Making a Portable Workshop

03/08/2016 13:17:08   Categories: DIY Tools

A Portable Workshop for those of you that don't have much space or a compact cabinet where you can carry all your stuff to work in other locations. It's fitted with wheels so it can be moved by only one person and you can even put it in your car for transport; though this will require a little help, of course. I tried to use common tools and cheap, easy-to-find materials.

As you can see it has 3 functions: saw table, router table and inverted jig saw. Also, it has a big cabinet you can use to carry some of your tools with you. It's equipped with a lock to discourage thieves and keep children safe.


In order to achieve optimal results, quality tools are required. Cheap tools can do the job too, but the more you spend here, the better the results will be. You'll be able to keep using them in other projects as you can easily remove them and assemble them back again.

These plans are for a router or drill with a european neck (43mm), a circular saw makita 5903r and a jig saw festool PSB 300 EQ. To install other models, you may have to modify the plans a bit. 

Dimensions Closed: 900mm high, 540mm width and 815mm depth.
Dimensions Open:   900mm high, 1400mm width and 815mm depth.
Total aprox weight: 55kg

To show you how it works, I am going to build a pair of drawers with cheap pine floorboard.

First I'll cut the parts for the drawers with the table sled. Then I'll use the fence to get the desired drawer height and make the groove for the base. With this machine you can make angle cuts easily using the miter gauge, and removing the quick access covers you can tilt the disk, 45 degrees in this case.

The jig saw guide is adjustable in 3 axes and we can use different blade sizes. From one hundred to one hundred and eighty millimeters, getting a maximum cutting height of seventy milimeters.

Now I'll make the drawer handle with the milling function. I am changing the router bit in order to get rounded corners. We also have a miter channel here to use the miter gauge.

I have also developed a system for a follower bearing that will be useful to make curved millings. We can also tilt the router 45º to cut the drawers.

The drawer is finished so I am going to put it in place. With this machine you have two different ways of making tenons. First with the jig saw, the fence and the miter gauge. And the second one with the disk and the tenon jig.

With the biggest disk I can mount in my circular saw (235mm) I get a max cutting height of 70mm. The incra miter chanel has small adjustment bolts to reduce tilt. You can even lock it if you need to.

I have also developed a system to make the box joints easily. You must place half of the pieces on the one side and the other two on the other side. To close the portable workshop, we must lift up the circular saw and tilt the router 45º.

Now let’s take a look at how I made it. Let's start cutting the parts following the cutting list and mark them all with their reference numbers. Then I'll drill in four spots for the handle and cut a hole with the jig saw.

Then I'll drill a hole with the same depth as the thickness of the washer for the opening system, and countersink the drill holes. Now I will machine the recess for the power and emergency switches.

Now you can start assembling the cabinet using 50mm screws and dowels. You can also, if you wish, apply a coat of lacquer for a better finish and durability.

Then I'll cut the 3 top parts and drill the frames for the hinged covers. Also, I'll make the holes for the steel pipe so it fits snuggly, as it is the axis of rotation of the hinged covers.

I made the milling for the circular saw with the 3D router. If you don't have a similar tool, you can do it with the manual router using guides or templates.

Then I'll make a milling on the top for the quick access covers, which will make easier to change the disk. You can use the cover itself to calibrate the depth of the milling. I'll try the circular saw to the top of the table and mark holes.

The 3D Router comes in very handy here, as the column drill won't work because of its reduced work space.

Now, onto part two of our home made Portable Workshop series. I'll mark the place for the miter channel following the plans and make a groove cut with the circular saw. These two pieces of plywood will give us extra thickness to screw the miter channel.

I'll make a rabbet with the depth of the self adhesive measuring tape. Then screw the piece into the cover and make the hole for the router. Cut the pipe and assemble the frames for the hinged covers. Prepare the stoppers and assemble them according to the plans. Put the cover of the router in place and screw it to the frame using the the miter channel holes.

Mill the cover and make the inner rabbet to place the jig saw. If you are not using a sliding surface as melamine, you should apply a coat of lacquer and sand it before and after.

Cut and machine the parts for the vertical router holder. Mill the hole for the height adjustment of the vertical router. Then glue two plywood parts together to build the spindle mount. You should use a drill with the exact diameter or an adjustable one like this when building the router holder. Also you can make it on a CNC or even buy it online.

After assembling the spindle mount in the holder, we can try the lift system. Assemble the hinges provisionally to mark the turning radius. I'll use leftover pieces of plywood to make the wooden knobs.

