Mobile Bases

I have a relatively small workshop.  Of course if it was a 4 car garage, I'd still say it's too small, but that's another issue.

When I bought my Unisaw, I also bought a Delta mobile base for it.  I was surprised at how well it performed.  I highly recommend the Delta base and recommend it over other designs. The design is more stable and the wheels and steel is very strong.  The three wheel design (while moving) makes it very easy to move around the shop, easily turning to get into tight corners (no, this isn't a sports car advertisement) but then it rests on 4 points (2 wheels and 2 feet) making it very stable.  Stepping on the caster to raise the base onto the three wheels is quick and easy. Raising the pedal puts the machine on the ground on it's two rubber feet making it very stable.

When I bought my 14" Grand Edition bandsaw the package included a mobile base.  When I bought my DJ20 jointer, I didn't hesitate to spend the extra $89 for the mobile base.

Once you try one, you'll find yourself putting these bases on all your machines. The extra space you get by putting all your tools in the corner of your shop (to get my car in the garage at night) is great!

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Shopmade Mobile Bases

Now after singing the praises of the Delta bases, I should say that I love them for cabinet machines. But for machines with on open stands I find that they sometimes trip me up and get in the way.  For these machines I actually prefer my custom homemade base.  I've got one one my planer, lathe and one for my drum sander.

Basically, I take a couple of inexpensive swivel casters, grind off the kingpins and remove the mounting plate and ball bearings. Then using Grade-8 bolts and nuts (usually 5/16" or 3/8") and oversized washers, I bolt the casters to a piece of steel angle, usually 1/8"x2" angle but I used 3/16"x3" for the drum sander.

This piece of steel is attached between two of the legs on the narrow end of the stand. On the other end I either leave it alone and simply lift it up if the machine isn't heavy like my planer. Or I attach one of those foot pedal step-on casters from Rockler's for $14.99 (part number 23650) onto that second piece of steel angle.  They are almost exact copies of the casters found on the original Delta mobile bases.

I don't like the idea of using 4 swivel casters. Most machines could be easily tipped if they were traveling sideways (width-wise) instead of length-wise.  That's the reason I grind off the kingpin and make it a fixed caster.  Using a regular non-swivel caster usually doesn't fit on the steel angle very well.  Once the plate is removed from the sviwel caster, it fits better.

With stands that have the rubber/plastic edge feet, it works out really well if you mount the steel angle and fixed wheels with the feet on all four legs.  Once the wheels are attached I remove the two feet on the wheeled side.  This usually makes those legs about 1/4" shorter, giving the needed clearance so the wheels run smoothly when the machine is tilted.  The other side rests on the 2 remaining feet and the whole machine stays level.

Rockler part number 23650

Drum Sander with shopmade mobile base using Rockler's Delta copy foot pedal and caster.

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Planer with single sided mobile base.

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Caster wheels shown after removing the mounting plate, kingpin and ball bearings.


Back to the store bought bases....I wrote a couple of reviews for

Delta 50-273 - One of the best accessories for your Unisaw   June 12, 2000
If you own Unisaw, or any other large heavy machine for that matter, you really should consider getting a mobile base. Delta's bases are strong, sturdy, look good and are very stable. When I upgraded to a Unisaw, I also bought the mobile base. My Unisaw actually is easier to move around than my contractors saw used to be. With a quick step on the foot lever it effortly raises onto the large swivel wheel and the Unisaw can be moved very easily. A quick flip of your foot to raise the lever and lower the saw and it rests solidly on 4 points, making it very stable. This design of mobile base make large heavy machines very easy to move around and manouver. If your workshop is smaller than you wished it was, put your machines on one of these bases and you'll find your machines take up less space and your shop will seem larger.
Delta 50-276 - If you have a DJ20 you need this base July 3, 2000
I have several machines on Delta mobile bases. After discovering how well they are made and how well they work when I got my first one with my Unisaw, I don't even think twice now when I buy a new machine, I always get the Delta base to go with it. I just got a DJ20. This is one big, heavy jointer. It's about 475 lbs, about the same as a Unisaw, but this jointer is very long and possibly awkward to move. But my DJ20 is really easy to move and manouver around my small shop using this base. One Hint: when you set up your jointer, place the cabinet in the mobile base first, before you but the jointer assembly on th cabinet.



© 2008 Mark Goodall