Maker Bench

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Introduction: Maker Bench

If you were a part of MAKE:'s 06 Maker Faire in San Mateo California, you probably didn't miss the the Maker Bench. Many of the projects were set on these sturdy, overbuilt tables made of aluminum pipe and fittings. In this project we will walk you throught the steps and point out the pieces and parts you need to build your own Maker Bench.

tools required:
5/16” Hex Key
Drill (not required)
Screw Driver

parts list:
6’ x 30” Plywood Tabletop
4 wood screws

1 1/2" Aluminum Schedule 40 Pipe:
(lengths)
4 x 3’ 1-1/2”
4 x 2’ 1”
3 x 5’ 7”

Fittings:
(available at: http://www.simplifiedbuilding.com )
4 x L61-8 Kee Lite Flange
6 X L10-8 Kee Lite Single Socket Tee
4 x L20-8 Kee Lite Side Outlet Elbow
4 x 105-8 Kee Klamp Sheeting Clip

Note about pipe size: this bench was overbuilt. If you wanted to shave the cost of this bench you could:

1) Use a different type of pipe (e.g. thinner wall tubing)  You can also use fence tube if you really want to cut cost.
2) Use a smaller diameter pipe.  
  • Make sure that you buy fittings that correspond to the pipe size that you have chosen.
3) Use Kee Klamp fittings instead of Kee Lite.

Step 1: Assemble the Legs

If you ordered your bench from O'Reilly or from Simplified Building Concepts then this step will already be complete.

Slip-on the four L20s to one end of each of the four 3' 1-1/2' pipes. Tighten down the set screw.

Slip-on four L10s to the other end of the pipes.
Lay the pipes on the ground with the L20s all facing the same direction (see below)
Position two L10s so that they are aligned with the vertical portion of the L20. Tighten the set screw. (see left below)
Position two L10s so that they are aligned with the horizontal portion of the L20. Tighten the set screw. (see right below)

These will be you legs.

Step 2: Attach Feet

Attach all four L61 Flange fittings to bottom of pre-assembled 3’ 1-1/2” leg pipes

Step 3: Build the Bench Leg Sets

Fit the 2’ 1” pipe from step 2 into the L10 Single Socket Tee fittings attached to one of the four 3’ 1-1/2” leg pipes. Fit a 2’ 1” pipe (with no fittings on it) into L20 Side Outlet Elbows directly above and parallel to the other 2’ 1” pipe. Tighten set-screws.

Repeat step above with remaining 2’1” and 3’1-1/2” pipes.

There should now be two separate sets of two 3’1-1/2” legs, each attached by one upper and one lower 2’1” pipe.

Step 4: Complete the Frame

Take one of the leg-sets and fit two of the three 5’ 7” pipes into the two L20 fittings that are on top of the legs. Fit the remaining 5’ 7” pipe into the L10 fitting that has not been tightened on the lower 2’ 1” pipe. Tighten the set-screws that will secure the three 5’ 7” pipes. The 5’ 7” pipe that is attached to the L10 of the lower 2’ 1” pipe should be able to swivel.

Fit the three 5’ 7” pipe ends into the remaining leg-set L20 and L10 fitting(s). Tighten all three set-screws and finally tighten the remaining L10 set-screw on the 2’ 1” pipe. Ensure all set-screws are now fully tightened.

Step 5: Attach the Top

Place Plywood Tabletop on top of bench frame evenly and level. Place Sheeting Clamps approximately 6 inches in from each end of Tabletop on the bottom side of Tabletop and on the bottom side of the 5’ 7” pipe. Next, mark where holes will need to be drilled into wood, or simply screw the Sheeting Clamps into place without drilling. Screw Sheeting Clips to bottom of Tabletop with ½ inch screws.

Drilling holes prior to sinking screws may prevent wood from splitting.

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46 Comments

On my first job, at a bagel bakery, the original owners had made these type of benches back in the 1950's, or prior, to be used to make the bagels by hand. They are still in use, but for other purposes because the bagels are now made on machines. Point being, these tables will outlast you! Thanks for the Instructable! I'll definitely have to build me one soon.

I was looking for ideas for a new workbench in my shed and I am definitely going to use some of the ideas from this bench, don't think I am going to pay for it but this shouldn't be to hard to replicate.

It's a nice bench, but I have to question the price point, and it would probably be improved by more generic instructions. A really nice bench, but is it worth $500?

more and more you have to consider the source on this website...kinda sad. the person who posted it sells the pieces to make this bench and it is attached to MAKE which sell magazines for 35 dollars. but yeah it has a lot of potential.

I like the concept of the bench (simple, super ridged and strong and easy to put together), and at first I thought seriously about putting this idea to use. Then I looked up the price of the materials- eeeeEEEEEOOOOOW!  the aluminum pipe alone is over $6.00 a foot! The "feet" (circular pipe -to-floor fittings) are $30.00 each! So, for an 8 foot long bench with a (modest) 2 foot width, the four "stretchers" (long part of bench) would be $48.00 each=$192. The "rails" (for the width) @ 2 feet each (you need four) will come to $48.00, The "feet" @ $30.00 each is $120.00, the kee-clamp "side elbow" L20-7 are $17.40 each and comes to $69.60 for the needed four, and four of the L21-7 kee klamps will come to $59.52 : the grand total (and you haven't even bought the material for the top of the bench yet) is $489.12 !!  Ummm, when I think of "making" something, I usually am concerned with saving some money over buying the equivalent item already made. I could never afford to build one of these.

Just FYI, galvanized pipe will do the job just fine. Thougher to cut, but sturdy as hell. You can find it at HD or Lowes for 1.99 a foot. Fittings can be Holleander, for 2.50 each.

Just in case you do want to build it. If it still is too expensive, go with PVC. One thing for sure, you can customize almost everything on this table, after completion with a few twists of a hex key.

Harbor Freight has all these fittings for 1/4-1/2 the price. Note that the parts will not be well made and you can assume some issues. Specifically with flat parts not being flat, but considering the fact that you can walk in-store save that much and not pay and wait for shipping: it might be worth the trouble.

Thanks I was thinking maybe make it with pvc and fill it with cement or sand.

If you do this, take some steps to avoid sagging in the horizontal cross brace.