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Mobile bench ?

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Mdotflorida

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Inspired by the recent bench building project in GWW, I thought it was about time I had a decent bench myself.

What would be nice though, is the ability to move it away from the wall, where it will stay most of the time, to the centre of the workshop when I need access around all 4 sides, eg for glue ups etc.

The most important thing is rigidity of course, and I do not want to compromise this for mobility. Has anyone got a truely mobile (not just drag it around mobile), truely rigid bench or is this just not really possible.

Jeff
 
A

Anonymous

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The thing to do is get some wheels/castors that you can raise and lower - raised, the bench is sitting on its legs, as normal, so no rigidity loss. Lowered, you're mobile.

There was a thread on this subject ages and ages ago, either here or at the msn group. Someone, can't remember who, posted some links to Norm's efforts at this - looked perfectly reasonable.
 

johnelliott

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What's your floor made of? Mine is flooring grade T&G moisture resistant chipboard (£5 per 8'x2' at Wickes) and I find it quite easy to slide my workbench (and all my other heavy equipment) to a different position
John
 

Mdotflorida

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Same thing here, although I have mobile bases on most of my machines. What kind of bench do you use John ?
 

johnelliott

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Mdotflorida":36f8z8sy said:
What kind of bench do you use John ?
Home made, 1 sheet of 8'x4' 18mm mdf for the top, another sheet cut up to provide a deep frame, 2x4 legs, shelf for rigidity and storage. The whole lot quite heavy but the big (2x4) feet make it slide quite easy when a deliberate attempt is made to move it
John
 

Mike.C

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Hi Jeff,

I haven't got an idea for a bench but i agree with Espedair Street, get wheels/castors that raise and lower the bench. My experience of ordinary castors is that they let the machine/bench move when they are supposed to be locked. If they don't do it at first they will soon start doing it

The raise and lower type do not do this because when they are locked the legs on your bench will be in contact with the floor and the wheels off of it, and when you want to move the bench its legs will be off the floor and the wheels in contact with it.

I belive Rutlands sell this type.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Mike.C
 

Dewy

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Midnight

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Jeff..

relying on a mobile bench myself, I'll confirm what the others have said; retracts are the only way to go..
However, things may not be that simple..
I've learned through experience that the smaller diameter wheel you fit, the less load it's capable of moving. Additionally, a small diameter is less able to traverse any imperfections in your floor; it's that aspect that has put me off using the retracts sold by Rutlands. An ideal compromise might be to fit large diameter castors that can be retracted similar to the NYW assmbly table, a method that I can't readily adapt to my current bench, but intend to design into its replacement..
 

Chris Knight

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In my idle moments, I think about my next bench - it will definitely be mobile for exactly MDF's reasons. However, I also want a super stable, very heavy bench with cupboards and tool racks underneath. I reckon it could easily weigh somewhere between 600 and 1000 lb fully loaded.

At this weight the sort of lift and drag that I do with my present bench is quite out of the question. So too are any number of the "raising-onto-castors" devices one sees for imparting mobility to fixed objects.

My plan - still not much firmer than an idle thought - is to use a pneumatic or hydraulic system ( a cylinder attached to or inside each leg for example) to raise the bench on some suitable set of wheels. ( I did think of using the hovercraft principle and whilst I have not ruled it out by any means, my floor is a bit rough for it. I reckon that my shop-vac exhaust could easily lift such a bench were I to use the entire plan area for the lifting skirt)
 

johnelliott

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Chris, might I suggest providing a jacking point at each end and using an hydraulic trolley jack? Just jack one end up, turn the jack until the wheels are in line with the desired directiopn of travel, then pull. Then move the jack and do the other end. I've moved cars sideways across a garage using this method. Suitable jacks can be got from machine mart for about £60.
John
 

Chris Knight

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John,

That is a very good idea that I had not considered - I guess I was going for something more elegant or at least fancier.

Again, for me one drawback comes in the form of space requirements. Trolley jacks tend to be pretty big and heavy and I would need to store them somewhere and fetch them out when required - certainly not an insurmountable problem but an issue for someone as terminally lazy as me.

Thinking about it, I guess there is no reason why the design of the bench could not itself incorporate these in some way - however the other drawback is the lack of full castoring ability. I would like to move the bench in any direction as soon as it was ready to move.
 

frank

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chris what about a fork lift truck :D you could even move your work shop into the shade if it gets to warm :p

frank
 

Dewy

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Chris, the 3" & 4" castors sold by Rutlands take 300lb each so 4 fitted to the NYW idea will take 1200lb total.
 

Mdotflorida

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Thanks for all the replies and the plethora of ideas. A full set from "drag it" to a hovercraft principle !!! :D .

Norm's bench seems more of a layout / glue up bench (which is what mine will get used for mostly) but will it work if you add storage underneath ?

The hydraulic idea sounds good, no problems with the weight here, but I was hoping to come up with a slightly more elegant solution than a trolly jack.

The ideal solution would seem to be retractable castors so that after moving the bench it sits back on its legs again. Weight is the niggling issue though as, like Chris, I would like to utilise the space under the bench.

I looked at the Rutlands retractables in their caalogue but they look fairly lightweight and no load capacity is given so I think the next move will be a search for something like this only on a more industrial scale.

Many thanks for all the ideas

Jeff
 

Dewy

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Norms was indeed a layout/glueup table made completely from 3/4" ply but it's the method of wheel retraction that could be adapted for other benches. The castors are screwed into T pronged nuts in a hinged base which is held down by hinged flaps that hold it firm when in the down position.
 

Ian Dalziel

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Jeff,
I,m glad the bench has inspired you to think about building your own; good for you, on the note of making it mobile, i built a machine mobile base for my workshop equipement one was featured in GWW, i think the issue came out just after christmas, you could easily adapt my jackup/jackdown system into the bench, it will lift a good bit more than 'Norms' glue up table,
I'll have to talk to Pete/Andy to find out the issue no if you want
best of luck with the bench

Ian
 

Ian Dalziel

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Cheers Alf,
I will really need to stop giving my copies to my father in law or at least get them back

Ian
 
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