How to assemble a mobile tool base

When I unpacked my two brand new mobile tool bases, I thought I’d be up and running within about 20 minutes or so. If they’d come with assembly instructions, or even a good clear picture, I’m sure that would have been the case. Nope… Trying to track down instructions online didn’t result in anything other than lots of “how do I assemble my mobile tool base” questions.

So, after plenty of head scratching, cussing, unbolting and rebolting, more cussing and then unbolting and rebolting again, I’ve come up with a set of instructions that made the second assembly go much faster. Your particular mobile tool base assembly may vary slightly, but hopefully this info will help make it somewhat easier.

Sort parts

As with any assembly project, it’s a good idea to sort all your parts, make sure you’ve got all the pieces and know where they’re going to go.

With my base, I had a number of different length bolts.

The small 5/8 and 6/8 ones are used to attach the frame pieces, and the six longer ones (2 each of three different lengths) are used for the wheel lifting assembly.

Corner brackets

Attach the corner brackets to your tool’s base. Most tool bases come with rubberized feet attached to a bolt. If yours doesn’t, choose a bolt that’s the appropriate size for your particular base, as the mobile tool base probably won’t come with these. For tools like a table saw where stability is pretty critical, it’s probably a good idea to mount your tool so the wheels are facing side to side, rather than back to front. You don’t want the table saw wheeling across the room while you’re cutting a sheet of plywood.

Side / frame assembly

Roughly place the side pieces so that you have as much length attached to the corner brackets as possible. Depending on the size of your particular tool base, you may get away with just using one long piece for each side. If not, make sure you’ve got good overlap for a strong connection. For the side where you’ll attach the wheel lifts, make sure you’ve got a good even mounting surface for the wheel brackets. You might get away with a single long side piece if you have a small tool base, but make sure you have a nice even mounting surface for attaching the wheel bracket bolts. I used a long and a short side piece for this side.

Finger tighten the side pieces so everything’s connected. This is probably also a good time to fit the rubber leveling brackets on to the sides of the tool base – in some cases you may need to use the longer bolts for these sections because you’ll be connecting the leveling bracket, the side piece and the corner bracket.

When you’re attaching the side pieces, the first two or three sides will probably be pretty easy. When you get to the last side, if you’re incredibly lucky, all the holes will align perfectly. (Go buy a lottery ticket – quickly!) However, in most cases the holes won’t align, and your lottery ticket won’t even get you a free play. This is where a long clamp comes in handy. (For assembling the frame, not for using on the person that sold you a non-winning lottery ticket…) Use the clamp to squeeze the sides together and pop in the bolts. If you don’t have a long clamp, a piece of rope with a wooden twist stake will probably do the job, although you might need an extra set of hands.

Wheel lifts

The next step is assembling the wheel lifts. This is certainly the trickiest part, but hopefully these instructions will make them easier to assemble and you won’t have to go through the “how the &*@$*# do these stupid pieces fit together” process. Once you figure it out, it’s pretty obvious. However, it took me a while to get there… 🙂

There are four parts to the wheel lift assembly. I have no idea what the pieces are actually called so I made up names for them:

  • The wheel bracket that bolts to the side pieces/corner brackets
  • The wheel tray
  • The lifter arm
  • The wheel

First, attach the wheel bracket to the side piece / corner bracket.

If this is also the last section of the sides that you’re joining, you may need to double up on the clamps.  Use a long clamp to squeeze everything together to help align the holes, and a short clamp to squeeze the wheel bracket if necessary.

Next, use the long black bolt to attach the wheel tray to the wheel bracket. (You might want to attach the wheel and lift lever to the wheel tray before you mount it to the bracket. The photos after this one show the bracket unattached from the frame, but only because it’s easier to see the detail.)

Attach the silver lift lever to the the wheel bracket with the medium black bolt.

The wheel tray slides into the wheel bracket. The orange arrow shows where the holes will align.

When the wheel assembly is all put together, this is what it will look like.

Finishing touches

By this point, you’re almost done. The last few things to do are:

  • Attach the rubber leveling feet.
  • Attach the rear wheels with the short black bolts.
  • Tighten all the bolts, including the ones that attach the tool base to the mobile base.
  • Adjust the height of the rubber leveling feet so that you’ve got a good solid base that doesn’t slide when the lifting wheels are up.
  • Add any remaining 5/8 or 6/8 small bolts for extra strength.
  • Last but not least, do a quick cleanup / tuneup / safety check of the tool you’ve just mounted to the base. (Because you probably won’t do it later.)

Here’s what the finished product looks like.

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