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Project by tyvekboy posted 02-05-2013 06:54 PM 53286 views 114 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
UNIVERSAL POWER TOOL MOBILE BASE IDEA • No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
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Feb. 5, 2013

With our small shops, mobile bases are a must. You can go out and buy a mobile base but what I found is that most mobile bases have 2 fixed wheels. This requires you to DRIVE your tool to where you want it.

I wanted a mobile base that had 4 swivel/locking casters and raised the tool no more than 1 inch above the floor. I tried to keep the design simple, easy to build and strong enough to hold a tool weighing under 300 pounds. The resulting design was easily modified to fit my 2 new power tools: A Jet Jointer and a Powermatic Bandsaw.

The design uses 3/4 inch plywood, sheet rock screws, glue, angle iron from an old bed frame and Rockler Heavy Duty 3 inch Total Swivel and Lock casters (both stem and plate versions). The angle iron is where the power tool will be resting.

To adapt this design to your shop tool, start by measuring the base and determining the size of the frame. An easy way is to get a piece of paper on the floor and put your tool base/cabinet on the paper and trace around it. Then you can get accurate measurements for the base pieces. Be sure to allow for the angle iron thickness. Cut your base pieces and then screw (I use sheetrock screws) together. Be sure to test fit your base with your power tool. If everything is OK, then remove the screws and apply glue and reinstall screws.

Also allow for any access doors, dust ports and cords around the tools base. The sides of my mobile base shown here were designed to allow access door operation.

Each tool will have different requirements. As you can see in the next photo which was the base for the Jet Jointer, the angle iron was place on the sides. For the Powermatic Bandsaw, the angle iron was placed on the ends. I drilled and tapped the angle iron for three 5/16 bolts that attached the angle irons to the inside of the frame even with the bottom of the base frame.

If possible, provide a way to secure the tool base to the angle iron as shown in the picture below. Here I drilled and tapped holes in the angle iron and made a thick metal clamp that spanned the hole in the cabinet strap through which the bolt ran for this attachment. A different method was used to attach the jointer to the mobile base. Make up your own solution.

You will also need to make the caster mounts as shown below. They measure 6-1/2 inch X 6-1/2 inch (bottom and back outside dimensions) and are 4-1/2 inch wide to accommodate both stem and plate mount casters. This size allows full swivel of the wheels. I also chose 4 swivel wheels as it makes moving heavy tools around a small shop easier. The side supports can just be simple triangles but I chose to add some flare to them. I made a template that I used to flush trim with my router after they were rough cut on the bandsaw.

These caster mounts are glued and screwed together. I first pre-drilled and screwed the mounts together and then took them apart and applied glue and re-screwed them together. Before gluing this assembly together, be sure you pre-drill for the caster mount and the bolt and sheet rock screws that are used to attach it to the frame. No glue is used in attaching the caster mounts to the base frame.

To determine the location of the caster mounts on the base frame, I placed a 3/4 inch spacer under the frame and clamped the caster mounts to the frame with the casters attached. To make sure the caster mounts stayed attached to the frame, I attached them with 4 sheet rock screws from one side …

… and 3 sheet rock screws from the other side along with a bolt, nut and washers.

Once the mobile base is done, you can start building your power tool on the mobile base. Itʻs easier to do it this way since the base has to be lifted about 10 inches above the floor to place it inside the mobile base. Make sure you firmly attach the mobile base to the tool cabinet before proceeding so minor adjustments can be made while the assembly is relatively light.

You can also add other accessories to your mobile base such as cord wraps as shown in the next photo. Also note that the cord exit from the base cabinet of the jet jointer had to be relocated so it would not be coming out from behind the caster mount where there is little room. Since there were no holes in the jointer cabinet, I just attached the cord wrap for the jointer to the caster mounts.

The cord wrap for the bandsaw was mounted using the existing holes in the base cabinet.

Also using existing holes in the bandsaw base cabinet on the other side I made a place to store all the other accessories for the bandsaw.

The nice feature about these homemade mobile bases is that they move in any direction and make it easy to get it to go where you want it and firmly lock in place.

I used Watco Danish Oil on all the wood parts and paste wax on the shiny angle iron.

I hope this will give you ideas that you can use in your shop.

Comments are appreciated. Questions always welcomed.

Thanks for looking.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

25 comments so far

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4384 days

#1 posted 02-05-2013 07:00 PM

Nice mobile base. I like the storage idea as well.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3258 days

#2 posted 02-05-2013 07:10 PM

Very nicely done, with great storage solutions.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4560 days

#3 posted 02-05-2013 07:42 PM


-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View Belg1960's profile


1123 posts in 4031 days

#4 posted 02-05-2013 08:02 PM

I love the ideas and my only question would be on the bandsaw unit by countersinking the nut for the casters don’t you think that whats left will be kind of thin?? In case your cutting something heavy and the weight of the saw itself you only have about what left on each wheel,5/16”?

