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Thread: Shop Project: Mobile Clamp Rack

  1. #1
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    Shop Project: Mobile Clamp Rack

    The new shop is bigger than previous and there is ample opportunity to be working on projects in different areas of the space, including more than one simultaneously. Putting all the clamps on the wall as I previously did just didn't make sense for the new shop building, so a mobile clamp rack solution got the nod.

    Right up front I'm going to say that this is not "fine woodworking" and the whole project was done using materials on-hand. Casters were from the destroyed moving dollies that were under the J/P during the move; the platform was one of two I made years ago to put on horses or the Centipede when extra work surface was needed; one sheet of plywood of the two I had in the rack was employed for the majority of the structure plus a few scraps from what was left from the hardware shelf build and most of the "racks" that hold most of the clamps have been in use for years in the previous shop as well as the temporary space. IE...this is cobbled together.

    So we start out with the platform...a kinda, sorta, not quite a torsion box thingie that's been around for well over a decade. It's ugly but sturdy and makes for a good base. Casters from one of the destroyed moving dollies were to go on the bottom of this and in order to provide a thicker surface for the screws/bolts that would hold them on, some square scraps of 3/4 plywood got mounted in the corners. The positions for those fasteners were pre-marked so installing the casters later in the build would be easier and faster.

    IMG_3741.jpg IMG_3742.jpg

    The rest of the structure goes on top of the base platform and starts with two of the long sides that are 150mm tall and two end panels that initially are 300mm tall. The reason for the latter is to provide a more continuous structure that the central "spine" of the rack would be fastened to while allowing some angles to be cut for a reasonable good look. Those angles were laid out directly on the material and then the corners were cut off using the tracksaw...fastest and easiest way to accomplish that. The corners will get used later, too...no waste.

    IMG_3744.jpg IMG_3745.jpg IMG_3746.jpg IMG_3747.jpg IMG_3748.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 01-22-2023 at 8:42 PM.
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    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #2
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    Pocket screws where chosen to fasten the lower structure to the base after a few scraps of plywood were fastened to the ends of the platform to fill it out a little...it was, for whatever reason a slightly strange dimension and not perfectly square. It doesn't need to be square, honestly, so accommodations were made in dimensions to make things work out, including, um...recutting something...so it would fit better. The unsightly long side bottoms will get covered with some scrap 1/4" plywood later in the build.

    IMG_3749.jpg IMG_3750.jpg IMG_3751.jpg

    In order to install the central "spine" of the assembly, the base was moved to the floor and a couple of scraps were temporarily screwed to the inside to provide an additional set of "hands" to hold up the tall piece of plywood while the other end was tacked and screwed in place. (yes glue was also used and sorry, I forgot to rotate that one photo in Lightroom)

    IMG_3752.jpg IMG_3753.jpg IMG_3754.jpg

    Those triangles that were cut off earlier became gussets to help support the central "spine" at the bottom since there will be a lot of weight involved with holding ten billion clamps...they also provided a little separation for organization of things that will live "down there".

    IMG_3758.jpg

    Finally, the ends were capped with additional plywood scraps to complete the physical build of the mobile clamp rack

    IMG_3759.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 01-22-2023 at 8:42 PM.
    --

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

  3. #3
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    Of course, it was now time to install the casters...the whole unit was tipped over to let that happen.

    IMG_3760.jpg

    So it might seem like a little thing, but capping those lower long sides with the thin plywood scrap was the right thing to do visually. It helped get rid of the rest of what was originally a slip sheet used for a plywood order and cleaned up the look of this project just a hair.

    IMG_3761.jpg IMG_3762.jpg

    And, of course...it was time to try it out! There was one usable section of the previous on-wall clamp racks available and that was screwed to one side of the "spine" to get things started.

    IMG_3763.jpg

    The other usable piece was already installed up high on the separation wall between sheet goods and solid lumber storage and that's where the 60" clamps plus the pipe clamps I keep for extra efforts will get stored. The really long clamps don't get used all that often so being on a wall in the back of the shop isn't a hassle.

    IMG_3794.jpg

    Back to the new mobile rack, another section of the plywood multi-clamp hanging system needed to be manufactured. The original file was taken and made to fit the space that needed to be covered, adding five additional spaces.

    IMG_3764.jpg

    After scrounging plywood scraps in the shed, I ended up breaking this up into two cuts...one for the back of the structure and one for the supports out of two pieces of old plywood shelving. This is the first cut...I forgot to snap a pic of the second.

    IMG_3796.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 01-22-2023 at 8:52 PM.
    --

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

  4. #4
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    The parts were then sanded and assembled into the racks using glue and screws. The supports sit in an 8mm deep dado which keeps them aligned/spaced.

