Roll around shop bench - sketchup share

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Project by coloradoclimber posted 10-12-2007 06:38 AM 5932 views 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I bought a mini lathe a couple weeks ago. I decided I wouldn’t break it out of the box until I had somewhere to put it without just setting it up in the middle of all my other projects in process. So I needed a Lathe Bench. Something simple, just enough to put the lathe on top of and someplace to store parts, chucks, work in progress, you know, lathe stuff. And possibly the lathe during periods of downtime, maybe freeing up the bench surface for other projects. I wanted it to roll around so wheels were required.

So that was criteria number 1, simple, cheap, big enough but not too big.

Along about that same time, a week or so ago, I decided I really should learn this sketchup thing everyone is yapping about. So I decided this bench might be just the project, simple, mostly squares, nothing too complex.

So criteria number 2, use sketchup to design and layout the bench.

I gotta say this sketchup thing is pretty nice. Pretty simple to use, allows you to do layouts, good visualization. I kind of like it. And by doing the project in sketchup before going into the shop I had a good idea of what pieces I needed and how the pieces were going to fit together. Designing, cutting, assembling, and laying out the project in sketchup before going into the shop really made things go quicker and smoother once I got in the shop. I already knew all the pieces I needed, I had dimensioned drawings that I knew would pretty much fit together, and I pretty much knew my assembly sequence, what I needed and in what order.

So I installed and fired up sketchup. It took maybe 4 hours to kind of wade my way through sketchup and get it together the first time. I messed around and got what looked like a reasonable semblance of a workbench. Then I realized I’d screwed some sizes and dimensions and miters and other stuff. So I tried to fix it and then realized I’d jacked it up so bad I just started over. Starting over knowing where I’d gone wrong and having a bit more experience with sketchup I was able to redraw the entire bench in a couple hours.

I printed some dimensioned drawings, headed for the shop, and in about half a day, with very very little frustration, guess work, or rework I kicked out the bench. I was surprised and pleased at how quickly and easily it all came together after stepping through it all in sketchup.

So here it is, my little lathe’s new home…...

Then I thought, well that wasn’t too bad, and that sketchup thing was pretty nice, and now I have a sketchup model. I realize it is a VERY simple design but I got to thinking, maybe someone would be interested in using it for a starting place, and maybe someone someday might have a sketchup model they might be willing to share with me.

So I’d like to toss this idea out there. Maybe we could start some kind of a sketchup model repository. Either by putting them all in a centralized repository or at least attaching the sketchup models to our project posts, when you have one and are willing to share. I’m not asking anyone who does this for a living to share out their livelyhood, but if you have a model you’re willing to share maybe we could build up a library. I’d sure be interested in other’s starting points.

Here are some more pictures from sketchup showing what it can do and the model file. If you do open and look at the model file you might notice that you cannot actually build a real bench from this model. The dimensions wont work. I knew I was going to be using a sheet of 3/4 inch ply, so I drew the ply 3/4 of an inch in sketchup. But we all know 3/4 inch ply is not really 3/4 of an inch. And I knew I would be using 2×4 lumber, we all know a 2×4 is really 1.5×3.5. So I drew the structure using 1.5×3.5 BUT in reality, in the shop, I took the raw lumber and milled it down. So the model says 1.5×3.5 but the actual final lumber was smaller. So all the notches and fitups wont fit if you use the dimensions from the drawing. You have to know you’re going to mill things down and kind of tweak it in the shop. I didnt know how much I was going to need to mill so I didnt try to put in hard numbers into sketchup.

Anyhow, let me know what you think of the idea of sharing sketchup models and here’s my first hat in the ring.

Sketchup Model - Simple work bench

Click the images to get to larger views.

ISO View of the finished model

Iso View of bench

ISO view with dimensioned parts

Iso View Dimensioned

A side view with some dimensioned parts

Side view with dimensions

Side view dimensions 2

Top view with dimensions

Top view dimensioned

15 comments so far

View A.W. "Pappy" Ford's profile

A.W. "Pappy" Ford

98 posts in 3905 days

#1 posted 10-12-2007 06:51 AM

Great stuff, coloradoclimber. I’m in the process of learning sketchup as well, so don’t have anything to share yet, but once I do I’m all in for throwing them out for anyone else that could use them.

