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Clever, Low-Tech Way to Put Disappearing Wheels on a Very Heavy … – Core77.com

For a good workbench, mass and weight are the rule. You want a bench beefy enough that it’s not going to move when you’re routing or hand planing workpieces. This means that few serious woodworkers will put their benches on wheels, as that makes them prone to slide and skitter (even with locking casters) when force is applied.
But sometimes you do need to move the darn thing around, and when you’re by yourself, trying to shove or drag several hundred pounds is backbreakingly impractical.
Christopher Schwarz helped fellow woodworker Megan Fitzpatrick get around this by working up the following add-on for her bench. It took him “about an hour” to hack it together, and can get the bench ready to roll in seconds:
“I’ve never seen it before, but I’m sure someone, somewhere has done it already,” Schwarz writes. “It’s based on a ‘Shortcut’ we published years ago as a way to raise and lower your workbench.”You can read details of the construction here.
Designers among you: What would you do to make the wheel-board easier to flip in and out? I love the simplicity of this idea, but realize it is possible for a klutz like me to crush my foot, and I wonder what ergonomic improvement could be made.

I had a collection of Youtube videos on the mechanics of a mobile bench. But none of them can beat the simplicity of this design.  
Even simpler: I would cut out an indentation – large enough for a foot – at the center of each piece of wood. This indentation would point to the ground when lifting the bench. You can then safely insert your foot for flipping the wheels backwards.
I’d add a bungee or spring to pull the flap into the no-wheels mode when lifted. Stepping on the flap to engage the wheels leaves a space for your foot between the wheels once it’s folded down. Then, just lift to un-wheel.
I think you nailed it!

I think you could also add a small foot plate between the casters so your foot doesn’t go all the way under when you push them down…
I like this idea, but I’d be inclined to make it the other way round (lift to mobilize), because otherwise I feel like you could be pushing it through a doorway with a level change and have the wheels disappear (possibly trapping you on the wrong side of the door).

Also, I’d like to have the wheels fold up toward the inside of the table, rather than sticking out.  And I’d add a lever so you move the flap from above, and your foot is never underneath the table.

these work great too, just installed them on my workbench.

http://www.rockler.com/workbench-caster-kit-4-pack

Simpler, I think, than any mechanism discussed is still more mass. Maybe take a note from metalworkers–lots of work tables on locking casters in that world. I have a table along those lines with locking urethane tired casters, and do plenty of handwork (including handplaning), It doesn’t budge.
Nice shop usability enhancement – 

You covered an tangent that allowed the casters to be disabled by a lever:

http://www.core77.com/posts/23197/DIY-Designs-of-Retractable-Wheels-for-Tool-Bases
or here is another variant:
http://www.norlift.com/blog/heavy-duty-work-bench-with-retractable-wheels/

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