Introduction: Basement Workbench

Here I want to show you my new workbench/storage unit I built and already finished the first few projects on. I started by writing down everything i wanted to do in my small DIY-shop and what kinds of tools I have or was required to get before I could get going - turned out to be A LOT. Pliers, hammers, glues, brushes, drills, Mills, lathe inserts and holders,soldering iron, casting equipment, materials like wires, sheet metal, circuit boards and components like bearings, corner brackets, or surface mount components all need some sort of organized storage.Commercial solutions fulfilling all requirements within the constraints of my 3.8 by 4.4m basement were not available or simply too expensive. The solution was to build a workbench using standard 45mm aluminum extrusions.It measures 2.6 by 1.3 by 0.875 meters and features 24 drawer-slots, each with approximately 540x580x190mm of usable storage space.

Step 1: The General Idea

Slottet extrusions are a great when it comes to quickly build up something. The Idea behind this Workbench was that the extrusions at the same time offer a rigid base for the workbench and a convenient way to just slide boards with drawer slides attached right into the extrusions. The size of a Workbench made that way is highly customizable - and comparatively cheap. By cheap I dont mean its not expensive - mine cost about 1000 euros to build - but a lot less expensive than anything i could buy to do its job.

Step 2: Required Tools

1. Cordless drill

2. Inserts fitting the screws you get

3. (CNC)-router - a handheld router will do. If you don't own a router, a carpenter in your town probably will

If you actually can't find a router you might just build your drawers differently - The way I built mine needs a router.

4. Manual screwdriver

5. A cloth

6. Patience

A CAD-System may help during the design process. If you just build it same size as mine you won't need one.

Step 3: Gather Requirements

1. Write down everything you want to store in the Workbench - preferably by categories - not everything needs separation.
2. Decide whether you want to be able to sit at the workbench - I decided against it but have a separate small table for soldering.- If you do you will need an empty slot to sit in and also separate the bottom extrusion into 2 pieces. Remember to put extra feet under the corners and to get 2 additional short side (width) extrusions .

3. Check what height is optimal for you. For me 87.5 cm was great.

4. Plan a few extra drawers for the things you forgot - yes you probably forgot something (or at least I did but luckily I had planned for that)

Step 4: Do the Math

From the requirements you can start the design process and assemble your BOM. I used EXCEL for that. I have attached my BOM here. Please note it is in german and might not be intuitive to read as i did not revise it at all. There may also be errors in the BOM. I used the sheet Laufzettel_PreisEinholen to actually buy stuff so the measurements there are probably ok. I do however, not take any responsibility for that. Please do your own calculations for your built.

I used 45mm Extrusions with 10mm slots I ordered at SMT Montagetechnik in Germany. They are compatible with the better known but slightly more expensive "item" extrusions.

Independently of your specific design you will need at least:

Extrusions: (->Supplier for me was SMT)

4 Extrusions for the vertical edges with 2 slots at 90°, mine are 660 mm long for a total height of 877mm (plate 27mm, top and bottom rail 2*45mm, feet 100mm ->877mm.)

4 Extrusions (2+2) for the long side top and bottom with 2 slots at 90° for top and 180° apart for bottom, mine are each 2510mm longfor a total length of 2600mm - separate the bottoms if you want to sit at the bench.

4 Extrusions for the short side with 2 slots at 45°, mine are 1110mm long for a total width of 1200mm of the body.

2 Extrusions for each separation of the long side with 3 slots in the length of the vertical edges - i have 3 separations using 6 extrusions

4 Extrusions as feet in the length of the feet (100mm for me and works) plus 2 feet beneath every separation.

Extrusion connectors

8cube-shaped 3-way connections for the corners - More if you want to sit at the bench

4 L-shaped connectors that go inside the slots for each separation - for me a total of 12

Chipboard (white) (-> Supplier for me was a local hardware store)

2 boards as long as your short side (width) extrusions plus 20 mm and as high as your vertical extrusions plus 20mm, strength 10 mm used as side walls.

1 board as long as your short side (width) extrusion plus 20mm and as high as your vertical extrusions for each separator. Strength 10 mm for 10 mm slot profiles - may be a tight fit but works.

1 strengthening board for the assembly the same height as the vertical extrusions and the width of the distance between 2 slide fixtures.

Drawer slides for each drawer (-> Supplier for me was Ebay-seller SO-Tech)

I have 23 Drawers (one is double height in disguise) so i got 46 Slides - remember to get the slides in sufficient strength. 40 KG should be enough for most drawers. Additionaly the slides have barely any thickness so in order to move the drawers without colliding into the extrusion you need stripes of wood to attach them to.(See step 6) I used oriented strand board of 15mm thickness. Please make sure the measurements fit to one another as the profiles arent very forgiving if the drawers are too wide or the inlays too thick. The stripes also serve as a guide and have the same length as the profiles for the width of the assembly.

Corner brackets (->Supplier for me was Eisenmann Handwerksbedarf)

You will need lots of those - 8 per drawer for me - if you dont have a router and use them for the bottom it would be 12 per drawer. I bought 250 pcs of 40x40x15mm, 4-hole brackets.

Same applies for the screws - i bought 2.000 Tx 3.5 x 20 of which i used well over 1.200 to attach the drawer slide stripes as well as assemble the drawes.

Board for working surface (-> Supplier for me was a local hardware store)

I used 2 pcs of beech working surface for kitchens with a strength of 27mm and measuring 2600x650mm each.

Oh yeah just noticed the filename of the BOM - we live in the Einsteinstraße

Step 5: Drawers !

The drawers for the uppertwo positions can be built independently of the rest of the project. I used corner brackets to attach four boards and slottet them before to put a bottom board in. I might have also used another 4 corner brackets for the bottoms and saved myself the hassle with the slots but I like the design better this way.


