View Full Version : How to Make a Tool Base Mobile?
09-20-2004, 11:28 AM
I am in need of help. I would like to put wheels on the base of my radial arm saw so that I can roll it back in the corner when it is not needed, and roll it out when it is needed. I would like the levelers to be in contact with the floor when the saw is in use.
For the back two wheels, I thought positioning them directly behind the rear levelers, just off the floor, would allow them to make contact with the floor when the front of the unit was lifted.
I don't know what to do with the front wheels. I would like them to swing/fold/move in and under the saw's table to be out of the way during use. Then I would like them to swing/fold/move into place, maybe by lifting up a lever, when the mobility is needed.
Does anyone have plans or examples of something similar to what I have described? Does anyone have equipment that has been modified to be mobile? Can anyone come up with an idea of how to make something like this work?
The radial arm saw has legs that are in the shape of angle iron, the angle between the two sides is 95 degrees, and the legs are widest at their tops (3.5-4 inches wide) and narrowest at the bottom (2 inches wide). There are also 4 horizontal 1.5-inch wide support bars 8.5 inches above the ground, which go from one leg to the other for added stability. The bottom of each leg is 33.25 inches from their adjacent two corner legs.
I look forward to your responses. Thank you, and have a great day.
09-20-2004, 01:37 PM
My first thought is, as usual, to go cheap and simple. Could you mount the casters to a board, or piece of angle or something, and hinge them on the stand? Then, you just lift up the front and swing the wheels under (from the front or rear, depending) , do the same to the other end, and move it to where you need it.
The success of that approach depends mostly on how heavy the tool is. It would be more complicated, but adding a lever to move the wheels into position could be added too.
Just a thought.
09-20-2004, 05:44 PM
I like having the rear wheels just off the floor a distance of half the diameter behind the rear legs or levelers. In front plain legs with or without adjusters. I have used single or double pull out pipes, centered or on sides. Or a hinged swing up handle with stops at horizontal.
Have a couple of examples I can photograph for you.
09-20-2004, 06:49 PM
If I want something to move, I caster it.
If I want it to stay put, but keep the option of moving, I build it to accept my 2T pallet jack.
If you are putting levelers on something which is used in about the same area most of the time. Pick a spot, make permanent registration marks on the floor, level it, double nut the levelers and then just drop it on it's marks each time.
Hey, GeneO, what do you use for caster oil?
09-20-2004, 09:41 PM
I agree with Gene's comment about using a pallet jack. They're a quality tool and occasionally can be picked up inexpensively.
Two weeks ago, I got these 4 for $50.00 each. I used to build fairly elaborate welded cradle frames out of heavy angle, with nice swivelling, non-marking casters with brakes, levelling pads, etc. They were nice, but too expensive and time-consuming.
Here's an example of one in the background of another purchase on the same day:
Now, I tend towards building a simple, cheap pallet out of wood or sometimes metal depending upon the tool. Obviously some tools need a rigid, levelled base. I wouldn't put a mill or lathe on top of a pallet.
Others are comfortable with the vibration absorption of 2x4s screwed on top of 4x4s and the cost is less than $10.00.
Plus, pallet jacks have those big wheels on the back. They move easily, turn sharply, etc.
For a table saw, however, I'd have to admit that the pallet approach will collect more dust. Also a pallet/platform or boxed base doesn't allow you to get your feet in as close to the tool base.
But then again, if you have much of a table on the saw, it will be bigger than the base anyway. I've also seen some inexpensive saws with leg-mounted casters wind up with bent sheet metal legs due to the legs not really being robust enough for the side loads of rolling on less-than-perfect floors. Your saw sounds stronger than that.
But - there are lots of choices!
09-21-2004, 07:42 AM
On my radial arm saw it has the Craftsman kit (came with the saw and base when I bought it used). Basically has wheels on the back of the back two legs, when sits flat the wheels are barely off the ground. No wheels on the front two legs, just big levelers. To move you lift up the front and tilt back and it rolls on the back wheels. The little I have to move works very well. Only have to lift up about an inch for the wheels to contact. To move sideways takes a little jocking back and forth but I keep it in about the same spot.
09-21-2004, 09:08 AM
Thanks for the replies; I'm still trying to come up with a way to make this work.
Bill - Yes, I would appreciate seeing pictures of your equipment. Maybe your set-ups will help me to design a system where I can put wheels on the front. I have a permanent lower back injury, that is why I want to figure out how to put wheels on the front as well as the back of the saw table. I don't want to have to lift and carry the front end of the saw.
Gene - I'm short on space, and it very tight as it is, a pallet jack would just add to the space crunch. If I ever get my new shop built, I'll be in the market for a used pallet jack. Thanks for the idea.
Peter - I do plan on reinforcing the existing thin metal legs. Part of the reason I began to think of this project is because two of the legs were slightly bent.
Warren - Another part of the reason I started on this project is because I have seen the roller kit Sears sells for my saw. Between the weakness of my saw's legs, and what appears to be a very lightweight roller kit, I thought I'd be better off making my own with heavier components, and adding the front wheels. I will take a closer look at their set-up and maybe get some ideas from it. Thanks for bringing it up.
Here's what I'm thinking of for the back two wheels:
I have two 5-inch medium duty non-swivel wheels. I'm going to weld a short piece of 2-in angle iron to the top of the wheels base. Then I'm going to weld a piece of 1-1/2-inch angle iron, 33-1/4 inches from the front leg to the back leg of the current stand. I'll weld this longer piece at a height so that when I weld the short extension coming off of the wheel to it that it leaves the wheel 1/2 the diameter behind the current leveler, and just slightly off the floor. Then I'll repeat for the other side.
