Instructables
Picture of Collapsable Hobby Bench
There are lots of great projects listed here on Instructables, but what fun is that if you don't have a work area on which to try building them?

If you're like me, then you're probably working at the kitchen table, or at the computer desk and that doesn't cut it. I needed a bench. Not a bench to smash things against, or to hammer on... something light duty with a small work surface, good lighting, lots of AC outlets, and most importantly - compact.

That's where the idea of a folding hobby bench came from.
 
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Step 1: Constraints

Picture of Constraints

I had a place where I could put my bench, but it couldn't stay there permanently. I needed the option of tucking it away in a closet to "neaten up" for company etc.

My space was 30" wide, so I would design my bench to be 29" max width. Tabletop height would be comfortable to work at while seated - I based this on the height of my computer desk at 29" from the floor to the top of the table. I figured a decent sized working surface would be at least 12" deep. I also had a powerbar that I wanted to mount, and I thought some shelves would be handy for small parts etc. I wanted this thing to fold as thin as possible, and I figured if I could design it to be 4-5" thick when collapsed, that would be reasonable.

Those were my basic requirements.

Step 2: Materials

Another motivating factor for building the bench was a free supply of 3/4" "wood" I had access too. The wood looked like a balsa core plywood with a thin veneer (junk), but it held screws rather well and it was extremely light compared to similarly sized plywood. I salvaged a few sheets.

Materials:

1. * 3/4" sheet wood - cut to size according to prints
2. Three piano hinges (24" lg, 1/2" band or close)
3. Wood glue
4. Supply of 1/2" and 1-1/2" wood screws
manishrkp1 year ago
Good idea, can be used in a lot of places.
could you possibly supply a sketch up model of the bench as I am having a hard time making heads or tales of the pdfs
or a pdf with all the seperate pieces to be cut
I'm very intrigued with the design myself, so I'm working on drawing it up on sketchup right now... I'll share it when I'm done and get a chance!
alexhb alexhb2 years ago
Just finished! You can find the Sketchup 8 model at this link or by searching "Automator" on the 3D Warehouse. Hope it's helpful! Thanks for the sweet design, Automator!
naorconsul2 years ago
You have files of drawings in dwg format ?
for the writing surface you could make holes in the top of it then put some small screws under the top section on the back legs and hang it on there
parkadge5 years ago
Great Exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks.
bunni8046 years ago
How would I scale this bench for a workspace that's only 28in. wide? I would like my work bench to be 27in wide. Should my fold-out sides be 13.5in wide or a little less? What about the base? and the table top surface?
This is a great Instructable Automator, thanks for the info!
qolque6 years ago
Glad I found this instructable! I also have the need for a projects bench but I am out of space. I'll be using your basic design, although I haven't got free wood access, and it will probably be a little heavier, but the idea is superb. I may name mine the Stuart Smalley table. It's good enough, it's smart enough, and doggone it, people like it.
nonames4576 years ago
Nice desk and design, how heavy do you think this would be, since I'm looking into making a desk but want it to be lighterweight.
Automator (author)  nonames4576 years ago
Hi, and thanks for your question! I wasn't ignoring you - I mostly view instructables at work and the reply function hasn't been working on my computer. Anyway, the weight of this desk depends on the wood you use. Mine is only about 15 lbs because I used a balsa core plywood which was really low density and very lightweight. You can estimate the weight of the bench with other woods by estimating the total amount of wood needed using the drawings I provided, and knowing the density of the wood you want to use. I hope that helps, but let me know if you want any more info. Good luck :)
Wow that light! I deffinately am going to use this design and build one myself. Thanks alot for the information and saving me alot of money. I may change certain things (like design of the fold out legs) but overall I will build one based off this. Thanks a bunch!
hassi6 years ago
This is a nice bench...Bravo! I see one of these in my future... A big "+" to you for a practical solution.
Automator (author)  hassi6 years ago
Hey, thanks! I find it to be very practical - that is when its not completely buried under piles of junk I've been meaning to put away. I'm glad you like my design, and I hope you're able to put it to use :)
Wade Tarzia6 years ago
Nice desk. I just built one that uses similar fold-out legs -- I suppose we are operating within some "Scandinavian design" mode.
tyep7 years ago
I also came across this http://www.retraactit.com/index.cfm?page=167. Now I have way too many options. lol. I hope to get started on one soon.
Automator (author)  tyep7 years ago
That's a good design for a bench with a permanent home ie. mounted to the garage wall as shown. I really like it actually. All the ones you have shown me should be mounted to a wall, while mine can be moved around. I think you should decide first whether you want yours to be portable, or just collapsable... then get started. Good luck!
tyep7 years ago
Very cool idea. I was going to wait until I made this before i posted it, but they way things are I might never get around to it. http://www.workbenchmagazine.com/main/wb302-eHub01.html
I first wanted to make my own version of this http://www.anthro.com/ppage.aspx?pmid=54
when I came across the other plans. Now with this instructable i have three choices. Perhaps a hybrid of three will spring forth. I think that they would all work just as well for benches or computers.
Automator (author)  tyep7 years ago
I never thought of using my bench as a laptop table, but its well suited for that too! Thanks for the links - that is a pretty cool concept and it frees up floor space too. The one benefit of my design is portability as I can move it anywhere there's a place to sit. Thanks for the comment!