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Retractable casters for a workbench

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  • Retractable casters for a workbench

    I'm building a bench, will likely go 1.5 x 1.5 x 125" square tubing. Its going to be heavy and occasionally will need to be moved - it will block my last remaining avenue to be able to get machines in and out.

    I'd like the bench to sit directly on the concrete so its solid for normal use, but have casters as well, toying with the casters somehow dropping down; maybe hinged on a pin such that they can be rotated down into position. Any great ideas on retractable casters?

    The other challenge is under this bench and sitting on the frame I'm putting a tool box which is 29" high. So there will be a 29.5" opening between bottom frame and top frame. To maintain a good benchtop height this means the bottom horizontal frame member has to be be very low to the ground...makes it trickier regarding where to put casters
    .

  • #2
    Not sure if this will help but I took a few snaps for you at work.
    This is the retractable wheel for one of our machines at work.
    It just has a big ball in the black cylinder so it may not work on ruff surfaces but on smooth floors it works just fine and lifting and lowering it is easy.
    This is the wheel lowered.

    and raised.

    It should be simple enough to make.

    Kobus
    If you are using violence and it does not work, You are not using enough or it is upside down.
    You can always just EDM it...

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    • #3
      The simplest method is to have a castor and a height adjustment bolt on each corner. Roll the bench to the desired location, wind down the bolts to lift each castor up off the concrete.

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      • #4
        You can leave the castors fixed and not retractable. Instead have some threaded feet which screw down and take the weight (and adjust level etc). We use M24 theaded rod for this sort of jacking screw. Weld M24 nut to the frame.

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        • #5
          If the expense is OK, you might use Caster Jacks, such as are commonly seen on the tongue of utility trailers (such as this one on Amazon.
          Hemi-proprietor,
          Esoteric Garage

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          • #6
            I use the 3" version on my 500kg mill drill. The 2" version on my work benches. I like them.

            http://www.accesscasters.com/leveling-casters.aspx

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            • #7
              for my welding bench.. I used very heavy duty castors with a locking feature.. I believe they are Wagners?




              When locked down, my bench does not move at all....

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              • #8
                You know what im thinkin -- this is a job for an eccentric (no not U Mcgyver - the other type of eccentric)

                so one direction the eccentric controlled wheels go just past TDC and then gets stopped on the other side - this is your table lift mode, then the other direction is gets to go all the way to BDC - in this position they raise above the permanent legs of the table...
                Last edited by A.K. Boomer; 05-12-2011, 11:02 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Peter S
                  You can leave the castors fixed and not retractable. Instead have some threaded feet which screw down and take the weight (and adjust level etc). We use M24 theaded rod for this sort of jacking screw. Weld M24 nut to the frame.
                  +1. I have some commercial ones that work in that manner really well. Ideas: http://www.mcmaster.com/#leveling-casters/=c9v9wl

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                  • #10
                    thanks for all the good ideas guys. I'm now now thinking fixed casters and threaded plug welded inside the bottom of the legs. 1" all thread with a jam nut.....allows for levelling as well. Its going to be for my woodworking bench so it sees more lateral forces than a typical bench but with all the crap i plan on storing on the racks/shelves underneath it should be steady. The only disadvantage is I can't keep everything as close to ground as i want, hmmmm maybe the eccentric needs eccentrics
                    Last edited by Mcgyver; 05-12-2011, 01:40 PM.
                    .

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                    • #11
                      There is a pretty simple way to do this.
                      I can't draw and don't have a photo, so I'll test my descriptive power:

                      Make your bench as normal, standard corner posts/feet, joined by a front-to-back tube on each side (or end)
                      Run two beams lengthwise joining these endpieces. These need to be close to the floor and set back about 4" from the front and rear
                      Just inboard of the side beams, bolt two more front/back square tubes to the top side, using a large bolt to join them to the longitudinal beams.
                      Run the bolt from the bottom side and weld the head so it won't turn.
                      This leaves you with a front-to-back horizontal tube just inboard of the corner posts. On this you attach your casters. You need to position the above tubes such that your casters raise the corner feet just high enough to roll it around - 1/4" is fine.
                      Once in place, you just loosen the nuts on the aforementioned bolts so that the bench can drop down that 1/4". To move it again, just tighten the nuts and it will push the casters down and lift the bench.
                      Fine-threads recommended.

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                      • #12
                        McGyver....I sent you a PM

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                        • #13
                          Here is my solution. It doesn't adjust quickly but I have about three or four inches if height adjustment available and long 1/2" carriage bolts in each leg for leveling when solid placement is desired.











                          Note: These pictures show solid fixed wheels and rubber casters. The rubber wheeled casters have been since replaced with solid steel casters due to weight issues.

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                          • #14
                            Here's an option, if it's about 400 pounds or less, evenly distributed. Off-the-shelf, about $10 per corner.

                            (Trying to add pic to illustrate the above...)

                            ...I'm not allowed to post pics, evidently.
                            You could look at my Avatar on PM.

                            Chip



                            Wonder if that'll work...
                            Last edited by Chip Chester; 05-13-2011, 01:02 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I swiped a few pics of Evans system a few years ago. I was going to put them on one of my benches but never got around "toit". I looked for the pics but couldn't find them. Probably gone with system crash I had. Hopefully, he'll chime in. As I recall, they were pedal operated--Push to lift, push to lower. Very inventive if I remember correctly.

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