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Workbench fab


Turbocharger
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Well, I've escaped the big smoke and rented a flat in Bristol. It has a garage and SWMBO is labouring under the confused assumption that it's to park her car so I have to fill it with stuff, quick.

I want a substantial workbench to take a vice. None of the rocking and swaying nightmare while I'm trying to bludgeon something, it's got to be properly built. Sadly it has to be free standing, I can't tie it to the wall. Also, since it's a 6-month let and I may be moving at the end of it, I'd like it to disassemble for removal. While I'm searching for timber (or steel.. hmm), post up pics of your own workbenches or thoughts on what I should use. Steel top? Shelving underneath? Hints like "put a toe board in and let the workbench overhang it" or "make it just below elbow height" will be welcome, suggestions like "just carry on using TroddenMasses' garage" will be less so.

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Free standing is going to be a bit of a challenge - even if you make the most rigid of rigid things :blink::ph34r: it will have to weigh lots to counteract (no pun intended :lol: ) the amount of effort and leverage you can put into a vice.

Oh, hang on a minute, forgot who asked the quesiton, scrach that, as long is it doesn't collapse when a grown up sneezes you'll be fine...... :P

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When I wanted a sturdy table/bench to stick a pillar drill and bench grinder on I used some 3" fence post from Wickes for the frame and some freebie 3/4" ply for the top and shelf. It's much more sturdy that my main bench which is 2" thick wood on top of some rapidly falling apart second hand kitchen wall units :rolleyes:

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Hi I made a steel one for welding and general carp.

There's a vice mounted on top, a materials tray on the bottom for offcut size bits and half in-use bits. I put a couple of bent tubes under it to store tig filler wire, and there is a plasma grate at one end for cutting. Sorry, there's no decent pic of it on its own.

post-139-1188936208_thumb.jpg

Its got 2 wheels and 2 solid 'feet'. Despite its relatively small size and mass it doesn't shift about when you use it, so I'm pretty chuffed. Does exactly what I wanted.

Cheers, Al.

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A simple angle iron frame is best if you have welding. A storage shelf fairly low down with lots of heavy stuff stored on it will add a load of stability. Any bench with a vice will need as much diagonal bracing as you can fit. I would go for a thick wood top, if you want steel then add a 3-6mm plate on top.

Wood benches can be good but watch the construction as they tend to ‘come loose’ with heavy use.

WORK BENCHES

Mine is good, 4" x 2" RSJ frame with 4" x 4" x 3/8" angle legs and a 1.5M x 3M x 15mm steel top, bit heavy though!

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A metal top is very useful - both for being conductive (making welding anything sat on it or in vice easy) and for re-engineering things with a club hammer!

A wooden base works sirprisingly well as it tends to be more dead - less likely to resonate when you hit it. If it's free standing, I'd say go for a wooden base made from cheap, un-planed 4x2" bolted together (use nylocks) and it will resist dismantling itself pretty well.

As Paul says, put heavy stuff at bottom and if you dont have enough heavy stuff, plastic or jerry cans filled with water work well.

Even if you cannot fix it to the floor / wall, you could brace it against the surrounding walls with long 2x4's at floor level - providing a comedy trip hazard for YouTube!

Si

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Mine's an ex-govt desk made from 1" box with massively strong and free running drawers and a 30mm worktop. The vice has been fine so far bolted through that top with a couple of spreaders.

Whole lot cost: Desk £30 from 2nd hand office furniture place, vice (Record 3") £10 off fleabay...

Only drawback is that it's HEAVY - like you need to strip the drawers and top off it and move them as four separate units.

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I've got no great tech to offer, but B&Q value worktop is very cheap, should last 6 months.

Funnily enough thats what mines topped with!! Seems to last pretty well - its been there a year now and apart from a few cosmetic marks is fine. Mines tied into the garage walls so i cant add alot as regards construction, but IMHO work bench height set at about the same as a kitchen worktop seems to come out about right. (approx 800mm IIRC).

Other way is to sit your vice on the top, and the top of the vice should be at about elbow height for comfortable working. I built my last one far too high and regretted it, so dont be tempted to build it too high. Mine set the same as my kitchen worktop has so far proved to be much more comfortable, and about the right height.

Jon

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why not just use a normal workbench - and instead of tying it in to the wall (and hence getting wrath of landlord when you leave) bolt it to the floor.

that way it aint gonna shift round when you use it and when you leave, unbolt it and fill the holes with sand and a bit if wetted cement powder to hide the holes. Rub some muck on the fresh cement circles and they'll never know!

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i agree, bolt to the floor using something like this so can hide evidence in 6 months!

i used 41x41 steel unistrut channel like this bolted to the floor with one of these now these are expensive on the links but can be picked up from you local electrical wholsaler(click me) for about a 40-50%reduction i however borrowed mine from work.

anyway with all these in place and a couple of 45 degree fixings( for your side supports since canny fix to wall) from the same place a nice sheet of 25mm plywood from b&q bolted down to the top it is un-movable trust me.

will post a couple of pics when i dig the bench out and be able to physically see it again.

B)

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Knowing what a cheap @rse canny northerner you are, I realise that you would never consider simply purchasing a nice work bench like this one, which would fulfill all of your needs except being free. If you have to make one, how about one like mine. As you can see, it is quite strong - in the picture, you can see your old transfer box sitting on it. I can easily walk about on it without it wobbling at all (And i'm definately no light weight)

big.jpg

It is tied into the wall, but we could easily remove the rawl plugs in 6 months time, and fill the holes that were left. It is simply a wooden frame, screwed to the wall at the back, with legs to the correct height, and a cheap piece of worktop over the top. You could then screw a nicew piece of steel over that if you wanted to.

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You're correct, it is the largest machine mart one. The blue one was a record number. Unfortunately, the bench was made to be the correct height for that vice - it's now a little too high. The last one broke when turbocharger was using it to press out his propshaft UJ's, and they were a touch on the snug side - I'm over 20 stone, and was doing push ups on a 3ft piece of scaffolding bar - when you do the sums it's quite amazing just how strong those little vices are. It's not too bad, though - he bought me that one for my birthday. I would have liked a proper sized record vice - cast iron, so they store absolutely no energy, but they were way too much money for me, so I went for one of the machine mart ones - made out of 15mm plate steel, so they have a bit of bend in them, and if you're abusing them, they do tend to store energy - you just keep your fingers well out of the way. I'm very happy with it - especially the price. I pretty much see mine as disposable - the jaws are a little out of true already. That just means that when I cut a lump off it with the plasma cutter, i'm not too upset.

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I have two work benches - the main bench is about 12ft long made from 8" x 2" planks on 6" x 3" legs with a shelf underneath half of it, a drawer for heavy tools and space at the other end for the compressor/big bits of junk. It also has an 8" vice 3/4 of the way along bolted through the top with a 6mm spreader plate underneath.

The second bench is 80" long x 3ft deep - the top is 3/4" ply with a 6mm plate top, 3ft square drawer for sheet steel and storage space for more big bits of junk. It also has a full set of Halford Professional tools within easy reach, plenty of lights, 4x13-amp sockets along the back. I use this bench just for rebuilding engines and gearboxes. I also have a total of approx 120ft of 9-inch deep shelving. The main bench is free standing, but never moves - I suppose because it's so heavy. The shed base is 9-inch thick concrete - I never thought about bolting the bench to the floor.

Les.

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