Harbor Freight Universal Mobile Base drill press mod.

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Project by dbhost posted 04-06-2011 09:58 PM 10578 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I hesitated for about a week to post this. This is a pitiful excuse for a project, but one that I felt had to be done. You see my drill press is sort of wobbly on it’s own puny foot, it is really designed to be bolted to the floor, or a stand. Well I happened to have a Harbor Freight Universal Mobile base , and some not too warped or twisted 2×6 laying around…

The base was built per HF’s instructions with 1.25” square lumber, which was obtained by face jointing the 2×6, and planing it to 1.25”, then ripping the 1.25” cross sections. Now my caliper was reading 1.25” in each dimension except length of course, but somehow this one was different from my other HF base, and it did NOT fit. I had to hit it with the hand plane a couple of passes each way to get a good fit.

The overall dimensions of the base itself are 24” deep x 28” wide. This gives me a MUCH more substantial footing than what the drill press has stock, The levelers lock it nicely to the floor. 2 24” long 1.25” sections of 2×6 were used to create the cross piece / pad for the drill press to mount to. These were drilled to accept 1/2” x 4” carriage bolts. The bolt heads do not fully recess into the lumber below as it is off the floor over an inch, but the do pull solidly into the lumber.

In the near future, I plan on painting both the foot and the mobile base a gloss black enamel to help it resist rot and rust in my shop as it sits up against the shop door and hard winds / driving rains tend to push water under the door seal from time to time…

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8 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3657 days

#1 posted 04-06-2011 10:08 PM

Looks like you did a fine job with it : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3133 days

#2 posted 04-06-2011 11:25 PM

I have a few of these things I plan to post, as a blog or a project. OK, I admit it, some of my shop things, should be projects, so they get the proper audience, and ability to search and find them.

You do real blogging, most of the time, where ever you place it in LJ’s. I do not. I suspect people follow you, just to see what you are doing, not necessarily for the merits of the work.

So keep it in mind. And I, who is looking at mobilizing much of his shop, has interest. Not that I will do it this way, but that it will affect what I do.

So, good post, an alternative to a complete metal based, by it at the store, mobile base. Some advantages to the approach you have posted.

I assume you have no snow there. Mine is melting…............but our summers are cooler, fewer bugs, not as humid and we have more daylight. OK. Now I feel better.

Pardon my envy…..........(-:


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5705 posts in 3201 days

#3 posted 04-07-2011 01:41 AM

Snow, not hardly. We’ve got Gators!

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View HallTree's profile


5664 posts in 3736 days

#4 posted 04-07-2011 04:22 AM

Not wobbly any more. Good post.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2636 days

#5 posted 04-07-2011 01:37 PM

A couple of Universal Mobile Bases I have ,I used ,square steel tube,instead of wood,real stable

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View dbhost's profile


5705 posts in 3201 days

#6 posted 04-07-2011 03:38 PM

I had actually considered rigging a plywood platform with casters, but felt this rig with the levelers was more stable… Yeah, steel tube bases are nice, but I have always felt they weren’t as size adjustable as the wood ones… I guess anything is possible with a welder though…

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View steliart's profile


2595 posts in 2657 days

#7 posted 04-07-2011 04:24 PM

Very nice solution to the problem.
Well done

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

View Steve2MB's profile


4 posts in 3122 days

#8 posted 04-25-2013 06:00 PM

I’m thinking of using your approach this time. My drill press a 20” Craftsman was on a metal mobile base
which was also from Sears. The base was destroyed in a garage fire a couple of years ago but the the
drill press survived with some damage. How heavy is your drill press? I think mine weighs about 400 lbs.

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