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  • Writer's pictureScot Finnie

Serious space saver: The revolving two-tool cart

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

Meet the mobile cart that can double the tool space for small workshops -- the revolving 2-tool cart!
Meet the mobile cart that can double the tool space for small workshops -- the revolving two-tool cart!

Is your workshop space-constrained? Free it up with the revolving two-tool mobile bench. It stores two tools in the space of one.

The two-tool cart is one of the staples among tool stands for small workshops today. Anyone who's got a small workshop can appreciate the value of being able to store two bench tools in the space that previously accommodated just one. Plus another drawer for storage!

Essentially a rotating tool cart, or "flip cart," is a bench top mounted on a cart that's shared by two tools. How? The bench is mounted on an axle that revolves 180° to provide access to the tool below. While it's not being used, the second tool hangs upside down. Both tools are securely bolted to the bench. For that reason, this cart needs to be semi-custom-built for two specific tools, since mounting hole locations vary widely. However, it would be no problem to custom configure it for another tool -- or even to build interchangeable mounting boards for different tools.

A lot of woodworkers have made these, and I've taken the best ideas from them, added a few of my own, and the result offers several useful design points. The model pictured is designed to hold heavy tools, like the 100-pound DeWalt planer shown in the pictures. My customer wanted a heavy tool on one side and a wide 55-lb. tool on the other. Where most makers make do with 3/4" plywood on their flip carts, this design bonds an external frame onto the two 3/4" side pieces, giving it both exceptional strength and style.

The revolving bench top is made with two 3/4" plywood pieces that sandwich milled 2x4, laid on its side. Running through the middle is galvanized steel pipe (not electrical conduit), which serves as both the axle and the power cord access route. It rotates 180°, where it rests on either the front side or back side of the base. Four top-notch toggle latches ensure the bench stays against the stops.

Galvanized steel at its heart

The works in a drawer: Galvanized pipe is the axle. Power for both tools is a 14ga extension cord running through one side of the pipe.
Safety feature: The extension cable won't get wound too tight in this flip kart. It can only revolve a half turn in either direction.

The two tools are bolted through the bench in four places each. The insides of the bench are designed to provide bracing for these bolts as well as space for the two power cables, which are fed by one 14-gauge heavy duty extension cord. The extension cord runs out the galvanized pipe on one side. For added strength, the galvanized pipe was threaded on each end. A slim nut was added to control any outward pressure at the top. It also serves as a friction control for the flip-top bench. The tip of the galvanized pipe is carefully cut, ground, filed and burnished with steel wool to smooth over anything that might damage the cord.

Many flip carts aren't designed with safety in mind. This one is. It's heavy duty could withstand a significantly heavier tool than the DeWalt planer. Because it only rotates 180° in either direction, the power cord isn't going to get wound up inside. Although strong enough to be weight-bearing, the latches do not bear the full weight of the bench top. Most of the weight is shouldered by the axle and the cart's front or back stops. The toggle locks are safety latches. In other designs of this type, the latches share the weight burden with the axle.

Our revolving cart comes with a 4-inch tall by 22-inch deep drawer with full extension slides. It is equipped with four 2.5-inch swivel and wheel locking casters, rated at 300 pounds each for a combined 1,200 pounds.

The two primary assemblies mostly done. The cart has big bones to shoulder the weight of heavy tools,
The two primary assemblies mostly done. The cart has big bones to shoulder the weight of heavy tools.

It was a struggle to preserve decent flip-over capacity for taller tools like the miter saw while holding the overall working height to 34 inches specified by my customer. The sides go up higher but the effective bench top height is 34-1/4 inches. It would be no problem to make it taller. As designed, it's not going to get much shorter unless the bottom drawer is eliminated. The overall dimensions, including the casters, are 36-1/4" tall x 24" deep x 26" wide.

A lot of work goes into the revolving cart. A lot of things have to fit just right. There are also a lot of parts to purchase for this design. Then there is the custom fitting of the tool bolt holes. Whether you are commissioning someone like me to do this or you do it yourself, this tool as is doesn't come easily. But for the utility and value you get in the form of space savings and tool accessibility, it's well worth the effort or cost.

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