A stand with mounting brackets that are compatible with Dewalt's aluminum miter saw stand (which I use in the field), so the saw can be clipped to the stand.
Also, make the miter saw flush with the adjacent workbench, so the workbench serves as an extended table when cutting long pieces.
Make the design open-frame for ease of cleanup. Construct the entire stand using 3/16" x 1-1/2" angle iron. Add adjustable feet to allow for an uneven or sloped floor. Add mounts to the top, made from 1/2" rod.
- 3/16" x 1-1/2" angle steel, 20 feet total
- I used 2 10-foot pieces, sourced from an industrial metal supply house
- 1/2" steel rod, 8-10 inches total
- I sourced this from a home improvement store, though the metal supply house probably had it cheaper if I'd remembered it.
- (4) 3/8-16 bolts, around 1-1/2" long
- I originally used carriage bolts, then switched to regular hex bolts which are lower-profile and have more surface contact with the floor. Real leveling feet are ideal, but add about $10 to the project cost and are harder to find (see granger.com).
- Paint - one with primer would be ideal.
FYI, TechShop has arrangements with local suppliers and will include your materials in their regular delivery with no price markup. This is an easy way to get heavy and/or long steel pieces for your projects, but you do need to plan ahead.
Cost & time required:
About $45 for steel, and $5 for paint and feet.
This was my first time for a lot of the steps, and for building something like this, so I spent a lot more time than expected - a total of 18 hours. 9 hours went into the base assembly, another 7 hours for the mounting brackets, and 2 hours to buy materials and paint it.
I made it at TechShop - the professional-grade tools there made it much easier than if I'd tried this at home. Especially their welding table, which was key to welding my project flat and square. I'm really pleased with the end result!
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Step 1: Take Measurements
Work backwards from the end goal:
- How high does the miter saw's bed need to be? (My goal was 38".)
- How high is the saw's bed when it's set on a flat surface? (Mine is 6-13/16" with the quick-release brackets attached.)
- How much working room is needed (if any) for the quick-release? (I found that at least 1/4" of extra height was needed to attach and remove the saw.)
- What's the minimum space you want to budget for adjustable feet? (I budgeted 1/2", but should have planned for 1" to 1-1/4" because of the floor's slope.)
If you take the figures above, you can calculate the dimensions of the frame. In my case, 38", minus 6-13/16", minus 1/4", minus 1/2" equals 29-15/16" for the height of the steelwork. Since the legs in this design will be mounted underneath, I subtract 3/16" for the thickness of the steel lip and find that the legs need to be cut to 29-3/4".
The miter saw is just under 24" wide at its base, so that determined the width of my stand. For the depth, my saw requires at least 18", but I chose to make the stand 24" deep because that's the depth of my workbench and because the saw's main adjustment knob sticks out a bit more than 24" anyway.
Step 2: Make Rough Cuts
Plan your cuts for efficient layout and so you'll have the least scrap. Usually, it's a good idea to layout your biggest pieces first, then cut smaller pieces from the scraps. Sketch it out on paper first, because this isn't always the best result (in my case, for example).
For the top, I needed 4 pieces 24" long. There's some fine-tuning to be done later, depending on how you'll cut the corners.
For the legs, I needed 4 pieces at least 30" long. I cut these closer to 34" initially because I planned to bend one end to make a flat surface for mounting the adjustable foot, and I wanted to make the final cut after that step.
I sourced two 10' pieces of angle steel from an industrial metal supplier and laid out my cuts with two 34" pieces and two 24" pieces from each. When all was done, I had just a handful of short scraps; not too bad for 20' of raw material.
I had the luxury of using an Ironworker 55-ton hydraulic shear/press, so making extra cuts wasn't a big issue on this project. If you're cutting these the hard way, you might want to plan a bit more and cut just once.
If you have access to a sandblaster, now would be an excellent time to clean the mill scale off your parts - it'll be much easier than individually prepping each weld joint later.
Step 3: Mitering the Top Corners
You have a variety of joints to choose from for the top frame - I picked a simple 45-degree miter. To make the cuts, I used the notcher attachment on the Ironworker tool.
First, mark the toolbed with tape to align your 45-degree cut. Then, shear 45-degrees from the inside corners. The cut will need to be cleaned up with a grinder, but the heavy work will be done.
Note that when using this technique the notcher doesn't cut the vertical portion of the angle iron - when the parts are assembled, there will be a square gap at the tip of the corner. This has two effects - first, you need to deduct this from your final dimensions (e.g., 3/16" at each end, so the parts should be cut 3/8" shorter) if you care about final overall dimensions. Second, it leaves a gap at the outside corner to be filled - I actually preferred this because it allowed the corner to be outside-welded (which gives better fit up for the legs on the inside), and it eliminated the sharp corners which I would have ground down anyway.
If you wanted sharp outside corners, two options would be to a) use a bandsaw for the cuts, or b) grind the vertical side for the 45-degree angle before using the notcher.
Step 4: Forming the Legs
At the bottom of the legs, a horizontal piece will be needed to mount the leveling feet. You could easily cut a piece and weld it onto the end, but I chose to cut and bend a tab, which required one less weld.
First, cut a square piece out of one side at the end. I used the notching attachment for this, though you could also use a bandsaw.
Next, bend the remaining tab inward 90 degrees to close the end of the angle iron. If your cut was precise, the joint should be a good fit-up for welding.
Heavy steel is likely to crack at the bend, which will need to be touched up when the foot joint is welded.
