I can afford a shop full of tools, but right now I find myself with a lack of space to do anything with. On a free day, I can pull a car out of my garage and then set up a temporary space to work on something, but I have to put everything away and re-park the car. I am embarking on a journey of building several "foldaway" tools, and I thought some of the newer members might find it useful to see any clever examples of something like that, and also hear which ones were the most useful to get first.
I've wanted a drill press for quite some time, and I have spent too long trying to get my company to either get one for their small shop, or even allow me to buy one and place it there (I sometimes work nights). I have recently seen some clever examples on youtube, and I expect that I will end up with a drill-press, table-saw, chop-saw, router table, and possibly even a small and crude lathe powered by a 1/2-inch drill, along with a centerless grinder. One thing all the youtube designs have in common is the use of wood where it is acceptable, and that has driven my decision to FIRST build a folding-leg table saw (and later adding a router mount to the underside of that same table). I already have a foot-switch, and a hose-clamp will hold the tools' stock switch in the "on" position.
I already have a portable 110V AC circular saw, router, and two angle-grinders. The mounts will allow them to quickly and easily be attached to the table, or removed to go back to using them as a portable unit. I have access to free pallets that use hardwoods. I've had good luck cutting 3/8-inch thick aluminum plate with a jigsaw, and I may even add a mount to the table to slap the jigsaw onto it (attached underneath with blade sticking up), since I just don't see me making or buying a bandsaw.
This may sound a little goofy, but...there are some old posts where dontsendbubbamail did some beautiful custom mount-designs with plywood bonded to aluminum plates (see pic below).
Although I have a cordless 18V Sawzall with a fried pack (and I plan to rebuild the 18V pack). I have had my best luck cutting steel bicycle frames by using an angle-grinder with a thin abrasive disc. I have a scar on my chin from a kickback when doing this. When I make a cut now? I start a cut straight down just a short distance (1/3rd of tube diameter), then I stop and make a separate angled cut to open the cut up a bit. Then I start a second cut from the other side towards the middle.
Welding is an entire thread on its own, but...I believe using steel frames and conventional welding are cheaper and easier to learn compared to heliarc or TIG-welding aluminum frames. My current welding looks like piles of steel bird droppings, but...it's good enough to tack pieces together (then grind the tacks smooth, out of shame and embarrassment). Then I take them to a local shop to finish a full weld. I don't think I will make a tube bender set-up (seen on youtube), but I hope this thread will encourage several members to take the leap and discover what they are capable of, when it comes to making a custom frame...
[Here's one example https://youtu.be/ZGTIxb5esAQ?t=648
Here's an easy way to make a fairly precise sliding protractor and a sled for the table saw. The more time you put into making the table saw precise and accurate, the easier everything will be later, when you make parts to assemble a drill press or other tools. If the table saw doesn't cut straight and perpendicular to the fence and sled, it will take twice as long to fiddle with any tools you make from sawn parts, so that they work properly, too...
I recently found a light-duty table with folding legs in the trash. The top was thin and warped. I have already added a 3/8ths plywood top to it and mounted the circular saw. until I get some pics of my progress, this video is pretty much what I am doing for the first stage (The money shot is at 5:55, and 37:35):