Smart Workbench

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Introduction: Smart Workbench

About: Hi, I'm Yaron, A proud father of 2, A software engineer by trade and a creator by DNA. My love for building things started at an early age working with my dad over the summers, now this love fills my free ti...

I need a place to work on my projects, whether its electronics, wooden, metal or any other project.

A decision was made, A workbench!

I wanted this workbench to be comfortable to work on and a place where I arrange and store my tools.

Step 1: Design

The first step of designing is understanding your environment, meaning what you want to build in front of the limitations...

My general idea was a workbench that can suit any kind of project and which will have storage to contain all my tools in an orderly fashion...

My main limitations are, my workspace is indoors with limited space. By those limitations, I decided to go for a something mobile and as foldable as possible in a way which will stay comfortable to work.

After few notebook sketches, my final design is a workbench that has 3 levels, high shelf, working table and low shelf. The dimensions are 120cm width, 170cm high, 70cm depth.

Another challenge was to make the workbench mobile as its usually very massive and should endure heavyweights. This led me to careful study and design few mobility mechanisms. finally, I choose a mobility mechanism from a video I saw and had to adjust to my measurements (see pictures).

Step 2: Tools & Materials

Tools:

  • Circular Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Multi-tool (optional, I used Bosch)

Materials:

    • Pinewood
    • Plywood 2cm thick
    • Plywood 0.4cm thick
    • Screws
    • Wood glue
    • 4 X Casters
    • 6 X Book Hinges
    • 4 X L Shape metal corner brace
    • On wall electricity socket
    • 4m electricity wire
    • Metal wire

    Step 3: Workbench Skeleton

    First, I started with cutting the four legs 170cm each and six bars 120cm each. next, I started to assemble them together.

    The starting point is to create the narrow sides first in the shape of a rectangle. there are three considerations here, the rectangle join point with front bars (see picture), the folding extension for the table, and for the lower shelf, it should not disturb your legs while sitting to the table.

    After two sides were assembled, I hooked both of them with the six bars, to form a partial box shape.

    Note: all join point I used both screws and wood glue, for the screws I first drilled a leading hole to prevent the wood from splitting (this method will also come handy later when joining hard plywood and the soft pinewood).

    Next, I cut the plywood to fit the frame of the two shelves and the main table the plywood will also help strengthen the whole structure. I attached the plywood again with screws in the same method I mentioned above and with "L" shape metal braces.

    Step 4: Folding Extension

    When I built the workbench skeleton I left space for the extension, I didn't want it to stick out of the frame. so I cut 5cm frame for the extension and a matching plywood piece.

    Now to attach the extension to the table using two hinges.

    The thing to pay attention here is to level both of the surfaces with hinges, I will highlight the "pay attention" here because I first attached them together and only after I saw I had a problem with the space the hinges created.

    To solve this problem I curved the hinges into the main table using a multitool and the unwanted space was reduced to my satisfactory.

    Next, I have added a support from below, with two diagonal bars (see picture).

    To lock the extension in a "closed" position I drilled a hole and put a metal rod.

    Step 5: Mobility Mechanism

    I really loved working on this step, it started with a little bit of studying and digging on the web. then I came across this youtube video by Carl Holmgren which gave me the general idea of what I wanted and thought will work best with my workbench dimensions.

    I think this solution is very simple, easy to accomplish and it leverages the workbench weight instead of using springs or something similar.

    The greatest part is you enjoy the benefits of both Stationary and mobile workbench, with nearly zero effort!

    Steps:

    1. Cut two 50cm boards for the casters
    2. Attach 2 casters on each board
    3. Measure and mark the height of the board, the wheel needs to stick out of the workbench leg ~0.5cm
    4. Attach the hinges on the opposite side of the casters and to the legs of the workbench
    5. Cut 60cm board and attach it to the left caster board
    6. Cut 10cm board and 120cm board and attach them, one on top of the other, to the right caster board.
    7. Put back the lower shelf
    8. Cut L shape, which will be the handle to press
    9. Mark the place where you will press down and bring the workbench up (on the casters), Drill and cut the hole for the handle
    10. To lock the handle carve 1cm (when the handle is pressed) on the height of the shelf

    Step 6: Electricity

    I set the electricity socket with two screws to the table, drilled a hole in the table for the cable to go through,

    From beneath the table, I drilled another hole through the frame.

