When I bought my washer and dryer a couple years ago, I couldn't justify the extra $400 for the stands to raise them up to a comfortable height for loading and unloading. I decided to build my own stand out of wood and was able to put together a real sturdy setup. The only problem was that my washer and dryer were located in a part of the basement that had a sloping concrete floor. I shimmed my heart out trying to get the platform level, but it still walks all over the place and I have had the dryer slide off the edge a couple times.
Time for an upgrade. I decided to build a new stand out of steel. I haven't found any information online on how to build your own out of steel, nor with adjustable feet, so I will be designing and building the project. Ever since I got my new wire-feed welder I have been looking for projects and this one fits the bill properly.
Step 1: Design
Step 2: Procure Materials
For the legs, I bought a 10-foot length of galvanized unistrut (not pictured). The unistrut measures 1-5/8" x 1-5/8"
For the adjustable feet, I bought 3/4" bolts, nuts and washers. I wanted to use 7/8" because the nuts fit perfectly inside the unistrut legs, but the 7/8" bolts cost over 10x as much as the 3/4" bolts, so I decided to work around the smaller hardware (which will be explained later).
Step 3: Tools Needed
- Flux core wire feed welder. Mine is the cheapest available at Harbor Freight and yes, it is a little messy, but it works like a dream.
- Wire brush
- Vise grips
- Magnet square clamps
- Squares of all sizes
- Welding pliers
- Grinders, the more the merrier
- An assortment of grinding, cutting, wire, and sanding wheels for the grinders
- Tape measure
Let's not forget safety!
- Safety glasses
- Welding mask (another cheap Harbor Freight purchase that continues to work great)
- Long-sleeved cotton shirt and long denim or duck pants
- Leather shoes
- Work gloves
- Welding gloves
Step 4: Preparing and Cutting the Steel
I use my workhorse as a clamp and I measure and cut, measure and cut. It is a lot quicker and safer to use a cut-off saw, but alas, I do not have one. I get to do it the hard way with a cutting wheel on a grinder. I mark the length, use the square to make my cut line, cut the side first and then the top. Do not bind the wheel! It will blow apart into tiny bits of shrapnel that can easily find their way inside your body.
I cut all the pieces of the frame and the legs at once. Then I used a sanding wheel on the bed frame parts to strip the paint off of the area to be welded. It is possible to weld through the paint, but the bead will be inconsistent and therefore weak. If you take a little extra time to prepare the material your finished product should last forever.
Step 5: Welding the Frame
Step 6: Making the Adjustable Legs
I started by welding the nut to the washer, trying to keep it as centered as possible. The vise grips are very useful here. I just put one spot weld on each side of the nut, so 6 spot welds per nut/washer combo.
Next I cleaned up the outer perimeter of the washer to prepare it for welding.
The nut/washer assembly is inserted into the end of the unistrut leg, nut side up. Weld the base of the leg to the washer.
Thread another nut all the way down on the 7/8" bolt. This nut will serve as the locknut. Therad the bolt/nut assembly into the nut/washer assembly (clear as mud, right?) and that completes the adjustable foot mechanism! Be sure to check the pictures if this step isn't very clear.
Step 7: Final Assembly
The cross braces are next. I just cut them all the same length and used my handy magnetic clamp to hold the piece at a 45-degree angle while I applied the vise grips. Tack, weld, and move on to the next one. For two stands, I had 16 of these braces to weld. I'm not even sure they were necessary! When in doubt, I always overkill it a bit.
Step 8: Retainer Cleats
Step 9: Cleaning Up and Painting
Use the sanding wheel to clean up and sloppy welds or high spots on the stands.
Paint selection is really up to you. I went cheap and bought the 98-cent paint and primer at Wal-Mart. The primer was great. It went on smooth and was very consistent between cans. The paint on the other hand, was terrible. It was very inconsistent and runny. I had one can that was literally like white paint thinner, so use at your own risk. Remember, this will have a washer and dryer sitting on it tucked away in a basement or a closet. The paint job shouldn't matter that much.
When the painting is done, you can insert the adjustable feet. Start by threading the locknut all the way down on the bolt. Next screw the bolt all the way into the end of the leg.
Since my stands are going onto a concrete floor, I decided to add some rubber feet to increase the friction a little. Just a little insurance to make sure the stands have no reason at all to scoot across the floor.