Introduction: Rotating Power Tool Base
It recently occurred to me that a good portion of my not-too-large workshop is dedicated to the bases on which my bench tools are mounted. Besides holding the tools, they aren't much value, so I decided that it would be a good idea to try to use one base for more than one tool.
Step 1: My Idea...
After some thought, I decided to make a base using the common plans for a sawhorse - all the angles are fifteen degrees, The difference is that the horizontal portion rotates, and having four surfaces, it will hold more than one tool.
(In the out of focus photo above, the legs are sitting on a 2x6, which is not part of the bench. I took the photo after varnishing the bench.)
Step 2: Simple Construction...
First, I built the leg portions. These were based on commonly available plans, but you really don't need plans, just remember everything is cut at a fifteen-degree angle. I didn't give any dimensions - build it to suit your height (remember to include the working height of the tools) and the length of your tools.
In a typical saw horse, the plywood gusset will only be mounted on the outside of the legs. In this case, I wanted to add not only strength but rigidity, so I cut two pieces from a 2x6 to fit into the top of the leg portion, and added a second plywood gusset for the inside of the leg assembly.
The rotating tool mounting surface is made of 2 2x6s with three 2x6 block spacers. These spacers are center drilled with a 1 1/8" hole, through which passes a 3/4" galvanized pipe axle. The axle also passes through the plywood gussets and 2x6s, which act as not only a bearing but hold the bench assembly relatively rigid.
Everything is glued and screwed.
Step 3: Locking It in Place...
The two legs and the rotating bearing/tool mount assembly are held together very simply: the end of the 3/4" pipe passes through holes in the leg portion and then through a very large washer. To keep things in place, I used a 3/4" threaded plastic bushing. When it was tight, I drilled through the bushing and pipe, and passed a cotter pin through it.
Ideally, you should clamp the two leg portions and the rotating part together, then drill the holes. The tighter you pull the assembly together, the more firm it will be.
To keep the rotating assembly from rotating when I don't want it to, I drilled a 1/2" hole from the outside in, through the plywood gusset, the two 2x6s, and the 2x6 at the end of the rotating part. I used an L shaped foundation anchor with the end beveled as a pin to hold the rotating part in place. Saw the threaded end off and chamfer the end of the pin to make it work more smoothly.
To make sure the holes were in the right places, I used a level and rotated the base, drilling through the same outside hole four times, allowing the base to be locked in place on each side of the base.
Step 4: Wiring...
In order to keep the power cords from tangling, I mounted a duplex electrical box and two receptacles at one end of the rotating base, with a six foot pigtail from that that I can plug into the wall socket. (Be careful when rotating the base to keep from wrapping the pigtail around the base and pulling it out of the wall.)
You can run the cords through the rotating assembly to keep them out of the way.
I don't have a photo of this yet.
Step 5: Two Tools Rotated As Needed...
Lastly, mount your tools on the rotating base. Two sides are solid, which is no problem. The other two sides will require wooden slats to be attached. Because of the width of the two tools I used, I wound up using the open side of the base with slats to make it wide enough.
At the present time, I have a belt sander and jigsaw mounted on the base. I hope to someday add a spindle sander, router table, and perhaps a small wood lathe. Not bad - five bench tools on one base.
The best thing, though, is that the base assembly takes up just slightly more than the Black and Decker workmate bench I had been using with the jig saw (and which I couldn't use for anything else.) I also had another stand for the sander and haven't even figured up how much room I will have saved when I add the other tools.
UPDATE: I changed my mind a bit and added a dust collection system (it sounds more sophisticated than a hand held vacuum with hoses to the tools). This takes up pretty much one remaining side of the rotating portion. If it works ok I may make another Instructable about it.