Madts, I found a way to be a child, as an adult… Laughs.
Pottz, Nothing better than to share and inspire, it makes the posting worth doing, so a warm thank you.
Thank you guys, for being who you are, it brings smiles, here in the dark winter, we had only 7 minutes of sun pr day this month, so it’s needed.
Best of my thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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