Introduction: Zero-Space Flexible Tool Storage Workstation - Portable or Wall Mountable
Third Prize in the
Portable Workstations Contest
This is dedicated to all people like me who can't work in any other place than their own rooms. Working in our own rooms is fine but the problem is we don't have enough space. So I made a zero space occupying wall mounted workstation, that when unfolded gives a nice big 3 feet by 2 feet workspace.
By removing a few parts (the wall mount parts) a portable, stowable, suitcase like workstation & drawing board can also be done. The most important feature for any portable workstation is that the tools should be firmly held.
If the tools are just sorted in place, even a short travel to the work-site can create a mess. So I have used a strapping design so that the tools are firmly in place for safety in portability.
So, if you are looking for a way to make a workstation with these features - "safely" portable, stowable, versatile tool storage, limited space occupying and design support (drawing), keep on reading.
If you like it in the end, don't forget to vote!
Step 1: The Design
The green part of the picture is the place where all the tools are stored. The wood colored part is the workspace. The triangular blue colored parts are the legs that support the workbench (for wall mounts only). They rest against the wall.
The small red colored parts are actually cut out from the blue ones. They make sure that the tools holder can be supported even without the blue part in position. The workbench is also the drawing board (this is why the blue-red separation is required).
The green cabinet can be folded on to the workbench. The blue and red parts are folded under the workbench and everything can be folded onto the wall.
Thus we get a zero space workstation that occupies virtually no space while when fully opened provides a work area of 6 sq. feet (3 ft * 2 ft).
I bought an entire plywood board and cut out 3 pieces of 3 feet by 2 1/2 feet panels at the wood center. I used 3/4 inch plywood for the entire workstation.
Step 2: Cutting Up the Pieces
The first step is to cut out the individual pieces of the workstation. First we will cut out the wall mount holder (because I am demonstrating the wall mountable version I will finally show how you can achieve the other version).
I took the first 3 * 2 1/2 feet board and cut out a 2 inch strip (3 feet long 2 inches wide).
The cutting is upto you. I used a jigsaw to do the cutting.
Then we need to cut a 6 inches strip of another 3 * 2 1/2 board. After you have cut that out the remaining 3 * 2 feet board will be our primary workspace.
Step 3: Cutting the Triangular and Small Pieces
We will need two triangles. Use the first board (from which we cut our 2 inch strip) to cut these triangles.
Draw a rectangular triangle with a height of 2 feet and base width of 1 1/2 feet.
Then take the two triangles and mark two small triangles (4 inches from the right angled corner or vertex) at the right angle. The big triangle is the blue part and the small triangle is the red part (in our 123D Design drawing).
Cut a 3 inch by 1 feet rectangle. This will go along with the cabinet to host the handle.
Step 4: Making the Cabinet
By now 1 board would have been consumed for the 6 inch strip and the workbench. The 2nd board would have been used for the triangles.
Use the last board for the workstation cabinet. Again cut a 4 inch strip of the board and you will be left with a 3 * 2 feet 2 inches board. The 4 inch strip will be used as the vertical panels of the cabinet, the ones that stand as the projecting boundary of the cabinet.
Use the remaining part of the 2nd (after the triangles are cut) to cut two 2 feet 2 inches * 4 inches panels to go as the side boundaries of our cabinet.
Take the largest (3 feet by 4 inches) panel and nail it provisionally. Then align the board perpendicularly to the 3 foot length of the 3 * 2 feet 2 inches board and nail it.
Then take one of the two 2 feet 2 inches * 4 inches panels and place it along the sides and nail it as well.
The small 3 inch * 1 feet rectangle we cut in the previous section goes in the center of the lower boundary that is empty. I forgot to take a picture but it will be seen in the painting step.
Remember: Size is also provisional. Do make changes of your own so that it meets your requirements.
Step 5: Sanding, Painting & Screwing
First sand thoroughly. Paint adheres to surfaces that are sanded well.
Use any color or even laminates. As you can see I make a pathetic chose of colors but you can be a little better.
Add at least 2 coats of paint.
Use vertical (L shaped) fasteners and screw them in place for the front end of the cabinet since we attach the handle to it and the whole load is put on that when we lift it.
Screw the handle in place.
Step 6: Nailing the Cabinet
This is the step that gives the workstation its ability to hold all sorts of tools.
Place and hit nails at each 3 inch interval both vertically and horizontally. You have the liberty to vary the number of nails depending on your size varies or spacing of nails. It took me 96 nails.
