From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Free-Standing Fixtures

Dan MacLeod, CPE, MA, MPH
Intro1 Intro2
Pedestal stand for manufacturing fixture Pipe stand used in assembly operation


Floor-based fixtures often provide excellent bases for workstations, an ideal way to build a workstation around a fixture. There are many advantages to workstations like these, including: a small footprint, easier height adjustment, and often better clearance and access to the product. Many free-standing fixtures can be fitted with storage racks for tools and materials to provide complete functionality, often far superior to traditional workbenches.

Note that most of the examples shown on this page do not have work surfaces per se. In those examples that do have work surfaces, the work surface dimensions are small. Once the product is properly fixtured and good storage for tools and materials is provided, there is usually no need for an actual surface.

Alternative terminology includes “work positioner,” “shop stands,” specific mechanisms like “trunnions,” or vendor brand and model name.


Raise items to a good working height, plus permit manipulation in order to access the item in different positions as needed .

Ideas and options

The following range of options from low-cost to high end provides good guidance for floor fixtures that can be developed for almost any application.

Shop stands

EngineStand BikeStand
 Engine stand Bicycle repair stand

Occasionally, stand-alone devices like these that are designed for a special use can also be used in other operations. The examples shown above can be obtained from suppliers for auto repair and bicycle repair respectively.

 Erlewine1  Erlewine2 Erlewine3
Guitar repair stands (Erlewine shop stand from

This work stand swivels, tilts, and is height-adjustable. It was designed for guitar repair but could be used in manufacturing operations for any number of purposes.

Positioner stands

PositionerStand PositionerStand2
Manual cranks provide various heights and orientations

Positioner stands have a wide variety of applications, from portable work tables to supports for parts containers. They are available from a variety of industrial supply and material handling sources.

Fixed-height pedestals

Plain pedestal for soldering station

This example shows a plain pedestal stand that has been used as a base for a workstation. Note that a fixture does not need to be adjustable or fancy to be “ergonomic.” All that is required is for it to be at a good working height and orientation for that item and that specific task.

Powered pedestals

Pedestal3 Pedestal4
Powered pedestal base with ball joint (

This generic powered pedestal with a sturdy ball joint provides an excellent base for customized workstations. See more detail and a video clip on a highly adjustable pedestal workstation made from this base. Storage for tools and materials has been added to the fixture for improved usability.


Trunnion1 Trunnion2
Multi-purpose adjustable trunnion Trunnion with three fixtures

A trunnion is a stand that allows a fixture to be rotated. They are sometimes called “rollovers” because of this feature. Trunnions are usually stand-alone devices. but small versions can be placed on a workbench.

CarRotisserie Chassisliner

Relatively inexpensive trunnions have been developed in recent years for body shop work. These could be used off-the-shelf for industrial application. Ability to adjust for different lengths is a common feature of these “car rotisseries.”

Modified Carts

CartWorkstation CartWorkstationVid
Unique workstations created with turntable on top of scissors lift carts Video clip: Turntable on scissors cart

Large work positioner

Heavy duty work positioner

All of the devices shown on this page could be called “work positioners.” However, often this term is used specifically for dedicated devices (that is, they have no purpose other than to hold and orient items).

Programmable work positioner

Positioner1 Positioner2
Programmable positioner used for welding on farm equipment (

These devices can be used to change the orientation of product in three dimensions. They can be programmed so that they automatically reposition for the next step in the process at the push of a button. These positioners can support surprisingly large and heavy items.

Upender fixtures

Upender1 Upender2
Horizontal orientation Vertical orientation

An upender is a device that changes the orientation of a item from vertical to horizontal. They can be especially useful for getting access to the underside of a large product.

Sophisticated upender used in auto assembly

Welding jigs

WeldingJig Welding
Welding jig Welding jig on slant with powered clamps

A jig is a fixture designed to hold several loose pieces in place in preparation for fastening. The standard reference is for a welding jig, but the term is also used in assembly operations and woodworking.