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Thread: Mobile Base for Monster Drill Press

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    Mobile Base for Monster Drill Press

    My mobile drill press base is finished. Photos at bottom.

    This was a great one-day project that only took me a couple weeks.

    My design parameters were:

    1...As Larry says, “If in doubt, build it stout.” This drill press weighs much more than the old Delta (pre-WWII Delta that I inherited from my father). I move my father’s with a hand truck. Even though my father’s DP is heavy, the new unit is much more top heavy. And thank you Nancy for reminding me about our So. Calif. ground shaking events and DP stability..

    Along that same line I saw many comments placed on the web because they thought their commercial mobile bases were not sturdy enough.

    2...I am a little guy so the thought of raising the DP five inches to put wheels under it was not the least bit appealing. The design I made (with the help of some very nice FWW members) raises the DP only 1 ¼”.

    3...I do not plan to move the unit often. Therefore real convenience is not a design factor.

    I want to be able to move the unit whenever the shop is redesigned (like when I purchase a new major tool). There is absolutely no way that I could safely move this monster except on a mobile base. Most of the weight is at the top. If it started to tip it would take some genuine body mass and muscle to stop it from going all the way.

    As you can tell from the photos, the shop is a LONG way from being organized for the first time. That probably means that the DP is going to be tried in several positions before that temporary “final” resting place is chosen.


    The construction is 1 ¾ x 4 inch poplar attached to ¾-inch exterior plywood. The “beams” that hold the casters are also the same size poplar. There are 44 three and one-half inch woodscrews and 4 six and one-half inch long, half-inch diameter bolts holding it all together. That brings us back to, “If in doubt, build it stout.”

    The casters are 4-inch H.F. units. They are rated at 330 pounds each. Since I have 6 leveling screws (3/8 in. diameter bolts) I felt locking casters would be superfluous. The leveling screws support most of the weight. The casters just touch the floor, to add stability like out-riggers for the next earthquake. Thank you again Nancy.

    The DP I inherited from my father is a great unit. Everything works smooth as glass. There is no slop. I would not own a new unit if the old one had a crank to adjust the table height. The old one has been a joy. It is for sale. It is in the “classifieds” and I hate to see it go....Am I becoming a Neanderthal???



    The first photo shows a bottom view of the mobile base. At this point the poplar was glued to the plywood. There is a row of 3 ½ inch washer head wood screws all around the periphery.
    Attachment 21720

    Photo two shows the top side.
    Attachment 21725

    Photo three shows the template of the DP base within the poplar “box.” This was to check clearances and to locate the bolt holes to fasten down the new Delta.
    Attachment 21724

    Photos four and five show the block and tackle “safety.” This was to hold the head up in case the thing started to tilt when being lifted into the base.
    Attachment 21726

    Attachment 21722

    Photos six and seven show the mobile base after the caster “beams” have been screwed (five McFeeley, three and a half-inch, no. 8 washer head screws) and bolted (four bolts, six and a half-inch long, half-inch diameter). Notice that the caster beams hang over the front and back of the Delta base. I did not want to add any more front to back size to the mobile base. The additional ten-inch side to side measurement (to accommodate the casters in all positions) should not be a problem in my shop.

    Attachment 21721

    Attachment 21723

    The unit drives nicely. However, you cannot start moving unless the casters are more-or-less pointing the direction you will start. Then you drive it like a car. The entire set of casters cost me $18.00 at Harbor Freight. Perhaps, if I were single and could afford $16.00 each casters, this would not be a problem. As it is, it is a minor aggravation. I would not want to deal with it if I were going to move the unit very often however.
    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 02-22-2011 at 11:24 PM. Reason: Pics disappeared. Putting in pics again
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  2. #2
    Don Taylor is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Looks to me like you have well taken care of the problem Jim.
    Very good job!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI
    YES! Excellent solution. Well Done!!
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C Bradley View Post
    ...This was a great one-day project that only took me a couple weeks...
    Maybe so, but from the looks of things, it was worth it. Great job, Jim.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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