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Thread: Maybe the best upgrade Iíve ever done in the shop - Scissor lift assembly table

  1. #1

    Maybe the best upgrade Iíve ever done in the shop - Scissor lift assembly table

    I have been wanting to do this for a couple of years and finally found the right deal on a used scissor lift this past weekend.

    The lift itself is a Bishamon LX100WBI and has a lift capacity of 1000kg (2200 lbs), made in Japan, and weighs about 600 lbs by itself. The size of the steel table top is 34 1/2” x 51 1/2”, which is a perfect size for my small shop. Many of these you see at auction or for sale have huge 4x8 tops, which is fantastic if you have the space, but I do not. I feel very happy about the deal I got on this lift after having looked on and off for a suitable one for a couple of years now and almost bought several others that were not as well suited as this one.

    I built the torsion box top from 3/4” MDF and basically copied Mike Farrington’s assembly table, which is an adaption of the Paulk style torsion box workbench. The top is flat as flat can be and I’m very pleased with that.

    The top is 40” wide x 75” long and the inside height of the cubbies is 9”. 3 sheets of MDF and some glue and screws and I was set. I cut the cubbies with the tracksaw and finished the corners with a jig saw. The top and outside of the box has 1/8” roundover everywhere and has one coat of wipe on poly just to help seal the MDF and prevent glue buildup. I build doors from time to time and will likely add a temporary layer on top of this that is at least 7’ long for building doors, but unfortunately that’s just too long for a permanent top of my tiny space.

    With the casters, lift, and torsion box top all stacked up the lowered height is right at 24” off the floor and the raised height is around 64”. The Torsion box is attached with 4 cap screws (one at each corner through the steel top) and could slide off very quickly if need be, though it’s quite heavy.

    The casters / wheels are from Caster City (thanks Jim!) and are rated for 1200# each. 6” phenolic wheels with double locks, which are the best locks I’ve used. Not cheap, but worth every penny when I can maneuver this 700# + table around in a tight space with one hand!

    The motor and pump on this lift is not mounted underneath the lift as you see on many because this is a super low profile lift. If it were sitting on the floor and all the way down, the height would be about 3 1/2” tall. I still need to find a permanently mounted home for the motor and pump, which is 1 HP, 220V, single phase. I have several 3 phase machines, VFDs and a rotary phase converter but was glad that this particular motor was single phase as it would be a pain to have to run the RPC just to use and a VFD would have added to the cost.

    You can see in one of the photos that I needed to drill some steel for (4) 3/8” bolts connected to some 1/4” thick angle iron brackets I happened to have laying around from a past project to attach the casters on one end.

    Since I have a tail of a hydraulic hose, ground wire and remote control anyway, I added in a 4 way outlet box into on of the end cubbies and keep a 15’ extension cord in the cubbies ready to go.

    The only big thing I still want to do is put some 20mm dog holes in it on a grid layout. My brother has a Parf guide jig and is coming to visit in about a month and hopefully will bring it with him and let me borrow it for that.

    Figured I’d share this as some of you may be interested in such a pursuit. I think I’m more excited about this than any other machine or upgrade I’ve done in my shop and I have some nice and beloved tools!

    I have a handful of smaller scale cabinetry type projects come up soon and am really looking forward to using this table while assembling and working on the cabinets.

    Now I just need a bigger shop! I will do a shop tour type video sometime soon to show just how slightly insane I am for playing a never ending game of Tetris with big and heavy tools in a tiny space. I think by the time I get it all sorted out it we’ll be ready to sell!

    Thanks for looking.

    PS - of course my photos got jumbled up and are not in the intended order. Does anyone know how to prevent that?
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 10-26-2021 at 3:42 PM.
    Still waters run deep.

  2. #2
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    Very nice! Those casters look very similar to the ones I have for the CNC, other than the mounting method and yea, they lock down tight!

    Umm...could you mount the motor and pump inside that torsion box setup...enquiring minds want to know...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Very nice! Those casters look very similar to the ones I have for the CNC, other than the mounting method and yea, they lock down tight!

