Mobile Assembly Table

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Forum topic by Justin posted 03-31-2011 03:09 AM 45749 views 5 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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119 posts in 3479 days

03-31-2011 03:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resource question

Currently my shop is located in a 16×24 garage that we also do car repair in so i have to be able to clear enough space for a car/truck to pull in. So my idea was to make a mobile assembly table that i can move outside the door once every month or two but I didn’t want it to move while working on it. I also didn’t want to have wheels on it all the time because I think it would get in the way. The table in the drawing below is currently the table is 48×72 in the drawing but I am going to redraw it for 48×48 because it takes up more space than I thought it would.

I was just wondering what you guys though about the design of the wheels. I’ll use pneumatic casters rather than the rubber ones in the drawing because it needs to go over gravel. The casters and frames will most likely have to be welded rather than wood to provide more strength. The way the wheels work is by just inserting them into the holes in two 2×4 and 5/8 thick gable end and pushing down on the metal bar with your foot and push it into the latch. I think the design could work but I am not sure if it would be able to hold the weight when the table is loaded with tools, so I was just wondering what you though and if you have any suggestions or alternatives.

23 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4087 days

#1 posted 03-31-2011 03:14 AM

Cool design,very nice

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3599 days

#2 posted 03-31-2011 03:16 AM

I like it, and I always like the space-savers, like the flip down planer. One concern though, be very careful about aligning that section of the top so it is flat, and locks well, you dont want to forget about a rise or depression there and screw up assemblies. also, you will have to round the edge of the cutout section or the corners will catch, or you will have to have a relatively large slot for clearance. rotating a rectangle like that is like putting a square peg in a round hole, the hole has to be much larger than the square to accommodate the corners. Just want to make sure you take this into consideration since your drawing seems to still have this issue.
Good luck with your build

View Justin's profile


119 posts in 3479 days

#3 posted 03-31-2011 03:29 AM

@drewahant – the torsion box around the flip top in set back a inch to allow room for it to turn around but i think i might need to add a more room to be sure it don’t get stuck. I guess placing the flip top in the right spot will be very important because i wouldn’t want a rise or depression there like you said.

View Justin's profile


119 posts in 3479 days

#4 posted 04-01-2011 04:07 AM

any thoughts about if the lifting mechanism will even work or not? I think it might but i am not sure because it will have a fair bit of weight in a 48×48 table with tools in it. any help will be appreciated.

View Daday1974's profile


1 post in 1899 days

#5 posted 12-16-2015 12:45 PM

Rather than removing the wheels all together, have you considered installing furniture pads to lift the wheels off the ground so it doesn’t slide around? Just a thought.

Here’s s link:

View HokieKen's profile


10933 posts in 1648 days

#6 posted 12-16-2015 03:03 PM

I’d have serious concern about the caster design. The way you have it, as far as I can tell, all of the weight will be resting on the pivot pins, not on the caster brackets or the casters. That’s a lot of stress on the pins and the wood they’re in, especially over time.

There are several ways to get around this while keeping a similar design. I think I’d look at a simple hinge so you lift the end and swing the wheels under for simplicity. It would require you to lift the end of the table a bit higher but you have to lift it either way.

The simplest solution, and the one I’ve used on several mobile stands, is quality dual locking casters. It’s not quite as rigid as having it sitting on the floor, but it’s darned close if you use good casters mounted properly and positioned well.

All that being said, your design may work just fine for years. I’m an engineer so I tend to over analyze ;P You can always give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, there’s no damage to the table if you remove it.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View BurlyBob's profile


6508 posts in 2775 days

#7 posted 12-16-2015 04:02 PM

That is a sweet design! Like Kenny said you might want to reconsider those wheel. I’ve see on the workbench smack down forum where Rocker has got flip up wheels. Flip them down and they are under the bench. You might want to take a look at those. The weight of the bench would be on top of the wheels when you move it.
I can for see your brackets getting sprung from the weight of the bench as you move it.

View MrUnix's profile


7478 posts in 2709 days

#8 posted 12-16-2015 04:23 PM

Might want to consider using something like these instead:

Rockler Workbench Caster Kit 4 Pack


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View conifur's profile


954 posts in 1661 days

#9 posted 12-16-2015 04:32 PM

Ankle busters!!!

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View ckorkyrun89's profile


65 posts in 2533 days

#10 posted 12-16-2015 04:39 PM

I have done a similar design using levers to raise the casters and I haven’t been happy with it. I would suggest just getting fully locking (swivel and rolling) casters if you can. The ones I have on another table don’t move at all even with relatively heavy pushing.

View MrUnix's profile


7478 posts in 2709 days

#11 posted 12-16-2015 04:43 PM

Ankle busters!!!
- conifur

Yeah… but only when in the down position, which is only when you are moving the table. In the up position, the foot lever is raised and not sticking out any further than the caster themselves. I made my own for a mobile base as I needed more capacity than the Rockler ones, but the concept is the same… here is what they look like (before being painted!) in the raised and lowered positions:

And the foot lever can be flipped back further to an almost upright position if needed, placing it basically up against the mount point and completely out of the way.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View ste6168's profile


258 posts in 1681 days

#12 posted 12-16-2015 04:45 PM

I like the idea, BUT I don’t think I would like it in my shop. When using the planer, I like to be able to walk right around the machine, after feeding the board(s) to support it on the outfeed side. With this design, it would be several steps to get around the machine. It may not seem like much on paper, but in real life, I think it would get old, quick. Just my thoughts though, YMMV.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5986 posts in 3323 days

#13 posted 12-16-2015 05:08 PM

I would just us total-lock casters. Both the swivel and wheel rotation is locked when you step on the small lever.
I agree with ste6168 regarding the ability to walk around the planer being important. At minimum, I would change the orientation of the planer so the boards pass over the cart lengthwise. This will at least allow access to the depth crank on your planer. Also the more infeed / outfeed support you have, the better.
I usually don’t love the idea of flip-top carts. Dedicated tool stations have the advantage there, but I understand you are trying to save some space. Nice rendering.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View MrUnix's profile


7478 posts in 2709 days

#14 posted 12-16-2015 05:22 PM

The only problem I see with using double-locking casters is it doesn’t give you any ability to adjust the height… which may or may not really be a problem. With something that lifts to move, either using lifting caster brackets like the ones I showed or using the original pivoting design, you can place adjustable feet on the bottom of the table. That not only allows for fine tuning the height to exactly match the table saw height, but it also lets you compensate for uneven floors or making the work surface level if needed. Fixed swivel casters along with adjustable lifting pads would also work for that, similar to how many mobile bases (like the current one at HF) are setup. And actually, that configuration would allow the casters to be placed under the table completely out of the way, with just the lifting pads outboard, so no ‘ankle busters’ :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5974 posts in 2919 days

#15 posted 12-17-2015 02:36 AM

I tried this once. Great idea I thought at the time. Got it built and had every intention of pulling it out and using it as a assembly table then put it back. It is 24” deep and 8 feet long and 30 inches tall with casters. It has everything in it you might need. Drills, planer, saws, sandpaper, supplies etc etc. WEIGHS A TON. Even empty with all the drawers in it I knew this was not going to work as planned. In 15 years it has not moved. I imagine the casters are flat by now. My neighbor had same problem so he built just a table, heavy duty out of PT 2×4’s, painted it and keeps it outside under a custom tarp I sewed up for him. As a bonus it doubles as a extra picnic table when they have company.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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