Author Topic: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp  (Read 16747 times)

Online arnoldb

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Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« on: September 09, 2013, 09:28:44 PM »
Some of you have seen what my shop looked like when I started off in the hobby about four years ago.  There wasn't much; a lathe, drill press and band saw made up the major bits of tooling, and the bench grinder was invaluable in helping shape and sharpen toolbits.  I had some other electric hand tools, a small compressor and a minimum in terms of files, taps, dies and measuring equipment.  Yet, this was enough to let me build my first five engines.  Oh, and I'm extremely untidy  :embarassed: :






Times were hard and money was tight, but I needed some storage space.  A neighbour was loading up a trailer to take stuff to the tip, and on top was some pine planking which I happily took off again and cobbled together some shelving for storing the goodies I'd started accumulating and making for the lathe:

Marv always points out, and quite rightly so, that it's a bad idea to store items above and behind a lathe on a shelf.  I make a point of it not to put anything on that shelf that I might need while the lathe is in operation.  That shelf is reserved for the lathe chucks, collets and other accessories that nobody in their right mind would change while the lathe is running.  Cutting oil and the files I use while the lathe is in operation is always kept in the front in the coolant tray so that I don't have to reach over to get at it.

I wanted a mill, and after saving up for more than a year and a slight windfall, I was finally able to buy it.  The old pickup truck was taken out of the garage, and the mill moved in next to the lathe after a frantic session of building a stand for it:


The Myford lathe is the star in my shop; I absolutely adore working with her.  Yes, "her" - she's a fine lady with some quirks that need to be kept in mind, but she's done everything I've asked of her at limits and accuracy I never would have thought possible a couple of years ago.  As much as I love the Myford, a lot of small repetitive tasks crop up in model engineering, and like on any lathe, this quickly causes more wear on the ways close to the chuck.  I want to keep my old girl (she's about 43 this year) around for a long time, so to lighten her load I bought an additional small lathe for the small jobs just over two years ago:


All the while, I'd been getting and making more tooling for the shop.  And space was running out; the new lathe didn't have a place to mount it properly, so it was not used for its intended purpose and have been standing idle for two years...  I'd acquired the tool & cutter grinder quite a while ago, but it was in South Africa, and there was problems with logistics to get it here, so it only arrived a couple of months ago.

I hadn't had any leave for over two years due to changing employment and having to meet project targets, so two months ago when my boss told me I'd better take leave otherwise I'd start losing my leave days, and projects were a bit quiet, I jumped at the opportunity.  The first week was spent sorting out personal stuff, sleeping in a lot and even watching some telly...  Then a week to visit my parents and grandparents in South Africa; a 1800 km (about 1125 miles) trip each way, it was a long drive, but I had a lot of fun driving and pushing my Golf to some "not to be mentioned" limits  >:D

As mentioned, I'm really running out of workspace and storage space in the shop - Here is what things looked like last Monday - hold on to your chairs; it's really ugly.  It's surprising that I've been getting anything done in there and it was time to sort it out:




With the chaos, there was a limited amount of space to move around, so I started by clearing out a strip at the far side of the shop, and got the T+C grinder off the trolley it was standing on; it does have wheels, but they are small and not suited to long distances of movement.  This was the easiest part of the shop operations for the week... I'd already removed the straps I'd used to lift the machine in this photo:


I went on a shopping spree as well.  I'd saved up a bit of money for the shop revamp, but material is horribly expensive here in Namibia as it's all imported.  I must admit I really envy seeing other people's shops with lots of fine wooden cabinets and drawers.  If I could do that, it would be horribly expensive, but with a limited budget I had to spend on practicality rather than looks. So, I made a couple of salesmen happy at various suppliers, buying in a couple of lengths of heavy duty angle iron, a length of counter top as well as a handful of sheets of pressed-wood planks and some hard-board, and a bunch of electrical stuff.  The timber supplier was the first to deliver:


After receiving the angle iron, I broke out the big angle grinder to start cutting things up after some careful calculations to get the most from the material.  I'd have preferred to use the bandsaw for this, but it's stuck in it's place in the shop, and there was no way I could get the material to it to saw up.  Maybe I'm just a wimp, but using the big grinder is hard and potentially very dangerous work, so I steer clear of it unless I have to use it like here...:


Next there followed a lot of welding.  Inside the shop.  I was working alone, so carrying heavy bits of steel around didn't seem like much fun, so I made things as close as possible to final location:

I'd also drilled and counter-sunk holes int it to fasten the counter top on.

