Ghetto WorkCenter Boom Arm: Part I, The Platform

As my regular ready knows, I have a track saw. Specifically, it’s the Festool TS55. I’m not of the ilk that think a track saw is a table saw replacement, but I do love the saw and use it often.
A great place to put the TS55, provided it doesn't fall off.
Typically, when I use the TS55 it is to cut sheet goods which are laid out on my BenchMark portable work table. Though it supports sheet goods, dimensional lumber and allows lots of clamping, the open surface of the BenchMark prevent me from putting the saw down on it (plus then the saw would get in the way of the work piece). Instead, I found myself putting the saw down on it’s systainer which was always sitting atop my CT22 dust extractor and roughly the same height as the BenchMark.

Using the TS55 Systainer as a table to rest the TS55 on between cuts proved very convenient, but I was always very nervous of the saw slipping off. While the TS55 is many things, cheap isn’t one of them. Between the electrical cord, vacuum hose and the systainer being attached to a dust extractor on wheels, I figured it was only a matter of time before I tripped over one of the cords or knocked into the dust extractor. Either accident would send the TS55 straight into the concrete of my driveway.

The fear of pulling or knocking the TS55 to it’s untimely death got me thinking of the Festool WorkCenter Organizer. It’s a neat organizer of shelves and pegboard and tool holders that Festool created to fit on top of their dust extractors. Though I've not personally used one, the WorkCenter Organizer seems to be a very well designed accessory, based on Paul-Marcel’s review.
The Festool WCR 1000 Workcenter Organizer
Unfortunately, it’s also a nearly $400 accessory. This was not one of the Festool prices I feel is fully worth it. Rather than spend almost as much as a new TS55, I opted to make my own version.

The first step would be to make a platform with a raised lip that would both fit snugly on a systainer and also prevent the TS55 (or any other tool on top) from sliding or falling off the side.

Building the platform was simple. I started with a scrap of ½” baltic birch plywood. I laid it on top of the systainer and aligned two (2) sides. Then I marked the other two (2) side locations with pencil. I cut the platform out using the TS55.
The platform is just the same size as the systainer (or so I thought)
To make the lip, I cut out stips of ½” baltic birch on the table saw. I used a stop rule to mark out ½” along the length of the strips. Then, using that line as a reference I clamped them to the platform and screwed them in with #8 stainless steel flat head screws. The stainless was necessary, but I like the aesthetics of it.

Once the platform was assembled, I tried it out to discover that it was just a hair too small lengthwise. Rather than start over, I simply unscrewed the lip from one end and shimmed with blue tape. After a few test fittings I had it shimmed just enough to hug the top of the systainer snuggly.
Snuggly fit and no way to slide off
The TS55 fits in the platform wonderfully, and now the only way I’ll manage to damage the TS55 is if I’m clumsy enough to knock the whole dust extractor / platform / TS55 stack over.

Satisfied with the platform, I began to plot out the boom arm.