Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Roll-Around Tool Tray

My next door neighbour is moving out, and he gave me this item for free.

It's made by POWERBUILT. As far as I can discover, POWERBUILT is a Taiwanese tool-making outfit. If this tool tray is any indication, they make pretty good stuff.

The tray is ruggedly built and good looking. (I think the colour may be off because of much time out in sunlight.) The only thing about it that puts me off a bit is the extreme outrigging of one 'foot'. Just how tip-proof does a roll-around toll tray really have to be?

The outrigger is fastened in its position by a single M10 x 20mm long screw w/washers. like so.

There's only that one position for fastening the outrigger in place -- there are no adjustment options. I'd be happy to have the outrigger collapsed, like so.

The tray would still be plenty stable enough for safe work with it.

To obtain a fastening position for that, I'd have to drill and tap another M10 hole in the outrigger's slide-pipe. That's doable -- I just need to have the unit on a nice, flat floor surface first so I can mark the hole location correctly. That's something to do for later.

- - -

A Priority Alteration

That outrigger was really bugging me, so I've brought the tray from outside into my workshop to deal with it. Even though it's not high on my list of priorities, I'd really like to have this tray in good order, and ready for use.

[One of the perks of retirement is that you can jerk things around to suit yourself, instead of being jerked around by things.]

- - -
Now I Get It!

Getting the tray inside the workshop somehow made me see what most of the real problem with the outrigged foot is -- the tray was installed 90° around from its correct placement. If you look at the first photograph in this post, you'll see it.

The tray is asymmetrical lengthwise. The tray's longer end is supposed to extend out over the outrigged foot -- not off to one side as it does in the photo. With the tray's orientation corrected, the outrigging is less objectionable, though it still strikes me as extreme. I'm still going to go ahead and collapse the outrigger, and I may provide it with an intermediate position as well.

Outrigger Extension Adjustability

I've drilled and tapped two more M10 x 1.5mm pitch screw holes to give the outrigger two additional positions. (Note that you can see the original colour in this photo at the end of the slide-pipe.)

That was actually easier to do than I thought it would be. It's mild steel, and the slide-pipe's walls aren't very thick.

Now the outrigger will have three possible positions:
  • Extreme (Factory position)
  • Collapsed
  • Midway
The extremely extended factory outrigger position was probably due to the factory playing it safe with respect to safety. With the outrigger collapsed, the tray is definitely easier to tip if you're trying. A forceful load at either corner at the outrigger end of the tray will start to tip it, but in normal use, such a condition is unlikely to arise.

Missing Corner Bumper Fasteners

The tray's corner bumpers are missing two black nylon, snap-in fasteners; one each at two corners. Here's a view of one such corner.

The holes in the steel tray that accept the original fasteners are about 5.6mm diameter -- not something I'm likely to find a standard, small headed fastener for.

I went with a couple of M4 x 6mm pan head screws that look pretty good, and installed the screws with hex nuts and blue threadlocker. The screws are just barely long enough, so all that really intrudes on the interior of the tray is the two nuts. Here's how it looks in the same view as above.

Tilted Tray

When the tool tray's casters were on a level surface, the tray had a perceptible tilt to it. I installed two 5/16" SAE flat washers as shims where the tray attaches to the top of the post, and that improved the condition quite a bit. It's still not perfect, but it will do. I could make a career out of mucking about with it until I got it perfected, and I really don't feel like doing that.

So, there we are. I've got myself quite a nice roll-around tool tray with the bugs worked out of it, and for a very attractive price indeed.

A Parting Word About The Use Of Roll-Around Tool Trays

Tool trays like the one outlined above are not just an auto mechanic's assistant -- I find them invaluable for use on any project, anywhere. They help you keep your tools and components corraled and readily at hand. They keep you from mislaying things, and wasting time searching for where you put whatever. They're a great help in developing good work habits that save time, and spare you aggravation.

# # #

# # #

No comments:

Post a Comment