Game changing DIY workbench design! Maximize space and productivity.March 26, 2022
Today on the hookup I’m going to show you how I built this set of motorized adjustable height workbenches that lets me have a 6 foot outfeed for my table saw, a miter station long enough to cut 12’ boards, and a mobile base for my CNC machine while still being able to park 2 cars in my slightly undersized two car garage.
This whole thing started a few months back because Flexispot sent me a message asking if I wanted to check out their new heavy duty dual motor standing desk frame and I happened to be reading that email with my daughter looking over my shoulder. I clicked the link and played the video and she said “Dad, that looks awesome”, but I told her we had no use for it because everyone in the family already had a desk, to which she said “well what about your workbench?”. Hmmm, yeah, what about my workbench.
See, when I moved into my house I had a few small projects that needed to get done immediately so the first order of business was to throw together a quick workbench, and the one that I made turned out REALLY terrible. I made it tall enough to store my table saw underneath, which was too tall to work at comfortably. I put a miter saw on top, but with the refrigerator on one side and a water heater on the other there was no room for the actual material so, as a result, in the nine years since I built my workbench I’ve probably only used it for actual work about a dozen times, and for most projects I end up sitting on the garage floor while the workbench collects junk and acts as a glorified shelf.
It also happened that last week was spring break 2022 and my daughter and I have a tradition of doing projects together whenever there’s a break from school, so her idea of adjustable height workbenches seemed like a great choice, and let me tell you, it worked out even better than expected.
So first, lets look at the key features of the FlexiSpot frames that made them such a good fit for workbenches. There are two variations of the frame, the E3 and the E7. The E3 is a 2 stage design so its height adjustments go from 28” to 46”, while the E7 has a 3 stage lifter that goes from 24” to 50” (49.75), and those extra 4 inches of travel on the low end made a huge difference for my table saw use case, so I went with the E7s.
Both models have adjustable width from a minimum of 43 inches, to a maximum width of 67 inches and the bases are about 27 inches deep. The sleeves on the legs are inverted which is good in a workshop because it makes it less likely for sawdust to get into the lifting mechanism, which with it’s dual motors can lift 220 pounds on the E3 model and 275 pounds the E7.
The control panel lets you adjust the height in tenths of an inch and has 3 preset positions that are stored even after a power loss, so you only need to actually plug in the benches when you want to change the height. As far as safety both models have anticollision with three sensitivity levels, or you can turn it off completely.
The Flexispot frame comes with leveling feet, and there are optional casters available on their website, but I wanted something a little more heavy duty so I opted for a set of leveling foot caster combinations that not only let me microadjustments to the height, but are also much sturdier than normal locking casters. The flexispot frame comes with standard M8 mounts for its feet, so the aftermarket casters were plug and play.
Another important design feature for me was the fact that the frames don’t have any bottom cross beams, which means it was easy to put shelving and storage underneath and still roll the benches in and out of position. One thing I’d do differently if I was going to do it again would be to make one bench wide enough to slide over the other bench for storage purposes, but as you can see in my setup that’s not really necessary.
The frames come in a few pieces and went together without any issue in less than 15 minutes each with clear instructions, and after that it was time to build the tops.
My overall idea was pretty simple: Two adjustable height sections on casters that could be easily moved around the garage. The first section houses my dewalt jobsite table saw, and the second bench moves around and adjusts height to support whichever tool I’m using on the main bench, which would be an outfeed table when using my table saw, and a miter station when using the miter saw. If I don’t need an outfeed table or extra support for my miter saw then I can spread the two benches apart to have access to both tools at the same time.
In order for the table saw section to work well and be safe the structure needed to sturdy enough to rip sheet goods without tipping, and so far, from what I can tell it performs significantly better than the mobile stand from dewalt, and even better than my previous table saw that had built in stand. Ripping sheet goods was surprisingly simple and I was even able to clean up the edges of a 12 foot 2×4 without it falling off the back of the table, which was pretty awesome.
I will say that at their maximum height and loaded up the flexispot frames can get a little shaky when rolling them around the garage but at minimum height they are super solid and have basically zero flex or wobble. With the E7 model at its lowest setting, plus my leveling casters and a single sheet of three quarter inch plywood the top of my table saw is right at 40.5 inches which is just about the perfect working height for someone my size.
Now, while I do LOVE the adjustable height on this section of the workbench for storage and utility reasons that I’ll talk about later, in hindsight I probably could have use a fixed base on this section to save some money, however, the adjustable height on the second workbench is a gamechanger and I’m not sure why I haven’t seen more people making these things. roller unit adjusts in tenths of an inch and saves those exact presets, so with a quick touch of a button I can go from a comfortable height for storage and general use, to an exact height for my table saw outfeed, and then with another preset to the perfect height to support material for my miter saw.
