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DIY Fliptop Workbench Cart

January 13, 2016 by Scott - Saws on Skates

Hey friends! Today I’m sharing new DIY workshop plans for the perfect space saving solution for your small workshop – a DIY Fliptop Workbench Cart. You know space is always at a premium in a small shop and a popular space saving project is a fliptop cart. Oh, you’re not familiar with a fliptop cart? Tools, like a miter saw or small table saw, can be mounted on one side, then the top can be flipped and the cart can be stored out of the way to maximize floor space.

Most fliptop carts are made with plywood. Just like you know space is always at a premium, you also know dealing with plywood in a small shop is nearly impossible. Not to mention if you have a small vehicle, getting the plywood home can be like stuffing sumo wrestlers in a Smart Car!

cart 34

For your convenience this post contains affiliate links to products or tools I used to complete this project. Click here to visit my site policies.

This easy to build DIY 2×4 Fliptop Workbench Cart is not only a space saver, but uses only two small sheets of plywood. Let me tell you about its multi-tasking capabilities before I get into the construction details. You can mount a tool, like a miter saw on one side, then flip the top and the other side reveals a sturdy workbench. It’s like two pieces of shop furniture in one! And this being Saws on Skates, of course it’s set on top of four locking casters, so you can move it any where you need it.

cart workbench 4x6

Now some deets about the construction. This DIY fliptop workbench cart is made almost entirely with 2×4’s which is a little different than most flip carts. The fliptop is made with two sheets of 2×4 plywood. These small sheets are waaaay more manageable in a small shop. Sure, you could have your big box home improvement store cut down a sheet of 4×8 plywood, but where do you store the extra plywood in your small shop? That’s another whole problem! For me, I’ll stick with the small sheets.

cart tool 4x6

By now you are thinking of two questions… doesn’t it take longer to build using 2×4’s and won’t it cost more to build if you’re not using plywood? The quick answers, yes and yes. So yes, there are few trade offs for this DIY fliptop workbench cart. But there are always trade offs when working in a small shop.

cart 34

I’m guessing there is a little more assembly time due to cutting the 2×4’s and joining them together. But the trade off is I can much more easily work with 2×4’s in my small shop over plywood. I didn’t price this out building exclusively with plywood, but my gut tells me this version probably costs a few bucks more than a plywood equivalent. Again, the trade off of is the extra expense far outweighs the aggravation of dealing with big sheets of plywood in my small shop.

Question about cart…

I received an email about the Fliptop Workbench Cart and I thought others could benefit, so I’m sharing the question and my response here. Have I told you how much I love your comments and email messages? Well, I do! I always appreciate and answer questions, so keep ’em comin’!

“Thank you for your awesome website. I am particularly interested in your fliptop workbench cart. Will it be able to handle another tool on the other side?”

This is a great question! I would say depending on the weight of your tools, the DIY fliptop workbench cart should be able to handle a tool on both sides.

The tool I have mounted on one side weighs about 80 pounds and the top flips easily. Let’s say you wanted to mount a miter saw and table saw. I did a little research… I found a basic miter saw that weighs 35 pounds and a basic table saw that weighs 50 pounds, for a total of 85 pounds, so that should work on the DIY fliptop workbench cart.

Just a word of caution… if your gut says “this feels unsafe” than it’s probably unsafe. In other words, don’t put a really heavy tool on one side or both sides and then expect the top will flip easily or safely. I don’t want anyone out there getting crushed! Keep your saws on skates, not on your torso!

The other thing to consider is the height of your tools. The area inside the cart is 23″, so you want to be sure that your tools are no taller than 23″ or the top won’t be able to flip inside the cart. Below is a pic, so you can see what I’m talking about.

flip top

UPGRADE: Add Storage

Make your fliptop workbench cart even more of workhorse by adding a storage tray!

diy fliptop workbench cart storage tray left

Let’s get building and start saving space!

