Heavy Duty Leveling Feet on the Cheap!




Introduction: Heavy Duty Leveling Feet on the Cheap!

About: I have a penchant for anything that requires tinkering or fiddling. I have a particular fondness for woodworking and props/replicas.

I recently found myself needing a new set of leveling feet for a table saw that I am restoring, and was surprised to find that this wasn't something I could source locally.  I hopped on the internet and searched for them, only to find that what's available simply costs more than I think it should.  I thought to myself, "This is just a handful of bolts and rubber pads, why should these cost 15-30 bucks?"  

Then it dawned on me: why don't I just buy a handful of bolts and rubber pads?  

What I came up with was a cheap, easy work-around that appeals to my cheapskate/impatient sensibilities.  

Step 1: What You'll Need

Here's what we'll need to make this work.

4 - 3/8" x 2.5" carriage bolts (the length and diameter may vary to suit your needs)
8 - 3/8" hex nuts (ditto about suiting your needs)
8 appropriately sized washers
4 rubber anti-skid cups (usually available near the casters in most big box stores)
A hot glue gun a few sticks of glue
A roll of painters tape

Step 2: Assembly

If you needed leveling feet for something that you're not planning on moving around a lot, you can skip most of this and thread the carriage bolts into the bottom of whatever your trying to level and set them into the indentation on the rubber pads, boom, done.  I'm putting these onto a table saw that will be moved around the shop frequently, so I needed a way to ensure the bolts stay attached to the pads.  

First, we need to make sure that the bolt is attached perpendicular to the pad.  Honestly, you can get away with just eyeballing this.  However, as I like to over-complicate things, I used my drill press to line everything up.  I loosely chucked a bolt into my drill press, head down, and centered the rubber pad beneath it.  I put a generous glob of hot glue in the center of the pad, lowered the bolt onto it, gave it about 10 seconds to cool, and released the chuck.  Again, this is probably unnecessary, but at least everything is dead accurate.

Next, we want to build up a layer of glue to encase the head of the bolt.  I used a few pieces of blue painters tape to build up a cup around the rubber pad and the head of the bolt.  Then I simply squeezed a fair amount of hot glue into each one, taking care to fill them evenly and completely.  

Let it cool off, peel off your tape, and you have one very capable, very sturdy leveling foot.  

A note about the hot glue: 
I'm sure you may wonder why I used hot glue instead of something like epoxy, which is undeniably stronger.
1) I wanted something that would remain a little flexible after it dried, since I also wanted something to help dampen vibration
2) Hot glue sticks to these rubber pads really, really well.
3) I was out of epoxy.

Step 3: Put Them to Use

And they're done. These install easily on tool stands and the like. I'll be making these for my workbench as well, which can just be installed with a t-nut instead of the hex nuts.

Anywho, it's a quick, cheap, simple project. I spent $4.62 on this, so it definitely appeals to my wallet. Thanks for checking out my Instructable, and if you have any ideas or improvements, please let me know.

UPDATE (12/5/15):

Just a quick update on how well these have held up. I've been using these on various heavy things around the shop for a couple of years now, and I have yet to have one fail or come apart. Matter of fact, I had to pull one apart after inadvertently using the wrong size bolt, and getting it apart took quite a bit of...um...profanity. I guess I underestimated hot glue's stick-to-it-iveness.



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21 Discussions

Awesome idea, do you have an idea of the amount of weight these might support? I have a really old Delta 34-441 that weighs a lot and I want to make sure these will hold up.....thanks much!


2 years ago

Good'n! Thanx... Excellent presentation for "monkey-see, monkey-do" folks like me. (Plus funny. Funny is good.)

Outstanding Fix!

I was wondering how much weight you have subjected these to? I am looking at using them on a floor standing Drill Press (Jet 15") and was concerned that it may be too much for them. The bolt diameter would be 1/2 in by probably 3 in. I do not intend to move it often if ever again - this thing is heavy.

Alternatives I have found cost as much as 22 per leg which is just not going to happen!

2 replies

Thanks! I've put a lot of weight on them. I currently use them on a table saw, jointer, band saw, and a massive 4x8 metal work table. Actually, my big drill press is the only tool not using these, lol. I'm pretty sure they'll hold up, though.

Thank you for the quick reply. The drill press (17 inch not 15 -- at my age you learn not to trust your memory but then you forget and live to repeat the process) comes in at a hefty 189 lbs. I am making these tomorrow and will let you know how it turns out. Again, Thanks!

Sears wanted $30 for a set of replacement feet. I made these for $6 (I had the hot melt glue and gun already). I didn't use the painter's tape. After initially gluing the carriage bolt to the cup using a drill press, I just filled the cup with hot melt glue. The hot melt glue is not as thick on mine so I'll have to see how it holds up, but it seems to be plenty strong. Thanks for this very helpful 'instructable'.

Very nice!

Really appreciate your idea of using the drill press to insure perpendicularity.

Depending on how long the joining process (epoxy), I would have probably made 4 glue fixture(s) from a piece of 2 X 4, still using the drill press to create it. Yours is quicker, though, for one at a time.

Again, love it!

1 reply

12/26/2014: I just made some of these tonight and will install them on my table saw tomorrow. How have yours held up after a year? Are you still using them? Have you made more using some other adhesive? I'm wondering if the bolts stay in the plastic feet. Thanks and Happy New Year!

2 replies

They've held up incredibly well. Pretty much every item with legs in my shop has these now, and not a single one has failed. I've only used the hot glue...it's worked well enough that I haven't felt the need to experiment with anything else.

Thanks for your response. I'm glad to hear yours have held up well. I installed mine today and they seem quite strong - even with a fairly heavy saw tilted up on only two of the feet while I put on the other two. Mine didn't turn out nearly as neat as yours, but as long as they work well and fit my budget, I'm happy. Thanks again for your instructable.

Thanks for the idea. I wish I saw this a couple months ago. If the hot glue doesn't hold up, I'd skip the epoxy and go for tube of flexible construction adhesive like PL or Liquid Nails

1 reply

I hadn't thought of that....I just happen to have a tube of that in the shop. I'll keep that in mind, thanks!

I will definitely be using these on future projects. I was thinking to using silicone sealant instead of glue gun for better vibration dampening but I don't know if it will stick well enough.

1 reply

Honestly, the vibration dampening of hot glue vs epoxy vs silicone is probably negligible. I'd just go with whatever sticks the best, personally. Let me know how it turns out.