What do you think about Shop machines and benches on casters?

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Forum topic by AM420 posted 02-02-2018 10:10 PM 4004 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 315 days

02-02-2018 10:10 PM

I have started hobby woodworking in my one car garage that’s occupied by a car whenever I’m not working ,so I need to be able to put machines to the side or into a closet when not in use. I know a lot of people have workbenches or machines on stands with locking swivel casters. I always assumed that even when locked something on casters may have a tendency to move around a bit and cause problems when working.

I’ve been working on some way to have the best of both worlds, but wonder if I’m trying to avoid a problem that doesn’t really exist and would like to hear about other people’s experiences, good or bad, with shop machines and workbenches on casters.


38 replies so far

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10086 posts in 3579 days

#1 posted 02-02-2018 10:35 PM

It depends on the weight of the machine and
the forces applied when feeding work to it.
I don’t much recommend putting something
like a table saw or band saw on non-locking
casters, but if the machine is heavy enough
it can work. My current band saw is on a cabinet
with non-locking casters and I haven’t had problems.
That said, the cabinet is full of wood drawers,
steel tools and screws. The band saw also
adds about 200lbs of weight.

I used various mobile bases for many years
but I’ve been getting heavier and heavier machinery
and these days many of them are on plywood
stands for a pallet jack. When you put a machine
over 600 lbs. on casters it becomes pretty hard
to push it around from the weight alone.

In terms of a work bench on wheels… if you
work with hand planes you may find the wheels
are an annoyance.

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827 posts in 2867 days

#2 posted 02-02-2018 11:16 PM

Everything in my shop is on casters, minus the bench. The casters aren’t even that great (bought from Lowe’s) and I’m not having issues. I know Rockler sells better casters though.

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542 posts in 371 days

#3 posted 02-02-2018 11:55 PM

I work in one side of a two car garage. I have several pieces of shop equipment on casters. Not having problems with the casters. Even my workbench is on casters that can be positioned with a cam lever to let the bench completely down on the floor when I need it to sit tight. Otherwise, I can move the cam levers and the casters take the weight again. My assembly table also is on casters with locks. One large tool that I don’t have on casters is my radial arm saw. I don’t like to move it around. It takes the most time to get set up correctly. Having things on casters sure makes moving things around to clean my shop a lot easier.

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47 posts in 750 days

#4 posted 02-03-2018 12:20 AM

i have the rockler workbench casters on my workbench. they allow the bench to sit on the floor when not engaged and are a bit of a pain to engage, but that is a minor inconvenience to me. I did see some pivoting casters on a new yankee workshop video that looked pretty interesting also.

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855 posts in 2745 days

#5 posted 02-03-2018 01:03 AM

All of my larger tools are on mobile bases. The ability to move them into position to handle a larger board or move them out of the way to provide more assembly area is priceless.

One caution. DO NOT USE ShopFox mobile bases. You will be very disappointed. These bases are a safety hazard. Read my review for details:

Don’t believe me, google it. You will find many more with the same experience.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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1158 posts in 1927 days

#6 posted 02-03-2018 01:07 AM

+1 for the rockler workbench casters…expensive but worth it. You can put them on basically any machine.

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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6480 posts in 2130 days

#7 posted 02-03-2018 01:17 AM

Be careful with the Rockler lifting casters (as well as the Powertec clones)... they are not rated for much weight (100lbs IIRC), so keep that in mind. I made my own that could handle a lot more just for that reason. If you decide to go with swivel casters and are concerned about movement, look for double locking casters that lock the swivel as well as wheel.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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1819 posts in 1961 days

#8 posted 02-03-2018 01:23 AM

Every machine in my 2 car garage is on mobile base or pallet stands for my pallet jack. I like to pull everything possible out every season to either clean up or move things around, which happens frequently.
To date… I have:
1.) 15” jet planer on pallet stand
2.) 8” long bed jointer on mobile stand
3.) bosch 4100 on gravity stand
4.) powermatic 66 on pallet stand
5.) unisaw on pallet stand
6.) clone 14” bandsaw on mobile stand
7.) 10” drill press cart on mobile stand
8.) combo sander on mobile stand
9.) lumber cart on mobile stand
10.) rockwell lathe…. eh? what? no wheels or on a stand. I better fix that!