I will start this video with these parts I forgot to assemble in the last video. They will make the lift system more stable. Then I'll cut the parts for the base in my homemade saw table.

Assemble it and screw it to the bottom of the cabinet. It should have the same size as the wheels you've chosen. I've placed a barrel bolt on one of the hinged covers and a door lock on the other. They can be useful when transporting the workshop and to discourage stealing.

Prepare the electrical installation consisting of a power strip with four sockets: one for the router, one for the jig saw; and the remaining two sockets will be useful for connecting other portable tools. The socket for the circular saw has an on/off switch and an emergency stop button.

I'll use the opportunity to install the cord winding mechanism. I made these quick access covers with opal methacrylate. Place them and try the circular saw. Using this metal bracket, I have adapted a bearing from an old router. It can be very useful for curve millings.

Finally we check whether the hinged covers are aligned with the top of the table. If not, it's easy to correct the tilt adjusting the stoppers. Insert a steel pipe in the router to check the alignment in all directions.

Also check the alignment of the disk and make sure it is parallel to the miter channel. Do the same with the jig saw and finally check whether it closes properly and does not touch the tools inside.

In this fourth video I'll make some accessories for the Portable Workshop. Let's start cutting the parts for the sled. I'll make a channel to center the miter slider. Screw two pieces of plywood avoiding the areas the disc will move through.

Groove the place for the measuring tape. Apply lacquer before and after sanding to achieve a sliding surface. Assemble the sled, put it on the miter channel and cut the remaining part. Turn it and make a cut in the middle.

Stick the measuring tape in place. Disassemble the holder of the sled and make a channel for the box joint jig like the one on my old table saw. Adjust the slider channel until fits tightly enough with these two bolts. You can even lock it by tightening the screw completely.

Cut the pieces for the fence. Assemble, lacquer and sand it. Then I'll make the tightening system for the fence. Glue a couple of dowels that we will use as a guide.

Assemble the knob and try the fence. Then I'll make the router dust collector. Put the threaded inserts to lock the featherboard on the table. Make sure the disk is parallel to the fence and stick the measuring tape in its groove. Prepare the pieces to make the the box joint jig template. Finally apply glue and sand it.

This is the last video of this how I did it tutorial. First I'll build the miter gauge. You can glue the printable templates of the plans onto the plywood or use a ruler. You can already cut it in the machine. The incra miter slider threads are in inches. If you prefer to use metric you can use a metric tap like I will.

Try it to make sure the turning radius is correct. Then I'll cut the parts for the tenon jig. You can increase the thickness if you need reduce friction. Glue the printable templates onto the plywood to make the featherboards. Make the adjustment slots in the router, then screw the threaded inserts.

Let's start making the guide for the jig saw. The tightening system is the same as the one used in the fence. Assemble the bearing adjustment system. Use a metal plate to prevent the blade from wearing out the plywood. With the drill make one of the holes bigger to allow the adjustment of the bearing.

Do the same with the plywood sheet. Machine the height adjustment system. Now we can move it on three axes to place it in the exact position we need. Now I am going to check if it works making my new push stick. It is important to hold the piece you are cutting with both hands to keep it in place when you use the inverted jig saw.

Where to obtain some of the materials and tools used in this project:

Visit the Portable Workshop Topic in Forum:

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View all comments (55)

01/13/2017 17:38:33

LewJoe57

Very well done! Excellent workmanship! Will be PERFECT for my tiny home shop. Quick question, if you please, to your knowledge, has anyone converted your design for use with Imperial units (inches)? I live in the USA and access to metic-based lumber is difficult to say the least! I can do the conversions myself, but why repeat the work which may already be completed? Thank you!

12/07/2016 06:05:37

Emilio

Que tipo de material se usa para el cover de el circular saw?

08/13/2016 16:35:02

Paoson Woodworking

hola Waldo, si la caladora es de calidad no le pasa nada, yo llevo años usándola de este modo!

08/12/2016 21:12:26

Waldo

Te consulto: colocar la caladora en posicion invertida, no le provoca ningun inconveniente al motor, no trrabaja forzado?

07/15/2016 12:22:20

Paoson Woodworking

hola Rodolfo, mira en mi for, en la sección where to finf T Track profile, sale una web alemana ( http://www.feinewerkzeuge.de/t-track.html) que tienen todo y los gastos de envío son más o menos iguales que si comprases aquí!

