Brainstorming: Shallow tool cabinet with top, or workbench with underneath storage?

I’ve been rethinking my office-type workspace layout.

Right now I have a workbench against the wall, and another for my computer and electronics work.

I’m debating 2 options.

  1. Keep the workbench and try to optimize the space underneath for storage. Plus add some shelving above the workbench.

  2. Put the workbench someplace else and build a cabinet with ~15" drawers and 18" countertop, and use the saved space to build a small 36" x 24" mobile cart.

The workbench is 6’ x 25". I love the depth, but it often ends up cluttered by stuff. That’s what gave me the idea to build a cabinet to my needs, and it’ll still have a countertop.

I figure I could make the cabinet out of 80/20, and make it modular. So one part of the project might involve a 24" section, and then maybe another 24" section, and then 18". Then I might build a corner cabinet. Finally, maybe that second workbench can be moved elsewhere, with a small mobile workbench being able to fit 24" away from both.

When I need a part, or tool, the path would be a lot shorter, since I would just have to turn around, instead of walking around the room.

The centered mobile workbench would also be better positioned for review photos, demo video, and smaller project logs. As it is now, there’s not much space for even a small workbench between the benches in the middle of the room. Reclaiming 6-7" along one wall, and then maybe two, and customizing the under-counter space for maximum utilization is very appealing.

I wouldn’t get rid of the workbenches I have now, they would simply be moved elsewhere.

I’ve been looking at Darbin Ovar’s setup, which gave me this whole idea.

I considered going with IKEA kitchen cabinets, but the cost is still steep, and there’s no flexibility. If I go with 80/20, I can reconfigure without too much trouble. I’d start with shelving material tops, and would upgrade to butcher block later on.

I think I’m convincing myself about the cabinet idea.

So reading through your “brainstorming question” and I find myself forming an opinion, then i get to the last line… yup that’s the direction I think I’d go!

Well you, could explain your WHY part. =)

I’m leaning towards the “build a cabinet” idea because I feel I end up with only 12" to 18" of a 25" deep workbench anyways, and the space underneath is hardly ever fully utilized.

But I started crunching the numbers today for how much it’ll cost to build a solid bench out of 80/20 and Blum drawer soft-close drawer slides. OUCH!!

Ok this would be for an indoor work space that wouldn’t be subjected to changing temp humidity etc? So think “inside the box” I’m looking at a rolling work station build myself and building from the ground up just gets $$$$$$$$ so I’ve settled on picking up a Sauder book shelf and modifying it to my needs IE reinforce with some 2x2, corner brackets, remnant counter top and “rollerblade” wheels. With a little modding you can whip up a nice setup with off the shelf boxed cheapo cabinets for next to nothing and they could be quite modular at the same time.
This is just an example, I see 2 cabinets built out of this with maybe another $20 in hardware.

What is the 80/20 you are referring to?

It’s a framing system of extruded t-slot aluminum. Easy to set up, customize, and modify.

You can use it for workbenches, machine guarding, and all kinds of other things.

I made a test jig out of their smaller stuff:

Have you looked into fast pipe at all?

Would probably be less expensive.

I think that 80/20 is going to be a lot more flexible.

I just priced things out - ouch!

Looks like I’m going to be better off framing it out in 80/20 and then using some wood for the internals. It’ll save a lot on fastening brackets and hardware.

Where do you get your 80/20 from? I’ve never worked with it before. Is it the same stuff you can get from inventables basically?

These days? Mainly 80/20’s Ebay store. If I just need extrusions, I can usually find them at Enco, MSC, Zoro, or other industrial suppliers.

The Inventables stuff is a little more basic in shape, and was designed mainly for the built-in v-rail.

80/20 offers far more selection and flexibility. The systems are not going to be compatible, or at least I don’t think so.