Folding Workbench with Interchangeable Tops Created by Sanford — This is a very lightweight, but very sturdy portable, folding Workbench that has interchangeable tops. When folded it is only about 3 1/2" thick. Comments are in the Community at https://community.shapertools.com/t/portable-folding-worktable-with-interchangeable-tops/5012/4
2 - 1/2" sheets of 4' x 8' plywood
6 - 30" x 1 1/2" Piano Hinges
1 - 3/4" sheet of 4' x 8' MDF (for MFT-type Top)
1 - 1/2" sheet of 4' x 8' MDF (optional)
180 - 1/2" #6 wood screws
Double Sided Tape
TSO Guide Rail Square
Angle Grinder (or Dremel)
OF1400 Router with 1/2" Pattern Bit (optional)
Jig Saw (optional)
Drill with 3/4" bit (optional)
The worktable is made of 4 identical End Pieces and 2 identical Side Pieces. Rather than cutting the 6 pieces using the Shaper, you may, instead, cut a single End Piece and a single Side Piece from 1/2” MDF that you can then use as templates to pattern rout the actual End and Side Pieces. If you do that, you will need to use the double faced tape to attach the templates to your 1/2" plywood, and you will use the 3/4" drill bit and the drill to drill openings through each of the closed patterns.
Once you have the 4 end pieces you will use the Angle Grinder to separate two of your piano hinges into a shorter piece that fits over the opening formed when you place two of your End pieces together and a longer piece that spans the joint where the End Pieces come together. Note, that while the piano hinges come with screws, the screws they come with are 5/8" long. If you use them instead of the specified 1/2" screws, their tips will protrude and you will have to grind them off using the Angle Grinder or a Dremel Tool. After you have assembled the four End Pieces into two Workbench ends, you will join them to the two Side Pieces, with the piano hinges joining the End Pieces on the outside of the Workbench. In joining the ends to the sides, take care to align the Workbench Ends on the insides of the Side Pieces so that the overall length of the Workbench sides corresponds to the length (1030 mm) of the Side Pieces. The width of the Workbench will be approximately 684mm.
The Bottom is formed by cutting a rectangular piece of plywood, then forming the corners and the handholds. First, the 1/2" plywood that will become the Bottom is placed on top of the Workbench with one corner just inside a first End and the plywood overlying the Sides and flush with the outside of a first Side. A first mark is made just inside the opposite End. A second mark is placed just on the outside the second Side. You will then use your Track Saw to cut the plywood Bottom into a rectangle that is approximately 660mm x 1006mm. The rectangle will not fit into the Workbench base until each of its four corners has had a 13mm x 193mm rectangle cut from it, and a quarter of a 34mm circle has been cut from the remaining corners to allow clearance for the piano hinges. These cuts may be made using a jigsaw, or by using two on-tool patterns on the Shaper. The modified rectangular piece should now fit snuggly into the Workbench base, and it should lock the base. However, due to the very tight fit, it is best to form the handholds on each side of the Bottom prior to placing the Bottom into the Base. The handholds can be easily cut using the on-tool rectangle to place a 30mm x 200mm rectangle 100mm in from each side of the Bottom. You may also center a 30mm diameter circle on each end of two handholds to give them rounded ends.
As the Workbench locks together when the base is opened and the Bottom is dropped into place the Top is easily replaceable. The initial Top that I made was an MFT-style 3/4" MDF top having seven rows of 20mm holes on 96mm centers, with each row having twelve 20mm holes. Another Top that I made was a Precision Router Table having a router lift and an Incra LS-17 Positioner with an Incra SuperFence.
Other tops that can be made include a top, possibly with a built-in Lazy Susan, for use in staining/painting projects; a Paulk-type top with a shelf that extends down into the Workbench with openings on the sides and ends of the Workbench to provide a handy place to put tools while working; a dedicated Shaper top having an integrated Vertical Workstation; a "Hobby" top having at least one built-in lower compartment, with hinged access from the Top; a top having an integrated downdraft/vacuum clamp; etc. In posting this Project I am hoping that those of you who make it create and post your own Top designs.