Roll Away Cabinet

Introduction: Roll Away Cabinet

As most people, I have to have a dual use garage. At the end of a project (or at least within a day or so) I need to pull the car in the garage. This can sometimes conflict with the need to have room to work on projects.

I recently purchased some scroll bending tools and needed at least 6' radius around the tools. In addition the workspace needed to be stable so that it doesn't move while bending the metal.

I created a way to have flip up wheels so that it was stable in the center of the garage, but then extend the wheels down to push it back to it's final resting place.

Materials needed

Cabinet (or whatever your workspace is)
8' 1/2 all thread
16 nuts
12 fender washers (oversized washers)
Casters (mine were 2" casters)
Scrap metal
Drill w/ bits working up to 1/2"

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Step 1: Create Lever Arms

I am all about using whatever scrap I can. My storage requirements always increase with a project since I don't throw away any bits.

I found a drying rack in a cabinet shop made out of 1" or so steel tubes. It's a pile of rust but still strong enough to build stuff from. Home Depot, Lowes, or other big box stores usually have this type of steel though. might be another place, but I have never used them.

The lever arms have the pivots located outside the wheels. This allows the wheels to fold up and place the base of the cabinet on the ground.

There are two lever arms, a short and a long.
For my cabinet the length of the short arm was 9"
The long arm was two pieces, one at 21", the other at 6".

The cabinet base is 21" for reference.

Step 2: Cut Holes for Threaded Rod

This is a long step as you need to work from a small bit up to a 1/2 hole through 4 pieces.

I used 4 graduations with the last being the 1/2 bit. I used half a bottle of engine oil to keep the bits from burning. It's a mess!! Make sure you throw a bucket under the drill press.

The holes are drilled 2" from the end, centered in the lever. Only the shorter four pieces are drilled.

Step 3: Create the Long Lever

This step requires some welding.
I have a 110v Daytona mig. It does an adequate job, especially considering I am self taught. The welds here are with flux core wire.

Anyone have comments, would love to hear them.

Attach the 6" drilled pieces to the 21" piece with the 1/2" hole to the outside (away from the long end)

Both sides are welded.

Step 4: Add the Casters

I welded them to the levers, but be careful the packing grease can catch on fire. You should expect the wheels to be less smooth after the bearing cage is warped from the welding.
The utility nature of this is why I didn't spend money on an appropriate caster, or do a slower series of spot welds.

If I had to do this over, I would have chosen smaller wheels or notched the bottom of the cabinet. These wheels rotate into the side of the cabinet stopping it from moving very smoothly.
Not a big deal since I can just kick them back the other way, but something to consider.

This picture shows the caster bing added to the long lever. The 1/2 hole is about 1" closer to the end.
The caster edge is welded approx" 3" in from the edge. This puts the center of the wheel approx. 5" from the edge.

With this the lever action is not horrible to control.

Step 5: Drill the Cabinet for the All Thread

I eyeballed this one, but the measurements worked out 2" from the bottom, and 2" from the edge (front or back).

Drill a pilot hole (1/8 or so) and then the 1/2 hole.

Different sizes of levers or casters may mean a different location for these. What you want is the levers to be able to rotate out of the way when they are up, but be close enough to the bottom of the cabinet that the wheels stick down.

The all thread is installed (after cutting it in half). This picture doesn't show it, but I added a fender washer and nut to the inside of all four corners.

On the outside of all four corners a washer and nut are also installed. Snug, but not crushing the wood.

Helpful tip when cutting all thread. Run two nuts down to where you are going to cut the rod. Keep one nut on either side of the cutting area. Once you have made the cut, run the nut off the rod toward the cut area. The nuts will 'clean up' the burs.

Step 6: Add the Levers to the Cabinet.

Slide the levers on to the cabinet. It works best if the long lever is in the back facing forward.

Add a washer and two nuts to the end of all thread. Snug, but by no means tight, with the nut closest to the lever. Run the other nut up against the first nut. Tighten (with two wrenches) the two nuts together. This will lock the nuts together.

Note: This does leave a piece of threaded rod sticking out quite a bit from the cabinet. It's about 3" to 4" total.

Cut the threaded off pretty close to the nuts. Grind off burrs if you so desire.

Step 7: Using the Levers

I don't have a video of it, but may end up doing that at some point.

It's a simple setup to use the levers. A metal 'ring' needs to be created to hold the two levers together in their 'down' position. I used some lovely crap 1/8 flat bar with a simple weld. It doesn't have to be and should not be tight. Give yourself some slack on the sides to make it easy to slip on.

To use the levers just lift the edge of the cabinet. The levers will rotate down, slip the collar on.
The other side may want to slide now that the wheels are down, but it's the same process.

I leave the levers down when it's stored in it's resting place.

When I move it out the center, I lift just a bit on the edge, slip the collars off and it's flat on the ground.

Some things I would have done differently.

- Ground the edges before installing. Sharp rusty metal bits can catch you.
- After verifying it worked, welded the all thread to the levers instead of the double nuts (save some space and catching myself on it)
- Picked two stationary casters, and two swivel style, notching the cabinet to allow them to swivel.

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    4 Discussions


    perfect I like my roller cabinet to be more stable when I work and this is a fix


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Well, you could have just welded a cabinet caddy with heavier duty casters that come with locking wheels just like those file cabinet dollies. Good job though.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    There may be a product I am missing. I actually used a 5" wheel caster on another cabinet (for a saw). The low contact point, even when locked would allow the cabinet to slide. The tools on top are a scroll bender. Load is trying to spin the cabinet and the wheels didn't resist it against the concrete. May look for a caddy product. Love finding something better that makes life easier! Thanks!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Nothing wrong with designing something with stuff you have available. I guess another idea for thought was the wheel barrow type with just two wheels attached to the back and just tilt the unit with foldaway arms on the sides to push it. It helps to window shop the tool aisle and see what they are making nowadays for portable saw stands. Keep tinkering.