I slapped some paint on it with a brush...  I don't like painting, but one must do what needs dictate:

 :facepalm2: Unfortunately I welded the middle leg to the wrong side and I only saw that after painting :Lol:.  That meant I had to carry the lot out of the shop, turn it around and carry it back in after the paint dried. 

Finally, it was in place and fitted with the counter top.  Like I said, I'm a wimp, and a 3600x600x30mm  counter top is damn heavy to handle alone!  One NEVER have enough plugs (outlets for the US folk), and that's one area I didn't scrimp at.  I added four additional 2-way outlets; three above the new workbench, and one close to where the T+C grinder and compressor will stand.  Rather than connect these new plugs to the existing plug circuit, I added a new circuit for them to the distribution board on a separate circuit breaker.  I like a lot of light in my workspace, and added two more 6' lights - one suspended from the rafters at a position where it would add suitable lighting to the "dark" side of my mill that's been irritating me, for the position the small lathe would occupy on the new bench, as well as minimize shadows while I work on the machines.  Here things are partly done; the suspended light is in place and all the work on the plugs complete:


The new lights didn't need a new circuit, so I set about wiring them into the existing one, so that all the shop lighting would work off one switch.  That caused me to discover a horror...  The wiring to the existing lights were done in a very shoddy way.  After closer investigation, I even found that the moron who did it used earth coded wires as live wires  :zap: :


The wiring as it was at the side-entrance door light switch - it's wired together with one between the two roll-up doors so that either can switch the lighting:


 :hellno: Wrong wire colour, an exposed section of live wire at one connector, and a sand dune! - I ended up going through ALL of the electrical points in the shop, stringing additional properly coded wire where needed and checked and fixed all connections not only to local code, but to my own higher standard and cleaning out the dunes.  I might be untidy in general, but when it comes to wiring and cabling I'm a royal pain in the @ss about doing a neat and proper job - as has been often told me by apprentices  :Lol: .
Sorting out the shop electrics took quite a while - time I hadn't budgeted on spending, but at least I now know I won't have issues with this in future.

After sorting out the electrical issues, I added a storage shelf above the new workbench, in a position where I wouldn't bump my noggin against it all the time while working there, but low enough to reach without a ladder.  I plonked the small lathe down in it's approximate mounting position as well:


That's where I stopped photos for a while; it shows about a sixth of the shop sorted. 

In the meantime, I'd chucked out about 10 old computers, a box full of computer mouses (mice?), more than a box full of old computer keyboards, a LOT of electrical and electronics stuff that's now "antiquated" and haven't been used in the last ten plus years - but was hoarded up that it might be useful "some day".  The vertical band saw got a new stand that is now mobile so I can push it around as needed.  I found a set of wheels amongst the hoarded treasures junk that I can fit to the horizontal saw to make moving it around a lot more practical.

There's still a lot left to do; I thought a week would be more than enough to sort out the shop, but I've barely scratched the surface.  Its much more work than I thought, but hopefully when done, I'll have a more practical working space.

... Then there's the little matter about me looking around for a while for a small second-hand drill press to treat "as a set of castings" for a nefarious project...  That opportunity arrived about three weeks ago, but I got a bit more than I actually intended  :-X

I'll post another update once the shop is sorted a bit more; it's in turmoil at the moment and you've had more than enough good examples of bad examples  ;)

Kind regards, Arnold
Building an engine takes Patience, Planning, Preparation and Machining.
Procrastination is nearly the same, but it precludes machining.
Thus, an engine will only be built once the procrastination stops and the machining begins!

Offline sshire

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 09:48:16 PM »
Great start! I agree on the wiring. It MUST be done correctly.
I'm seriously thinking of selling much of the woodworking machinery to gain space. I haven't used it since I started this chip making.
Best,
Stan

Offline mklotz

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 09:52:01 PM »
Looking very good, Arnold.  For me here in LaLa land, Namibia is high on the exotic list so it's reassuring to see that shops there end up looking remarkably similar to that with which I am familiar.

Quote
Marv always points out, and quite rightly so, that it's a bad idea to store items above and behind a lathe on a shelf.  I make a point of it not to put anything on that shelf that I might need while the lathe is in operation.  That shelf is reserved for the lathe chucks, collets and other accessories that nobody in their right mind would change while the lathe is running.  Cutting oil and the files I use while the lathe is in operation is always kept in the front in the coolant tray so that I don't have to reach over to get at it.