DIY 2×4 Fliptop Workbench Cart Plan

Printed Plan
Click here to download a PDF of the DIY 2×4 Flip Top Workbench Cart Plan

Supplies
(4) 2x4x8
(2) 1x3x8
(2) 1x2x8
(2) 1/2″ 2×4 plywood
Elmer’s Wood Glue
(4) 3″ locking casters
(4) 2″ barrel bolts
#8 3″ wood screws
#8 1-1/4″ wood screws
#8 1″ wood screws
1-1/4″ pocket screws
2-1/2″ pocket screws
(2) 3/8″ 4″ carriage bolts
(2) 3/8″ nylon lock nuts
(6) washers
(4) 1/2″ x .385 x 1″ nylon spacer

Tools
Miter saw
Kreg Jig
DEWALT Drill
Circular Saw or Jig Saw
Circular Saw jig
Kreg Multi-Purpose
Countersink drill bits
1/2″ Forstner Bit

Step 1. Assemble sides. Cut 4 pieces of 2×4 to 29″ and 4 pieces to 17″. Drill pocket holes (be sure to set your jig to drill in 1-1/2″ material) in the ends of the 17″ pieces. Apply glue to 2 of the 17″ pieces, clamp to 2 of the 29″ pieces, check for square and attach using 2-1/2 pocket screws. Repeat for the other side.

flip top cart side

Apply glue…

flip top cart 1

Clamp and check for square…

flip top cart 2

Attach using 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws.

flip top cart 4

Step 2. Cut side rails and bottom pieces. Cut 4 pieces of 2×4 to 34″ (2 of these pieces will be used as the side rails and 2 will be used for the bottom). Cut 2 pieces of 2×4 to 14″.

flip top cart bottom

Before assembling the bottom, check the measurement of the side and be sure the rails plus the bottom section are the same measurement.

flip top cart 5

The rails plus the bottom section must be same the same measurement as the side. Adjust the bottom short sides (14″) if necessary.

flip top cart 6

Drill pocket holes in the ends of all of the pieces. Pocket holes in the short sides will be used to join to the long bottom pieces. Pocket holes in the long side pieces and rails will be used later to attach to the sides. Side rails will be used in Step 4.

Step 3. Assemble bottom. With the pocket holes drilled in the short bottom pieces from Step 2, apply glue, clamp to bottom long pieces, check for square and attach using 2-1/2″ pocket screws.

flip top cart 7

Step 4. Attach Side Rails. Set all pieces in position and check for proper fitment. Apply glue ONLY to the ends of the side rails, clamp and attach ONLY the upper screw (2-1/2″ pocket screw) of the side rail. Gently remove the bottom and attach the lower screws of the side rail.

flip top cart 8

Attach upper pocket hole using 2-1/2″ pocket screw.

flip top cart 9

Gently remove the bottom.

flip top cart 9a

Attach bottom pocket hole using 2-1/2″ pocket screw.

flip top cart 9b

Step 5. Attach Bottom. Apply glue to the sides of the bottom and replace. Be sure bottom is flush with the bottom of the sides and side rail and clamp. Pre-drill countersink holes in the sides and side rails. Attach using 3″ wood screws. Flip over and attach bottom long side pieces to the sides using 2-1/2″ pocket screws.

flip top cart 9c

Drill countersink holes in the sides and side rails, then attach using 3″ screws.

flip top cart 9d

Flip over and attach bottom long side pieces to the sides using 2-1/2″ pocket screws.

flip top cart 9e

Step 6. Assemble Table Frame. Cut 2 pieces of 1×3 to 33-7/8″. Cut 2 pieces of 1×3 to 22-1/2″ and drill pocket holes in each end, apply glue, clamp to long pieces, check for square and attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.

flip top cart table

flip top cart 9f

Step 7. Cut Table Top and Bottom. Cut 2 pieces of plywood to 32-3/8″ x 22-1/2″. Check the inside dimensions of the Table Frame and adjust if necessary. Need an easy way to cut plywood? Check out my Circular Saw Crosscut Jig plan that can easily be used for cross cuts and made longer for rip cuts.

flip top cart plywood

Attach Circular Saw Crosscut Jig to plywood

flip top cart 9g

Cut using circular saw.