    Next, I connected the electrical wire to the socket and pulled it through its holes and attached the wire to the frame with the holders.

    Step 7: Pegboard

    This step divides, the Firat section is the pegboard creation and assembly, and the other section is the perks to hang the tools on.

    Pegboard

    I marked the measurement for the back of the workbench and cut the thin plywood with a utility knife.

    Attached the plywood with nails, one every 15cm.

    Next came the hard part... the pegboard holes, I started drilling a hole from the front, just so ill have a reference to the matrix starting point.

    I decided to go for 5cm spacings, so from the first hole, I marked every 5cm on the rectangle.

    Next, I started drilling which was very very tedious, there were 368 holes to drill...

    Perks

    I used the metal wire to create the hangers, there are 2 types one is just a simple "S" shape, the other looks like a nose, I used a set of pliers to bend the wire to the wanted shape. these hangers can easily suit any tool I would like to hang on the pegboard.

    Another thing I created was a shelf for screwdrivers:
    I cut a 5cm board, marked on the board 2 hole from the pegboard, drilled 6 holes on the board for the screwdrivers to be placed in, the only thing left is two wire that a shaped as L, to hang on the pegboard.

    Step 8: Done!

    As I see its work in progress, I think every workstation has to be improved and adjusted as you go.

    Few things I'm thinking to add are, a cover to the surface of the working table, and table light maybe LED...

    Which Material would you suggest to cover the table with?

    Hope you enjoyed the read!

    Thanks for staying this far!

    Y.

    Workshop Hacks Challenge 2017

    Runner Up in the
    Workshop Hacks Challenge 2017

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      22 Discussions

      Wow, this has really motivated me to consider a mobile workstation table in my shop I'm planning to build next week. I wanted a way to move a table saw to the middle of the floor but not have it rolling around while I'm using it, and this is an excellent way to add mobility to a table or workbench.

      1 reply

      The way you make it mobile is ingenious. Your invention?

      I voted for you in the workshop hacks section.

      Very good :)

      2 replies

      Thank you very much,

      no i got the idea from a youtube video i saw (its in step 5) and had to adjust it with minor calculations and trial and error ;)

      Very well done, but I can't believe you made your own pegboard! As far as covering the top, you may want to consider consider hardboard (masonite). It's inexpensive and will last for years. Get the stuff that has a smooth finish on one side. You can polyurethane it to make it impervious to water, grease or oil. It's easy to clean and easily replaced. I have had it on one of my workbenches for 40 years and it still looks great.

      1 reply

      it lifts and lowers so gently. great job! Thanks for sharing.

      the wheel base I think I'll reuse for my router table and my table saw.

      But I think you could do something hot for your workstation. Behind and on the side I would put a sheet of wood with decorative trimmings... When you are done you turn the workstation 180 (to face the wall) and people would say you have an armoire... Put the sides on an hinge held by magnet so it's easy reconfiguration. plus on the inside of your sides you could put other stuff to hang.

      1 reply

      That is a really nice idea but I think it's late to change the design, I definitely will take your idea to use hinges on the sides to store more stuff, Thanks!

      Interesting design. As others have said, the moveable casters work well. For longevity, I'd through bolt the casters and the hinges. You don't mention what size pine lumber you used. I'd guess in the range of a 1"x4". For your working surface I would probably use something like Arborite/Formica (not sure what's equivalent where you live. It gives a tough durable surface. I'd stay away from heavily patterned colours.

      1 reply

      Thanks,@Tanzer26, formica is a good suggestion, but if I'm not mistaken it will not endure utility knife for the long term, right? I thought maybe PVC but I don't have any experience with it

      As for you guess, you are right the lumber is ~ 1" X 4" (2cm X 9cm).

      im not going to build the workbench itself. But i like the solution for the wheels. I have been looking for something like that for my 50-100 year old metal sawing machine wich is to heavy to lift. I might be able to build this system on there, that way i can put it down stable if its in use.

      1 reply

      Loved the mobility system, I raise my hat to you.

      1 reply