07/13/2016 20:11:36

Rodolfo

Hola Paoson, gracias por el blog!Estoy haciendo el listad de todo lo que tengo que comprar y me surge una duda. Por un lado no se donde comprar el miter channel en España (he mirado en Pazos pero solo tienen el canal y no el slider), y por otro, ¿que diferencia hay con un tee-track?Un saludo y ánimo con el proyecto!

06/15/2016 09:53:14

Paoson

Gracias Alfredo,los planos incluyen un cutting list que puedes usar para conseguir las partes de madera ya cortadas y así transportarlas fácilmente. Utilizo contrachapado de 9 y 18mm

06/14/2016 23:59:55

Alfredo Sanchez

Excelente trabajo mi estimado, soy de Mexico y me gustaría saber cual es el grosor de la madera, 1 pulgada? quiero comprar los planos solo que muchas veces es complicado transportar hojas o plieges de 1.22 x2.44 en mi auto :( aqui en Mexico venden hojas de 1.22X0.6 metrosMil gracias y sigue con el buen trabajo, soy fan de tu blog.

06/13/2016 10:05:39

Paoson

Thanks Dan,you can download all my plans here:http://paoson.com/

06/11/2016 14:40:54

Dan Sherman

Your portable workshop is great. I would like to get/purchase SketchUp plans for your box joint jig if they are available. I'm about to try and make it by estimating what I see in the video, but I'd be more than happy to pay for actual plans if they were available.Thank you.

05/09/2016 12:12:27

Paoson

Hi Fergal,take a look at this:http://paoson.com/en/forum/114s

05/08/2016 13:16:20

Fergal

Hi, I would like to know what brand of Router you have used on your Portable Workshop and a model, so I can match it the best I can as I am in Australia and it is very difficult to find a Router with a 43mm collar, I have only been able to find Routers with a 63.5mm collar without having to order a unit online to get one with a 43mm collar. Thanks

05/03/2016 14:07:09

AlexWeb

I just bought your plans, can't wait to start building the workshop :)

04/25/2016 20:57:51

Eli

Hi I am from Israel I would like to know how can i get the blueprint for this workstation to try and build it for my self

04/04/2016 10:24:22

Paoson Woodworking

Hola Martín, si, incluye todos los accesorios que salen en el vídeo. Gracias

04/03/2016 07:06:07

martin

en la compra de los planos de la estacion de trabajo,tambien se incluyen los planos de los accesorios?

04/01/2016 12:18:48

Paoson Woodworking

Hola Diego, lo siento pero solo vendemos los planos...puedes comprarlos y llevárselos a alguna carpintería donde seguramente te la pueden fabricar...muchas gracias!

04/01/2016 10:15:41

Diego

Hola paoson, quiero saber si haces estos bancos de trabajo,estos portable workshop, para vender,me vendría muy bien y no tengo tiempo para hacerme 1,gracias

03/30/2016 13:04:35

buy patio online

I like what you guys are usuallyy up too. Such clever work aand exposure! Keep up the good works guys I've added you guys to my blogroll.

03/21/2016 11:34:06

Paoson Woodworking

thank you so much "Handle Pintu" and "help wanted"

03/19/2016 23:29:11

help wanted

You caan certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The arena hopes forr even more passionate writers such aas you who aren't afraid to mention how they believe. At all times goo after your heart.

03/17/2016 11:40:52

Handle Pintu Jakarta

These are in fact wonderful ideas in on the topic of blogging. You have touched some good factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

03/11/2016 17:06:39

Paoson

Hi,42Mb

03/11/2016 12:16:47

Adiet

Hi, How big file size of zip downloaded portable workshop plan?

03/10/2016 19:33:42

Paoson Woodworking

Hola Luis, en el enlace "producto ligado" que se encuentra un poco más arriba en esta página encontrarás las medidas totales de la máquina y más información

03/10/2016 19:26:24

luis

hola quisiera saber las medidas e todo gracias

03/02/2016 10:41:42

Paoson

Thanks Ariel Nguyen, Jhonny and Martin! I only sell the plans, you can buy them by clicking in the shop link in the top of the page or copy and paste this link: http://paoson.com

03/02/2016 10:36:42

Paoson

It is not completely necessary but it can be useful for milling with the Miter Gauge.Take a look at minute 4:23 of this video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZlFU7DjYZQ

03/02/2016 08:15:06

Ariel Nguyen

Hello Paoson, I'm from Hanoi, Vietnam and interested in your portable workshop. Do you sell this product? If yes how do you ship it to Vietnam ? Thanks and wait for your answer.

03/01/2016 21:53:49

Jhonny

Nice job Sir. When are be available the blueprints. Thanks.

