• Brian Huang

Workshop Progress

When we moved into this house, we originally planned on fixing the basement area to be another living unit. It has a bathroom, kitchen, and two bedrooms. The basement isn't the nicest part of the house. In fact, the ceilings are only about 6'6".


We've been slowly working around ripping out the ceiling, exposing the beams, and generally cleaning up the space. The area is usually too dusty and messy to do much with. During the quarantine, we decided to fully convert the space into a workshop for our bigger tools.


We designed a simple mobile bench out of 2x4s that we removed from parts of the house. The tops are covered with 3/4" MDF, and we have 3" locking caster wheels to allow us to quickly move and re-configure the layout of the space.


SketchUp Layout is a great tool to export the 3D model into 2D dimensioned drawings for fabrication. I added a few of the key dimensions and went to building.

The tops of each of these tables are a 2' x 4', and we ended up building two of these to sit right at 34" to match the working height of our table saw.


Table Saw Stand

We have an older Hitachi jobsite saw. Jobsite saws are nice because you can move them around easily, but they're also not the most stable. The footprint of the base is about 17" x 22", and there is a 5th leg that sticks out back, but it just slips on the tile floor of our basement. So, I figured I'd build a base that I could mount the saw onto that would match the height of the workbenches that I built. In hindsight, I probably should have built the table saw stand first, and then built the workbenches to match.

Everything starts with a sketch.

I took a few basic measurements of the saw and did a quick sketch to get a rough feel for the general dimensions.

From here, I started to mock up the design in SketchUp. I found a few caster wheels in the 3D warehouse, but rather than making sure that these are the right sizes, I did a red rectangular solid to simulate the height of the wheels. The extension on the right hand side allows me to rip up to 24" wide. I didn't want to sacrifice that capability, so I made a large opening on the right side.


Basically, I built a base that was 14-1/2" high (not including the caster wheels), mounted the saw, and then built the supports around it to make the top flush.


Test Fit

The saw fits flush with the left side. I noticed that the right side droops a bit. I didn't account for this on the table because it would have caused by table top to also droop. What I like about this design is that it's the exact height as the workbenches. So, if I need an extension table, I can roll the workbenches to the back, or slide a workbench to the side for extra support.

The first few test cuts on the saw were great. The locking casters hold the saw pretty well. I did find myself hooking my leg under the bottom bar to keep the saw from sliding forward. I think I'll need to get wheel chocks or something else to anchor the table better. Or, maybe I will just build a foot rest that I stand on while using the saw. The saw doesn't rock or tip anymore. This is a huge improvement. It's also still really easy to wheel around the shop.


Still to be done

The miter channels need to be routed out on the table top. My cross-cut sleds don't slide far enough to pass the blade. I also still need to add shelves and additional bracing on the bottom. The bottom legs aren't fully supported, and I can feel them start to splay out!


This isn't too bad for a quick workshop build. Until next time.


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ABOUT ME...

I started my career as an RF / Antenna design engineer, but I have now spent more time in education working with digital fabrication tools and encouraging the Maker mindset.

I try to empower my students to tinker, break, and fix things in their lives with digital fabrication and electronics. I now run a center program called HackSchool in North Denver with students at STRIVE Prep Excel where we apply engineering toward solving problems in their community.  

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