Best made plans

I love it when a plan comes together.

Even better, when by some fluke, a plan formulated on the computer (such as the floor plan) actually works in real life too, as well as it suggested it would.

Moved the 4 machines around (tablesaw, 17″ bandsaw, jointer and thicknesser), and they all came together.  I did realise one thing though.  It is the end of the era for mobile bases in my workshop.

Mobile bases are really useful under the heavy machines in the shed.  Particularly when you are a sole operator, and especially when space is restricted.  A mobile base allows machines in sub-optimum position when stored to be moved out for use, then pushed away again.  I’ll still have a wheeled option for the thicknesser (it is built in), and for the tablesaw as well (when I upgrade it to the original built-in option).  The other machines though are another matter.

As I was sorting out the layout (and thank goodness for mobile bases at that point!), I found as I was finalising the locations, the bases were really restricting how well they each fitted together.  Once removed (from the bandsaw and the jointer), it was a whole different story.

I’m not against mobile bases – I have been using them successfully for years.  But I am also looking for to not needing them either.  I have more workshop room than ever, and with the layout compromised with them in place, I’m just as happy not to continue with them.  They do make a machine more unstable, and I could, if I become really confident with the layout, actually bolt the machines to the slab.  Now that is a big call.

Tempting though.  A really solid operating platform.

I may hold off on that for a while though – previous experience shows that I tweak the shed layout a dozen times a year, every year!

Mobile Bases for Floor Machines

I have a few heavy machines in the workshop these days, each weighing between about 70 and 100kg.  Given my limited space, I really need to be able to move these around, yet I don’t want to have to try to drag them, or lift them to fit wheels etc.  The solution is a heavy-duty mobile base, that can cope with the weight of the machine and remain fully stable, both when the machine is being moved, and when it is in use.

The base that I have been using is one made by Jet, and so far, I’ve only needed the smaller model, which is still capable of handling a machine weighing up to 270 kg (600 lb).

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The latest to receive the treatment, is the Triton 15″ thicknesser.  Weighing in at over 80kg, it also has quite a large footprint, so I really need to be able to move it out of the way for other jobs, or even outside if I need to machine long lengths.

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The components look and feel quite robust, and the design means that it can fit machines with a wide range of footprints, without needing any tools for assembly.  What you can see here, is a wheel for each corner (which includes a decent amount of base for the machine to sit on), and four predrilled connector bars.

Two wheels are steerable (swivel), and all four are lockable, maximising the stability of the platform during machining operations.

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This is a close-up of the connector bar, with the spring-loaded pin engaged in the first hole.

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The thicknesser now on its new base, portable and stable.

Downtrack, I will be adding a wooden shelf on the base, and another on the mid-height bracing so I can maximise storage opportunities around the workshop.

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