    Umm...could you mount the motor and pump inside that torsion box setup...enquiring minds want to know...
    Hmm, I like the way you think. I would have to cut apart the middle of the torsion box in order to do that. If you’d asked me this questions before I started then we’d really be somewhere

    That got me thinking that I could lay it flat underneath the lift by using the 2x6 caster LVLs as framing support for some type of suspended platform for the motor to lay on. It’s slim enough that I could tuck it underneath the lift and still have 3-4” of clearance underneath. That could prove to be very convenient for the cord management.

    I don’t suppose anyone knows if there is a requirement for the motor and pump to remain upright in position shown? The hose is located low down in both the upright and flat position.
    Still waters run deep.

  4. #4
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    That was my second idea, Phillip...get a mount on those sturdy plywood bars that the casters are mounted on. Putting the motor and pump on-board really kicks your mobility up quite a few notches. "bam!"
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    I would look at using an electric actuator instead of the hydralics. I doubt you need any thing close top the original force. Get a 90 volt dc unit and it will an easy wiring job.
    Would one from a hospital bed be strong enough?
    Bill D
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 10-26-2021 at 9:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    Needed a super flat work spot when I made our dining room chairs to be sure they would not wobble....so I made a 3'x5' torsion box... then decided to mount torsion box on scissors lift...
    One of the best and most useful shop projects I ever done...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I would look at using an electric actuator instead of the hydralics. I doubt you need any thing close top the original force. Get a 90 volt dc unit and it will an easy wiring job.
    Would one from a hospital bed be strong enough?
    Bill D
    I agree Bill. Linear actuators are a cheap & simple solution for something like this. The forces needed are not that great & it isn't going up & down all day.

  8. #8
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    While I agree that technically, replacing the motor/pump with an electric system would be a very nice functional upgrade, there's a cost involved. That has to be weighed against the fact that the OP has a working system in-hand and "merely" relocating the motor/pump on-board in a creative manner solves the mobility constraints the way it is now presents.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    Yeah, I’m not changing the motor. I’m not bored and/or looking to solve electrical / engineering problems with the little extra time I barely have. The table works perfectly as it is, though I appreciate the creative thought and maybe someone else reading this at some point can find it useful.

    There are a couple of relatively easy solutions to locating the motor and pump and it was designed and made for this unit. I could also see a time where I may use the full capacity of this lift for variety of tasks that are beyond the needs of an assembly table.

    I should also mention that the area that this table is going to live is very small and is really only going to get rotated around within it and likely not moved elsewhere in the shop due to lack of space everywhere else, so my initial thought of keeping the motor mounted outside of the lift would still work just fine. Really at that point it’s more about the hoses and cords in the way that anything else.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 10-27-2021 at 10:56 AM.
    Still waters run deep.

  10. #10
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    Really cool table setup Phillip. I have a small HF hydraulic table and even though it is small and a little wobbly it has been a boon to the shop. A large and more stable one like your modified setup would be a dream.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  11. #11
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    I am doing this same thing. The lift is still on the pallet in my garage. This gives me some great ideas for the top.

  12. #12
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    Great pick up. As a guy that works alone, the lift carts are incredible. They will save your body from a ton of wear and tear. I need to make a jig to sandwich finished pieces vertically so i can move large table tops etc. through my single man door by myself. I keep thinking about making a torsion box top for my Felder cart. I find myself increasingly using it as my main work surface for sanding, dominoing, glueups etc.

  13. #13
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    Thanks Phillip, just when I thought I was done buying everything I needed..... That looks like a great work table and yeah now I will be looking for a lift as well.

  14. #14
    Friend of mine runs a small engine repair shop. He picked up some used dentist chairs from a university surplus shop for a good price. Took off the chairs and mounted platforms. Another option to consider if you're looking for a foot operated lift.

  15. #15
    Thanks guys. I’m very excited about this addition and its size.

    I have a much smaller foot pump air lift cart from Northern Tool that has been really nice to have and gets used as a parts cart when milling, etc. It’s rated at 1k, is on 4” wheels, and has a top that’s ~ 20” x 32” and is too small and a little too wobbly to use for assembly, etc.
    Still waters run deep.

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