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Sketch out a plan for the workstations, including measurements. The overall shape of the workstations will be a cube made from angled steel bars, fitted with a plywood work surface at the top and a shelf at the bottom. Make sure the workstations will fit the available space and will be a comfortable height for the person using them.
Measure and mark the angled steel bars, using 1-1/2" angle steel for the top and bottom of the frames and 2" angle steel for the legs. Cut the steel with a compound miter saw using a metal-cutting blade.
Tip: If you don't have the right tools to cut the steel – or if you aren't sure you can do the work safely – pay a metal fabricator to cut the steel to the correct measurements.
Since the workstations are modular, the pieces need to be exactly the same to fit together properly. To create a drilling jig, fit the angle steel for one workstation together and mark where one set of holes will go. Use these measurements to create a plywood jig or template to help drill the holes in the same position for all the pieces. A jig also gives support to the work piece during drilling.
Line up two pieces that will connect and clamp them to the work surface. Use the jig to drill a small pilot hole through both pieces at the point where a bolt will connect them. Then use a larger bit to make the hole bigger to accommodate the bolt (Image 1). Drill the rest of the holes in the steel, and connect the pieces using bolts, washers and nuts (Image 2). Keep the bolt heads to the outside of the work pieces and the nuts on the inside.
Safety Alert: Be careful when drilling with the larger drill bit – it can catch in the steel and spin it out of control. Make sure the work pieces are secured.
Measure and mark a sheet of birch plywood for the countertop and cut it to fit with a circular saw. Use a router with a round-over bit to give the countertop a finished look.
Center the countertop on a workstation. Measure the overhang on each side to make sure the top is centered. With the countertop in place, drill a hole into the underside of the countertop surface. Keep the drill as vertical as possible.
Use a coach bolt and hammer to secure the countertop to the workstation, and use the socket wrench to make sure all the nuts and bolts are secure. Also fit and secure a countertop into the bottom of the frame. Adding a middle shelf to some of the tables takes full advantage of the storage space underneath.