is mdf strong enough to build a cabinet carcass for my drill press stand?

is 3/4 mdf strong enough to build a cabinet carcass for my shop tools such as a rolling cabinet for my bench top drill press; mortiser; etc?
Would it be better to use 3/4" hardwood plywood or a dimensional lumber frame with mdf skin?
tillman
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On 29 Nov 2004 19:23:01 -0800, tillman snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (tillius) wrote:

yes or no... depending on things like jointery, fasteners and adhesives.
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Bridger:

Ditto what Bridger John says. You could build it from tissue paper if the injineering was correct.
Oh, and I do have a roll around stand for my drill press made from MDF and it works fine but I understand most of the ins and outs of the material.
UA100
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It should be, but it is also very heavy to handle. I used 3/4" birch plywood with good results. Mine has a drawer in the fron and the pancake compressor sits in the bottom. Just be sure to use good casters for easy rolling. I have 4" on mine.
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tillius wrote:

For a rolling tool bench, you'll want something more sturdy and stable than just an MDF carcass. Whatever your tools are sitting on not only has to support the weight of the tool, but also has to absorb the weight of the stock you're working with, stresses created by using the tool, and in the case of a rolling cabinet, any shock from rolling over uneven surfaces (e.g., cracks in the floor, concrete joints, etc.) Also, the slightest hint of instability will magnify any minute vibrations or imbalances in your machinery. A frame made of 2x4 lumber and some metal angle brackets would only slightly increase the cost to build the bench, and would lend a lot of stability to it. You'll be glad you spent the extra time and money when you're about to cut a mortise into a nice, expensive piece of stock. Also, for a rolling cabinet, remember to get casters with brakes on them! (probably obvious, but you never know!)
-AD
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Adam Diehl Wrote:

I'm going to have to disagree with your assessment on this one. Th key to making a cabinent that is strong and won't fall to pieces unde movement and vibration isn't heavier materials and steel brackets. It's thoughtful design, good joints, and appropriate adhesive an fasteners.
My drill press is an old Shopsmith (1947 model) that sits on an MD base that is shaped like a pyramid with a flat top. The unit is s heavy it takes two people to lift it. It doesn't have wheels, so whe I need to move it, I drag it across my shop. This base has been in us for five years and is still rock solid. With proper design an execution MDF will work fine for a mobile work bench.
I recommend that you build a typical box cabinet with 3/4 inch MDF. Cut dado's along the sides and back to hold the bottom panel. On th botton of the cabinet, use triangular corner bracing - these brace will also be the attachement points for the caster wheels - use th largest ones you can find that lock. Also use triagular bracing at th top of the cabinet, as this will provide added stability and serve a the attachment points for the top of the cabinet. Use 3/4 inch MDF fo the top work surface, and run it over the edges by a couple inches, bu round the corners; if one layer doesn't feel solid enough, add anothe layer.
If you don't want to use a solid wood face frame for the cabinet, a least add a 3" to 4" strip of MDF along the front top of the cabine running between the insides of the side panels; you can do the sam beneath the bottom of the cabinet. Adding internal structures fo shelves and drawers will even add to the strength of the cabinet.
You could probably even use 3/4 inch particle board for this projec and be find. Alternatively, if you want a bigger rolling cabinet consider making several smaller cabinets and bolting them together then adding the wheels. I built a large mobile base for a home brewer out of 3/4 inch particle board with three cabinets bolted together. I was bomb proof when I was finished (but very heavy!)
I almost forgot...use plenty of glue and screws when assembling it.
Good luck
-- makesawdust
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they (commercial factories) make large fish tank stands out of mdf. a large tank could weigh upwards of 1000 lbs.
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 11:30:39 -0700, "Charles Spitzer"

- at apx. 8 lbs per gallon of water.
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Personally I would use the MDF. It's strong, heavy very rigid, provides a nice smooth surface. It can be pouted and shaped into just about profile "if you want fancy". Takes screws and glues well. Lift a sheet and you will think your lifting a tank. It's heavy stuff. Excellent for a rolling cabinet, cause the weight will work to your advantage with a drill press or mortiser on top.
MDF is also less expensive than Plywood.
The only caveat.. When you cut MDF you "must" wear a dust mask. The dust is a very fine partical and between the dust and adhesive particals, they are both respiratory health issues. Decent dust masks are cheap in comparison to your health.
Pat
On 29 Nov 2004 19:23:01 -0800, tillman snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (tillius) wrote:

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I doubt mdf on it's own would hold up. Depending on the weight of your press, plywood alone might not do it either. I'd suggest a 2x4 frame with a couple of extra cross members to support the press, covered it with mdf. That's what I did. It's quite sturdy and if we ever have an earthquake you'll find me hiding underneath.
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On 29 Nov 2004 19:23:01 -0800, tillman snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (tillius) wrote:

I built the router table in FWW earlier this year. It's a 2x4 frame with MDF covering (in most places) It's superstrong and would carry a LOT more weight. However, I don't consider it would be very strong just in MDF.
BTW, I get as much free MDF/laminate offcuts as ever required from a kitchen manufacturer/fitout place, they have a dumpster round the back with ample supplies all year round, you just can't be too picky about the color though. Try to find one in your area.
Barry Lennox
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 13:30:32 +0000, Andy Dingley

Awesome,
I am looking to build a workbench for my garage and I've found it!
Many thanks.
JB
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(tillius)

Screws can work, but one has to take into account the nature of the material and the effects of gravity. I use a Trend pocket-hole gizmo and it works well. There are caveats however. If the screw is used as a fastener it will work, if it is used to bear a load it will likely fail. If you use the wrong screw the MDF may split, if you use the right screw in the wrong place it may split. If you screw into an edge without the appropriate pilot hole it will likely split. If you don't use the correct stepped drill for pocket-holes it will split. Once one takes all that into account pocket-holes will let you make things out of MDF without hassle, except one....lining the parts up. So I agree with you that rebates and dadoes will save a great deal of clamping effort and ensure proper line up of parts, (the pocket-hole joints will try and move as you tighten them). I'm going to practice a little with first 1mm and then 2mm dadoes to see what works best for me.
Regarding the OP's query I would say that MDF is quite adequate but I would use 22mm for the top and 18mm for the rest and I would use pocket-holes to fasten it all together.
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