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View tyvekboy's profile


2092 posts in 3979 days

#5 posted 02-05-2013 09:07 PM


The countersunk nut is on the jointer stem casters is only enough to allow the nut to get a good grip on the threaded stem. The stem is even with the top of the nut. I donʻt think itʻs going to compromise the strength. On the bandsaw I used PLATE casters with carriage bolts going thru a full 3/4 inch of wood.

Good question. I was wondering if stem or plate casters are better to use. I think your comment points towards using plate casters.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Belg1960's profile


1123 posts in 4031 days

#6 posted 02-05-2013 09:13 PM

If I had a choice I would go with plate casters for sure. What do you think is left after the countersink?

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3479 days

#7 posted 02-05-2013 09:41 PM

tyvekboy nice way to get stuff moved around but there’s yet another method and pardon stepping on toes as it’s not meant to but in my mind is better and doesn’t cost as much then what you posted. The system only requires two 2” non swivel and non locking coasters, the cart allows the whole machine to rest firmly on the ground/floor without having to worry about locking any casters, once the cart is at rest the casters are off the ground. It can be made as a cart for a machine to sit in as your does or it can be used as a complete base such as the way I did it, I think this might be what you meant by having to drive stuff around?

Model cart

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View tyvekboy's profile


2092 posts in 3979 days

#8 posted 02-05-2013 10:10 PM


Went down to the shop and measured. I countersinked it 1/4 inch. So that leaves 1/2 inch around the hole. There is a pretty big base on the top of the caster around the stem and I think that sits on 3/4 inch of plywood. I think it will work fine considering the rest of the structure around it.

The PROʻs for Stem Casters is you donʻt have to buy any carriage bolts and you only have to drill ONE hole. The PRoʻs for Plate Casters is you have it grabbing more wood. Got to drill more holes and spend on carriage bolts.


Itʻs always good to consider other ideas. I looked at your cart idea and it is a good solution too. Itʻs similar to the idea the Laguna uses for their 14 inch SUV band saws. The only problem is that you still must DRIVE it to where you want it. Ever tried to move it sideways into a parking spot? I do agree your idea is a cheaper way to go.

BTW… my mobile bases only cost was the casters (and carriage bolts for plate casters) and the bolts used to attach the caster mounts to the frame. The rest of the wood was from the free scraps I keep collecting.

So lets say the casters cost around $90.00 retail per set of 4 and maybe $5.00 for carriage bolts, bolts and washers if plate casters are used. Still not bad when considering that a Powermatic mobile base for the bandsaw cost almost $247 and it doesnʻt move sideways.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Woodbridge's profile


3740 posts in 3384 days

#9 posted 02-05-2013 10:25 PM

That is a great looking base, and one that I will need to build for band saw. I also have a small shop and everything has to be on castors so that it can be easily moved. I recently upgraded the castors on most of my bases with higher quality ones (in this case from Lee Valley) and it makes it so much easier to move things about and the locking mechanisms work so much better. However when I went to install them current home made band saw base they were too big. So I will need to build a new base for my bandsaw and your posting will come in quite handy. Thanks

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4543 days

#10 posted 02-05-2013 10:37 PM

View luv2learn's profile


3097 posts in 3269 days

#11 posted 02-06-2013 12:27 AM

I like your mobile base concept. It has a classy look but very functional.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3156 days

#12 posted 02-06-2013 12:32 AM

awesome base and design!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25717 posts in 4072 days

#13 posted 02-06-2013 04:34 AM

Nice job.. good idea!!!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 4068 days

#14 posted 02-06-2013 05:59 AM

That is one big honkin’ toe trippin mobile base. Shop space is too precious to give up that extra room.
Mobile bases, shopping carts etc. are made with two swivel casters and two fixed casters for a reason: Control.
Yes, you drive them to thier destination.
Lifting a machine 10 inches off the ground as you stated is impractical and unsafe at best.

Your mobile base is pretty and you did a nice photo layout…....................

-- mike...............

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3527 days

#15 posted 02-07-2013 04:15 AM

Well thought out design. Yes, there is a trade off to be made by extending the casters so far outboard of the equipment cabinet, but the extra stability it offers is well worth it if you have the space. I did a similar thing with the base I made for my Ridgid R4511, 450# granite topped saw, which increased the stability immeasurably.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

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