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...
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...
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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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