Building an MDF cabinet to support my drill press


Meatwad
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've got this cabinet frame started and I want to put my harbor freight drill press on it. It's 40 pounds. Do I need any additional support inside the cabinet other than just MDF? Wooden frame or anything? Or will the MDF be enough to hold it up?

This is not my final design for how I will mount the drill press on top. I'm just showing it for reference.

IMG-5863.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MDF holds screws poorly and does not glue well, either.  Depends on weight, you could put a piece of 2x material on top.  But IMO you are off with plywood or solid wood. 

Racking is also an issue, as it will be top heavy.  +1 on a back, and anchor to wall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a big MDF fan so don't get me wrong.  However, this MDF drawer unit has served many purposes during its long life.  It finally ended up as a base for my small bandsaw. There are specific methods for using screws and glues for MDF that differ from our general use of same. This one is just glued rabbets.

53633885_Drawers-to-bs-stand(22).jpg.529d761f1d9fc49fb5e0a95cb886e728.jpg

It does have a 3/4" rabbeted back to keep things rigid.

1196635099_2nddrawerunit007.jpg.4c569ad66eb7583f4d166c9a9524eaf7.jpg

The casters are bolted through instead of lag screwed in.  It has been a solid performer for many years without issue.  For your design / dimensions and weight I think you will be OK if your environment is pretty mild.  If you get wide humidity and weather swings I might reinforce things with a brace / stretcher under the front top lip or just double the top.  When in doubt, build it stout.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@gee-dub, yes, all the MDF is screwed together and yes I do have an MDF back panel to add but it doesn't have a rebate. I like the stretcher idea but I guess I'm not understanding how doubling the top would resist racking force. Can you explain?

I wouldn't say we experience wide humidity swings but I'm in Arkansas so it just stays mostly swampy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/7/2021 at 11:22 AM, Chet said:

All I have to say is that appears to be a heck of a step down from the door by your drill press. :o

It sure is, but thankfully that is not the door to the house but a closet in our garage with a LOT of extra room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/7/2021 at 8:43 AM, Meatwad said:

@gee-dub, yes, all the MDF is screwed together and yes I do have an MDF back panel to add but it doesn't have a rebate. I like the stretcher idea but I guess I'm not understanding how doubling the top would resist racking force. Can you explain?

I wouldn't say we experience wide humidity swings but I'm in Arkansas so it just stays mostly swampy.

The only reason I can think of doubling the top the down forces of using the drill press, sometimes you will be bearing down on the handle when drilling through metal or using a dull bit, MDF would be less strong than say plywood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might want to look up Confirmat screws. They are made specially for joining man-made materials and work very well. Most of the cabinets in my shop are made from melamine covered particle board held together by Confimat screws and have held up very well. Several of them are used for tool stands. You can get them at McFeeley's. You will need a special two step drill bit for them. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/8/2021 at 5:46 AM, wtnhighlander said:

Ha! Don't tell me you've never made an MDF jig. There are times when the flatness and consistent thickness of MDF just can't be beat.

:lol:

You are right! And I even bought a 3/4” sheet to act as an assembly table for my bathroom door. But when I finished with it, I cut it up and took it to the office and put it in the dumpster for lack of space to keep it. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/8/2021 at 10:00 AM, Coop said:

You are right! And I even bought a 3/4” sheet to act as an assembly table for my bathroom door. But when I finished with it, I cut it up and took it to the office and put it in the dumpster for lack of space to keep it. 

 

I would say that was a costly mistake, but considering I took excessive walnut plywood and use it for jigs isn't any different...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/8/2021 at 10:00 AM, Coop said:

You are right! And I even bought a 3/4” sheet to act as an assembly table for my bathroom door. But when I finished with it, I cut it up and took it to the office and put it in the dumpster for lack of space to keep it. 

So why do not like MDF?

Hope its not because the internet said so...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have a back I don't see anything wrong with MDF. It's going to be FAR stronger than the trash they sell at Ikea that is an inferior fiberboard or hardboard. That stuff will usually hold up to minor abuse.

I've made quite a few items from MDF core play and they have held up so far (bathroom cabinets, shelves, shop fixtures). I don't get the problem.

I've also found that MDF takes glue quite nicely. In my own tests the glue joint is stronger than MDF material around it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/8/2021 at 10:34 AM, BillyJack said:

So why do not like MDF?

Hope its not because the internet said so...

I actually don’t dislike mdf and yes, it does have it’s place. Now particleboard is a different story! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/8/2021 at 12:42 PM, BillyJack said:

 

 I've worked with PB most of my cabinet career...

 

I’m sorry. And that’s ok as I’m sure we’ve all done things that we are not particularly proud of at one time or another. 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have found there are several grades of particle board, at least the Melamine Oates stuff. The big box store stuff tends towards junk. The particles are large. The stuff I get at my lumber sealer has a core that has particle size that approaches MDF and is much stronger. Plus it holds fasteners better. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/7/2021 at 8:43 AM, Meatwad said:

I like the stretcher idea but I guess I'm not understanding how doubling the top would resist racking force. Can you explain?

Sorry, I was referring to the stretcher for racking and the top-doubling for avoiding sag.  With the back on I don't feel your dimensions will be very rack prone unless abused so doubling the top may be all you need.  Conversely, the stretcher could do both if it were "wide" enough (wide = top to bottom; 2" or more) the rub there is that it crowds your cubby opening.  It is very possible that with the weight of your machine, sagging is not a concern.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Who's Online   1 Member, 0 Anonymous, 151 Guests (See full list)

  • Forum Statistics

    29.8k
    Total Topics
    405.1k
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    22498
    Total Members
    3644
    Most Online
    ekatz
    Newest Member
    ekatz
    Joined