Folding Toolbox Workbench

By Roderick | Created October 5th, 2020 | Published October 14th, 2020 | Updated October 15th, 2020

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I wanted a way to store my tools for soldering/PCB assembly and quickly be able to set up and take down a workstation that could be set up on a table. I designed it to fit a soldering iron, hot air rework gun, helping hands with magnifier and ring light, power strip, silicone work mat, and all the other doodads that are useful for soldering. This would be equally useful for other types of task-oriented projects such as sewing, jewelry making, or maybe even bartending.

1 hr




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Qty 4 Butler-style flush hinges Qty 4 Toggle latches Qty 42 #6 x 5/8" wood screws (for hinges and latches if not included and for aluminum handle) Qty 10 1.5" x 7/16" wood dowels (I didn't bother using all of the dowel locations so it's easier to open and close) Qty 1 7" long x 3/4" x 3/4" profile by 1/16" thick angle aluminum for handle reinforcement Qty 2 12.5" x 8" x 3/4" plywood for sides (I used fir boards from an old cabinet) Qty 2 30" x 13.25" x 3/4" plywood for top and bottom Qty 2 30" x 8" x 3/4" plywood for front and back
Table saw or track saw for cutting the plywood panels Shaper Origin and Workstation for routing the hinge motises, handle cutouts and dowel holes 1/4" bit for the Origin Hacksaw for cutting the aluminum angle stock to length and cutting out the corners Spring punch for marking screw hole centers Drill for drilling pilot holes Phillips scrwedriver for installing hardware
For additional discussion, see this post in the forum: I'd say this is in the prototype stage although it seems to fit my needs. You'll likely want to adjust dimensions to your particular project. With the dense 3/4" cabinet plywood I used, it's pretty heavy at around 30 lbs empty. Lighter or thinner plywood would still be plenty strong although you'll need to use shorter screws that may not hold as well. Cut the plywood panels to size. Cut the hinge mortises, handle cutout, and dowel holes. Using the Shaper Workstation and with the small sacrificial MDF strip in place, set your plywood workpiece on the adjustable height shelf. I used double sided tape on the shelf to hold the board in place, and supported the boards at a distance using an adjustable stand. Use the alignment pins on the face of the Workstation as your left side reference and transfer the marks to the top of the sacrificial MDF piece. Make sure the sacrificial piece doesn't shift around (may want to secure that with double stick tape too). Set up the grid to the face of the sacrificial piece and the left side of your workpiece (aligned to the alignment pins). When you place your design into the workspace, use that as the grid origin. I called this Left Workspace. Since my workpiece boards were larger than the width of the workstation, I referenced cuts to the left side (which allowed me to reach the left side hinges and dowel holes and the handle cutouts). With respect to the workpiece boards, I referenced all cuts to the outside edges/faces of the boards, which were placed directly against the face of the sacrificial MDF strip. That way, actual board dimensions and plywood thickness didn't matter. You'll need to repeat this procedure using the right side Workstation alignment pins when doing opposing side cuts and using a mirrored copy of design files. I called this Right Workspace. There may be a more elegant way to do Left and Right in a single workspace, but this worked well enough for a first try. For the hinge mortises, I started with the SolderStationTop.svg file, and then added rectangles using on-tool design to create the extra depth at the edges of the hinges. I used Pocket mode for these. For the dowel holes, I used the circles from the svg design as a reference marker and then Inside Cut with negative offsets until I snuck up on a snug fit for the dowels I was using. Since the SolderStationTop.svg file had all the features I needed, I didn't actually use the Side_top_edge.svg or Hinges.svg files, but they may be useful as a reference. All cuts used stock 1/4" Shaper bit Hinge mortise: Pocket cut 2.5mm deep with -1mm offset Hinge mortise rectangle: Pocket cut 7.4mm deep with -0.5mm offset. Since I wanted the hinged boards to be as close as possible when open, I needed to slightly taper the mating inside plywood edges at an angle by about 1/16". (Otherwise the hinges would bind). I just used a hand block plane to taper the edges. You could move the hinges out from the edges a bit and avoid the taper, but then the edges of the boards wouldn't butt against one another when open. Dowel holes: Helix cut 20mm deep with 4.5mm offset for the edge holes in the sides (for a snug glue fit). 10mm deep with 4.5mm offset for a removable slip fit in the opposing plywood faces. Adjust offsets for the dowels you're using. You'll probably want to round over the exposed ends of the dowels to make them easier to line up with their mating locations since they approach at an angle when closing the toolbox.

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