Introduction: Portable Outdoor Workshop - Power Tool Tote Board

About: Architect, Urban Designer, all-round tinkerer of odds and ends. Small solutions for big city living. Dreaming of lands faraway where garages are big enough to build a workshop in, or lakes are there for taking…

Without a garage space for an indoor workshop, I have to lug all my tools outside whenever I want to do any cutting or sanding. With the rainy season coming, I almost got caught out in a downpour one day as I struggled to unplug and carry all my tools back inside one by one.

So I decided to make an all-in-one portable workshop that holds my most frequently used power tools, which I can carry all at once to my outdoor working space. It includes a power strip so that all 4 tools can be plugged in at all times. I just need to hang the board up on my yard fence, plug in the extension cord, and I'm ready to go!

Step 1: Making the Tool Mount Board

This has to be portable, so I started with a piece of lightweight 1/4" plywood that I had lying around, and I laid out my most used power tools on it to find a good arrangement.

I managed to fit my 1/3 sheet sander, trim router, and 2 drills on the board, with space for the power strip below. I then traced the outline of the tools onto the board. Do note that I eventually mounted the router and sander with the handles and cables facing down, for easier access.

The photos show how the holsters for the various tools were made, with timber offcuts for the verticals and 1/4" plywood scraps for the faces. These were just held with nails and screws.

If you make something like this, do consider how the cables will run, and how easy it is to grab and replace the tools. For example, the trim router holder is made in two pieces to let the cord pass through. And the drill holsters really only need a small holder to collar the chuck, when in use. But I added in a second layer of support blocks and velcro straps to hold the drills more securely for carrying and storage indoors. A 5mm (1/4") clearance is probably fine for this kind of use.

I also cut out a hand hold with a drill and jigsaw, and rounded over all the edges of the board and hand hold with a 3/8" roundover bit on my trim router.

Step 2: Make Custom Hooks

To hook this contraption to my yard fence, I bought some aluminium flat bar (3*20mm section) to bend into custom hooks. I just tightly clamped the end of the bar to the corner of a piece of timber and used the free end of the aluminium as a long lever to manually bend the bar.

The hooks were cut with a hacksaw and all sharp ends sanded with 60 grit sandpaper on a scrap block of wood.

I screwed these hooks onto the back of the board with 1/2" screws, adding more scraps of 1/4" plywood to give the screws something to 'bite' into.

Step 3: Power Finish

I finished the board with a coat of spray paint to even out the multi-coloured scraps. (Masking the velcro and hooks with painter's tape)

The power strip is simply cable tied on through a few small drilled holes, so that it can be removed easily if needed.

There is still space on the board for future upgrades, such as a holder for drill bits, chuck tool, and extra sandpaper. My circular saw definitely won't fit on this board, but I may add a couple of hooks at the bottom to hang bigger tools like my jigsaw on it while I'm working.

Step 4: Ready to Use Indoors or Out!

To use: I just carry the board out to the yard, tools and all, and hang it on the fence. It fits both inside or outside my fence, so I can work on either side.

Just add my new folding work bench (thanks, Instructables and Kreg for the prize), and I've got a mini workshop ready for action!

This tool board really helps to get me started whenever I have a little bit of time to work on my projects, since it is much easier to get set up outside. Also, since the portable work table is quite small, this keeps all my tools off the table and within reach. (Instead of all on the floor somewhere)

Another nice thing about working outdoors is that I don't need to worry about the mess. Any sawdust just becomes compost in the grass!

To store: this just hangs on my indoor 'workshop' shelf on two screws. This helps organise everything, and the panel also helps to hide some of the clutter on the shelves.

If you like this do vote for this project in the workshop contest. Thanks!

Workshop Hacks Challenge 2017

Runner Up in the
Workshop Hacks Challenge 2017