Universal Mobile Base For Table Saw and other tools - Portamate PM-1100

Friday, June 14, 2019

Universal Mobile Base For Table Saw and other tools - Portamate PM-1100


Imagine, what would shop life be like if you could easily move any tool around? In this episode of the House of Hacks, Harley opens, assembles and installs a universal mobile base for table saw. Used in this video is a Bora Portamate PM-1100 kit that is a DIY mobile base for power tools.

Portamate PM-1100 (Amazon affiliate link)

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For a written transcript, go to Universal Mobile Base For Table Saw and other tools - Portamate PM-1100

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"
Incidental: "Riptide"


Imagine, what would it be like if you could move your larger tools around the workshop?

How would a universal mobile base for your table saw or other tools change your workflow?

Would you have more flexibility for storage?

Would your shop be more space efficient?

Would your tools be easier to use for different sizes of materials?

Today at the House of Hacks we’re going to be looking at how to do this.

About 18 months ago, I went to my Dad’s to pick up some tools that had been my Granddad's. When I got back, I did a video of what I brought back with me and I'll leave a link up here in the cards.

Recently, I made another trip to pick up a few more things that had been left behind. Most notably was a larger table saw that had been my Granddad's and he'd built a base for it.

It's going to be a great upgrade to my current small one but it's much larger and won't fit in the workshop the way it's currently organized.

So I looked at what I needed and what I had and changed my approach to my shop's organization.

Previously, all my large tools were set and ready to use in fixed locations. This had the advantage of being quick to setup.

But it has two disadvantages. One is it takes more floor space because you have to dedicate room around the tool in order to work.

And two, you have less flexibility in your material handling in and out of the equipment.

In addition to the tools taking up floor space, I also had two 6' snap together utility shelves that contained various supplies and small bench tools.

I decided to change to a mobile layout where most of the large tools are on movable bases.

This will allow them to be stored closer together for more compact and efficient use of floor space and it'll give more flexibility for material handling.

This more efficient use of floor space will allow me to get the larger table saw in the workshop.

It does come at a cost though of more setup time.

To accomplish this, I did two things.

First, I split the two 6' shelf units into four 3' shelf units and then hung them from the ceiling.

This allows better space utilization closer to the ceiling and it frees up a lot of floor space.

Second, I converted a number of tools with fixed bases to have mobile bases.

This conversion is the topic of today's video.

But first, welcome to the House of Hacks.

If we're just meeting, I'm Harley and I make stuff out of wood, metal and sometimes other materials. And sometimes I talk about other workshop related topics.

Today, I'm going to be showing the assembly and use of the Portamate PM-1100 universal base kit.

On my previous trip to Dad's, I picked up a large saw with a base that Granddad had made.

I didn't have a permanent location for it, so for expedience, I picked up a mobile base with metal rails.

These metal rails have holes in them in fixed locations for adjustability, but because the holes are in fixed locations, you don't have infinite adjustability.

And so it didn't exactly quite fit the base that I already had. It ended up being about an inch larger than it really needed to be on both the width and length.

I looked around and found the Portamate PM-1100.

This is a hardware kit that has wheels and all the hardware to mount them to a piece of wood.

The piece of wood doesn't come with the kit. You'd make it whatever size you want.

So this allows me to have a base that's exactly the right size for the bases that I already have.

I'll leave an Amazon affiliate link in the description below.

With this design, there's two corners that are designed for the back of the equipment that only roll in one direction.

And there's two corners that are designed for the front with castors that allow you to change direction as you're rolling it around.

The castors are also designed with levers on them so they're up when you're using the tool and it won't roll around and you can push them down, the wheels drop down, lifts the tool off the ground and you can move it.

You supply a piece of wood to connect them at the desired size.

Plywood is usually best for strength purposes.

When I originally bought them, I was planning on just attaching them to the preexisting bases without using any plywood.

However, when I actually got them and tried putting them on, I realized there were toe kicks on the bases that interfered with the hardware raising and lowering mechanism.

So in order to put them where that would work, there wasn't enough material left to attach them to so I ended up going with the plywood anyway.

I cut some plywood left over from previous projects to the desired size, added the hardware to it and attached those assemblies to the bases.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's take a look at what's in the box and how to assemble them.

In the box are two bright orange pieces that are the levers for the cam activation and two plates to mount the castors to.

There are also four corner pieces and wheels.

Two corner pieces are designed for the rear wheels and two are for the front wheels.

There are also four flat plates that are designed to sandwich plywood between them and the corner pieces to provide extra support.

And all the needed screws, nuts and bushings are in a little baggie.

The rear wheel assembly is straightforward.

Using the appropriate bolt, put it through the axel hole from the inside of the base.

Place a bushing on it, the wheel, another bushing and then a nyloc nut on the outside.

Putting the second bushing on is a bit tricky due to the limited space but holding the wheel flat keeps gravity from working against you.

The front wheel assembly has a few more parts.

First put in the foot rest.

This is what will rest on the floor when the wheel is in the up position, keeping the tool from moving around.

It just screws into pre-threaded holes in the corner piece and is secured with a jam nut once the height is set as desired.

Then put a carriage bolt through the top square hole.

Put a bushing on the bolt followed by the orange piece, flat side up, followed by another bushing and pushed through the other side of the support.

A split lock washer goes on followed by a standard nut.

Put another carriage bolt through the other square hole and then the grey plate.

Note that the plate comes pre-lubricated with some grease.

Be sure to put the grease side towards the orange plate and don’t get it on you.

Push the screw through the assembly followed by another split lock washer and nut.

Finally, the castor can be put through the grey plate and secured with its nut.

This nut has a flanged surface that acts as a lock nut and goes toward the plate.

Next measure your tool base to determine how big you need to make your plywood and cut it to size.

The hardware is designed to work with either 1/2” or 3/4” plywood and comes with different length screws for each application.

Depending on the thickness you use, you’ll have screws left over intended for the other thickness.

With the plywood cut to the correct size, place the wheel assemblies on each corner and mark the hole positions.

Then drill the holes.

I used a drill press but you could use a hand held drill.

Just be sure to get them as straight as you can since there’s another metal piece that needs to match up on the other side.

There is some room for play, so it doesn’t have to have super tight tolerances.

But the closer you can get it, the easier it’ll be to get everything lined up.

Once all the holes are made, it’s time to attach the corner assemblies.

Put the corner piece with the wheel in place, put a flat triangle piece on top with the countersink side up and attach them with the appropriate screws.

Note that the bottom piece has a pre-tapped hole so no nuts are required for this operation.

Get all the screws started first, then make sure the corner assembly is tight to the wood before tightening the screws down.

Repeat this process for all four corners and the base is ready to attach to your tool.

How this is done will vary, depending on your tool.

In my case, I just used grabber screws to attach from the bottom of the plywood up into the bottom of the tool’s case.

My Granddad used 2x4 construction for the base’s frame, so there was plenty of wood to attach to.

You’ll have to figure out the best means of attaching this for your situation and provide your own hardware.

Once it’s attached, all that’s left to do is adjust the rubber feet on the front.

You want to adjust them so they support the weight of the equipment when the wheels are in the up position but are lifted off the ground when the wheels are in the down position.

Once in the desired position, tighten the jam nut so they will stay in place.

And, they’re ready to use.

I’ll see you in this playlist of other shop organization ideas.

And when making things, remember…

Perfection's not required. Fun is!