Each drawer consists of 2 identical side boards, a backboard and a front board. The front board is longer and wider than the other boards as it also acts as the optical front / blend. All boards used for the drawers are 19mm white chipboard. I didnt bother surfacing the edges and instead used wood protection for minimal humidity resistance.


Put a 10 mm wide, straight slot across the side, back and front drawer boards with a distance of 10 mm from the bottom and a depth of 10 mm. Use a jig or CNC to make the process repeatable. I used pins on my vacuum table for that purpose. Do so for all boards (sides backs and bottoms).

Make a jig to pre-drill the boards with a small diameter where the corner-brackets go. I used the CNC to make the jig. The size of the jig depends on the corner brackets you use. It is for convenience only though and will probably work without pre-drilling.

Drill the front panels in the middle in the distance of your handles - i got mine for cheap at IKEA - i think it was 1.50 euros for 6 of them.


Step 6: Attach the Support Stripes and the Slides

Now you can add the support stripes. Make sure you have them at the same overall height. Since the side walls are 20 mm heigher the distance to the boards edge must be 10 mm more than for the separators. Attach already slottet side boards for drawers to the bottom slides. Although this makes it somewhat harder to assemble the drawer it sets the level to later install the other drawers. Remember to leave a gap between the slides for the strengthening board.

Step 7: Start the Assembly

Now build the bottom extrusion frame by connecting the extrusions using the cube shaped connectors. Use a tape measure to loosely install the extrusions using the angle connections.Once everything is in place, install the top side extrusions.

Step 8: Install the First 2 Rows of Drawers

Now it is time to install the drawers. I first assembled the lower drawers. Then I pulled the bottom drawers out , used a separator and put the next, readily assembled drawer on top of the installed one. I then pulled out the corresponding slides and attached the next drawer. Make sure to keep your separator level. This sounds easier than it was at times. Sorry I didnt remember to take pictures. Do not install the top row just yet. You need room to connect the surface boards.

Step 9: Attach the Surfaces

First unwrap the boards and place them onto the assembly. Coat them using an oil or wood sealant. Make sure you get all sides of the boards.

Place the boards on top of the assembly and fix them using brackets. I made mine with the CNC but basically they are just small blocks that can be attached to the slot of the profile by a screw and then used long screws that go from the bottom , through these blocks and into the surface boards from underneath. I used one at each separator extrusion and 4 on the short sides (width).The latter are a little tricky to install but it works. Make sure to leave a gap for the tool holding board.

Step 10: Add the Upper Row of Drawers

Same procedure as Step 8 now for the top row.

Step 11: Install the Tool Holding Board

This board has 2 different purposes as it is not only for holding the tools, but also to provide structural support for the work surface, especially in the middle. Attach it by using corner brackets. Make sure they are at the same heigth with respect to the tool holding board. The Work surface will straigthen once attached.Once the board is attached, install your tool walls and holders.

That's it !

I hope you like my very first instructable. If you have any questions feel free to comment.


Step 12: Optional Multifunctional Woodworking Attachment !

I've been looking for a way to efficiently integrate a tablesaw as well as a woodrouter into my workshop. As of now the attachment is not finished but its getting there - the CAD (pic shows router attachment but tablesaw guide...) is all done, the first parts are fresh of the CNC. The main reason I need this is that it is just too much hassle to fix a board to the CNC just to make a straight cut. Also the CNC usually doesn't cut 20mm of wood in one pass with an endmill just 3mm wide whereas a tablesaw easily does.

The attachment has a total size of 700 x 500 mm and consists of 2 pieces of wood with thicknesses of 12 mm on the bottom and 15 mm on the top to match the 27mm surface plate of the table. The sandwich-construction is used to easily integrate the slides without too much milling.

First the base 12 mm plate is cut out.(See picture)

Step 13: Attach the Base Plate to Extrusions

I used two 510 mm long extrusions i had left over from another project to attach the base to. The extrusions in combination with some strong aluminum angles are used to attach the entire thing to the table. Since all the cutting is done on the table - side of the attachment, no additional support is needed. To get to the same hight as the table surface without having any screws in the way, the top 15mm plate is drilled wherever there are screws in the base plate and then glued in Position. Make sure the top plate is parallel to your cutout.

Step 14: Cut the Aluminum U-Rails

To cut the slides to length i used an angle - grinder. The Rails are used to easily slide the parallel.

I needed 5 pcs of U-Rail each 15 x 27.3 x 15 x 1.5 mm (don't know about the 27.3 its what the hardware-store had in stock. Lengths were:

2 x 470mm

2 x 200mm

1 x 440mm

Step 15: Glue the Long Rails in Place and Make a Slider

All the long rails can be glued on using glue on 2 sides - the Bottom and facing the 15mm top plate.

Then cut out a piece of wood 12 mm thick and measuring 300 mm in length and exactly the inner measurement of the rail in width (for me that was 24.3mm)

Then start cutting out the parallel stop.

Step 16: Parallel Stop

The Parallel stop is machined out of 15 mm multiplex and features a cutout to take in an M8 hex head screw. The round cutouts are a measure to prevent the wood from flexing when torque is put on the screw as a stop block using the exact negative of the cutout will be glued on top. A type of double - headed arrow shape might have been better but this works just fine.

Step 17: Prepare Set-In Plate

The tool holding plates measure 400 x 200 mm. They are interchangeable. I will get back and take some pictures these days - forgot to when i made this. They feature 4 small adapter plates each to attach them directly to the aluminum extrusions by 4 M8 screws.

I will get back with more pics - For now here is the CAD data Iused !

If anyone is interested in the G-Code please PM me.