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Fold-down Outfeed Table with auto-locking support

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Project by tedth66 posted 02-06-2011 05:11 PM 19623 views 168 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve needed an outfeed table on my table saw cabinet for quite some time. For well over a year of using my saw I’ve settled with one of those adjustable roller stands. Every time I used the saw I had to set up the stand and fine tune the height to the uneven garage floor. Since I use my garage for both a shop and a place to park both of my cars (when I’m not working on projects) I needed an outfeed table that folds down out of the way. I’ve seen many great fold-down tables on this site and intended to make one exactly like theirs (Woodworker’s Journal).

When I finally invested time to this project my intention was to build the design that most followed in the Woodworker’s Journal. The design in the Woodworker’s Journal is awesome but I wanted to make one change. The W’sJ has a fold-down leg that you pull out and lock into position and then you wedge it against a ledge mounted to the saw. I wanted something a bit simpler. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but I wanted the leg to auto lock into position when you raise the table.

After many sketches and lots of head scratching I came up with a solution that I thought had a chance of working. This was somewhat complicated because I was working with 4 hinge points and I wasn’t 100% sure where things would end up when the table is folding and unfolding. I thought about mocking it up with cardboard and duct tape (acting as hinges) but decided to just go for it.

With napkin sketches in hand I set out to create and design on the fly (typical of me) an Outfeed Table with an auto locking leg.

The fixed portion of the table is ~12” deep and is attached to the tablesaw and tablesaw cabinet; made out of hardwood maple. On the inside of the frame I added angle iron to prevent potential drooping. Once the frame was done I made the outfeed top out of 4 pieces of 1/2” ply and laminated the top 3 pieces. This allowed me to create the miter channels without using a router; I didn’t want to risk chipping the laminate.

The Fold-Down portion of the table is about 18” deep and I used 1/2” bolts for the hinges. Just like the fixed portion of the table, I used hardwood maple for the frame. The table is 3/4” ply that I laminated ~ now for the tricky part of the project; the auto locking leg.

For the auto locking leg I used 3/8ths” bolts as hinges (qty4; 2 at eachend of the folding leg) and built the hinge arms out of scrap hardwood maple. I mounted one hinge arm to the cabinet and a 30” wide arm to the 51” wide fold down table. The cabinet has a narrow hinge arm so the leg will clear the motor hanging out the back. The leg itself is made out of four pieces of hardwood maple (for the bolts/hinge points) and two pieces of ply that is connected with a piano hinge. I test fit the upper leg in the fold down position so I could cut away the portion that would run into the motor. Once I had all of the pieces built I then mounted the the upper portion of the leg to the table (3/8th” bolts hinge). I then attached the cabinet hinge arm to the leg and then determined where the cabinet hinge arm would be mounted when the table is in the upright level position. Using carpet tape I then attached and mounted the hinge arm to the cabinet and then secured it with wood screws.

When I first designed this auto-locking leg I thought there was a slight chance that I’d have to add a locking mechanism to prevent it from dropping on it’s own. But due to the position of the hinges on the leg (north of the piano hinge) this was not necessary. Gravity and the directional force applied to the leg hinge points don’t allow it to ‘auto’ fold down.

For setup, all I do is lift the table and it ‘auto locks’ into the level position. To fold down the table down, I lift the table ever so slightly and apply an upward force to the upper portion of the leg and it folds down to the 90degree position.

Here’s a link to my updated Tablesaw Router Cabinet with my New Folding Outfeed Table.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/27579

-- Ted





19 comments so far

View JerryBerry's profile

JerryBerry

64 posts in 1358 days


#1 posted 02-06-2011 05:19 PM

Ted, man, this is a great fold out table. I love the way you used ONE hinge in the middle. Most plans I’ve seen have two fold out legs. This takes care of the uneven floor problem. Good job!

-- - Tell me what you want done, OR how to do it. Never both!!!! Jerry, New Bloomfield, PA

View Stephen Mines's profile

Stephen Mines

224 posts in 1356 days


#2 posted 02-06-2011 05:33 PM

Really great Ted! I’m in the process of removing part of the permanent top on my saw and replacing it with a fold down extension. Going to try to incorporate your hinge/leg mechanism. Thanks for sharing!

-- Stephen Mines (Saltmines@aol.com)

View woody57's profile

woody57

645 posts in 2093 days


#3 posted 02-06-2011 06:08 PM

wow
I think you have designed the best system I have seen on one of these.

