Archive for the ‘ Flip Top Cabinet ’ Category

Offset Flip Top Table

This article describes a two foot square mobile cabinet, with a pivoting top so two tools can be supported. These are known as “Flip Top Tables” but my version uses an offset pivot point so a much taller drill press sits lower when it is rotated up.

Cost was about $130.

My design was featured in “Americas Best Home Workshops 2009”, a Wood Magazine publication.


The Problem

In early 2008 I upgraded a generic 10 inch drill press to a new Delta DP300 benchtop version. The Delta took up about a quarter of my work area. It is 34 inches tall and weighs about 80 pounds. Not exactly portable.

Drill Press

New Drill Press


Later that spring, an Ebay opportunity resulted in acquiring this DeWalt 733  planer.


New Dewalt 733


But my shop is in one corner of a garage and I didn’t have a place to store the planer. It is 21 inches tall and weighs about 84 pounds.


The Solution

Put the planer and the drill press in the same space.


Flip Top Table


A few hours of sketching and arithmetic showed that my drill press on a conventional flip top pivoting at the table surface would put the table 42 inches from the floor. The press chuck would be above eye level, too high for comfortable work.

So after many paper designs, I had the idea of making the top as a tray, with pivot points offset four inches vertically from the tray surface. This allows the drill press to sit eight inches lower when it is rotated up.

Since this tray style design obviously cannot have a solid pivot axle from side to side as most fliptops use, I made sturdy hinges from 1/4 inch plate and half inch carriage bolts. There is a short length of 3/8 pipe slipped around the bolt that acts as a spacer and also forms the pivot bearing surface with the smaller steel plate.

Pivot Prototype

Assembled Pivot Hinge


Here is the prototype hinge mounted in scrap plywood. It proved to be extremely rigid and easily handles the bending moment of the loaded tray.


Prototype Hinge


This photo shows the drill press attached to the finished pivoting tray. I added two small bolts at the rear of the cast iron foot as I thought the strain of supporting the drill press head might be too much when the machine was leaned over.

One of the four bolts holding the planer to the other surface is visible.

Press Mounting

Drill Press Mounting


There is a lock screw at either side of the tray at front. They are big star knobs with 3/8″ threaded shafts running through to T-nuts inset in the cabinet side.

Front Tray Lock

Front Tray Lock


Note how the front edge of the tray is cut away around the cabinet support gussets. When the top begins to pivot, the cut away allows clearance for the tray to rotate.

Tray at Start of Pivot

Tray at Start of Pivot


The next detail shows the rear of the tray as it begins to pivot. The back is *not* cut away around the gussets, instead the gussets form a positive stop for the rear structure. Thus the tray will only pivot in one direction, and only 180 degrees.

There are T-nuts installed at the rear of the cabinet sides for the lock bolts when the planer is rotated up.

Rear View

Tray at Start of Pivot – Rear View


I used 3 inch casters to make the cabinet mobile. The bottom plate is a double layer of 3/4 plywood and there is an additional 3/4 block at each corner where the casters bolt through.

The entire cabinet is screwed together. I was going to do a dry fit, take it apart and glue everything, but it is very rigid as is, I don’t think glue is necessary.

Caster Mounting

Caster Mounting


This shows the table with drill press up.  Note the base of the press is now 4 inches below the pivot points.

Drill Press Proud

Drill Press Proud


I was surprised to find that the planer and drill press balance each other very well.  It takes only one hand to rotate the tray, which is carrying over 160 pounds.  I did not think this would be the case as the drill carries most of it’s mass at the top, but the 4 inch offset evens out the weight distribution nicely.

Table Rotating

Table Rotating


This shows the table with planer up. The rear face of the tray is now sitting on the front gussets which positively stop the rotation.

Planer Proud

Planer Proud


This shows the rear of the cabinet. I had to cut away the rear gussets to clear the planer handles. I could have mounted the planer sideways for more clearance, or removed the handles. Also you can see a section of plywood added across the bottom for lateral stiffness.

Note in this position, the top is four inches above the pivot point. The planer is a bit high for a large, heavy board but at least it has a home, and I use the drill press a lot more than the planer.

The lock knobs have been inserted at the rear in this picture.

Planer Locked

Cabinet Rear View


Here is a rough drawing of the cabinet. The dimensions are for my build, if you decide to make a table like this, you will need to work out sizes for the tools you plan to mount. The limiting measurement for my table was the height of the tallest tool, the drill press.

Basic Dimensions

Basic Dimensions

Basic Dimensions

Basic Dimensions


There is a short video on YouTube.

My offset cabinet has been very successful. I generally wheel it out in the driveway to use the planer, my dust collection consists of a broom and a leaf blower. It takes only about a minute to stow the drill press cord and lamp and then flip the top.