Our cabinet will be upright when it's in use and when folded to zero space configuration, everything will be upside down. So using shelves is useless.
Instead you can use cotton threads and the idea is to tie your instrument to the board. Use shoelace knots (easily removable) and just secure it with multiple knots in several directions.
If you're using thread look at the pictures. Tie the piece of thread (I cut 9 inches long pieces) to the nail and then hammer it flat into the cabinet. Do it carefully without tearing the thread.
When all is done, use super glue to really seal the thread-nail knot.
This is an easy, cheap method. If you are a person who deals with light weight equipment (electronics etc.) this will do.
But if you use mechanical power tools like drills and saws, the threads simply cant hold tough (experimentally confirmed!).
Step 7: Using Nylon Straps and Ladder Locks
If you are going for this step, then don't strike the nails flat yet.
Cut 9 inch strips of nylon and wrap it around one end of the ladder lock. Pre-test to see how where the nylon can be wound and where the nylon can be locked.
Wind the nylon and use a bell pin to keep it in place (glue won't work for long times). Cut 48 nylon strips and 48 nylon strips wound on ladder locks. Cut the extra protruding part of the bell pin.
Pierce a hole through the bottom of all the strips and push it through the head of the nail and now hit the nail flat and it will hold the nylon with a firm grip.
Start from the top left, start with a ladder lock headed strip and then alternatively nail just the strip and ladder lock hosting strips both horizontally and vertically.
Use silicone to make sure the threads don't loose out with time.
Step 8: Assembling the Pieces
First take the 6 inches strip and 3 * 2 feet board that we cut in Step 2. Align them the way they were before being cut and using two hinges, screw them in place such that the spine of the hinge should be completely on the smaller part.
Screw two more hinges on the smaller edge of the bigger triangle as shown in the picture with the spine just outside the outline of the triangles. Screw a single hinge on the small triangle..
Then turn over the first board we hinged together (in the first line) and screw the triangles such that it can be flat along the board and can be folded over the board as seen in the pictures.
Screw four hinges at the top edge, for the wall mounting with the spines just inside the board.
Then turn the board again so that the triangles now go underneath. Bring the cabinet over and hinge the vertical face with the horizontal board, so that it can be opened into an L shape from the sides.
Step 9: The Portable Form
If you want a portable one, I am sure making one as big as this might not be practical but as I said it's the design that matters. Size is your choice.
For the portable version you don't need the triangle so don't hinge them at all. Just the board over which the cabinet is hinged and you will get a suitcase like workstation to carry around.
The tools are held firmly by the nylon, so it's travel friendly (speed bumps won't do anything). Use threads (for lighter tools like small hammers- screwdrivers) or straps (for machinery like saws, drills).
Wherever you want to use it, open up - use - then close and carry away.
In the pictures, I placed the workstation over a small base.
Step 10: Wall Mounting
Use the 2 inch by 3 feet strip that we cut and mark the holes of the four hinges on the main workstation top edge.
Then drill screw holes in places where there are no hinge hole marking. The more the holes the better because it has to hold a lot of weight.
Then screw it in place after drilling through the wall.
Ask the help of two others, to lift the workstation in place while the top edge hinges from the workstation is screwed onto the wall mounted strip.
The hinge on the workstation board should be on the lower half of the strip. Make sure the triangle fold in comfortably (I made that mistake that I screwed it a little higher and the triangles didn't fold underneath).
Step 11: Voila
This workstation was designed for wall mounting, but you can make it portable if you want.
Again, I made the mistake of wall mounting the workstation a little higher than what I should have done and thus the triangles didn't fold underneath.
Learn from my mistake and be extra careful if you're gonna wall mount it. But other than that, it works perfectly as a nice big workstation and can be folded into virtually no space at all.
The nylone straps provide flexibilty in tool storage and also safety during travel etc. The tools are held firmly and pretty much any tool can be held in the cabinet.
Though the strapping can be a little tedious, it is an incredibly strong and safe way to hold tools without the possibility of any one dropping down.
Lift the board again such that the big triangles are taken off wall support and fold the board to rest on the cabinet, like in the last picture and there you get a nice 3 feet by 2 feet drawing board. You could attach a pouch to those large triangles to hold your pencils etc. but anyway we get a descent board.
The weight will be supported entirely by the small triangles. So, with the big triangles in place, we get a really strong heavy duty workstation.
I hope you like this workstation, if you do, please don't forget to vote for me. See you next time.
P.S.: A hearty thanks to my parents :D!
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