DIY Multi-purpose Trolley
05 September 2017
Make a Multi-purpose Trolley
Not only is the trolley very sturdy and able to carry a substantial load (more than 100kg/shelf), it is reasonably large, stable and very useful.
This is how you can build your own:
- One trolley. MDF-16mm sheet 905x905mm. SA pine – 32×32 or 22×44 – approximately 4m.
- Screws: six 75mm chipboard screws and twenty-four 40mm chipboard screws.
- We left the MDF top and shelf in their original state, but painted the legs and leg assembly and shelf sides with black water-base paint, for appearances sake.
We used a trolley, and with it a single sheet of 16mm MDF – 905x905mm and cut it down the middle to just over 450mm wide. With a bit of trimming and using some offcuts of timber from a previous project, we created a mobile workbench or craft station – and all this without touching the trolley structure at all. There are no screws or bolts holding anything in place on the trolley by being driven into the trolley structure. The various pieces are all kept in place by ensuring a snug (but not over-tight) fit within the trolley structure.
The screws and glue are used on the wood itself to secure the legs to the underside of the shelf.
The beauty of the project is that while you now have an ideal workbench/surface wherever you need it (and significant storage space) everything can be lifted out if you want to use the trolley as a braai trolley and then put back in when you need it as a mobile workbench again.
- You will need a trolley purchased from your nearest Mica Hardware store.
- Now with the drop in top and shelf, and the wheel-lock on the top work surface. Note that the latter has an overhang on the far end, but the handle is not covered. The overhang is there to provide a clamping surface well clear of the trolley structure when you wish to secure a work-piece to cut it or sand it, for example.
- Cut the corners off at 45° producing a 75mm corner so that you have removed any abrupt 90° corners that could cause grazes.
- Measure off, cut to length, dry fit (to confirm the positions of the locking pieces) and then glue them to the underside of the work surface. These stop the work surface shifting while the trolley is on the move and also while you are working on it, so the fit needs to be tight – but not so tight that you have to jam the work surface into position.
- We decided to make the wheel-lock, so that we could work on the shelf without the trolley careering off the bench. For this we used some SA pine 32x32mm. First measure the width of the trolley caster (the two front casters are fixed straight ahead, the rear pair are free to rotate 360°) and this is 25mm.
- Cut two blocks 26mm long, and with the casters turned outwards, measured off the total length of the wheel-lock and cut both lengths before joining them temporarily together with clamps to check the fit. It’s important that the wheels fit precisely so that the trolley is kept stationary. (Turning the caster outwards enhances stability).
- Drill a pilot hole in each end of the wheel lock.
- Use a single 75mm screw to screw the pieces together. The screw needs to penetrate as far as shown to ensure the lock has structural integrity.
- Position the legs to the height that you would like, we positioned it at 250mm.
- Cut three blocks per leg, each block 70mm long and position them as shown. The centre block is positioned 27mm in from the ends of the two abutting it so that the leg will protrude 5mm beyond the end of the shelf so that the leg block assemble could be clamped up tight against the leg, holding it rigid.
- With the four leg block assemblies, using a single 75mm screw each to secure them.
- When the leg block assembly is holding the leg securely, the leg is 5mm over the edge of the 45° shelf cut-out.
- The four leg assemblies. Note that the legs are not screwed or glued in place in the assemblies. They are simply held in place with a very tight fit.
- Now to cut the shelf. We used a piece of scrap Masonite to get the corner cut-outs correct. Measure, cut and trim to the desired size you want.
- Using your template for the corners, trim it to the required dimensions, then cut the corners and dry fit until you have a not over-tight fit. The trolley’s uprights should not be put under any strain. If the bow moves outwards at all with the shelf in place, remove it and trim until there are a couple of millimetres of play along each edge.
- Place the shelf rest into the bottom tray and fit in firmly.
- This shows the shelf sides we cut from the 32x32mm SA pine. These sides serve two purposes, they stop items on the shelf from falling off when you move the trolley, and they also reinforce it. We used five 40mm screws per side and three per end to secure the pieces.
- Now clamp the leg assemblies into position hard up against the trolley uprights, ensuring that they are centred as shown.
- We then dropped the shelf into position to confirm everything is in place. Then we removed it, and added the (now painted) sides and ends.
- Finally we attached the leg assemblies to the shelf using two 40mm screws per assembly, driven into the two outer blocks on each assembly. This locks the legs firmly in position against the trolley uprights, but without exerting any force on the uprights themselves.
- The trolley/mobile workbench/craft centre is now in operation. Note how the wheel lock holds front castering wheels in place and hence the whole unit steady. You not only have a reasonable work surface wherever you need it, but also ample storage space and a transport system for whatever you need.