Because this second section gets moved around and adjusted a lot more often I wanted to see if I could add a built-in power source for the lifting mechanism and I was hoping that this battery bank on steroids called the Omnicharge 20+ would fit the bill since it in addition to USB C and an AC outlet it also has a programmable DC output from its barrel jack. Unfortunately, it seems like the flexispot desks are a little too power hungry at least for this model of Omnicharge which can only do 100 watts on the AC outlet and 100 watts on the DC port which works fine for lowering the bench, but with any extra weight when lifting the power draw goes over 100 watts and throws an error on the flexispot control panel. There is a larger Omnicharge called the “ultimate” that I’m sure could provide enough juice, but I’m not sure if being plug free is worth another $400, especially since the benches only need to plugged in when you want to change the height.
I saw some reviews that said the desk needs to go though a homing sequence every time it loses power, but that doesn’t seem to be the case as long as it completes its movement before you unplug it. If it does lose power in the middle of a movement then it will need to recalibrate by going to its lowest setting, but it seems pretty rare that that would happen and it’s not that big of an inconvenience.
After I finished the workbenches I also took the opportunity to do a little bit of garage remodeling, and I got to experience what the new benches could do, and it was even better than I imagined. It was so nice to be able to get off the floor, easily move the benches around, and have enough support to break down sheet goods and handle long boards by myself. But, the benefits of the adjustable height benches don’t stop when you finish your project.
I mentioned earlier that my old workbench was a cluttered mess, and a major reason for that was that with my giant car in the garage I couldn’t get to any of the storage on the right side of the bench, and I could only pull the main drawer out a few inches before it hit the front of my car. That meant that if I pulled a tool out of the drawer with my car in the driveway and then pulled my car back in the garage then that tool’s new storage location was going to be on top of the bench. But now that I can easily adjust the height of the whole bench I can get the drawers above the hood of the car, and as a result, the tools go back in the drawers, or at least that’s the hope.
Speaking of the drawers, I’m using Alexander Chappel’s 3d printed organizational bins that let me pull out a few sets of screws that I’m using with a project and easily drop them back into their place when I’m done, again, hopefully avoiding that workbench clutter that seems to be inevitable between projects.
I also mentioned that I could have used a fixed base on the table saw section, but the other benefit of the adjustable height is that I’m able to store my table saw and miter saw up and out of the way, since even though they are two of my favorite and most useful tools, I really only use them when I’m doing a medium to large sized project and this way I can have easier access to other tools that I use daily or weekly. And while we’re talking about storing things up and out of the way, there are two more tricks for my adjustable height benches.
First, my CNC machines take up a ton of room, so I store mine above my garage door with a hoist. Previously I used removable black iron pipes as legs, but not only were they really shaky, but the whole process of lowering and setting up the CNC was inconvenient and time intensive. Now, all I need to do is wheel my flexispot workbench under the hoist, raise the bench, and disconnect the supports, which cuts my setup time at least in half, and will ultimately result in me getting more use out of my CNC.
The second trick is probably not sanctioned by Flexispot, but works too well not to mention. My garage attic is where I store everything for my holiday light show and some of the boxes can get pretty heavy. The storage bin that holds the megatree weighs about 75 pounds and is really not fun to take up and down on a ladder. But, with adjustable height workbenches I can lower them all the way down, put whatever I need store in the attic on top, and then raise it up to a point where I can grab it from inside the attic, which is much safer than pushing it up the ladder.
These benches aren’t a perfect fit for everyone, if you’ve got a whole workshop and plenty of room for a 400 pound workbench then these benches probably don’t make sense for you. If you’re a hand tools and bench dogs kind of woodworker, you’re going to need a heavier, sturdier bench. But as weekend warrior, power tool use, I really couldn’t be happier with how these turned out, and even for a price tag of around $500 per bench for all the supplies it was well worth it to be able to complete a project without sitting on the floor for the first time in 10 years. If you’re interested in checking out the exact products I used in this video I’ve got links for everything down in the description, and if you’ve got a specific question that I didn’t answer just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Thank you so much to my awesome patrons over at patreon for your continued support of my channel, and if you’re interested in supporting my channel please check out the links in the description. If you enjoyed this video please consider subscribing and as always, thanks for watching the hookup.
Flexispot E5 Frame:
(Flexispot Direct) https://shrsl.com/3g1ks
Leveling Casters: https://amzn.to/3IBbPpQ
Omnicharge 20+: https://amzn.to/37RHMgJ
Dewalt DWE7485 Table Saw: https://amzn.to/3D7P0c0
Garage Hoist for CNC Machine: https://amzn.to/3Ix1TgU
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