Next I'll need to weld two pieces of angle iron from each side leg to it's opposite side. But I don't want to do that yet until I figure out how I want to do the front wheels.
Thanks again, and please keep the ideas coming!
09-21-2004, 03:37 PM
I posted a pic in the gallery of my table saw rolling base. You should be able to pinch an idea or two.
What my heart really wanted to say was get rid of the radial arm saw. Table saws, 12" compound miter saws (sliding or not) are much more useful. Got rid of my 12" RA saw years ago never missed it. My opinion only.
09-21-2004, 10:49 PM
MY 12" table saw is mounted on an old Maytag washer (wringer type) bottom. Since this is from the late 40's to early 50's might not be readily available....LOL.......but it works great...........jb
09-22-2004, 08:04 AM
Maybe one of these would work for you:
09-22-2004, 02:37 PM
If I may suggest a little upgrade on using those mobile bases you posted. They look like Delta style or copies.
Forget using wood (2x2s) and bolting with the carriage bolts provided. Use 1&1/2" square tube and plug weld where the corners are drilled for carriage bolts. The non swivel wheels are usually cheap without bushings. Use ones with at least a sleeve.
Weld a jamb nut on the inside of the two corners and cut the axle bolts to just past the nuts or even. Give yourself about an extra half inch both ways on your inside dimensions. Put the bolts in from the outside. This eliminates taking the machine out of the base to remove a wheel.
That step down to raise lever assembly is a neat idea. When you put the leveler pads and stems in weld a nut inside the tube so the stem does not stick out the top.
09-22-2004, 03:18 PM
Yep, that would definitely be a good set of improvements. And discussing the use of steel tubing instead of wood is more in keeping with the group's purpose! :lol:
09-23-2004, 05:00 AM
That's it! That's exactly what I'm looking for! It is much smaller and simpler looking to any contraption I could think of. Where can I find one of those devices, and what is it called? Can the device be made in the home shop without great difficulty? How do the internals work, what makes it lock in the down and up positions? Thank you Arden, I really appreciate your help.
Great ideas for improvements! I will use your ideas as I map out exactly how I will proceed, step by step. I agree with your assessment of the RA saw vs. table saw. However, the table saw was a wedding gift 8) and it has served me well for over 15 years, I can't justify spending the extra money on a table saw yet, as I have other pieces of equipment I would like (um, need :wink:) to buy first. Thanks again for sharing your ideas.
NOTE: I have Grainger's catalog Number 394. In the "Casters" section, on page 2066, there are three different types of "Floor Locks". These would be used in a design that would be the opposite of what I wanted to do. These are stationary pads that are put on a base that has casters on it, and changes a movable base into a non-movable base. The first two designs in the catalog show adjustable leveler pads, I'm not sure about the third one down though. These things are way too expensive for what I want to do! I hope the one shown by Arden is not in the same price range. Thanks again to everyone, I look forward to your responses.
09-23-2004, 05:37 AM
The design is pretty simple on this caster jack thingy from Rockler, just a cam lock that goes just past center to put the weight onto the caster.
One thing I would caution you on though.
They have it mounted backwards in the photo above.
The caster should be on the other side under the wing table, the side that you can't walk past.
When you are moving it , that lever is down by the floor, but while you are working around it; it is sticking up there probing the air like a tick hanging off the side of a piece of grass, just waiting to make lunch of your ankle.
09-23-2004, 06:45 AM
Thank you for the information, I'll have to play around and see if I can come up with a cam and a design that would work. Would I be asking to much to ask you to sketch the parts and include their approximate sizes? You could post here or off-line to my home E-mail. I would not expect a Rembrandt, I'm just trying to get a better understanding of how, where, and what else is used to make the caster work the way it does.
I found the entire base unit on the Delta website, www.deltamachinery.com, then I followed one of their links to one of the retail sites that sell their products. The price is $84.88! That's a way too rich for me, especially for this project. I sent them an E-mail to ask if they sell just the one caster unit as a replacement part, and what the price would be. I'll post the information when/if I get it. Thank you again.
09-23-2004, 07:32 AM
As Gene says, Rockler has them (that's where the picture is from), but they can be found for less at Harbor Freight, Northern Tools, etc. for less. Seems to be about the same quality, just priced differently.
09-23-2004, 08:36 AM
This good enough?
If you mount the lever parallel to the side of the machine it won't bite you near as often as rockler's will.
09-23-2004, 08:57 AM
:oops: Boy do I feel dumb! Yes, your drawings are very clear and very well done. I do feel dumb, when I pictured "cam" in my mind, I was thinking of a lobe of some sort attached to the shaft of the lever bar. Then I could not imagine what the lobe would control, and how the wheel would lock in the down position. Instead of K.I.S.S. I'm trying to make it K.I.K.S. (keep it komplex stupid). I've got it now. Thank you again Gene, and thank you to everyone else for solving my dilemma. Tomorrow's TGIF, have a great weekend!
09-23-2004, 12:18 PM
Here is a photo of my mobile table where the rear wheels are the legs. Handle is short because the table adjusts up and down. It adjusts from 24 to 36." I build it from a salvaged hospital bed. There is an additional photo in my gallery.
This old table saw has wheels mounted behind the legs, just off the floor. The handles could be longer and still out of the way when pushed in.
I once built a 30 x 48" welding table with a 1/2" top that had a very long pull out handle.
Great cad drawing of the caster Gene. I have a HF mobile base with one of them. It's a real POS but was going to "copy" the geometry. I like yours better.
09-23-2004, 01:17 PM
This good enough?
That's the basic idea I was trying to convey in my first post. You could make something similar to mount on front with 2 casters hinged to the machine.
Thanks for the pic, I'm gonna copy that design! Never paid attention to the fact that they actually sell them!
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