-- --==[ Pappy ]==--

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4121 days

#2 posted 10-12-2007 07:01 AM

Very nice. I am going to have to learn sketch-up.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4089 days

#3 posted 10-12-2007 08:41 AM

I am also trying to figure out the Sketch-up thing. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I do see a huge benefit to learning it and doing the designing before going to the shop. I think that your sharing idea is a very good one. I’ll be happy to share something when I have something worth sharing. Meanwhile, I’m going to play with your project and see what I can learn. Thanks for the effort.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3986 days

#4 posted 10-12-2007 01:26 PM

I’ve been working on SketchUp for about a week in my spare time. I’m still not proficient with it at all. There is a warehouse that is available through SketchUp. I assume that you are suggesting a warehouse here on LumberJocks. since every one is going to it, it might save someone some time. I’m so ignorant about this program I don’t even know the questions yet. At the present I can get it done wth a pencil and paper quicker than with the computer but I can see that changing quickly. The last piece I did came out quicker and it is nice to see all sides at once. By the way, good looking bench.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 4006 days

#5 posted 10-12-2007 02:07 PM

It seems like a great idea to have a place to share drawings. Should we move this to the feedback section? I also just bought a mini lathe and need a home for it :)

When are you putting a few pull out draws in this?

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Calgirl's profile


188 posts in 3919 days

#6 posted 10-12-2007 02:13 PM

Just like everyone else, I too am messing around with Sketch-up. But I have to say that I seem to be having more trouble “getting it” than most of you’all. Maybe it has something to do with the left brained vs the right brained! Can you make a recipe for Ghee-Toasted Almonds, and Spanish Smoked Paprika Wings with this thing? I can readily see how great it would be to become proficient, especially with all the ‘Jocks out there with such imaginative ability in their woodworking. Some of the projects on this site are truly wonderful and so original. Therefore, I will slug away at learning how to do things in 3D, hoping some of the imaginative originality will rub off. I think Sketch-up would really help me focus on one project instead of having dozens of projects in mind. I really like the idea of sharing plans with each other….let’s do it.

-- Forget the health food, I need all the preservatives I can get !

View herbr's profile


141 posts in 4092 days

#7 posted 10-12-2007 02:49 PM

Very nice project. As with everyone else I need to start looking at sketch-up. Ot seems so overwhelming at first!

-- Spread love with our work

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#8 posted 10-12-2007 03:04 PM

Nice functional-looking bench! I admire your persistence with sketchup. Like Calgirl, I’m a right-brainer, and every time I decide to look at sketchup again, I close it in frustration after about 15 minutes. I really can’t figure out quite why this thing gets my goat the way it does, because I’m quite good with photoshop, spreadsheets, and databases. So I suppose that woodworking tickles my creative fancy, while sketchup stifles it. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4091 days

#9 posted 10-12-2007 04:16 PM

Thos, a warehouse huh. I saw the button on sketchup and didn’t investigate. Is it a built in way to share models? I will investigate. Or better yet, if someone here actually knows of a good way to share models already built into sketchup I’m game to use that.

All, thanks for the positive comments on the bench. I know it looks unfinished, mostly because it is. I was shooting for shop furniture, functionality over beauty :).

Snowdog, I’m not sure yet how I’m going to finish out the inside. I need somewhere to put the turning tools, so a long drawer would be nice. I’d like some open space so I can keep works in process. Some larger drawers for chucks and tools, some pen making supplies, space to store the lathe so I can use the bench top for other projects, ah hell, it looks like I need to build another bench to store the overflow from this bench :).

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4091 days

#10 posted 10-12-2007 04:53 PM

It sounds like we’ve got multiple conversations going on around the idea of sharing sketchup models. I’m going to re-point conversations about sharing sketchup models over to Snowdogs thread so we can all get on the same page.

I’m still happy to chat here about any particulars with this bench or sketchup issues specific to this project. But lets move general chat about sharing sketchup models to here.

View Branden's profile


321 posts in 4159 days

#11 posted 10-12-2007 07:38 PM

I’ve used Sketch up but I have a hard time planning too far ahead when I just want to get in the shop and start building! Now, when I run into a glitch due to poor planning, I get creative and move forward. I call it artistic expression!

Nice job!

-- Branden - Sacramento, California -

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 4018 days

#12 posted 10-12-2007 10:34 PM

Nice bench. I agree that it was a good idea to build the bench and then mount the lathe. I still have to make a stand for my planer. Right now it sits on my bench taking up much needed space. Nice job planning it out in Sketchup.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4350 days

#13 posted 10-13-2007 01:06 AM

Nice looking bench for the lathe – how’s it working out for you? Stability, height-wise?
(I’ll be making a landing pad for a new mini (or midi) by years end. – I also have to do a bunch of re-organizing, cleaning, outfitting the shop before I get any new projects underway… Not looking forward to that… but anxious to finish.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 3811 days

#14 posted 01-15-2008 07:59 AM

I like the Sketchup repository idea. I am impressed at what you came up with as a new user. I am starting to rely on this tool a lot more and it would be great to have a repository to come to as a starting point. I also have to say, I love the avatar picture and tag name. I grew up in CO and went to school in Boulder. I had 40 of the CO 14’ers under my belt before I moved to MD. I’ll have to make a trip out to bag the rest. Go Buffs!

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View Shanman's profile


17 posts in 1994 days

#15 posted 01-02-2013 05:35 PM

Love the cart!

-- Shan, Colorado

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