Mobile Machinery and Power Cords

Shop owners exchange ideas for putting tools on wheels and feeding power from overhead. August 8, 2005

We have recently improved our shop with a space saving idea. For a bunch of wonderful reasons, our chop saw needs to be moveable from day to day. The problem we were having was that there was no great spot from which to feed the electrical cord. What was acceptable in some circumstances was a hindrance in others.

We would find ourselves having to compete with this cord when moving people or carts through this district. The solution, as you see, was very simple. We affixed a mast to the chop saw and now feed the electricity from the ceiling. A simple loop hangs down and allows about a 20 foot radius when quickly moving the chop saw in and out and around the zone. It's amazing to see the amount of free floor space when you don't have to dodge a cord.

What I would like is some help with the castors. I have some fairly expensive castors on another cart that theoretically lock when a lever is engaged. The problem is that sometimes fine sawdust gets between the lock and the wheel and the cart still moves.

I would like to find something similar to a library stool. I would like the castor to engage when necessary and completely disappear when necessary. I remember seeing some a hydraulic tool here recently, but I hope to find something a little simpler. Does anyone have any ideas?

Below is a drawing of the setup we have right now.

Click here for full size image

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor F:
Is your cart so heavy that you could not put a couple of 2x 4s under the cart so the casters just clear the floor? I wouldn’t cost anything.

From contributor J:
I believe this is the hydraulic tool to solve your problem below.

From contributor T:
Have you thought about installing a thick rubber or brush wiper above each wheel?

From contributor S:
We came to the same solution with the power cords in our shop. We zip-tied our power cords to shower curtain hangers and strung them up with heavy duty picture hanging wire. We have 4' dangling of power cord off the end, and that gives us plenty of play.

We also have our chop saws (and planers, jointers, table routers, etc.) on rolling carts and had the same problem with movement. We attached small push-type toggle clamps vertically to the fronts and/or sides of the carts along the bottom edge (aimed at the floor) so that when they are engaged they push the cart up off the floor 1/4" or so. It holds all our carts steady, not perfectly, but close enough.

I know I haven't explained this well enough, so here's a link with both large and small push-type toggle clamps from Rockler. Once you see the picture, you'll get what I mean.

From contributor J:
I would suggest that you put your casters on one end on the side so they are just clear of the floor. On the other side, put two handles to lift that end. When the end is lifted so the casters hit the floor, just wheel the saw to the new spot, then lower the side to lift the casters off of the floor and you’re done.