Author Topic: Hugh's blank canvas  (Read 800 times)

Offline Hugh

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Hugh's blank canvas
« on: May 09, 2019, 10:34:14 PM »
Hi all,

As I wrote in my introductory post last week, the wife and I just bought our first house and, incredibly, I managed to convince her it should have enough room for a workshop. Having moved around a lot and living in small apartments over the last few years, the anticipation of getting back into "making things" is hard to put into words. However, I now find myself staring at the empty room trying to figure out how to set it all up. I'm hoping someone might be able to offer some ideas and opinions on how to get going.

The space is a 40 sqm semi-basement in an "L" shape with subdividing walls and windows (+ a door) down one side. I attach a number of renderings and photos from various angles. The walls are unpainted concrete with exposed (but neat) wiring and plumbing (the hot water system is down here located on either side of the lower subdivision). The floor is also concrete and is quite level, though not dead flat it seems. Right now my equipment is pretty limited: a Myford Super-7, small bench drill and bench grinder, as well as some woodwork stuff (bandsaw and disc sander). Eventually I'd like to add a full-size pedestal drill and a small mill, but let's not rush into things.

At this point I would welcome any tips for how to arrange the machinery etc, however I also have some specific queries:

1. How to finish the walls? Concrete is a bit boring, however I worry that putting up boards will encourage mildew to grow. I logged the temperature and humidity over the last couple of months (see figure) and found humidity in the 45-64% range, so I'm inclined to be careful of mold, etc. Right now I am leaning towards a porous silicate paint in white, which should reflect plenty of light while not trapping the moisture inside. The floor is another issue I need to consider.

2. How to arrange the lights? It currently has 3-4 fluorescent lights, which I hate with a passion. I'd love to replace these with LED panels such as these, which put out 4000 lm with an adjustable colour tone. The question is how many lights are actually needed? I've looked at some online calculators, but they vary massively in their recommendations. Ideally the lighting should be something in between between candlelight and arc-welder.

3. How to do the benches? I number of people have suggested mobile benches that can be moved around, combined, split up, etc. I was leaning towards having two 120 x 120 cm benches with storage underneath. The renderings attached show what I have in mind, intended to be laser-cut from 18 mm construction plus and with IKEA drawers and cupboards on one side and six 60 x 40 x 30 cm storage boxes on the other.

So, this is about where I'm at right now. In your experience, what's worth doing and what's worth avoiding?


Offline pgp001

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Re: Hugh's blank canvas
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2019, 11:48:23 PM »
I would consider what use you intend to put the workshop to in future.

If I had that space and was starting from scratch, I would divide it into "Dirty" & "Clean" areas, so all the precision equipment such as lathe and milling machine was separated from things like grinding and linishing machines or woodworking machines, or spray painting etc.

Or maybe have a section for workshop equipment, and another section for office equipment ie books, drawings, finished models and computer etc.


Offline Art K

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Re: Hugh's blank canvas
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 03:39:33 AM »
Since I missed your intro welcome to the forum. Phil is on the same track as I am. I would try to keep the metal and wood working separate due to the dust from the wood. I wouldn't worry about the grinder so much unless you are ok with going into a different room to sharpen a drill or cutter. That's my 2 cents worth.
"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you" B.B. King

Offline ShopShoe

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Re: Hugh's blank canvas
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 02:52:59 PM »
I would encourage you to start with things that can be rearranged as you start to use your shop. You will probably find that you need to make periodic changes from time to time.

What has been said regarding keeping dirty and clean and metal and wood separate is good.  I also see in the one photo that there are flower pots on the bench, which is an inevitable result of putting a bench by the door: Too handy for a "temporary" place to put things. You may need to keep a bench there for a utility purpose, but not for your "work" bench. Also, gardening uses for sharing the space requiring another area?

