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HF Mobile Base is Dead On and Rock Solid!

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Review by Bob posted 764 days ago 3558 views 5 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
HF Mobile Base is Dead On and Rock Solid! HF Mobile Base is Dead On and Rock Solid! No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

INTRO:
I spent way too much time researching mobile bases. In the end, despite the nay sayers, I decided to give the HF mobile base a try. I paid $29.95 with a super coupon.

ASSEMBLY:
The metal brackets are very thick. I ripped some SYP I had lying around to the 1 1/4” x 1 1/4 dimension specified. There is a formula in the manual that tells you exactly how long to cut your wood pieces. As a double check, I placed each of the brackets (with bolts in place) against the 4 corners of my BS cabinet. I then measured and the distances were dead on with the formula in the instructions. USE THE FORMULA! After cutting the wood to length, I held each piece in place and marked the holes with a pencil. IMPORTANT: make sure the ends of the wood are flush with the ends of the brackets (or the end of the channel for the fixed wheels) – see photo. I then drilling the recommended 3/8” holes using my drill press. If you look at the diagrams and only drill the holes indicated, you will find there is no shortage of hardware. There was exactly the right amount of nuts & bolts. The reason there are extra holes is so they can manufacture one corner bracket that will work in any position and with either fixed wheel orientation. Everything went together very easily. I only had one drilled hole that didn’t line up which was my fault for sloppy drilling. The 3/8” holes make it a lot easier to line everything up. After tightening all of the bolts, I placed the BS cabinet on the base and it was nice and snug. No play.

OPERATION:
The base rolls smoothly and maneuvers well. It is not as maneuverable as 4 swivel casters but the BS has a small footprint and I don’t plan on doing any triple axels with it. The adjustable feet are very nice. They allow you to compensate for an uneven floor. The large knobs make it easy to lower and raise the feet. The large butterfly nuts make it easy to lock in a position. And most importantly, IT IS ROCK SOLID! With the feet down, it doesn’t budge, rock, wobble, sway or flex.

CONCLUSION:
All and all, I am very pleased. I can not think of a single negative. My two biggest pieces of advice for anyone who buys this are: 1) use the formula for determing the length of your wood supports, and 2) look closely at the diagrams. They are accurate and show exactly where to place bolts and brackets and which holes to skip. The diagrams are on the small side so use a magnifier if you have to.




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Bob

19 posts in 766 days



15 comments so far

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1674 days


#1 posted 764 days ago

It’s always a good day, when we can add another product to the list of Harbor Freight gems.

Thanks for the review.

-- -- Neil

View jakep_82's profile

jakep_82

27 posts in 805 days


#2 posted 764 days ago

I assembled one of these mobile bases a couple days ago and I too like it. I used a 2×4 I had laying around and ripped it to 1.25” strips. I left it 1.5” tall and found that it worked fine. The only issue with the extra height was that I had to notch the corners so the feet can retract all the way. Even with pine it has plenty of strength for my ~200lb drill press. I have another one waiting to be assembled for my bandsaw.

View 308Gap's profile

308Gap

332 posts in 1503 days


#3 posted 764 days ago

Thanks Bob great write up, this will save me from buying expensive coasters.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

11231 posts in 1175 days


#4 posted 764 days ago

I have one still in the box, awaiting my return from vacation. I may even pick up another one or two.

Thanks for sharing you thoughts.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14500 posts in 1688 days


#5 posted 763 days ago

Nice job and good review. Glad it worked out.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Russ's profile

Russ

356 posts in 1577 days


#6 posted 763 days ago

Thank you for sharing. I’ve been looking at getting one of these for my tablesaw.

-- Russ

View curliejones's profile

curliejones

65 posts in 766 days


#7 posted 763 days ago

Just like Bob, I spent many hours lately researching and looking at locking casters considering outrigger designs for a homemade base as well as the manufactured versions. After seeing that many folks are disappointed in what others love (regardless of price), I decided to start with an inexpensive Harbor Freight base, but just one, to get a feel for quality. I decided to “tip my toe in” and start with my greatest chance for success, my lightest tool, a 13” Ridgid lunchbox planer (85 lbs + stand 15 = 100 lbs?). I just put one together late yesterday and found that their formula in the paperwork did not completely work for me. I first assembled the long sides (Wood A in instructions) and then assembled the shorter side (Wood B) and found the wood butted into the long sides keeping the opening about 3/8” wider than my measurement. I simply trimmed off the 3/8” and assembled it. Had I not cut off the 3/8” of both short runners, the base would have been wider than I wanted and the rear short runner would have just about touched the fixed wheels. Like jakep above, I decided to leave the wood runners 1-1/2” deep, after carefully eyeballing the feet. I too notched the 1- 1/2” depth about 3/8” deep and 5/8” in from each end to clear the feet so they could completely retract. Only one end of each of the long runners is notched, while both ends of one of the short runners is notched; the other end of the base does not have feet. Considering where the bolt holes are located in the metal pieces, I’m not sure that 1-1/2” wood is any stronger, since there is only a certain amount of wood above the holes, bearing the weight of the tool. It does simplify matters, though, if you are using std 2X material. – Hardware shortage? The fixed wheel end of the long runner has only two available holes in addition to the hole for mounting the fixed wheel. I did not find it necessary to have three bolts on all the other legs while only two were possible in this spot. I used inner most and outermost holes for stability and had enough to use three bolts each on the business end where the feet and swivel casters are located. I used a drill press to drill 3/8” holes in SYP and had no issues with lining up. For those of you w/o a press, consider using a doweling jig to guide your bit perpendicular to the work.
After opening the box and getting my hands on it, I was happy with the quality of the product. The important thing seems to me is to measure constantly and keep the assembly the right size. A cardboard cut-out would be a good pattrn for this, if you’re so inclined. I installed the fixed wheel on the left side (facing the planer) and the swivels and feet end on the right with the idea that feeding material will be perpendicular to the rolling direction of the fixed wheels. Additionally, the feet seem to work well at anchoring the assembly. So far, it’s all good and I may try something a little heavier on another mobile base soon. My drill press and band saw are both in the 200 lb range and it should handle that if I use hardwood runners next time.
The pics show finished product, that the fully-retracted feet still fit beneath the full 1-1/2” material (so even deeper by another 1/4” would work), the rabbet cut to clear feet, and remember – measure thrice and cut once (if your fingers are out of the way).
My opinion, this is more than adequate for lighter tools and certainly priced right! I have a 1/4” hole in each leg of the stand that is about 6” from the bottom. I think I’ll devise an anchor using some 100# steel leader and small S-hooks for tie-down. Any other suggestions are for this is welcome.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View Bob's profile

