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When we first “previewed” Stanley’s FatMax Mobile Project Center — or the “MPC” as we like to call it — a number of you complained about the materials from which its made, speculating that it’s not sturdy enough for heavy use.  So, we contacted Stanley with a challenge: offer up one for us to beat on.

They accepted our challenge, and we gave it our best.  We used and abused the MPC for weeks in the Toolmonger shop, and we even broke out our water barrel testing rig to put 946.5 pounds of water on it — over 140% its rated capacity.

Read on for our the results along with our hands-on experiences and lots of pictures.

Unboxing/Features

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The MPC ships in pieces and requires some assembly before use.  When we spoke to the people at Lowe’s about it, they indicated that “it looks like solid, but it takes 30 minutes to put together.”  We, of course, were intrigued.

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Once we unboxed all the pieces and read through the instructions, it took us more like 10 minutes to fully assemble.  To debunk the myth, we decided to include the process pictorally.

First we removed all and inventoried the parts.  There aren’t all that many.

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We then unfolded the table to its “use” position and installed the two top table pieces using four included socket head cap screws.

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Two plastic bits install underneath with a Phillips head screwdriver.  This, incidentally, is the one of the few tools required to assemble the MPC as Stanley includes a hex-shaped wrench in the package.

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The three-outlet electric adapter slips into a slot designed to hold it and a plastic cover snaps over it to hold it in place.

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To install the wheels and axle, first push the axle through the two holes on the legs, installing the inside washers in the process.  Then simply install the outer washers, cotter pin the axle in place, and install the wheels by bolting them on with two 17mm wrenches.

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As a last step, you can install the plastic “hold downs” in any of the holes molded into the table top for that purpose.

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Honestly, anyone with a tiny bit of mechanical aptitude could assemble this in 15 minutes or less.  Even someone who’s generally inept could handle it in under a half hour.

The MPC includes a few pretty handy features, the most noticable of which is the ability to covert into a two-wheel dolly to carry up to 220 pounds of toolboxes and tools.  There’s also a built-in place to hold an extension cord, so the idea is that you can wheel the MPC onto the jobsite — or into the driveway — with a few power tools on it, unreel your extension cord, plug it in, plug in your tools, and have a little workbench complete with clamps ready to go.

Read on to page two for our in use experiences and testing.

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8 Responses to Hands-On: Stanley’s FatMax Mobile Project Center

  1. Jim Nutt says:

    Just for the record, it appears that Lowe’s has it for about $85.

  2. Nate Bezanson says:

    I share the concerns about plastic aging. Unfortunately, it’s awkward to simulate 20 or 30 years of embrittlement in a few weeks of testing. I did have one idea, though: Plastic parts become brittle at low temperatures. Yes! An excuse to play with liquid nitrogen!

    Although, if you consider it an $85 tool that’ll last ten years before the plastics give out, and that an all-metal version is likely to cost $400, maybe the tradeoff is worth it. In ten years maybe we’ll have 3-D CAM setups in our garages and we can just download the toolwarez torrents that’ll let us machine new parts for copyrighted tools. 😉

  3. Kurt Schwind says:

    I wish this was out a year or so earlier when I bought a new work-mate. The idea of having wheels, a low-load dolly and power right there are very enticing.

  4. Jim Nutt says:

    I just came back from Lowes and have an update on the $85 version they have there. It appears to be the same except in one detail, it lacks the built in dolly. So, if you need the dolly, the one from Lowes isn’t for you.

  5. Cyberkender says:

    Nate: Just about everything becomes brittle after a liquid nitrogen bath. Save that for making instant ice cream. Now, if you know someone with a walk-in freezer to leave the cart in for awhile…

    The other thing that will break down many plastics, is UV light. Exposure to the sun is a factor the regular Workmate won’t have to worry about. But then, the plastic won’t rust, so that may be a six of one, half a dozen of the other trade off.

  6. Irvin K. Herrmann says:

    The folding mechanism in the legs on my Fat Max Project Work Center no longer works. The handle that says pull, won’t budge hardly any and won’t retract the locking mechanism. I would appreciate if someone has any idea how to correct the problem and let me know. I have removed the five screws and taken off the cover and for the life of me can’t figure out what would release the locking mechanism. There are two springs on each end, that have one end come straight out, and there seems no other way to situate them other than have the straight end lay flat. But if they are supposed to move something they’re not. It would sure be helpful to see a breakdown in a diagram showing the placement of the parts. Thanks so much to any one who can help me with this problem!By the way I purchase it at a ACE Hardware about two years ago, I paid around $130.00 including taxes seems I got ripped off a little on the price.

  7. Bolster says:

    I’ve had a PWC for more years than I can remember, plastic top and all. This device has given me zero trouble. Handy at the worksite. I think all the speculation about “delicacy” is just that, speculation.

  8. Larry Geiger says:

    I’ve had one of these for what seems like over 20 years. It’s not called “Fat Max” is was stamped right on top with “Stanley Clamping Table”. I’ve used it almost every week since I got it. Extremely useful. I also have a Jaw Horse. Used in combination these two tools are my workbench. Workbenchs just get piled up with junk so I stopped using work benches and I only use saw horses, the Stanley or the Rockwell Jaw Horse. Always fold them up when done and stow them away. Very useful.

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