Mobile bases: Build or Buy

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Blog entry by woodup posted 03-17-2008 05:50 AM 9093 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

What are your thoughts on mobile bases? I’m debating whether to build one or buy one (e.g. shop fox from Grizzly) for the go513x bandsaw. I made a stand and mobile base for my belt sander, but I’m not sure if the ‘bigger’ tool deserves a more ‘tried and true’ store bought mobile base. I don’t think I can master the off loading of the swivel wheels for more tool stability as easily as a store bought one.
Things I’m considering:
1. Cost – to buy it…. 60-70 dollars, to make it….. 20 – 30 dollars (guesstimate)
2. Tool Stability when in use vs. ease of mobility in transition.
Thanks for your ideas and suggestions!

-- Michael, Fort Worth, TX. "I wood if I could!"

16 comments so far

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3892 days

#1 posted 03-17-2008 06:14 AM

Michael – I’ve got three shop foxes that I want to get rid off. I’m just up the street in Arlington. I’d let them go for $25 a piece. If you took them and did not really like them you’d still have some very good casters for another project.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3871 days

#2 posted 03-17-2008 07:23 AM

Good question…

  • For heavier tools with a small footprint (table saw, bandsaw, drill press, etc.) go with a commercially made mobile base.
  • Something with a larger footprint and/or less weight can have casters added. For example, my router table, planer stand, and scroll saw have casters.

I like using locking casters for the front two and non locking for the rear wheels. I hate it when casters lock themselves accidentally as they roll around and I can’t get my foot back in that corner. But for something like a router table, you need to be able to lock at least two wheels for stability.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#3 posted 03-17-2008 12:05 PM

I tend to make my own. I just use 2×4s for the base and add locking casters to it. I also have used universal mobile bases from Rockler that need hardwood stretchers. These are about $50 and can be customized to fit the tool.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3796 days

#4 posted 03-17-2008 12:33 PM

Universal bases from woodcraft are good. I prefer to buy instead of make stuff like this. I look at how much my time is worth to me and find it cheaper to buy than lost valuable shop time.

-- making sawdust....

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 3775 days

#5 posted 03-17-2008 02:55 PM

Commercial bases keep the tool about 3/4” to 1 inch off the floor. I make my bases if height off the floor is not a consideration. I haven’t figured our a way to build a base out of wood that doesn’t lift the tool at lease 5 inches off the ground. So, my shop made bases are usually under a shop made cabinet.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3871 days

#6 posted 03-17-2008 03:11 PM

It looks like the base has holes drilled in the corners. Any chance of just using casters with stems?

I have a 14” Grizzly and I just took off the feet and screwed on casters. I like to use locking swivel casters on the front and fixed casters on the back of my mobile tools.

Or, if the base is formed (like an upside down cookie sheet) you can screw wooden blocks in the corners and then screw casters to the wooden blocks.

-- -- --

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3882 days

#7 posted 03-17-2008 06:01 PM

I just put my band saw on the one on the link below and I really like it. Scroll down on the link too see other options.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View woodup's profile


145 posts in 3940 days

#8 posted 03-17-2008 07:52 PM

Thanks everyone for your feedback! I’m going to follow up with Betsy with the commercial mobile base if it’s still available. Thanks again for your input. Always good to see how others have managed the same situation.

-- Michael, Fort Worth, TX. "I wood if I could!"

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4102 days

#9 posted 03-17-2008 10:58 PM

I got some of those mobile bases at discount from rockler and woodcraft not too long ago. I think the metal ones were only $29 or $39.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4018 days

#10 posted 03-17-2008 11:06 PM

Mike: Harbor freight sells one that will do for that saw at least.
I doubt you could build one for less.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#11 posted 03-18-2008 08:15 AM

I purposefully bought different kinds as needed to compare. I wish I had just stuck with the HTC 2000 (the one with the orange cam-action-foot-lever-thingys…

The HTC 1000, the same one Woodcraft calls their own is the second favorite, but aluminum cam-action-foot-lever-thingys don’t work as well as the big plastic ones (hence the improvement and new model version; everything else is the same).

The shop fox is my least favorite. Doesn’t roll as well as the HTCs and you have to bend to the ground to lock it in place…Feels more like a burden than a help at times.

Check out the HTC 2000! Looks like that’s what Blake had too…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View BuilderBob59's profile


14 posts in 3262 days

#12 posted 06-19-2009 01:33 PM

I have the ShopFox mobile base recommended by Grizzly for their GO514 bandsaw. It first collapsed under the weight of the bandsaw. I reinforced the base to carry the load but the bandsaw is so top and front heavy it wobbles pretty bad and makes me think the saw could fall over forward. I will continue my modifications to the ShopFox base but I would not recommend the ShopFox mobile Base for this bandsaw. The saw works great by the way.


View BuilderBob59's profile


14 posts in 3262 days

#13 posted 06-20-2009 08:06 PM

Yesterday I saw a photo on Lumberjack that suggested I should assemble by ShopFox base with the wheels in the front and back and not on the ends as I had done and had bad results. I had to grind out the weld I put in to keep the ShopFox from collapseing. I reorganized the corner pieces so the wheels are in the front and back and reassembled the base. The band saw turned out to be much more stable and when I screwed down the pads it was real stable. I was surprised. When I screwed down the pads one of the black handwheels broke off which didn’t surprize me. The band saw now much more stable and still mobile. I will still have to weld the base to help support the weight.


View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#14 posted 06-20-2009 08:21 PM

I second what Dorje said

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3582 days

#15 posted 06-20-2009 08:54 PM

I bought a big heavy duty one for my big disc and belt sander as I need to move it every time I empty my dust extractor bags .Yes things are that tightt I have a machine shop and could make one but it’s not worth the hassle or about fifty fifty so I bough this one very pleased with iot I prefer metal ones to wood and metal or just wood.Alistair ps sorrry typing abit shakeey todasy alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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