ShopFox mobile base has non-standard bolt holes for the casters, and now I am stuck

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  • ShopFox mobile base has non-standard bolt holes for the casters, and now I am stuck

    Anybody who has the ShopFox mobile base for the TS would know that its only partially mobile - its okay for small movements, but its very stiff and not easy to maneuver.

    In fact, two of the casters on mine broke some time back, within a year of installing. The casters had a weird two-layered wheels and the outer layer broke, leaving a smaller sized inner wheel in place. But since my TS was stationary and it stayed stable I never bothered fixing it.

    Until this week. I ordered 4" poly wheels and thought it'd be an easy upgrade. But now I find out that the bolts on the base are slightly non-standard. All the casters I have - old and new - match in their bolt holes, but they don't match this base!
    Even Harbor Freight casters follow the standards diligently, but not ShopFox.

    The attached picture shows a new caster with marking to depict where the bolts would go.

    I have a decision to make now - do I go back and buy casters from ShopFox (and suffer their inferior build), or do I try and grind these holes bigger to fit the base.
    I don't even know what I would use to enlarge the holes...
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
    - Aristotle

  • #2
    If you don't mind adjusting the caster plates, I would go with a Dremel and a carbide burr.

    Obviously use proper PPE, and take your time, relieve the holes until you get to where you need to be, and then use washers and nylock nuts to reinforce the joints and keep the fasteners from backing off.
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    • #3
      Can the holes in the ShopFox base be elongated instead to work with standard caster plates?

      I've had several casters (Rockler and Woodcraft models) that had the outer tire-ish layer disintegrate after a few years. They left red chunks on the floor... those bits reminded me of the wax lips kids used to get around Halloween decades ago. Altering the ShopFox base means you'd only have to do this "editing" job once for any future caster failures. It'd probably be easier to hold the base bars in a vise compared to trying to clamp casters and there is less risk of getting fine metal shards into the caster bearings.

      A rotary tool (Dremel or clone) and bit would do the job. An option is the stepped drill bits sold for metal cutting. These would increase the hole diameter in all directions about the original center point; unlike a Dremel style that lets you concentrate where the shaping occurs.

      Or skinnier shank bolts? If the holes overlap sufficiently, narrower shank bolts should work fine. Mobile bases stress the bolts little in the shear (lateral) direction unless you routinely drive over curb-like steps/cracks in the floor so a narrower bolt should be okay. The bolts don't take the weight of your tool where their narrower shank's reduced strength might be a factor (tension and compression loads).

      mpc

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mpc View Post
        Can the holes in the ShopFox base be elongated instead to work with standard caster plates?

        I've had several casters (Rockler and Woodcraft models) that had the outer tire-ish layer disintegrate after a few years. They left red chunks on the floor... those bits reminded me of the wax lips kids used to get around Halloween decades ago. Altering the ShopFox base means you'd only have to do this "editing" job once for any future caster failures. It'd probably be easier to hold the base bars in a vise compared to trying to clamp casters and there is less risk of getting fine metal shards into the caster bearings.

        A rotary tool (Dremel or clone) and bit would do the job. An option is the stepped drill bits sold for metal cutting. These would increase the hole diameter in all directions about the original center point; unlike a Dremel style that lets you concentrate where the shaping occurs.

        Or skinnier shank bolts? If the holes overlap sufficiently, narrower shank bolts should work fine. Mobile bases stress the bolts little in the shear (lateral) direction unless you routinely drive over curb-like steps/cracks in the floor so a narrower bolt should be okay. The bolts don't take the weight of your tool where their narrower shank's reduced strength might be a factor (tension and compression loads).

        mpc
        Honestly, if the mobile base can be modded to fit a standard caster plate, you would be better off in the long run as casters do have a habit of dying...
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        • #5
          An adapter plate comes to mind. Since the new and old holes overlap, you may have to turn the caster plate 90 degrees to make an adapter work. be careful about moving the caster centers in too far if the mobile base is narrow, can become less stable.
          Loring in Katy, TX USA
          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
          BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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          • #6
            Those are some really great ideas! Fixing the holes on the base is definitely a better approach.

            I don't have a dremel but have needed one for other purposes, now its an imperative!

            Skinnier bolts might be needed still - the holes on the base are very close to the edge so I can't widen them beyond a certain point.

            I considered creating my own adaptor with 3/4 ply, but am unable to figure out a way to assemble it using bolts unless I'm prepared to drill new holes in the base.
            It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
            - Aristotle

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            • #7
              Originally posted by radhak View Post

              ...

              I considered creating my own adaptor with 3/4 ply, but am unable to figure out a way to assemble it using bolts unless I'm prepared to drill new holes in the base.
              Aluminum plate, tapped and threaded.
              3/4" plywood with T-nuts

              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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              • #8
                Mine? I would hog out the elongated holes with a step drill and use fender washers on the bolts. Step drill bits are handy to have in the shop.

                The caster wheels breaking off is typical of urethane tires on casters. At a certain age the material dries up, probably shrinks and cracks and falls off the wheel.

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                • #9
                  It looks like (referencing your picture) that the vertical slot in the wheel plate just has enough length to cover the holes.

                  One final thought, if you are modifying stuff, looks like you don't need to modify all four holes, just need to modify two holes in the base and shift the wheel center over half the difference distance.
                  Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-21-2021, 02:09 AM.
                  Loring in Katy, TX USA
                  If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                  BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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