Thursday, May 2, 2013

Making a Mobile Shop Cart Using a Car Jack

My space is pretty small, so I knew I was going to have to put my larger, non-bench, tools on wheels. I had seen this amazing post over at Lumberjocks that inspired me. Basically, it is casters mounted to boards on hinges on a wooden base for shop tools. The casters lower with a board that you step on and lock into place. It is a great idea and I really wanted to make it.

When I started though, I realized pretty quickly that the horizontal supports on my base would be in the way and that design wouldn't work. Still, I knew I needed a mobile cart and I would need casters regardless of the final design. I purchased a Harbor Freight 1000lbs rated moving dolly for about $8 and cannibalized the casters. I couldn't buy just the casters for that price. (Lookit! Rusty bolts all the way from China. How EXOTIC!)
All of these types of mobile shop bases are custom sized because there is such a large variety of tool bases and configurations out there. I messed around with a lot of different angles to try and get the original idea to work, but no luck. Then I got lucky when a friend gave me the scissors jack out of her wrecked Honda Fit under the assumption that I would "figure out something to do with it." (Honestly, I get that a lot.)
I started to play with that idea and eventually came up with a plan where I had two short levers pointing inward that would get pushed down by a board attached to the jack.  This is the caster flap pulled completely up while I screwed in the lever.

Being, ahem, frugal, I wanted to keep it is as straight forward as possible so the whole build was 2x4 and 2x3s with 3" screws. The "top" that the jack fits into is a little wider than a 2x4 to make sure it doesn't bind when the 2x4 pushes it down. It is attached to the center support 2x4 with 3" screws that alternate so that they don't interfere with each other and the whole assembly is very secure. I did cut notches in the middle support using the jigsaw but other than that everything was just 90 degree cuts
Here it is from the front without the jack.
 And here it is with it. I’m hoping to use the same jack and attached plate for another mobile base since I only have one of these jacks available right now. Clearly, permanently attaching it to the base would be the best option but this is a work in progress.

So here it is extend and below in action. Total cost was under $20 since the jack was free. Still want to make a foot powered one but the effort to raise and lower the jack is minimal


On a side note - When working in the shop, a extra set of paws often comes in handy. Lucky for me the other boy in the house was available to assist with some of the measurements.Many paws make light work.


  1. That is very clever!
    I am building a trolly thing with tracks and wheels and a hydraulic jack which I need to use to separate a tractor into two halves.
    I am happy to see you have yours done.
    Mine is partially welded together and taking up shop space and I may never finish it.
    Task completion is my new goal.

  2. we made a base and set the whole table into it and put locking wheels on the base, works great and stays in place


Just Saying...

While we don’t necessarily need more objects, we just might benefit from more making.
- John Dunnigan


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Regular guy who likes to make stuff who lives with a very patient wife, three daughters and three cats.