Drill Powered Adjustable Height Work Bench!




About: We are Mike and Lauren. We make videos on YouTube about money, travel, homesteading, and DIY.

I used two trailer jacks to make an adjustable height work bench. I needed a way to store my new X-Carve CNC machine when not in use. You could modify this design easily to make an adjustable height standing desk.

Step 1: Modify Trailer Jack

A small pin is all that holds the hand crank on the trailer jack. Tapping it out and replacing the hand crank with a 48" rod ensures both sides of the work bench rise in sync.

Step 2: Re-Assembly

Drilling a small hole for the pin in each side of the rod connects the two trailer jacks together.

Step 3: Remove Mounting Bracket

I used a grinder to remove the mounting bracket from the trailer jack so it would fit in side my risers.

Step 4: Wood Risers (Guide Blocks)

I built two plywood boxes that fit perfectly in one another. Then the trailer jack goes in the smaller of the two boxes. A mounting plate is welded to the top of the jack which can be screwed to the inner box.

Step 5: Gears and Chain

Since the jack is upside down, two spur gears and #35 roller chain was used to bring the crank up to a comfortable height.

Step 6: The Frame

I used plywood to build 4 legs and connect them together. For my top work surface, I layered plywood with masonite to give is a slick finish as an out feed table for the table saw.

Step 7: Finished!

With this project I gained a large work bench, an out feed table, and a way to raise and lower my new CNC machine! I'm very happy with the results.



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    14 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I tried using pool table feet to make for a sturdy and adjustable (for levelling) table, and it worked just fine!



    3 years ago

    Great Instructable! really appreciated how you got straight to the Instructable (point) instead of several paragraphs of random unnecessary BS that a lot of Instructable have. I didn't have to skip down the several paragraphs before you started instructing. Will keep your Instructable in mind when I build one.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    How come the elevator platform doesn't tip at the edges away from the centerline of the jacks? Is everything just balanced properly on top?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    The platform isn't just a piece of plywood, it has the supporting boarder boards that extend it to 4 inches thick (looks like) and holds itself square, as well as wide (8 inch?) platform squares at the tops of the jacks (I think that is what I saw, could have been removed from final design). Then the entire platform is held with close tolerance inside the parallel legs, making basically a "square in a square hole", only cubic, so it can't rock, turn, twist, or tilt.

    It is a nice design, but close tolerance like that is hard to do without the right tools and discipline. An easier method to get right, though less cost effective, would be to use drawer slides inside the legs to prevent the tilting you talk about. They would offer a longer 'lever action' against the twisting and widen the acceptable tolerances, but wouldn't be as high a level of craftsmanship.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool. Perfect mechanism for a stand-up desk! And Harbor Freight's got the jacks at $20 a pop, so the whole thing's mega-affordable.

    Just out of curiosity, I see why you set the jacks upside down and extended the rod via roller chain to get height, but wouldn't it save a couple of steps and dollars to leave them right-way up and drive the rod directly? Yes, the drill would need to follow the table up and down, but is that a problem? Perhaps I'm missing something... Still, one of the best Instructables I've seen. Love it!

    premierwash1Ben Shamblin

    Reply 3 years ago

    trailer jack

    Awesome.! 1 question just to clarify. .. so, trailerJack stand.. LIKE A TRAILER JACK STAND? What you'd use to lift a trailer? No way!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Amazing. One of the cleverest things I've seen on Instructables.