Portable Workstations are useful for many groups of people. For campers, they're called Chuck Boxes. For the military and Ham radio folks, they're called Field Desks. We've taken to calling this one the Ramen Stand. It looks sort of like a ramen stand or hot dog cart when it's folded up. 

At the makerspace, these are important because we are able to group different activities by deployable unit, rather than location, so we're able to use and reuse a common workspace for many different activities, just by pulling out a different box and unpacking it. 8 Ramen Stands pack up into about 100 square feet, but can expand to fill almost 2000 square feet, if you pull them all out at once. An army of Ramen Stands will hold ALL OF THE THINGS!

At home, the great part about having this as your portable workstation is that when cleanup time comes, just fold it all up and everything will end up inside the box. When you're back to work, open it all up and you instantly have a workstation. I regularly work on my computer at a Ramen Stand with just one 24" side folded down.

Update: 4/9/12 12:42am
I fixed a few typos and added a few small details I forgot to explain:
The Ark base needs a few extra 21" 2x2s to join to the walls
Added wood screws to the materials list
corrected 24x34 1/4 tabletop should have been 24x34 1/2"

Step 1: Decide

This box is probably the 5th or 6th iteration of Field Desk/Chuck Box/Anvil Case/Truck Box. For the makerspace, we had to decide what it should be able to do, and how we would know we were done.

It must be:
Winning all the things at SpaceGAMBIT's Instructables Contest.
Portable, stowable, foldable, and easily deployable.
Fit through a standard door opening.
Modular so that we can store and use several of them and purpose them for whatever we want.
Be readily adaptable to any sort of task and remain setup for themes, while stored. That way we can deploy any unit for any task on any given day. This means by having multiple deployable work units, we can constantly repurpose a common work area for any purpose, simply by picking which box to bring out. We won't have any problems with sawdust on the fabric table, or solder on the picnic table.

It should be:
Able to be built using simple tools. We could have made all of the cuts on the CNC router, but we didn't. The workbench is typically a person's first project and we're assuming that you have very little space, tools, or work area to build The Ramen Stand.
All parts should be available at the big box store. Whether or not you are for or against the big box, it means the parts to build this are likely available wherever you are.
Forklift easily
Controllable through central authentication. We'll soon be converting them to RFID and controlling access to specialty tools housed within based on a central authentication system. For now, to keep it simple, we're using a bulk pack of hardware store padlocks.
<p>Great---- now we need a maker space in NZ!!</p>
<p>can any of the fold down sides be lowered entirely? i ask because i love the design, but it seems like it could be awkward to access the center section of the base with all four leaves folded down horizontal. i'm thinking of building one of these for jewelry and engraving work, so ease of access the the center, with all four corners fully supported, would be essential for any task involving light hammering of metal pieces mounted in a vise or bench block.</p>
<p>Howzit!</p><p>I didn't know there was a Maker's space on Maui.</p><p>How can a local resident join?</p>
<p>You can Join by coming to one of our Open session days or nights or on line</p><p>Our web presence is: http://www.mauimakers.com/blog/ We are new in the facility and are still building out. Our shop is small by mainland standards but we also have a classroom and we are building out an electronics lab space</p>
<p>Has anyone built one of these from these instructions?</p><p>I swear the notch dimensions for the 2x4(s) should be 1.5&quot; x 3.5&quot;, not 1.5 x 2.5&quot;. Using 2.5&quot; it leaves a 1&quot; gap between the sides and the top. The 2&quot;x2&quot; only overlaps the sides by .5&quot;. All the pictures look like the 24&quot;x24&quot; sides should touch, virtually, and that's what the text implies. But, I have a 1&quot; gap.</p>
<p>I'm really impressed by this idea. Great job showing the steps. Depending on how many you have and if there are multiples of one box you could color code the stations to make selection easier.</p>
<p>Their website is mauimakers.com. But they are looking for a new space so I don't think they are accepting members at the moment.</p>
I love it! I might have to make one soon.<br><br>Somewhat off-topic: I like the dust collection setup on that table saw, how was that done?
<p>The blade guard has the duct built in. There is an arm that holds up the hose across the table and it it hooked up to the dust collector you see in the background. It also collects from below. It does a pretty good job.</p>
<p>this is great! I have a smallish 14' x 22' shop space less shelving. I immediately saw the benefit in rollaway work-specific box that could be crowded away when not in use yet rolled out, connected to the central shop vac and start use safely! I see a use for at least nine of them immediately!</p>
<p>Thanks Legamin!</p><p>The best part is that your tabletop surface is dedicated to the task, as well as the rollaway storage. That means you don't need a table covering and you don't need to super clean if you're switching gears from painting or soldering to sewing or eating. Just grab a whole new table, complete with all of your supplies!</p>

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