Looking for workbench design feedback

I am in the process of spec’ing out my Journeyman X50 and in doing so I designed a very simple worktable. For those of you who have already built a table (or are using the QWB mount), I would be interested in hearing if anyone sees any issues or has any tips on the design I have.

I would like to have used the QWB, but unfortunately the cross members go in the wrong direction for allowing a vertical mount (I am adding a feature request for this) . In the meantime, I am just going to create something simple until I can start to dial in on the additional features I need. Once I get the machine situated, I will work on a design for an enclosure.

This entire design is based on 2x4 studs for the frame, 3/4 plywood for the surfaces, and 3/4 MDF for the spoillboard. (I am still working on what design I want to have in the spoillboard, so it is just a flat surface for now).

A few things I would be interested in hearing:

  • Is the workbench top support sufficient or did I over/under design it?
  • Any issues on the sizing of the opening (21x6 within the 1F workarea) for vertical mounts?
  • Suggestions for the sliding mechanism (?) for the removable joinery section to keep it in place and rigid yet easily removable?

With this design, I know I wont be able to do joinery with a board longer than the workbench height, but this will primarily be used for drawers, and I typically don’t make drawers that deep. If I do, I could always tip this on it’s side. For this reason, the bottom shelf is inset a little and the face is actually aligned with the opening in the top so that it could be used as an infeed. I just need to figure out how I can put it on it’s side easily given the weight of the workbench and 1F. :astonished:

Once I get it a little more polished I could post the design file if anyone wants it. It is all parametrically designed, so you should be able to just plug in your table size and materials and it should all work. (assuming I did my parameters and formulas right).

Anyway, let me know what you think.

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What tools do you have to work with? I used 2x6s for the support along the outside edges of the table but I ran one edge through my jointer to make it flat and then the tablesaw to make the other parallel. Do you have easy access to all 4 sides? If not make the table top lower than you think would be comfortable. Depending on how tall you are reaching the rear of the table can be difficult.

As for the cutout on the front, do you have an idea how long the pieces will be? Drawers shouldn’t be very long but I’ve found with my Leigh dovetail jig that I’ve had to raise it up on a number of occasions because the piece I was working on was hitting the floor. I’ve thought about doing dovetails on the 1F but I don’t know how accurate it would be. When it comes to dovetails the smallest gap will show up.

Thanks for the tips!

I forgot to mention all of this is on locking wheels, so yes, I can get to the back, however, I saw somewhere that someone mounted the y rails in reverse direction. This does two things, puts the wires on the back side instead of the front, and enables access to the oil ports. I haven’t looked at that configuration in detail and if there are any issues with doing so, but I thought that was a good idea.

I have a modest set of tools; table saw, benchtop router, benchtop band saw, compound miter saw, etc. I do not have a jointer or a planer. You bring up a good point…How critical will this be considering I am not using a QWB frame? I suppose if I really had to, I could go to my local creator space and do it there.

As for the cutout, again, I suspect it will be mostly used for drawers or box ends, but I can see that the table height would be a restriction. You mentioned that you were not sure how accurate it would be on a 1F. What concerns do you have regarding the accuracy? I have seen people get really good success with doing it, so I at least wanted the option to try it. Here is a video of it being done: (video)

Thanks again for the tips!


Thanks for the feedback.

The more I have been researching designs, materials and such, the more the Kreg base is looking pretty good but even on the Kreg base there is no support in the middle. Something like a torsion box would still be required correct? Or are you suggesting a Kreg plus the 1F QWB? I have even been looking at something like a Kreg and then putting a conference table top on it. Just not sure how flat they really are.

With regard to your comment:

why can’t you make your vertical mount parallel to the z axis?

Can you explain? When I mentioned vertical mount, I was referring to vertically mounted wood not the 1F.

Does anyone have any pictures they can share of their Kreg setup? I am also looking at putting an enclosure around it as well.

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They’re not the same thing. I can get 8-10% moisture content (metered) 2x kiln dried from my local big box. I can get all manner of sizes of KD lumber from either a mill near me or a local lumberyard. They’re certainly not unseasoned.

For the OP’s design I’d probably use 4x4 KD from a lumberyard (the big box likely will only have that in PT which is more likely to be air dried). The JM is a beast of a machine and the larger stock would likely make for a more solid table.

Hey Paul,

planing workbenches need to be dead flat and not to move anymore. Until today their table tops are made of 8 cm thick steamed red beech beams glued together (in Europe, in North America they prefer maple which I like very much too). I have never seen a planing workbench made of steel, and there are reasons for this.