03/01/2016 21:38:18

Martin

Great job mate.. Just purchased and about to get it done. Hope you will come up with something as excelent as this in the future. I will be in the row to buy another plans of you. BTW it looks like we share same combination of passions - wood and guitar:). Take careMartin from Slovakia

03/01/2016 21:36:28

Martin

Great job mate.. Just purchased and about to get it done. Hope you will come up with something as excelent as this in the future. I will be in the row to buy another plans of you. BTW it looks like we share same combination of passions - wood and guitar:). Take careMartin from Slovakia

03/01/2016 20:08:33

Suso from Paoson

<p>It is not completely necessary but it can be useful for milling with the Miter Gauge. Take a look at minute 4:23 of this video:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZlFU7DjYZQ">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZlFU7DjYZQ</a></p>

03/01/2016 18:03:46

Feri

Hello again,I have a questin about theis workshop. What is the function of the channel at the right side of the router?If I understand right the miter slider need just 1 channel for the circular saw but I don't know why we have the 2nd channel in the right side...I'm sure there is a functionality there so if you still have motivation to create additional video to present it, I'm sure lot's of people will thank it to you ;)Br, Feri

03/01/2016 10:22:20

Paoson

I don't sleep at night ;) Thanks bricabracwizard!

03/01/2016 05:06:28

bricabracwizard

How do you come up with these ideas Paoson? Absolutely brilliant! I'm still blown away with the 3D router and having fun using it! I bought but haven't started the router table plans. Keep it up!

02/20/2016 12:06:46

nerobond

I wanted to ask if you can also download the projects of various accessories for the working table , another question if I run the project plywood plywood can fit ? apologizes for the translation from English but I do with the translator of google , thanks again P.S. why do not you put the Italian in your projects ?

02/19/2016 16:01:55

Paoson

Hi everyone,the plans are already available for download!Thanks for your patience

02/18/2016 18:22:49

Paoson Woodwork

Hi nerobond,I hope they will be ready tomorow! Thanks for comment

02/18/2016 17:37:19

nerobond

when you can purchase the complete design of this bench ? I would be interested in purchasing thanks

02/17/2016 09:46:23

Karwan shkur

very nice job we waiting for the plan thanks

02/15/2016 19:35:41

Paoson

Thanks a lot Feri! ;)This one have more functions, but as a pure saw table, specially for big pieces I'd chose my old saw table. For a high workload and If you need a good dust collector, your choice would be the other.

02/15/2016 19:16:11

Feri

Do you think does this machine able to replace your first table what you shared with us? (Lot's of place in Hungarian forums call it 'the perfect tool for woodworker') The 'able to replace' means: -functionality for daily/frequent work -dust collection -precision point of view.Br, Feri

02/15/2016 11:24:11

Paoson

Hi Brian,length x width x height 530x810x900mmWhen open: 1410x810x900mm

02/15/2016 11:16:04

Paoson

Thanks Feri. Yes it is so stable even in the wings. In the next video you will see.

02/14/2016 11:04:40

Brian Harvey

Great idea and excellent video as usual. Can you please tell me the dimensions of the table, both open and folded, thanks.

02/13/2016 07:56:09

Feri

Great job!! I'm also waiting to the plans ;)Question: I believe the table is stable in the center where you builded the circular saw. But how stable on the left&right side where you builded the router? You can turn them and can fix with only small pieces of wood without any screw. Are they stable during you work on them?

02/10/2016 13:59:09

Paoson

Thanks all of you for comment,I hope the plans will be ready this week.

02/10/2016 13:37:31

zouhair

dear sir how are youplease im looking for this plan can you provide me thé price pleasethanks

02/08/2016 08:25:52

Jan

Hi Love your work :) When is the portable workshop going to be available in your shop?Regards Jan

02/08/2016 04:29:34

Ben

Your designs are ingenious! Why the designs for this one is not available? It is quite handy for someone who has a small workshop and moves around a lot!

02/05/2016 11:01:06

Paoson Woodwork

Hi Gunther,I hope they will be ready the next week.thanks for comment

02/05/2016 10:59:14

Sergey

Great job! Tell me, please, and whether the plans are available of this device? If yes, when?

02/04/2016 09:45:47

FruehStuC

I'd be pleased to buy the plans for this build. I'm looking forward to them becoming available.Nice Job!

02/01/2016 20:17:01

Günther

Hello my name is Gunther I am from Austria. Please excuse my english, it is the translator of Google. Want to ask you if you can send the blueprint of the circular saw, milling and jig saw me. mfG Günther

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