But as you can see… putting machines on a moveable platform in a small work space is nearly mandatory. I really like the pallet stand to be used with my mini pallet jack for the sole purpose that it’s 100% stable with no locking levers sticking out to be tripped over.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

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100 posts in 414 days

#9 posted 02-03-2018 01:27 AM

All of my “stationary” tools (table saw, band saw, planer, jointer and even the miter saw cabinet) are on casters. I have no issues with any of them. The only casters that I ever lock are on the jointer. The ability to easily move your tools around when you are in a confined space is well worth any issues they might raise.

-- Why can’t I ever find my pencil???

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63 posts in 52 days

#10 posted 02-03-2018 01:42 AM

Every piece of heavy equipment I own is on some form of caster system. I have a two flip top carts on the rockler workbench casters, my delta table saw has a built in mobile base. My bandsaw and drill press are both on a portamate bases, with cabinets on top of the base. And I have a homemade drum sander on non locking casters (plan on switching those for locking ones “soon”).

And I love having them this way. With the nice weather we have here in NC I rarely ever have to actually work in my garage because I can roll everything into the driveway. Which means I don’t have to worry about as much sawdust in my garage. In fact, a lot of times my “cleanup” involves just using the leaf blower to blow off the driveway and all of the dust and chips just end up in the natural area along our house.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

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879 posts in 840 days

#11 posted 02-03-2018 01:59 AM

I’ve gotten locking casters from HD that work well on several of my tools including my tables saw/cabinet and jointer on a stand. Very sturdy and roll smoothly. Not cheap, but worth the extra dough. I think the key is to get casters that lock the swivel as well as the wheel. They offer 3” and 4” versions.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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62 posts in 315 days

#12 posted 02-03-2018 02:00 AM

Thanks for all the info. Sounds like casters aren’t bad to use at all. I haven’t heard of double locking casters. I’ll hsve to check those out.

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4121 posts in 2340 days

#13 posted 02-03-2018 04:34 AM

As an alternative to 4 casters for a not unreasonable amount of weight you could use two straight wheels and two legs on opposite side. When needing to move lift up on the leg ends and slip a dolly underneath then let back down. The dolly then becomes a mobile base allowing you to move the object and place back on solid ground.

While I do not use this set up in my shop I have made cabinets for others using this idea. My wife likes to have her cat house close to the door in winter and this set up works well for her to be able to move it by herself.

For heavier loads this is not practical but for say a benchtop planer with a cabinet underneath this works well.

Just an idea, like others it has pro’s and con’s. Use what works best for you, experiment some.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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699 posts in 1516 days

#14 posted 02-03-2018 04:57 AM

I have mobile bases on everything except my work bench.

Many of mine are the HTC brand, mostly from Amazon. My Unisaw has its original Delta mobile base. My Dewalt 735 planer is on the matching Dewalt mobile base. My scroll saw is on a steel mobile cart from Sam’s Club.

I too move a few things onto the driveway when it is a better place to work. I don’t move things all the time, though, because I don’t ever have to deal with a car in my shop.

I cannot imagine ever not having these mobile options. Yet, I never think about them when the shop and its tools are in use. There is no negative effect that i can detect. Every once in a while, I just rearrange things and see if it doesn’t seem like a better layout.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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94 posts in 1623 days

#15 posted 02-03-2018 07:08 AM

All of my tools are on casters or mobile bases. Only exception is the dust collector, but that has the piping to the tools, so mobility isn’t required. Everything is locking casters to allow the tool to be fixed in position.

In my previous shop (two car garage) I made a rolling work table that was designed as somewhat of a swiss army knife. It had a small dust collector mounted on the under side. Served as an outfeed table for the table saw. The table had a pull out shelf that supported a bench top jointer and the chop saw (including extensions). Using T-tracks on the top surface, I mounted the bench top planner. It had storage, a vice mounted to one end and was very versatile tool. It was about 42” x 7’ in size. The T-tracks were also used to hold down a variety of implements.

For the new shop, the benches are fixed, but I left the underside open and have built carts that have various drawer sizes for the tools. The cart pull like one big drawer (carts have wells in the top for the quick access items), then access to the drawers. As this shop is dedicated space I can get away with this system.

One significant advantage, moblitity makes it easier to pull things out to sweep out the shop.

Invest in good casters for the heavy items or rated mobile bases. I used soft casters on the rolling worktable, but they kept folding over from the weight and heavy use. I changed these to a polyurethane caster and that solved the problem.

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