Introduction: Maker Bench

About: I own a online business that sells industrial pipe fittings (Kee Klamp), PVC (pipe and fittings), as well as unique projects made with these products.
If you were a part of MAKE:'s 06 Maker Faire in San Mateo California, you probably didn't miss the the Maker Bench. Many of the projects were set on these sturdy, overbuilt tables made of aluminum pipe and fittings. In this project we will walk you throught the steps and point out the pieces and parts you need to build your own Maker Bench.

tools required:
5/16” Hex Key
Drill (not required)
Screw Driver

parts list:
6’ x 30” Plywood Tabletop
4 wood screws

1 1/2" Aluminum Schedule 40 Pipe:
4 x 3’ 1-1/2”
4 x 2’ 1”
3 x 5’ 7”

(available at: )
4 x L61-8 Kee Lite Flange
6 X L10-8 Kee Lite Single Socket Tee
4 x L20-8 Kee Lite Side Outlet Elbow
4 x 105-8 Kee Klamp Sheeting Clip

Note about pipe size: this bench was overbuilt. If you wanted to shave the cost of this bench you could:

1) Use a different type of pipe (e.g. thinner wall tubing)  You can also use fence tube if you really want to cut cost.
2) Use a smaller diameter pipe.  
  • Make sure that you buy fittings that correspond to the pipe size that you have chosen.
3) Use Kee Klamp fittings instead of Kee Lite.

Step 1: Assemble the Legs

If you ordered your bench from O'Reilly or from Simplified Building Concepts then this step will already be complete.

Slip-on the four L20s to one end of each of the four 3' 1-1/2' pipes. Tighten down the set screw.

Slip-on four L10s to the other end of the pipes.
Lay the pipes on the ground with the L20s all facing the same direction (see below)
Position two L10s so that they are aligned with the vertical portion of the L20. Tighten the set screw. (see left below)
Position two L10s so that they are aligned with the horizontal portion of the L20. Tighten the set screw. (see right below)

These will be you legs.

Step 2: Attach Feet

Attach all four L61 Flange fittings to bottom of pre-assembled 3’ 1-1/2” leg pipes

Step 3: Build the Bench Leg Sets

Fit the 2’ 1” pipe from step 2 into the L10 Single Socket Tee fittings attached to one of the four 3’ 1-1/2” leg pipes. Fit a 2’ 1” pipe (with no fittings on it) into L20 Side Outlet Elbows directly above and parallel to the other 2’ 1” pipe. Tighten set-screws.

Repeat step above with remaining 2’1” and 3’1-1/2” pipes.

There should now be two separate sets of two 3’1-1/2” legs, each attached by one upper and one lower 2’1” pipe.

Step 4: Complete the Frame

Take one of the leg-sets and fit two of the three 5’ 7” pipes into the two L20 fittings that are on top of the legs. Fit the remaining 5’ 7” pipe into the L10 fitting that has not been tightened on the lower 2’ 1” pipe. Tighten the set-screws that will secure the three 5’ 7” pipes. The 5’ 7” pipe that is attached to the L10 of the lower 2’ 1” pipe should be able to swivel.

Fit the three 5’ 7” pipe ends into the remaining leg-set L20 and L10 fitting(s). Tighten all three set-screws and finally tighten the remaining L10 set-screw on the 2’ 1” pipe. Ensure all set-screws are now fully tightened.

Step 5: Attach the Top

Place Plywood Tabletop on top of bench frame evenly and level. Place Sheeting Clamps approximately 6 inches in from each end of Tabletop on the bottom side of Tabletop and on the bottom side of the 5’ 7” pipe. Next, mark where holes will need to be drilled into wood, or simply screw the Sheeting Clamps into place without drilling. Screw Sheeting Clips to bottom of Tabletop with ½ inch screws.

Drilling holes prior to sinking screws may prevent wood from splitting.