Rethinking my mobile bases

I've got a few tools on mobile bases (some aren't anything more than casters that bolt to tool stands) and this morning added up what this mobility has cost me (too much for).
I just returned from Northern Tool with a pallet jack (I make pallets, load 'em up with solar panels for shipment) because it was on sale for $140 and I've gotten tired of muscling loaded pallets around single-handed.
Belatedly, I realized that I could have made nice, solid wooden bases for all the tools now sitting on wheels, and moved them around for cleaning etc with a pallet jack - and that it could have done double duty by making it easier to move some of my larger projects around the shop.
I was fretting about the space this thing was going to take up - then realized that nearly of it can be parked /under/ almost any of my stationary tools. Duh!
Something more to think about if you're considering buying a mobile base or two or three...
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Sounds like a good idea. I have seen several installed air compressors still on the pallet they were shipped on. But I doubt if they were being moved around much.
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On 1/30/2010 2:47 PM, Morris Dovey wrote:

<snip>
What's the _minimum_ height you're going to have to raise a tool sitting on a wooden base?
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On 1/30/2010 3:15 PM, Swingman wrote:

That depends. My Unisaur and jointer would need to be raised at least three inches to get the forks under - but others (BS, RAS, shaper, router table, workbench, ShopBot) only need a horizontal support member at least three inches above the floor. I think my drill press may fit (but others' may not) between the forks but I'm not sure - I'll check when I get this thing out to the shop.
I don't plan to decommission any of the bases I already have, but I do wish I'd thought about this back when...
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Alternatively use the method that Laguna and MiniMax use. 2 wheels mounted to the machine and a Johnson bar with wheels to lift and steer the opposite end.
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Or even decent casters. I'd been considering something to lift multiple tools from storage to single work table and back, but this would solve all sorts of the problems that arise when working in about half a garage. Thanks for the tip.
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It wouldn't work in my teeny tiny basement shop, but elsewhere it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for planting the idea seed, Morris.
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On 1/30/2010 5:23 PM, Dave Balderstone wrote:

I admit I cringe a bit at the thought of carrying one of these things down or up a flight of stairs these days. :)
I've had two basement shops where it might have worked really well if the forks had been shortened from the standard 48" (~1.2 m)to somewhere in the 30-36" (~.75 m) range.
Mine is the lightest NT carries and has a load capacity of 4400 pounds (~2000 kg) which is well beyond any anticipated use.
I'd guess that most of us OFs already have this issue under control but might be useful to folks just starting out if, as you point out, shop space permits.
My armstrong equipment lifter isn't quite what it used to be - two grandsons elbowed me aside, loaded it into the truck, and unloaded it for me. Show offs.
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Timely topic.. just got done making a half-dozen rolling platforms for my own tool collection. Turns out you can get some semi-decent casters these days for $5 - $10 each instead of years past where they were $25+ each.
I have some nasty cracks in my garage ~ahem~ woodshop, so I needed some large diameter casters. 5" casters were the ticket.
One concern was gaining mobility without raising the center of balance... so, from the front, my bases look "U" shaped with wings to connect the casters, and the center of gravity only went up about an inch or inch point five. The dimension was a smidge bigger than necessary, and when the tool is sitting on the base, the weight causes the walls of the "U" to pinch the tool a bit, which makes it pretty secure.
I used 1/2" thick birch ply, glued into 1" thick slabs. A half dozen hex bolts, some 4x4 (or 2x4) lengths, 2 swivelling locking casters and 2 straight.
I figure my cost per base was about $60 per base, and they look and feel better quality than some of those stamped steel critters I have seen around.
I someone would benefit from pics I can try to post them.... or Email or whatever would be helpful.
Pallet Jack is an excellent idea, but my experience with them is you need a decent floor which I don't happen to have.
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On Mon, 01 Feb 2010 19:33:25 -0800, xparatrooper wrote:

Are those locking casters? If so, do they lock both wheel and swivel?
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Of the 4 per base, I only got 2 that both swivel and lock, and the locking mechanism locks the swivel as well as the wheel. The "swivelers" set me back about $7 each, and the stationary casters were about $5 each. And since these are Alaska prices where things are generally more than the "lower 48", I am operating on the assumption that similar casters would be even less in other places.
The ratings were in the neighborhood of 250#.
Of course, could be that the hardware store goofed up on the price.
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