Advice needed for portable workshop design - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-26-2017, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Advice needed for portable workshop design

Hello forum! My first time here and I have a project I am working on and looking for some advice. I have designed a portable workshop in SketchUp. The goal is to have a simple cabinet, on wheels that I can move around my basement. Each of the 4 layers would close up into a box that can be stacked on top of each other. Then each layer, opens from the front when needed. The idea being I can close the entire thing up, and wheel into a corner of the room when not needed.

I will be using the cabinet for electronics work. So the storage in the doors that open would not contain anything heavy, just a bunch of capacitors, resistors and other electrical components. In the main cabinet sections I would have my power supply, scopes etc. I would use 3/4 plywood for the tops and bottoms, including the pull out desk. Sides and back I was going to use 1/2 plywood. For the pull out desk, I was simply going to cut a 3/4 inch board and on the edges line with some sort of plastic to act as a runner, so it slides in and out. The back of the desk I would also leave open so if you need to push it all the way out the back to access items underneath, you could.

I'm pretty handing with cutting wood, drilling etc. But I need a little assistance and hence my post on this forum.

1. Hinges. I would like to have some hinges that connect the doors the main cabinet. as you can see, the doors have depth to store other things in them. I want them to open fully so they are semi flush with the cabinet. The doors in this images below are 8 inches deep, but I may make them 4 or 6 if that reduces the weight to allow for certain hinges. I don't mind having the hinges on the outside, but it would great if there are some nice hinges that I could install on the inside.

2. Connecting layers. While I think the weight of each layer, stacked on top of each other, might well be stable. I would ideally like to have some sort of locking mechanism. So that I might place a cabinet on top of another, and slide into some metal locking plate. Or I could have something that went through the entire cabinet with a wing nut style attachment, so I could stack a cabinet and then tighten from the inside.

I'm also open to general advice in my design. I have attached my SketchUp file if you want to really look at the design in detail.

Dimensions are;
Cabinet layer = 36"w x 13"d x 13"h
Cabinet door = 18"w x 8"d x 13"h
Pull out desk = 3/4" thick, ~2'9"w x 22"d
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File Type: skp Portable Workshop Cabinet.skp (297.8 KB, 77 views)
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-27-2017, 10:51 AM
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I don't see anything major wrong with it in theory. A lot of its longevity will depend on what materials and hinges you use. The one issue I see, which I'm sure other people have more experience with, is that over time the fold-out pieces may sag. If I were doing it I'd probably use piano hinge, since it's easy and reliable. Assuming the material is plywood (which makes the most sense to me), I'd put it on the outside, rather than screwing into the edge of the plywood board.

As to locking the sections together, I'd use pegs. Four pieces of dowel (maybe 1"?) set into the top of each cabinet, with matching holes in the bottom of the one above it. It won't lock them together, but it will prevent them from sliding around, which seems like the main issue. If you want something more secure, I'd probably just drill holes and run bolts through them.
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post #3 of 4 Old 11-27-2017, 11:33 PM
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First thought that comes to mind is stability, opening bottom with top closed may create a tipping hazard. (Front heavy).

Making top and bottom as one hinged unit may prevent it from happening accidentally.

Second I'd also make the center portion "one" cabinet, not two. You don't need a gap for the slide out desk, just install key board slides under a shelf at the height you'd like. Or just double up desk top and use regular full extension draw tracks.

"You must become one with the wood grass hopper"
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post #4 of 4 Old 11-27-2017, 11:45 PM
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Correction, I just noticed front wheels are extended out for stability ,at first glance thought they were mounted to the swingout portion.

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