Your reference to my safety nagging reminded me of another oft-ignored point I wanted to emphasize for the safety of all.

Don't put stuff that could trip or snag a bit of clothing and cause a trip near the base of the lathe or mill.  It's too easy to walk away from a running machine for a moment to grab a tool, come back, trip, and reach out and grab a spinning workpiece or tool to catch one's fall.

This isn't directed at you, Arnold.  I'm just exploiting your thread to alert others about a safety concern.
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Regards, Marv


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Offline Bearcar1

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2013, 01:41:32 AM »
Wow! Arnold, you gotsta lay off those energy drinks  :Lol:  Your shop doesn't look any more cluttered, well uh, disorganized, *ahem*, oh, OK, messy, as any of the rest of our shops has been at one time or another.  :help:  Gees, I just came from downstairs and mine literally looks like a bomb had been detonated in it and I have not done any chip making since I don't know when.


I really like your new bench, looks a treat and appears to be sturdy. Being an electrician/phoneman myself, I can certainly relate to your desire to have all power conductors in code and of proper color. When I go and do a friend a favor by adding a circuit or rerouting an existing one, I find it amazing some of the garbage work that had been done prior and I always ask the rhetorical question of the owner, "So. How do you suppose that electrical house-fires get started? To which the owners usually plead ignorance and shuffle off with their heads down and grumbling.


I can't wait to see and hear about the nefarious project you mentioned.


regards


BC1
Jim

Offline Maryak

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2013, 04:05:26 AM »
I have been promising a cleanup for a while now and with spring upon us, I've run out of excuses.

Thanks for the inspiration Arnold.

Best Regards
Bob
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Offline swilliams

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2013, 07:23:38 AM »
Looks great Arnold

Clutter and mess is like swarf, it's what you get when you build stuff!

Steve

Offline tel

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2013, 10:19:53 AM »
Clutter and mess? Compared to my workshop it is pristine! :old:
The older I get, the better I was.
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Offline b.lindsey

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2013, 12:18:18 PM »
Looking good Arnold. One sixth down and five sixths to go but your will get there. I wouldn't even have the gumption to show my little corner of the garage at the moment :)

Bill

Offline ths

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2013, 01:30:38 PM »
I have a corner of my partners art studio. I'm a disgrace! You have nothing to worry about, apart from normality!

Cheers, Hugh.

Online Jo

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 02:00:09 PM »
And someone was telling me my workshop was untidy when he visited last.  :LittleDevil:

Go for it Arnold, if you find more space you will have to fill it with more machines  :ThumbsUp:

I was a little concerned  :o to see that vehicle taking up valuable machine space or do you have a fold out work bench to go there and really it is a ploy to make sure you have assembly space when needed?

Looks like a good collection of SWAG (Stuff Which All Gather  :embarassed:), with lots of potential to make model engines just waiting to be discovered.

Jo
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Offline vcutajar

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 04:23:04 PM »
Now why do those photos remind of my garage??!!

If I try to organize things then I forget where I put them.

Vince

Offline steamer

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 04:26:49 PM »
Yup....mine is about the same Arnold.....and Yes...i'm working on it....a bit at at time....

Dave
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Offline Mosey

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 04:54:51 PM »
I'm no different than everyone else when it comes to messy, but I've seen some shops here that look like a dream. How about showing us the beautiful, clean, organized ones?  :stir: :stir:
Mosey

Offline KB

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2013, 08:56:50 PM »

Quote
hold on to your chairs; it's really ugly

I looked at the first photo, "hey, that's not so bad" but that second one, whoa!

That's pretty bad, but whose isn't. I've got so many jobs going on right now, doing a major basement renovation, with two little kids, there just isn't time to put anything away...
Speaking of wiring, I have rewired 90% of my home and the due to the horrors I opened up as I went along. I too am a big fan of going well above code.

It's looking really good and I am sure you must feel great about how far it has come and where you will end up. Sometimes I go to the shop to try and sneak a little time in on my current project and the disarray is just so demotivating. Thanks for the inspiration.

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Arnold's shop - then, now and a revamp
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2013, 09:22:07 PM »
Looking great Arnold.
I do believe that goes against your self described laziness.

Unlike an engine (though a long project it can be), fitting out, organizing, and in general nesting one's workshop is a never ending project.
Just as well right?!

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