I used to have one with fold down legs. Every time I used it I had to adjust the levelers on the legs. With yours you just lift up and you’re ready to go.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View bigike's profile

bigike

4031 posts in 1954 days


#4 posted 02-06-2011 06:19 PM

very nice job.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View steliart's profile

steliart

1807 posts in 1354 days


#5 posted 02-06-2011 07:12 PM

very well made

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions - http://www.steliart.com --

View Diggerjacks's profile

Diggerjacks

1757 posts in 1805 days


#6 posted 02-06-2011 07:40 PM

A very nice job with a lot of good ideas

The table is beautiful

I like the concept
Thanks for sharing

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View tedth66's profile

tedth66

458 posts in 1855 days


#7 posted 02-06-2011 09:45 PM

Thanks for the kind words all. I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. In fact, it didn’t take long for me to benefit from having this outfeed table. I just ripped a few large pieces of ply today and it worked beautifully.

@woody57 – yes I set out to make set up as easy as it can be. Call me lazy but it doesn’t get any easier than ‘lift and go’.

-- Ted

View Darell's profile

Darell

421 posts in 2260 days


#8 posted 02-07-2011 12:08 AM

WOW, Ted. That’s great. That’s on my to-do list along with the cabinet. Great job and super great thinking. I’m wondering, though, about the clearance for the motor when you tilt the blade to 45 degrees. I haven’t put a straight edge to mine yet but it looks like the clearance is pretty close.

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View zzzzdoc's profile

zzzzdoc

506 posts in 1669 days


#9 posted 02-07-2011 01:41 AM

The more I stare and look at this, the more amazed I am that it locks into place and drops so effortlessly.

Beautiful job. Much more elegant design than the Woodworker’s Journal version. Auto up/down. Wow.

Was it very difficult to get the length of the arms the precise amount to make the table level? I would think that would have been a bear.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View tedth66's profile

tedth66

458 posts in 1855 days


#10 posted 02-07-2011 03:00 AM

Hi Darell
I did take the miter position into consideration when I designed the table. The fixed table portion extends just pass the back of the motor (by an inch) so anything past the fixed portion of the table is fine. The only miter position that impacts the outfeed design is when you have the blade fully extended. In this position it touches the under side of the fixed portion of the table but that was easily taken care of with a 3/16” routed groove; it barely touches. I have no idea if I’d ever make a miter cut with the blade fully extended but I made this slight groove just in case.

Hey Alan
Yes, but this could’ve been really difficult but I think I took the easiest approach by NOT caring too much about where the cabinet hinge mount was located on the cabinet; if that makes sense. This was the last step in my posting. If I mounted the cabinet hinge to the cabinet and then tried to cut the support arm to length, that would’ve required a lot of trial and error and frankly I don’t have the patience for that. :) I owe you measurements but would like to know if you’re going to take a different approach to the fixed and fold-down portion of the table. I remember you had the SS outfeed table and I believe you were going to use a portion of that table. Let me know.

-- Ted

View zzzzdoc's profile

zzzzdoc

506 posts in 1669 days


#11 posted 02-07-2011 05:05 AM

I kinda thought you might have taken that approach. Seems the easiest solution, though I’m not sure I would have thought of it first. Nice call.

Let me think about whether or not I’ll use the Sawstop bracket (that’s the only part I would use in any case – the table isn’t a keeper).

I think I’ll use the same length fixed portion of the table. That should be the same for all SawStop contractor saws. I just think I can attach it to the saw in an easier fashion since I have that bracket to use.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View tedth66's profile

tedth66

458 posts in 1855 days


#12 posted 02-07-2011 05:42 AM

At first I was going to creep up on the length but with my luck I would’ve cut too much off and had to redo the lower portion of the leg.

My fixed portion of the outfeed table is 11 13/16ths BUT if I redid it I’d give a hair more room and make it an even 12 ~ so I measured from the top edge of the SS angle iron to the back edge of the fixed table frame. The maple is 5.5 inches and the 1/2 inch bolt is centered within a 5.5inch square (measure 2 3/4” from the end).

-- Ted

View Greg's profile

Greg

23 posts in 1358 days


#13 posted 02-16-2011 04:21 AM

Very nice looking outfeed table. I like the look of the laminate with the maple. I’ll have to favorite this. I’ll be upgrading my outfeed soon.

-- Greg - For the benefit and enjoyment of the people

View tedth66's profile

tedth66

458 posts in 1855 days


#14 posted 02-16-2011 05:58 AM

Thanks Greg,
It’s already served me well. Setup time is about 2 seconds versus many minutes and lots of frustration with the roller stand.

-- Ted

View agallant's profile

agallant

429 posts in 1552 days


#15 posted 04-06-2011 08:48 PM

How did you support the table on the other side of the saw?

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