Introduction: Wheels for Your Table Saw/Work Benches
Several people asked about the wheels on my table saw when they saw them on my dust collector instructable. Here is a general description on how to make them for your table saw or any work bench you want to be portable, yet sturdy when you get it to where it's going.
The principle is simple. Press down on a lever to lift your saw/bench and then wheel it around.
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Step 1: Materials
Scrap wood. If you do any sort of woodworking this probably won't be a problem. In fact if you're like me you find it hard to throw out a piece of wood bigger than your palm because you think, "I could use that for xyz . . . sometime."
Other than wood, you'll need caster wheels, hinges, saws of some variety, screws, and a drill/driver.
I find it hard to buy casters cheaper anywhere than at Harbor Freight. But I'm not talking about loose, individual casters. You can usually buy one of their four caster moving dollies for $10-$15. You can't buy a four caster set anywhere that cheap. On this particular occasion I wasn't going to be near one of their stores so I paid $20 online for a set of 3" casters. The size of them and duty rating will be up to you and your project.
Step 2: The Frame
Measure your base and make a wooden frame to fit it at the bottom. My saw isn't super heavy so I made mine out of 3/4" pine. I put the the frame together with a dab of glue and screws. My table saw legs already had some holes in them---probably for some long out of production wheels for it---so I didn't have to make any myself. You may have to. I attached the frame to the legs with deck screws.
You'll make this frame level with the bottom of course, but really it doesn't have to be perfect. Once engaged the wheels will probably level themselves out.
Step 3: The Lever and the Wheels
I used a stub of 2x3 for my lever. I screwed it onto a scrap bit of pine that was long enough to fit inside the leg base. I could have cut them smaller, but I didn't want to. Seemed like a waste of time. You'll do as you wish.
The casters were screwed into the bottom of this board and lever assembly with some 3/4" wood screws with washers. Make sure you have enough room for the caster to swing 360 degrees without running into the wooden frame. The other side is the same except you don't screw the lever to it. Attach the wheels and move on.
I used hinges salvaged from a door. If you have large enough hinges you might be able to get away with one on each side. I used two on each side. Attach hinges to the wooden frame and then screw them to your wheel boards.
Where you attach the hinges on your frame will determine how high the table saw or bench gets lifted. I was lucky because my saw has adjustable feet and I was able to adjust them shorter or taller to allow more or less lift. I would say that you'd probably want the saw or table to lift at least a 1/2" off the floor. This will help in shops or garages with an uneven concrete floor. I found that my legs would scrape here or there in my garage until I adjusted them up more.
Step 4: The Foot Switch
Cut out a latch to catch your lever. You could make this any shape you want really. If you really want a super secure latch you can make a groove into your lever that a tooth on your latch to fit it so you don't worry about it slipping off. For me the spring and friction of the wood on wood is plenty to keep this thing from slipping.
You could use a metal spring to keep the latch in place. I just used an old, small bungee cord. Works well.
I really don't have to put much pressure on the lever to get it to lift. If you have a very heavy table you may have to lift up on it a little to get it on the wheels. You could always make your lever longer to give you more . . . leverage. As Archimedes is said to have uttered, "Give me a place to stand and a lever and I'll move the earth."
Step 5: Look at Her Go!
It's nice when things work well and really help.
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