Bob

19 posts in 766 days


#8 posted 763 days ago

curlie,

Looking at the middle photo (the one with your foot and a wrench), I noticed something that may have to do with the instructions formula not working. One of the wood pieces (vertical in photo) appears to be extending beyond the end of the corner bracket (about a 1/2”). By making the end of the wood flush with the end of the bracket, the formula should work. For the corner with the fixed wheel, the wood should stop where the channel stops. I have added a new photo to the review to show this.

I just reviewed the instructions and don’t see any mention of this. A note to that affect would probably eliminate a lot of frustration. I am going to edit my review to include this.

View Wooddiva's profile

Wooddiva

4 posts in 764 days


#9 posted 763 days ago

Nice timing! I just picked one up last weekend and was wondering how it would perform! Hopefully, I’ll have time this weekend to put it together. Thanks for the review.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4023 posts in 1548 days


#10 posted 763 days ago

I also use one for many years and it works great.

-- Bert

View curliejones's profile

curliejones

65 posts in 766 days


#11 posted 763 days ago

Hi Bob! I agree that would have prevented the cross piece from butting into it, BUT, this piece was cut to 30”, 1-3/4” less than the toolbase, just as the instructions suggest. Had I moved the brackets outward, or the wood inward then the support corners would have been too far apart for the tool base to fit snugly. Since I had quite a time getting the tool base into position, perhaps the 1/2” would have provided a comfortable clearance at each corner, but the instructions did not mention leaving a little breathing room. I made the inside measure of the brackets themselves the same as my tool base, not even allowing for the thickness of the heads of the bolts. I knew ahead that the plastic feet on my tool base could fit beneath the heads of the bolts, so I left no extra room at all. I cannot really see where the 1/2” extra length would hurt anything and would be absolutely necessary to allow for the heads of bolts on many, many stands, (sets of legs). My goal was to follow your lead and have it work out to match the instructions OR to write instructions that would be helpful to others. That is why I took pics as I went. The one “TAKE HOME MESSAGE” to others is to treat it like one of your woodworking projects and “dry fit” everything as you go. Clamp the ends onto the wood runners and assure the distance between corners is right, then mark bolt holes for drilling. After having done this one, the next one will be a piece of cake, even if I have to go back and read what we’ve all written regarding assembly! WOW! Take my own advice???? That would be a new one! G’day all!

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

1125 posts in 1684 days


#12 posted 763 days ago

I have one of these on my ~200 lb bandsaw and it works fantastic. I used white oak for the rails, but a pine 2×4 would have been fine as well. The directions are a little difficult to follow, but once you see how everything goes together it makes sense. The two swivel casters + two straight make it fairly easy to pivot then roll straight where I want it (and in reverse to get it back in the corner when I pull in the car). Here it is:

-- Allen, Colorado

View curliejones's profile

curliejones

65 posts in 766 days


#13 posted 762 days ago

Since these HF bases have a footprint slightly larger the tool base, I wanted to take advantage of that for stability during “High-speed maneuvers”. Digging aropund the shop, I decided to use pipe strapping cut into a five-inch length. I put a wood screw through one of the many holes in the strapping and into the wood base. I used a small bolt and nut through a hole near the other end of the strap and through an existing hole in the tool stand’s leg near the bottom. This insured a nice tight fit of the stand to the base and should remove any “tipping” tendency during a move. The strapping is galvanized metal about 3/4” wide and comes in a roll in plumbing supplies.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View Chipy's profile

Chipy

374 posts in 1093 days


#14 posted 762 days ago

I found that it is easier to drill the holes in the wood with a hand drill and clamp the wood in the position that you would like it.I used the drill press to drill the first 3 holes but the holes lined up better with a hand drill.This is a decent mobile base nice review!

View Wolffarmer's profile

Wolffarmer

392 posts in 1738 days


#15 posted 758 days ago

This sounds like a good base for many of us. HF has come a long way the over the years but I have yet to see any of their items reviewed in a major publication. Now that would be something.

I have their cabinet TS that was discontinued in 2010. It is a sweety for what it is. A basic saw for amateurs or a 2nd saw for pros. It is the same as several other brands though it may have a different motor. Which will probably out live me any way.

Randy

-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

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