I decided to build a set of shop carts from the scraps of various projects. The carts are very handy, as they can be easily pushed out of the way to make room to work on large pieces.
This is the first cart in the series.
I made it at Techshop: http://www.techshop.ws
Step 1: Materials and Tools
(The exact amount of plywood will vary based on your cart size)
3/4 plywood - for the tray sides and legs I cut this from scrap, but you should be able to cut all from a 1/2 sheet.
1/2 plywood - two rectangular sheets for the cart trays-typical sizes are 18x24 and 24x36 -less than 1/2 sheet
1 inch coarse pocket screws - 12
3 inch fixed caster wheels - 2
3 inch swivel caster wheels -2
mounting screws and washers for the casters- 16
Any plywood friendly 1/4 router bit- this is a shop cart - not worried about tearout on the cut..
Pocket screw jig and driver
Step 2: Design
I researched dimensions for shop carts on the web with 3 inch wheels and used this for my starting point. The typical tray sizes were 18x24 and 24x36 inch.
I wanted to make a very strong cart that was supported and locked in place by the plywood itself, and not reliant on fasteners that could loosen over time. This required a generous amount of large interlocking cutouts, tabs, and full mortice and tenon joints.
I ddi not want any handles on the carts, so that multiple carts could be packed tightly together is a small shop.
Step 3: Cut
Step 4: Assemble and finish
Instead of constructing some jigs for this, I eyeballed the fits. I glued and brad nailed the sub-assemblies together quickly, so I had a chance to adjust the fit when assembling the full piece.
- First assemble the trays by attaching the sides to the tray bottoms. I used pocket screws here, but this was overkill.
- Next assemble the legs.
- Now glue and clamp the whole piece together.
Once the glue has dried:
- turn the cart upside down and glue the plywood base for the wheels
- install the wheels with large wood screws.
I did not apply any finish, but it is probably a good idea to paint or varnish the piece to facilitate cleaning of spills when the cart is put into service.
Step 5: Retrospective
- Too many parts: There are 22 plywood parts for this cart- too much cutting time.
- Assembling the piece is clumsy and time consuming - this led to some sloppy (but still tight joints): This can be addressed by designing some assembly jigs and/or modifying the design.