flip top cart 9i

Step 8. Table Interior Frame – Long Sides. Place one of the plywood pieces inside the table frame. Cut 2 pieces of 1×2 to 32-3/8″, apply glue and clamp to frame. Flip frame and adjust the interior frame pieces, so the plywood is flush with the edges of the Table Frame and tighten clamps. Remove plywood, drill countersink holes in interior frame pieces and attach using 1-1/4″ wood screws.

flip top cart table interior

Drill countersink holes in interior frame piece.

flip top cart 9m

Attach using 1-1/4″ wood screws.

flip top cart 9n

Step 9. Table Interior Frame – Short Sides. Cut 2 pieces of 1×2 to 21″, apply glue and clamp to frame, drill countersink holes in interior frame pieces and attach using 1-1/4″ wood screws.

flip top cart table interior short

flip top cart 9o

Step 10. Attach Top. Apply glue to edge of the interior frame, place plywood, clamp, drill countersink holes around the edge and attach using 1″ wood screws.

flip top cart 9p

flip top cart 9q

flip top cart 9r

Step 11. Attach Interior Center Rails. Cut 2 pieces of 2×4 to 21″ and drill pocket holes in each end. I centered these rails to correspond with the mounting holes in the tool I was planning to install on the cart. I would recommend you do the same, so you have a strong point to attach your tool. Once you select your location, apply glue, clamp and attach using 2-1/2″ pocket screws.

flip top cart 9s

Step 12. Connect Table to Sides. First, clamp scrap pieces of 1×3 on the inside of each side and flush with the top of the side. Directly below the scrap, clamp an additional piece of scrap and then remove the top pieces of scrap. This will serve as a temporary ledge to install the top and barrel bolts in Step 13.

flip top cart 9t

Directly below the scrap, clamp an additional piece of scrap.

flip top cart 9u

Then remove the top pieces of scrap. This will serve as a temporary ledge to install the top and barrel bolts in Step 13.

flip top cart 9v

Set the top on the ledge and clamp to sides.

flip top cart 9x

Center a mark side to side on the top and measure down 1-1/4″. Using a 1/2″ Forstner bit, drill through the side and through the table top. Repeat on the other side.

flip top cart 9z

Remove the clamps holding the top to the sides and remove the top. Insert the nylon spacers in the sides and the top. Insert a lag bolt into the side until it protrudes enough to insert a washer, replace the top and push the lag bolt through the top, add two more washers and attach with lock nut. Repeat on the other side.

flip top cart 9y

flip top cart 9za

flip top cart 9zb

flip top cart 9zc

Step 13. Attach Barrel Bolts. With the temporary ledge still in place, attach the barrel bolts to all four corners of the top and then remove the ledge.

flip top cart 9zd

Step 14. Mount tool. Center the base of the tool, drill holes and attach using bolts.

flip top cart 9ze

Step 15. Install Plywood Workbench. Using the second piece of plywood you cut in Step 6, install using 1″ wood screws. Note: do not glue the plywood in the event you want to swap out the tool or need to tighten the bolts.

flip top cart 9zf


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DIY Fliptop Workbench Cart made with 2x4s - free plans at www.sawsonskates.com


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DIY Fliptop Workbench Cart

8 thoughts on “DIY Fliptop Workbench Cart

  1. TamiMc says:

    Love this! This would be a perfect addition to our workshop.

  2. Kevin wells says:

    Looks good it will fit into my 10×10 workshop

  3. Linda says:

    In the process of building this now. Smooth sailing so far but it appears I need five (not four) 2 x 4’s. Thank you for sharing.

    • Scott - Saws on Skates says:

      I’m glad this is going together easily for you – please send some pics when you’re done! And thank for the note about the 2×4’s, I will take a look at that. Good luck with your project!

  4. John says:

    I like the project and will make one. (or two!) The only change I would make is the pivot & locking system. As shown it could be a little rickety with heavy tools on both sides of the decks. I would still have the little slide locks but I would replace the lock nut on the inside of the table top with a 1/8″ plate 1″ x 2″ with a 3/8″ nut welded to it and bolted in place on the inside side frame. For the 3/8″ bolt that makes the pivoting possible I would weld on a “T” handle so when it is in either up or down position you can tighten up the handle on the pivoting bolt and tighten (squeeze) everything together. I think it would be very stable like that. Thnaks for the design…

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