Multi-Purpose Shop Inventions
Charging Drawer and Organizer
Cordless hand tools keep growing in popularity. So do the number of batteries, chargers, and cords that go with them. To keep his work surface clean, Jesse Lutz created a way to organize it all out of sight. This charging drawer houses outlets and keeps battery chargers together, and can be opened and closed for any convenience.
Lutz says because the designated area is enclosed, he did put the outlet on a timer to save energy and prevent sparks. "If someone starts charging, then I know it will turn off within a set amount of time," he says. Another safety precaution is that the drawer is made out of metal. "That makes it more fire-resistant than a wooden shelf," says Lutz.Date Published: January 30, 2018Date Updated: January 30, 2018
Desk or Shop Chair
Tom Collins of Urbana, Illinois modified an inexpensive engine stand from a discount tool retailer to support a tractor seat. The other parts, like the cushions and backrest, came from farm supply companies. The seat is as comfortable as the one on the tractor, and it's able to support the heaviest driver. It can be used as a handy roll-around seat in the shop, or pulled up to a desk.Date Published: January 30, 2018Date Updated: January 30, 2018
Tool Bench and Work Space
Having a clean work surface all hinges on a stowaway workbench. Zach Robinson of Clio, Iowa, came up with his idea when he saw the way his grandmother's old Singer sewing machine folded down under the cabinet when not in use. He decided to apply the same kind of space efficiency to tools like his bench grinder and chop saw. "Then I'd be able to use the bench for other things, because the tools wouldn't be bolted down," he says.
To install the grinder, Robinson cut a hole in the middle of the table and hinged the 1/4-inch-thick plate so that when he lifts it, it folds back and down inside the workbench. Robinson says he just had to line up two bolts welded to the flat iron with holes in the grinder.
The removable chop saw at the other end is a carry-over from an old welding bench. The chop saw is mounted on a hinge up underneath the bench so when it's unlocked, it hinges down out of the way. When it's up, it's locked in place.
"When the work is done, there's nothing on top of the counters - it's all folded down inside," Robinson says. "It keeps the workbench much cleaner."Date Published: January 30, 2018Date Updated: January 30, 2018
Welder and Tool Hanger
Gary Hofer of Olivet, South Dakota, noticed that he often had to move his welder to the opposite end of his shop for weld jobs, but there was no place to put his welding gun in that area. He bent a 24 x 5-inch piece of steel with a hole cut in the center to fit the gas tank. His welding gun hanger will also hold the ground clamp. Now the gun won't scratch the new welder, either!Date Published: January 30, 2018Date Updated: January 30, 2018
Combination Workbench, Hose Rack, Storage Center
About six months of thought went into Bruce Elliott's hydraulic hose repair cart. "We wanted it as compact as possible, yet we wanted everything on it," he says.
The go-anywhere cart has a comfortable working height for repair or maintenance. Wheels are a step saver - you can roll up next to a project instead of walking back and forth across the shop. A drawer with cutouts for the dies keeps them organized. Hooks on the front panel hold the press rings.
A roller on top keeps the hose from dragging or getting scratched. Hose ends are housed in sleeves that point down to keep dust out. The spools lift out individually. The cart holds a completely portable, smaller hose press, as well.
The main framework is made of 2x2-inch box tubing. The work surface is countertop material, and the dividers in the cabinet are OSB. "The only real cost was for the $60 casters," says Elliott.Date Published: January 30, 2018Date Updated: January 30, 2018
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