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When we upgraded our electronics bench setup, we wanted a new table that was cheap and incredibly easy to assemble (and disassemble / transport for moving).

Our solution? Turn two 4'x8' sheets of 23/32" plywood into a slot-assembly, no-screws-needed project bench, that can be assembled and disassembled in under two minutes. Let's get started!

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Cutting Time: ~3 hours

Assembly Time: 2 minutes

Cost: $65 for plywood, $70 for optional enhancements

Materials:

  • Two 4'x8' sheets of 23/32" sanded plywood. If you need to cut it down to transport it (as we did), you can get by with four sheets cut to 24"x74", but it'll be a pretty close cut to the edge.
  • Recommended upgrades: 20-outlet, 60" power strip and LED work lighting

Tools:

  • Shopbot Alpha CNC cutting machine (we made it at TechShop Pittsburgh)
  • 1/4" HSS 2-flute center cutting end mill (>0.75" flute length)
  • Brad nailer and plastic brads to nail your parts to the spoilboard
  • Dead blow hammer to knock your nailed boards free

Experience:

  • Must know how to operate a CNC milling machine (like the ShopBot Alpha)

Step 1: Parts and Toolpaths

We've provided the solidworks parts/assembly, the vector DXF files, and the VCarve Pro project files, so feel free to take them open and have a look at how everything fits together. We didn't include the toolpaths, as those will likely change depending on the dimensions of the board you're cutting and the specs for your mill.

When you're ready, open up your toolpath creator of choice (we used VCarve Pro) and lay out your parts. If you haven't done toolpath creation before, we recommend taking the TechShop CAD/CAM course or looking at some online tutorials to help speed the learning process.

If you're not using the provided VCarve Pro project files and want to work directly from the DXF files, be sure to join the imported vectors and apply dogbone fillets to the corners so that your parts will fit together without sanding. We've attached pictures on the next step showing the dogboned vectors, so match against this to make sure you get every corner.

Our bit was configured as a 1/4" 2-flute HSS end mill, at 12000 RPM, 288 IPM feed rate and with a 30 IPM plunge rate. We used profile toolpaths exclusively, 6 passes with climb milling. Make sure you're milling Outside/Right for the outer perimeter and Inside/Left for all cuts inside the part, or things may not fit together!

<p>It looks good but it feels to me like it needs a diagonal brace on the back rectangle to make it stiffer. What was it like in reality for side-side wobble?</p>
<p>Agreed, definitely needs an X brace back there and one on the top wouldn't hurt either. Further the cutouts in the plywood for a snap-together sort of design additional weaken it. It is artistically simplistic but at the core purpose of being a work bench it isn't so great. Being able to assemble in two minutes isn't very important when a few screws would only take another minute or two with a cordless drill.</p>
<p>Perhaps when considering a brace you might like to use plywood?</p><p>I've built many work benches and know from experience that unless you use very large uprights glued in place with the strongest of the strong glue as well as conventional fasteners, the bench will easily fall over when it gets the wobbles. By using cheap builders ply for the back you can keep draft from making your legs cold and also stiffen the structure sufficiently to avoid it wobbling. Otherwise I like it! </p>
<p>Thanks for the input - there's definitely some lateral wobble if a lot of weight is put on it (about 1&quot; max when leaning on it heavily). We're primarily using this bench for electronics and light work, so the extra jiggle wasn't a deal killer for us. This is also incidentally why we went with slot assembly despite the weakening effect, as we didn't need maximum durability. </p>
<p>Very nice job !!!</p>
<p>Exelent!!!</p>
<p>Nice. If you kicked in the front supports (so the bottom looked like a &quot;K&quot;), then you'd have almost as much support, but you could tessellate the supports much better (rotate one 180&deg;, and cut it out of the board), potentially saving a fair bit of wood.</p>
<p>Awesome suggestion! We'll keep that in mind for next time. </p>
<p>Very sweet! If I had access to a CNC machine, I would make one myself! Maybe with my jigsaw...? What are you making next? </p>
<p>We're actually writing up a bunch of other furniture projects we've been working on, including a sofa with thermoelectric cup holders :)</p>
<p>Wow, awesome job!</p>
<p>Wow, thats great work. That animated gif right at the beginning is freakin amazing! I wish every instructable could be exploded and reassembled in a gif like that. It helps understand the entire project in less than 5 seconds.</p>
<p>Very cool, thanks for sharing!</p>

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