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 workshop 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!
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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 the fliptop workbench is mobile. It’s set on top of four locking casters, so you can move it any where you need it.
Now some details 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 workshop. 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.
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.
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 workshop 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.
UPGRADE: Add Storage
Make your fliptop workbench cart even more of workhorse by adding a storage tray!
UPDATE: How Did it Hold Up?
It’s been a few years since I built the fliptop workbench cart. How did it hold up? Would I build it again? What would I do differently? Skate over to How the DIY Flip-Top Cart is Holding Up 2 Years Later and I’ll answer all of these questions, plus a few more.
DIY 2×4 Fliptop Workbench Cart Plan
(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
(4) 1/2″ x .385 x 1″ nylon spacer
Step 1. Assemble the Sides. Cut 4 pieces of 2×4 to 29″. Cut 4 pieces of 2×4 to 17″ and drill pocket holes in each end. Apply glue to 2 of the 17″ pieces, clamp to 2 of the 29″ pieces, and attach using 2-1/2″ pocket screws. Repeat for the other side.
Step 2. Cut the Bottom Pieces and Side Rails. Cut 4 pieces of 2×4 to 34″ (2 will be used for the bottom assembly and 2 pieces will be used as the side rails in Step 4). Cut 2 pieces of 2×4 to 14″.
NOTE: The bottom assembly (including the side rails) must be the same dimension as the side assembly.
Measure the side assembly (Step 1). Dry fit the bottom pieces and side rails and measure. Adjust the short bottom pieces (14″) if necessary.
Drill pocket holes in the ends of all of the bottom pieces and side rails. The pocket holes in the short bottom pieces will be used to join to the long bottom pieces in Step 3. The pocket holes in the side rails will be used in Step 4. The pocket holes in the long bottom pieces will be used in Step 5.
Step 3. Assemble the Bottom. Apply glue to the short bottom pieces, clamp to the long bottom pieces, and attach using 2-1/2″ pocket screws.
Step 4. Attach the Side Rails. Place the bottom, side rails and side assemblies on your workbench.
NOTE: Do not attach the bottom assembly at this point.
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 pocket screws in the side rail.
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.
Drill countersink holes in the sides and side rails, then attach using 3″ screws.
Flip over and attach bottom long side pieces to the sides using 2-1/2″ pocket screws.
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.
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.
Attach Circular Saw Crosscut Jig to plywood
Cut using circular saw.
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.
Drill countersink holes in interior frame piece.
Attach using 1-1/4″ wood screws.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Directly below the scrap, clamp an additional piece of scrap.
Then remove the top pieces of scrap. This will serve as a temporary ledge to install the top and barrel bolts in Step 13.
Set the top on the ledge and clamp to sides.
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.
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.
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.
Step 14. Mount tool. Center the base of the tool, drill holes and attach using bolts.
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.