Once the foot is bent, the final length of the leg can be measured, and the leg can be precision-cut to its final length.
Step 5: Weld Prep
This isn't a tutorial on welding, so I'll just say this... the quality of your welds depends greatly on getting the metal clean first. For some of the inside corners, they're difficult to clean well with a grinder, which is why I suggested blasting the cut pieces.
This is one of those times the tool selection at TechShop is nice to have at hand - with 2-3 grinders on your bench, you don't need to change discs!
Step 6: Weld the Top
A clamping jig will be a huge help during the welding, to keep the parts square and aligned. I had access to the StrongHand table shown in the photo, which is especially convenient because the grid of holes are aligned perfectly - just put some blocks in place, and your parts are automatically square.
Place a couple tacks on the bottom of each joint, then double-check before welding out the joints.
I recommend welding the bottom face first, then the top face only if needed. Don't weld the side joints yet - the weld bead will interfere with fitting the legs later.
Step 7: Weld the Legs
First, weld the tab that was bent over at the foot.
Setup the clamping jig with blocks at the top face of the table, and at the bottom of the leg - this will ensure the legs will all be the same final length. Add blocks to align the leg, and a spacer to hold up the end of the leg.
Clamp it all in place (one leg at a time) and weld the joints. My preference was a single bead on each side of the leg.
Step 8: Weld Outside Corners of the Top
You'll find these joints easier to weld horizontally, so leave the table on its side and weld up the corner joints. Leaving this step until last keeps the weld bead from interfering with the fit-up of the legs.
Step 9: Grind the Outside Joints
Grinding welds is a major no-no for many craftsmen, but the reality is that hands will come into contact with the outer surfaces, and I prefer the corners to be smooth.
I use a cutoff wheel or grinding wheel to remove heavier bits of metal, then finish up with a sanding flap disc to smooth out the finish. The flap disc is a very forgiving tool and leaves a much smoother finish without gouging, but it's also too slow to remove large amounts of material.
Step 10: Create the Mounting Brackets
With the stand's base completed, now the saw mounts can be added.
In the background of the photo above, you can see the yellow portion of the Dewalt mount that attaches to the miter saw. It clips to two 1/2"-diameter half-round points on the base. The mounting base measures 5" o.d.
Fabricate the mounts from scraps of angle iron as stand-offs, with 1/2" rod for the attachment points.
- Rough cut the shape of the stand-offs, and 2" pieces of 1/2" rod
- Clamp up the assembly so that the 1/2" rod is square in both directions
- Note that the saw's mount fastens to the front and rear faces of the rods, and the welds need to be planned so they won't interfere with their operation. I opted for the rod to sit 1/4" down on the stand-off, placing the weld on the top rear of the rod.
- Tack the rod at the end, then check it again for square before finishing its weld
- Cut the welded assemblies to precise length - they need to be a minimum of 1.8" overall height, in order for the mount to attach. More height makes mounting easier, but would require the base of the stand to be shorter.
Attach the mounts to the stand's top:
- Lay the stand on its side and use blocks to align and square the parts.
- Clamping the stand and the mounts to the table will ensure they are flush
- If the mounts are welded to the base on their inside face, the exterior joint can be left untouched for a clean finish
Step 11: Install the Feet
Last step in the assembly is to add the leveling feet.
First, choose your part. For low cost, I chose a 3/8-16 bolt at about $0.36 each. An alternative would be an actual leveling foot, which can be sourced at places like Grainger.com starting at around $2.50 each.
- Check the chart in the tap and die set for the proper hole size
- Take care to drill the holes parallel to the length of the leg
- Using a tap, thread the holes and screw the foot in
As an alternative, if you're using thinner steel or don't have a tap set:
- Purchase nuts of the size and thread you need for your foot
- Drill the hole in the leg slightly oversized, so the bolt can slide through
- Securely weld the nut to the top side of your leg
As you can see in the photo above, I toyed with improvising a larger foot using low-cost materials for about $0.70 each. The foot shown is a 5/8x1-1/2" washer welded to a 3/8" carriage bolt. While it does the job, it requires that your holes are drilled and tapped perfectly parallel to the leg (which mine weren't). Commercial leveling feet will pivot to correct for this.
Step 12: Finish Your Project
Start with a primer coat, or use a paint that has primer in it for better adhesion. Ideally, you will have blasted off all the mill scale before this point, to get the best adhesion and longest life out of your finish. If not, it's not a crisis.
Use care not to over-coat the 1/2" mounting rod, and let the paint fully cure before mounting the saw for the first time.
Step 13: Potential Improvements
Outfeed / Stop
If anything, I might add an outfeed for the side that won't be against the workbench. One idea would be to use light-gauge square tubing with 1-2 rests and a stop, similar to Dewalt's solution. A slightly larger tube could be welded under the table, and the length of the outfeed would only be limited by how long I'm willing to let the tube protrude under the workbench when it's stowed.
An alternative would be to have a hinged wing that drops down to the table's side when it's not needed, but the length would be pretty limited.
Fasten to the Wall
I actually ended up doing this to make it even more rigid. Only one stud fell in the area behind the table, so I put a couple silicone buttons on the back corners to account for an uneven wall, then drilled a 3/8" hole and used a lag screw with a washer to fasten it firmly. This was after I'd roughly leveled the stand in 2 directions, and I fine-tuned the leveling afterward.
Let me know if you think of other improvements!