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Old 07-17-2012, 11:25 PM   #1
blasto9000
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Default Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

The astonishing setups people have chronicled here inspired me to revamp my tool chest setup. Three of the 42-inch HF tool cabs have replaced my old setup of a 42-inch Craftsman Quiet Glide tool chest combo and a Costco 48-inch workbench with drawers. I never liked that Craftsman... it was just really poorly made and very expensive. Every time I looked at it I felt ripped off.

Sorry about the mess but it's still a work in progress. The cabs are mounted to a frame I made out of 80/20 extrusions. My floor has a steep slope to it -- the three cabs total about 11 feet in length, and the slope is over two inches. So on the original casters the cabs were all crooked and were prone to drift around the floor a bit when slamming the drawers open and closed, even with the wheels locked.



The legs were all cut at different lengths (from 1.5 inch to 4.0 inch) to match the contour of the floor. 80/20 brand leveling feet provide fine adjustment. I used two feet between cabs to minimize torque load on the legs with unevenly weighted cabs. I KNEW I should have peeled the rubber pads off the feet first...



The cabs and frame are all tied together using the holes where the original handles are supposed to go. Inserted the head of an M6 cap screw into the T-slot to accomplish this. There are four holes on both sides of the cabs, the inner holes are threaded M6x1.0, and the outer holes are just thru-holes in the sheet metal. I used the thru-holes backed up with fender washers and nuts on the other side. (My use of an M6 cap screw was incidental and not intended to be the same thread as the handle holes.) For some reason 80/20 doesn't offer a USS T-slot stud for this particular extrusion.



Everything is super-tightly fitted and stable. SO nice to yank a heavy drawer and not have the cab roll into my car! (The verticals are short on purpose -- to accommodate the worktops. I've already designed the 80/20-to-butcher-block interface but haven't built it yet.)

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Old 07-17-2012, 11:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Very Very cool. I like the idea.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Slick!
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Quality setup.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Very Nice!! Where did you get that extrusion? I have never worked with it.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

clean and sharp!
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Nicely done.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Great idea. Really, really cool.

I searched around for 80/20 extrusion and found this website: http://www.8020.net/

I'm guessing, you used the T-slot extrusion? Looks the same.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Excellent job ........ I just browsed the 80/20 website. Giving me some idea's.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

How is the quality on those cabinets? Apologize if the topic has already been beat to death... lol.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:27 AM   #11
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

It looks very good, I like it and waiting to see pics of the future top.

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Old 07-18-2012, 07:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

What are the savings on the latest coupons?
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Very nice install, and solution to an unusual problem. I am looking forward to your butcher block design as well!

Jim
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:54 AM   #14
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Great work on this! for any GJ'ers that haven't seen or used 80/20, think of it as industrial strength grown up Erector Set! Funny enough, the company was founded by a gentleman named Don "Wood".

http://www.8020.net/

Could you post a parts list for the 80/20 that you used? We use 80/20 for tons of stuff at work on projects. I've already got my plans for my 80/20 workbench & testing table.... this would be PERFECT!
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:56 AM   #15
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

wow, thats awesome! i might have to do something similar soon when i get around to putting together my bench. always wondered where to get that stuff
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy68Dart View Post
How is the quality on those cabinets? Apologize if the topic has already been beat to death... lol.
This has been beaten to death, but no worries. These cabs are outstanding in quality vs. cost. They aren't a KRL series box, but they are quite good and less than 10% the cost. For daily heavy industrial use, they might not cut it (although, I'm sure they would hold up in most auto shop/stereo shop applications) but for home shop/garage use they are outstanding!
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:07 AM   #17
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Great idea on the extrusion. I've been seeing that stuff pop up everywhere lately. How sturdy does it feel? I imagine 3 of the cabinets fully loaded would be a hell of a lot of weight. Any concerns about the aluminum frame holding up?
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:34 AM   #18
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Very nice and just plain looks clean. When you get the top on that's icing on the cake. By the way what size 80/20 is that.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:40 AM   #19
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Very nice setup. I'm sure you can still remove/cut the felt pads out.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:46 AM   #20
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Default Re: Harbor Freight tool cabs, how I did mine

Thank you guys, for the kudos.

If you've never worked with 80/20 before, I highly recommend going to their site to watch all the tutorial videos and download the catalogs. It's a very clever product but the hardware isn't intuitive, at least not to me.

80/20 has an eBay store and an Amazon store. To me the Amazon store is more convenient, but the Amazon shopping cart has a limitation on how many items it will hold. If you order 100 screws, they're stored in the cart as 100 individual items.

The T-slot extrusion is not very expensive, but you still need to be careful when designing a project because the cost of the joining hardware can really get you. I find the easiest way is to casually design the project, and then re-do it to minimize parts count.

Originally I was going to build the rack out of hot-roll steel and weld it together. But the cost of the 80/20 extrusion is about the same and the 80/20 is a LOT easier to work with and more versatile. (Plus, if you make a mistake, you can just unbolt it and re-do.) I did all the cuts with a Rage cutoff saw, which is visible in the picture.

Here's my bill of materials:

1010 extrusion, 96", 8 pcs.
1030 extrusion, 36", 1 pc.
6-hole joining plate p/n 4166, 6 pcs.
End fastener p/n 3681, 12 pcs.
Leveling foot p/n 2192, 12 pcs.

1/4-20 x 0.5" BHSCP, (a lot)
Economy tee nuts (a lot)
M6x1.0 cap screw, 12 pcs.
M6 nuts and washers, 12 pcs.
1/4-20 plug tap (2 flute), 1 ea.

I hope it's apparent that I baked my noodle trying to minimize the parts count.

The construction is basically three 42x18" rectangular hoops that the tool cabs sit on. These are held together using end fasteners.

The hoops sit on the legs, which are 1030 extrusion (1x3" cross section). The hoops have a screw going through them radially and attach to axially drilled/tapped holes in the legs.

The hoops are 1" extrusion, two of them each, sitting on 3" extrusion, which leaves 1" in the middle. This is where the vertical members are joined and covered by the 6-hole joining plate.

Order of assembly:
Build 42x18" hoops, cut legs, drill/tap legs, and assemble into the base frame.
Install rear (wall facing) uprights with M6 studs protruding.
Level rack to the floor.
Take a leak, so you don't piss your pants during the next maneuver.
Empty tool cab and lay on the frame using armstrong method.
Slide tool cab onto the M6 studs.
Install front vertical member.
Rinse, repeat.
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