I find it helpful to have tool storage near machines where the tools are used, as well as a place near each machine for laying down parts in progress, hand tools, drawings and sketches, etc. I let the frequency-of-use determine what tools are the closest. I personally avoid hanging tools on the wall over lathe and mill. Number One: It's dangerous to forget and reach over or around moving parts. Number Two: Vibration or other unplanned event could cause someting to fall into a running machine. Number Three: Cutting fluid or some-such can be splashed on the wall, meaning more cleaning time and I would rather wipe down a wall than remove and wipe a set of wrenches.

I would also suggest that you plan your new lighting installations so that the placement can be adjusted. Once you have enough lumens, you may find that you need to move the lights a little to avoid annoying shadows, even with diffuse sources. I like having general lighting for finding things and not tripping over things, then lighting for actual work, including "task" lighting like on machines, etc. I have different areas in my shop set up with work light, but individually switched so I do not light the whole area if It's not needed.

A related concern is whether you have enough circuit capacity available for what machines you want. I like the idea of circuits for machines and plugs separate from lighting, so a tripped breaker from a machine problem does not put out the lights. Your local electrical codes may also guide you.

It goes without saying that you need to plan for unobstructed pathways to exits for safety's sake. Also, don't forget fire extinguisher(s). How will you store lubricants, fuels, solvents, etc.?

Back to your benches: Most concrete floors are not dead level. I would suggest you look at incorporating adjustable feet on everything for leveling, I once had a bank of storage drawers that sloped toward the front, meaning the drawers kept sliding open at inconvenient times. If not adjustable feet, then you may have to buy some shimming wedges.

Regarding wall treatment, I would suggest a visit to a coating or "paint" supplier that caters to pros. They may be able to suggest something that is better than what the home center can sell you. Here in the USA there are lots of options that are more specialized than the "off-the-street" sales staff knows and wants to sell. They may also have advice on floor coatings.

Dust from woodworking and metal grinding is really a pain. Have you considered dust collection from a dust collection system through some good vacuum cleaners. Dust  also means that cabinets are better than open shelves.

From your equipment list: If your bandsaw can not cut metal, you may want to modify it or replace it with a Wood/Metal model, or add a metal-cutting bandsaw. If you get the mill sooner-rather-than-later, you can consider your bench drill redundant, although many have both mill and drill press. I would plan from the beginning for those options even if you get the machines later. Be aware that mill tooling will probably cost you much more than the mill and more than you have spent on tooling up your Myford. More tooling will also mean more storage needed.

By way of a summary, be sure to study what other members here are posting about their own shops. It is also instructive to watch some of the presenters on YouTube with large shops to see how they have things arranged, even if we can never hope to have all the things they do. ou will also notice that periodically even the best of us stop and rearrange things as our lives and our projects change.


Offline b.lindsey

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Re: Hugh's blank canvas
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2019, 03:09:58 PM »
Hi Hugh and welcome in case I missed that in your introductory post.  That is a very nice space and like the subject line suggests....a blank canvas at the moment. ShopShoe's comments are all good ones so I will only comment on lighting. I recently converted over from fluorescent tubes to LED tubes but was fortunate to find ones that used the same fixtures with only minor rewiring. Not sure what you have available in the way of option here you are but LEDs are they way to go and the increased light output is incredible not to mention the lack of that constant hum from fluorescent tubes. As regarding variable light color (temperature) I do not have that feature but wonder how useful it may be.  Anyway, looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Don't rush it, take your time, maybe even draw it out in 2D with moveable blocks for your machine tools, benches, etc.  Much easier on the back that way too and you can look at various arrangements and "live in it" on paper while you tend to the painting, lighting, and so forth.


Offline mikemill

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Re: Hugh's blank canvas
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2019, 05:44:20 PM »

At the last count I have had 7 workshops over the years, the early ones were simple as I just had a lathe and a bench. The point being unless you have a lot of machines and equipment then a design layout is important. But if you are just starting out let your space grow organically, machines tend to place themselves with enough space around them to be able to work comfortably.
One thing I would recommend is as power ring with lots of sockets for power tools
Good luck with your new workshop just enjoy it.