Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Large Work Table Just For The Tooli Machine

Three weeks ago or so I posted about the Tooli machine that  I will have to wait for until next spring to get my hands on.  In the mean time I have been working on a purpose built table for the new equipment and I am happy to say that I completed the project just this afternoon. 
This is the new equipment that I am anxiously waiting for.  It has many different functions and is capable of everything from plotting drawings to frosting a cake  ....no kidding.  I covered more information about this machine on my earlier post so I will try not to repeat myself again today.  The subject at hand is the building of a table for this rather large machine that will be solely for it's use.
This is what I came up with for the design of the table.  The top is 4' x 4 1/2' x 3/4 thick wood.  The legs are 1 1/4 diameter PVC with furniture grade PVC connectors.  These connectors are much smoother looking than regular plumbing fittings and come from a company named Formufit in Kansas City and they had a few extra shapes that were exactly what I was looking for.
I started the project by taking a 48" x 6" x 3/4" piece of Aspin and drilled pocket holes for both the upper and lower edges that you see in the photo above.  This was easily accomplished using my Kregg pocket hole jig.  A great tool that makes this type of work a breeze to do.
The six in wide piece of Aspen was then glued and screwed into a 2' x 4' panel to start the assembly of the table top.  Once the screws had been installed the clamps could be removed immediately so work could move forward without delay.
The second 2' x 4' panel of Aspen was then added to the assembly the same as the first had been put together.  I put the six inch wide board in the middle of the table top as I needed the completed assembly to be 48" x 54" in size.
Next I assembled three guide rails for the storage boxes that would be mounted on the underside of the table top.  The outer guide rails are nothing more than a 1" x 1" x 42" strip of wood that has a 1/4" thick strip of plywood glued and nailed to it to make an "L" shaped assembly.  The center guide rail needed to have a wider plywood strip mounted to it to have a double guide rail  set up to allow both storage bins to use it once it was mounted.

The three guide rails were then mounted to the under side of the table top using glue and wood screws.  I had to take care to make sure that the rails were spaced properly for the storage bins and centered on the underside of the table top.
Here the bins have been slid into place to double check that I got everything right. They work perfectly and will add a lot of storage for the table when I am using it.
Once the guide rails had been mounted I was able to turn the table top right side up and apply four coats of polyurethane varnish to it.  Between every coat of varnish I sanded it lightly using 600 grit sand paper.  It turned out beautifully and is very smooth so it will be a great surface to work on.
Next came the assembly of the casters for the table.  The photo above shows the simple parts that make up this assembly.  A caster, a PVC connector for the caster, a washer and a nut.
The parts are simply slid together and then bolted into place using the nut and washer.  Another simple task for this project.
From the PVC company I purchased eight of these 4-way connectors.  These are designed to fit a 1 1/4 diameter PVC tube and so they were exactly what I was looking for.
This part is the PVC mounting part that slides on to the top of the PVC tube for the legs of the table and then with screws is mounted to the underside of the table top to hold it in place.  Another perfect part for the project.
I did not want to have these parts just be in white so I decided to paint them a nice bright red.  I taped off the insides of the parts using painters tape to keep everything clean so that it would not interfere with the PVC piping that would be slid into it. 
I used a spray paint for plastic and it worked perfectly.  Also the fact that I had put the tape on the parts it kept them off of the board I was using to paint them.  So no marks on  the pieces made things simpler all the way around.
Here are all of the little parts sitting in the bins for the table ready to be assembled.
For the project I needed 8 pieces of 1 1/4 PVC 38" long and another eight pieces of the same tubing  11 1/2" long.  I set up a simple jig on my miter saw and again made quick work of getting all the pieces cut to the correct lengths and all matching perfectly.  It was worth the time to figure out how to put the jig together and it saved me a lot of work.
Another task that needed to be done to the PVC tubing after it had been cut was to remove all of the printing that normally is on PVC tubing.  I started out using Acetone but found that this was more work than I thought it would be.  So instead I used 180 grit sandpaper to remove the lettering and then smoothed everything afterward using 600 grit sandpaper.  You can see the end results by comparing the lettered tubing to the clean tubes sitting next to it.  It took me a bit of time but it is much nicer looking without the lettering to be sure and I don't have to paint the tubing to get this look.
Now assembly could finally start.  I  laid out the necessary part that I needed for the upper portion of the legs to get it centered on the underside of the table top first.  Then I took a nail and made a small indentation into the underside of the table top where three screws would be mounted at the tabs on the PVC top mounts.
I used # 8 1/2" wood screws to hold the mounts in place.  My measurements and prep work again paid off as this was another easy task to accomplish in the assembly.  At this point I needed to remove the upper portion of the leg assembly and only leave the mounts on the table top.  This being as the final placement of the table when it is going to be used will not be in the workshop itself but rather an adjacent room when it is completed.  So with the legs removed I was able to start the final assembly in the other room.
With the table now moved into it's final assembly room it was another easy to complete the rest of the legs assembly.  This all slid into place easily and tightly without any hassle at all.  Just as I had planned.
Here's a good look at one of the leg assemblies with the caster assembly added to it.  The red connector parts really stand out now and give the table a great look.
At this point the table only needed to be flipped over and placed on to it's wheels.  The plastic bins were slid into place using the guide rails that I had mounted earlier.  These bins by the way I found at Walmart and are normally used for storage under a bed.  They are 16" x 32" x 6" deep so the look and purpose of the bins will add a lot to the table.

So that's about it.  The table will be covered up for now in it's new area of the workshop to keep it clean until the new Tooli machine arrives in the spring.  I especially like the fact that the table has casters on it so I can move it around the workshop if I need the space for video taping another project or anything else that comes up.  The table turned out beautifully and should serve me very well once the new equipment arrives. When it does I will be sure to let you know and fill you in on that part of this project as well.  Have a good one and keep on tinkering!
For more information about the PVC connectors that I used in this great project check out the link below.


  1. Good afternoon Dave, great job on the build! Very clear photos & easy directions. The table looks sturdy, but lightweight.

  2. Hello Dave, great job on the table and I plan to make something similar. Quick question: Did you glue the PVC joints or was the friction fit strong enough that no bonding was required?

    1. Hi Paul,
      Thanks for comment about my table. It turned out great and it will be a big plus when my Tooli finally arrives. The PVC joints are not glued in at all. It is very solid with the friction fit. This is also a plus if and when I ever have to move the table to another location. It can be taken apart simply and then reassembled just as easily.

    2. Great info Dave - much appreciated! I'm compiling an order with Formufit now. In lieu of painting the fittings, I'm going to get the ones molded in red. Debating on using furniture grade or plumbing grade PVC. As you're aware, the plumbing grade pipe is less than half the price!