I know for a planing workbench it’s not the same requirements as for a Onefinity table (especially not in matters of cost, you don’t want your table to be more expensive than your CNC machine), but crafts(wo)men and engineers spent centuries to learn how to tame wood and they were quite succesful, already centuries ago. It’s just in the last 70 years that this knowledge sometimes gets lost in some industries, however I know it is still there, some knowledge was preserved by hobbyists who like to work with hand tools using the old techniques from pre-1950. And today’s need to produce more carbon sinks (i.e. use more wooden furniture, wooden houses and so on instead of plastic, bricks or concrete) brings that knowledge back to life for engineers at the moment, along with new research. Today they even build wooden high-rises.

What I want to say, I find it a bit sad that you always think of problems when you think of solid wood. It gives me a kind of “it does not deserve that” feeling :slight_smile:. Wood can be so much stronger and more reliable than many other materials in many applications, largely because nature built it.

But at the same time it is clear that wood requires more knowledge and more time than steel. I like steel too :slight_smile:


Do you have a local scrap metal dealer? I have one about 25 miles from me and picked up some 7’ aluminum beams to use as cross supports. I probably went over board but they were cheap. I think I paid like a buck a pound.

A compound miter saw with a carbide tooth wood blade will cut right through aluminum. Just wear hearing protection, eye glasses, and gloves. The make a wax in stick form to lubricate the blade if needed.

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Whelp…as it turns out, I no longer need to worry about a table. I just struck gold with someone who had a solder reflow XY worktable, with controller, desktop computer, camera system, air flow system, and stuff I still don’t know what it is all there yet. The lexan (or acrylic) is around 1/2 or 5/8 thick! Counter top is granite. This thing is an absolute beast weighing in over 800lbs.

It is 64x70 and it just barely fits the journeyman’s width in the enclosure part (I think it is 64" wide inside). Yeah, it is a bit big (depth wise) for the journeyman right now, but maybe it will fit a Onefinity 48x48 (if they come out with one). :grin:

Cost me $200. Can’t go wrong with that!




Hey Paul,

sorry, I think you got me wrong. I was not saying that generally it would be the best to use solid wood for a base for the Onefinity CNC. If you could see my plans for a base for my Onefinity CNC, you would see that it will be made entirely of welded steel profiles (and however also that it will have no resemblance with a table). That’s because if I need precision and reliability, welding steel profiles is the choice if at same time I need something that has to be done relatively quickly.

So in fact when I was talking of solid wood I wasn’t referring to making a Onefinity base at all, I was just referring to my impression that when you think of solid wood you think it means problems and this makes me sad and feel that it’s unjustified. My long experience with wood and my knowledge about historical wood construction gives me insights of what performance and precision constructions made of wood can achieve.

But I was not saying “I think you better build your Onefinity base out of solid wood”. Hope I explained it better now. Okay?

I know that it is possible to make much more sturdy, reliable, precise and strong constructions out of solid wood than people today know. But it is clear that such construction needs much more time and knowledge and also more costs to build them. If I wanted to do a masterpiece, I would make many things from solid wood, but it would not be a realisitic thing to choose if e.g. you simply want a base for a Onefinity CNC because of the effort and the time, and the costs would be too high. But I would in any case object to your sight that with solid wood you could not build a base for a machining situation. I know, however, that the knowledge of how to implement this is hardly widespread today.

In any case, if I’m planning to build a base under the Onefinity that’s going to be rolled around (which I think is important to me), I wouldn’t attach four vertical legs to a tabletop, regardless of whether the construction is made of wood or of steel, because that usually only leads to that the tabletop takes on the unevenness of the floor on which it stands. Unless you always readjust the machine’s warpage after you’ve moved it, which would then be necessary. I think that’s the reality for the Kreg table owners (if they expect the precision you mention), at least when they move it around.

What I have in mind for my machine base is something where you can move the base on uneven ground, but the top frame of the machine is not mechanically rigidly connected to the base, so the base can twist without affecting the top frame. I mean a solution where the precision of the upper frame on which the machine is mounted cannot be compromised once it is adjusted, even if I subsequently move the lower frame around on an uneven floor.

