Introduction: Heavy Duty Leveling Feet on the Cheap!
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.
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.