    IMG_3797.jpg IMG_3798.jpg IMG_3799.jpg

    It was then fastened with screws to the "spine" of the mobile solution. I later added some more screws to better handle the weight.

    IMG_3800.jpg

    The end result is pretty much what I wanted functionally and it has available space if needed...as the saying goes, one can never have too many clamps. And because the various things that hold individual clamps are just screwed to the "spine", it can be rearranged at any time if necessary. This thing loaded is...HEAVY. It rolls fine, but it takes effort. It's not going to skate away on its own for sure. Yes, I thought about painting it or something and could do that at some point if I want to put the time into it, but for now, it's going to stay "naked" 'cause I gotz other fish to fry.

    IMG_3804.jpg IMG_3805.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 01-22-2023 at 8:58 PM.
    --

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

  5. #5
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    That cart looks great! Nice work.

  6. #6
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    I just made one similar in an "A-frame" style. You were smart to stack them instead of put them in rows. Way better use of space.

  7. #7
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    Geeze Jim, you are wearing me out. You accomplish more in one day than I do in a month.
    How do the overhead speakers sound now that you have the shop populated? It do look like daylight in there!
    Please help support the Creek.


    Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Page View Post
    Geeze Jim, you are wearing me out. You accomplish more in one day than I do in a month.
    How do the overhead speakers sound now that you have the shop populated? It do look like daylight in there!
    LOL...and I'm really only out there in the afternoon. But 7 days a week.

    Seriously, the sound is really great. I run all four of the speakers in mono as that was both the simplest way to setup the AV receiver to handle four speakers without the front/back dance and it also evens out the sound. There's really no need for a stereo field in the shop, especially when machines are running. The sub adds that little extra bottom end and it's totally enjoyable to listen to WXPN.org whenever I'm in the shop merely by saying, "Alexa, play WXPN live" when I walk in the door".

    The lighting is great...the whole $280 that the (14) 8' LED lamps cost has paid off in spades when it comes to visibility. There's no shadowing anywhere that I actually work, either. I'm thankful to have learned about this lamp format from Mat Cremona.

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    Marc, I used the stacked format starting in my previous shop a number of years ago after having done the "lined up in a row" for a long time. It saved a lot of space for sure and that's a benefit on a cart. Here's a shot from the old shop for reference:

    --

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

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Marc, I used the stacked format starting in my previous shop a number of years ago after having done the "lined up in a row" for a long time. It saved a lot of space for sure and that's a benefit on a cart. Here's a shot from the old shop for reference:

    I wish I had seen the stacked format before I built my clamp rack for the wall. This way is far more space efficient.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    I wish I had seen the stacked format before I built my clamp rack for the wall. This way is far more space efficient.
    It truly is. There are metal brackets on the market that are usable for this purpose (particularly for parallel and pipe clamps) with some being designed for yard tools and some being sold specifically for clamps. But they are not hard to make. With wood and plywood, one does have to be careful about weight handling. Six heavy clamps is really pushing the limit on my plywood versions for sure. The solution would be for a thicker backer with a deeper dado for more glue contact surface and maybe an additional screw over the two I'm using. The downside of that for my mobile application is it adds more weight to what is already a "beast". I'm seriously considering adding a fifth caster smack in the middle under the "spine" because of how heavy this thing is. I do have one more caster that's not bent from the destroyed moving dollies...but I'd have to unload the rack to install it. LOL
    --

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

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I'm seriously considering adding a fifth caster smack in the middle under the "spine" because of how heavy this thing is. I do have one more caster that's not bent from the destroyed moving dollies...but I'd have to unload the rack to install it. LOL
    The few times I've installed a 5th regular swiveling caster in the middle I've regretted it.

    A rolling ball works well there. A swiveling caster wound up making it VERY difficult to move. My $0.02, and could just be my experience.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  12. #12
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    Good to know, Alan. Thanks for telling me.
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    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Nice looking rack Jim. I built my rolling clamp cart several years ago when I had a new shop. Yes, they are heavy especially when you have a little over a hundred clamps on them like mine and probably yours. One suggestion I can make that helps me move mine around is to add a couple (one on each short side) of those heavy duty (the kind that need 4 screws to fasten) utility handles. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...5186/202034074

  14. #14
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    Thanks, John. I thought about traditional handles, but I have my short and mid-length tracks hanging on either end. The end-caps actually act like handles, however, so that works out fine. The effort required to roll it is purely because of the weight...that's good because it's not going to skate away on its own power (and the floor is level!) and bad because it's not going to skate any-way without putting some weight into it.
    --

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

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