Actually, I think it’s a shame that I’m currently in a situation where I can’t show it with pictures. All workshop equipment and all machines and almost all tools are packed for a move and I hardly have time to sit at the computer and maybe at least make a model to show what I mean. I’ll have to submit that later. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought it up at all as long as I can’t show it :slight_smile:

Unseasoned, I agree to avoid

Here I see you know what I mean above with floating. But I think to really make it independent from the base, I plan to strongly reduce the area where they mechanically meet to at least one fourth of the area that the machine has, or less. And to make both lower base and upper base very sturdy.

finally this was what I think is true only if you have the choice between plywood and “wood” that is unseasoned and that is used without good knowledge. But in fact, in many cases one must perfectly agree to what you say, because you can assume that in most cases choice 2 is often the only available alternative to choice 1, so one would not choose wood under this condition.

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Hey Blackhawk,

wow. What a deal!

Thanks for showing!

Whelp thats a steal.

You sure did. No way you could get just the materials for JM table for $200. What a find!

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Extruded aluminum, actually, but yeah. :rofl::rofl:

I was wrong when I said I dont have to worry about a table…my workshop is (temporarily) in my basement, so I am going to have to disassemble it just to get it inside. That is a project all on its own. :grimacing:

I took a peek inside the controller and there may be some things I can salvage, but most of the electronics inside have no clue if I can use them for a spindle or not. Would anyone here be able to say if any of this (with pics) is reusable? I dont want to sell/donate/toss anything that I might end up needing later.

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Hey Blackhawk,

Instead of disassembling everything which would be somewhat sad (at least if still everything works?) you could also sell it to someone who needs a solder reflow XY worktable for a higher price (also considering that you have to disassemble it before being able to use it in your basement which would be much work) and build the Lee’s Fold Down Wall Mounted CNC Table that you said you like. The solder reflow table is not for folding. Anyway I think Lee’s concept is absolutely great.

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The way I see this (and I can be totally off my rocker here) he told me he had three of these that he brought from Salt Lake City, sold the other two, and given that he only wanted 200 for it, tells me he got them for free.

Secondly the desktop PC has a Windows 7 license sticker on it, which gives you some sense of its age. If I were in that busines, there may be much better technologies now for solder reflow. Consider if you were in the computer technology business, would you want a Windows 7 desktop today?

So, in a way, I consider this as breathing in new life to a worktable that may have been otherwise scrapped for the raw materials.

Besides, why would I want to trade in my Lambo for a Yugo (what I could build) or maybe even an Audi (what I could buy) for a few extra dollers in my pocket? :wink:

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Hey Blackhawk,

I would not underestimate the value of this XY station, at least if you know someone who needs it near to you. You could make yourself an image by showing it at some www portal to see what you can get for it. You say it’s old because of Windows 7 but the computer is the least important part. And for such a XY reflow station, the wheel has not been reinvented since then, especially not for a XY table. And neither for a camera and an air flow system, not mentioned acrylic, extrusion Al and granite tabletop. Especially makers could retrofit enough things, and buying or building such a thing is usually not possible for $200, by far not.

The other day in German Make Magazine there was an article on building a SMD components feeder as accessory for their DIY MaXYposi (part 1, part 2), interesting step towards the ability to make small series of pcbs.

If I was next door to you, you can be sure I would have a look (but I’m eight timezones = MANY kilometers away :slight_smile:). Even if I don’t plan to make small pcb series at the moment, it would be worth having a look at it, and I think there are always people who are looking for used machinery. Not necessarily to make you rich :slight_smile: but to be happy to use it for what it is made for.

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Near the north or south pole that could be 3 feet :wink:

(Yes I used imperial units)


Hey Derek,

you are right, I was a little fast. I will take into account my latitude, but tomorrow. Got to go now!

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You got my curiosity up, so I called the seller. He said that the original disposal was because they company went to a different technology and they were getting rid of these.

The other two machines were operational and are still working today. This one is missing the uniflow controllers and has sat outside and in a garage for the past few years. How viable the electronics are, he doesn’t know. I do see rust in several areas. He was going to dismantle it and sell the aluminum, but has been too busy.

So now this table is going to be reborn as a CNC machine and breathe new life into it. Perhaps that gives you some solice too. :wink:


I built my 5’ square table with a 6" split down the middle for (eventually) clamping vertical stock which allows me to use the entire Y-axis travel limits. Total cost, in today’s outrageous prices, for the wood was ~$350 and all I have to do is remove the six 1/4" bolts (going into threaded inserts) of the center waste board piece to “transform” the table into vertical mode.