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Design and Build a Custom Work Station

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I have been engaged on a project recently that I thought i might share.

To Design and build a Custom work station.



I am now at the stage of my Victory build (Rigging) where I need the ship at the front of my bench for access to get amongst the rigging.

However I still need to use many tools and materails and use the bench for cutting, making bits etc.

So I have a bench cluttered with tools and materails. A ship that has to come forward to work or be pushed back to allow space for a cutting mat and work room. 



Create a method of keeping tools etc close to hand, plus provide a secondary work surface.

First hunt around for a suitable exiting option, result - find nothing even close.

So I decide to make my own.


As the thought process developed I realised there are many features I could incorporate which would be useful.


Outline proposal:

I am a SolidWorks user so I would do all of the desing in detail in SolidWorks, refine it and go from there.

I want to have a tray, at a usable height next to my elbow, good size with well defined 'homes' for tools etc.

To prevent it getting in the way it will need to be on castors.

To prevent using up floor space it will need to push under my current bench top when not in use.

It should also have facitiy to act as a work space with a cutting mat.

It needs to be able to store all of my smaller tools etc which means I can dispence with my current tool box and various stogare devices.

Should it be a 'pretty' piece of furnature? - absolutely not, to attempt that would compramise the functionality and be beyond my skills so function rules!


Would this project be an effective solution, be a good use of time etc - absolutely not, but I will hugely enjoy the design and build process and that is reason enough - decision made.


Materials to be mostly MDF and timber sections.


Design underway:

First consider the worksurface.

Solution, set the size of the station to accomodate a cutting mat, include a thin surround to prevent the mat slipping around.


Then plan a tray to sit on top of this surface, slightly bigger, with a four sided frame on the bottom face so that it will sit securely on top of the cutting mat - lift it off to use mat, otherwise at hand for contents.

Include a couple of finger cutouts

This is a view on the base


I spent some time deciding which tools I wanted close and planned out the available space into compartments.

Constuction to be 4 & 6mm wide timber sections x 25mm high.

Cylinder represents the maximum height component


And sitting in place:



Thats it for the moment (out of time), i will continue soon.




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Next instalment

Basic structure will be a base of MDF with low level castors and four timber legs let into the top surface



I realised that I had to accomodate some higher items.

But I didn't want to dedicate a full shelf/tray to them.

So I am going to use a mid level fixed shelf and hang a smaller tray from that.

That allows the lower tray extra height on part of its width.


I also wanted to have a fixed shelf to store sandpaper sheets (mimimum height)

So I added this to the fixed mid height shelf.


The remainder of trays i want to be able to slide in and out to let me keep the height between trays to no more than their contents.

I am going to have MDF strips each side above and below each tray.


I have to stop the trays from pushing out the back or dropping out the front when used.

So i started with a dowel into the each side at the back of the tray


Then on the inside face of the back legs I cut a slot


The slot is blind so it will stop the tray going beyond the back face



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Then I cut fully through slots into the inner faces of the front legs but above the normal height of the dowel.post-4201-0-63640500-1417441628_thumb.jpg

And I gave the upper guide a cut out in the bottom edge.


This means that when slid out the dowel contacts the rear of the front legs and stops it going any further.

But you can lift the tray (into the cut out) a half inch which lines up the dowel and allows the tray to be removed.

This is a view onto the back of a front leg to explain


I will continue later




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To continue

I put a rail around the base for bulkier/heavier items


I want to have a shelf that i can use for reference material - ship manual for instance.

I am going to have it sit on top of the fixed shelf and it will still slide out.

This is the shelf with a lip on front to hold a book.


The guides above the shelf have a 'special' shaped cut away.


That allows the shelf to slide out and close snuggly


And then when pulled out can drop down and be held securely



All the trays/shelves have finger cut out below


I have compartmentalised the other trays.

Which pretty much completes the design stage.

Here is the finished item


With trays slid out


And with the top tray removed to allow use of the cutting mat surface



Now to get onto the Building.

That will be my xmas project

So I will follow up here once there is progress to show






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  • 6 months later...

I never did get back to show the finished article.

But it all went to plan and I have been using it for a few months.

It does help keep my workbench clear of debris but I still have my hand tools close at hand.

Here are some photos.




The tool tray that sits on the top




The tray lifts off to access a cutting mat below.












It has some fittings to hold the little jig I use for seizing blocks etc.




And the whole thing is low enough to roll under my workbench to keep things tidy when I'm done.



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Nice job!  A SketchUp model would be very cool to have. 


I'm building a storage cart for parts from Woodsmith plans.  This is to help organize the clutter around my work area.  What I'd like to do after that is build the hobby bench featured in the current edition of Woodsmith Magazine, Here are some photos of the storage cabinet and the workbench




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The workbench is in the current Woodsmith #219 June/July 2015.  The slant-front cart is a free download.  Try this link: http://www.woodsmithshop.com/download/411/slant-front-tool-cart.pdf


If it doesn't work, google slant-front cart and go to the Woodsmith website.  All you need to do is subscribe to free email tips by entering your email address and you can download the plans.

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  • 1 month later...

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