Author Topic: Thoughts on Workshop Location  (Read 2145 times)

Offline FKreider

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Thoughts on Workshop Location
« on: January 06, 2022, 01:57:11 AM »
Hello All,

I'm wondering how many of you have your machine shop located in your basement vs. in a detached garage?

My shop is a 200 foot walk from my house and living in the northeast USA where its dark and cold for half the year really cuts down on the amount of time I get to spend out there during the winter.

For this reason I dream of a basement workshop where I can sneak down for an hour or so on weeknight evenings.

Besides the obvious potential issue of sound/noise bothering my wife when I'm running the milling machine are there any other pitfalls to a basement shop that I am not thinking of?

Interested in hearing opinions.
-Frank K.

Offline propforward

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2022, 02:17:21 AM »
Can you insulate and heat your shop? Thatís what I did. I have a similar walk to my shop and one enormous benefit is that I never track metal shavings in the house, not to mention disconnecting the sound between house and shop.

Something to consider anyway. Simple insulation need not be that expensive - possibly cheaper than building a basement shop or moving house to achieve that.
Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Offline FKreider

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2022, 02:45:16 AM »
I do have one garage bay insulated and walled off and I have a small 220V electric heater hanging from the ceiling. The concrete floor still stays super cold though which does tend to bother your feet after being in there for a bit.

Bottom line is I just have very little motivation to get dressed up in winter gear and go out into the dark at 8pm once my daughter goes to bed however I will go into the basement where my 3D printer is located to mess around for a bit before heading to bed myself.

This is a first world problem to be sure.

-Frank K.

Online Kim

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2022, 05:43:37 AM »
My shop is in an attached garage.  Much more pleasant to go out to in the evenings, but still cold.  It is insulated and it stays 10-20o warmer than outside unless the garage doors go up.  Then it gets cold REALLY fast.  It's still cold, and I use an electric radiant heater when I'm out and it's super cold.  It doesn't really heat the garage that much (well, I'm sure it does some) but I point it at where I'm standing and It makes one side of me nice and toasty!  I still wear a sweatshirt or two, and my hands get cold.

I have some of those 'anti-fatigue' rubber mats on the floor in front of my main machines that I spend the most time at.  I find that they help keep my feet warmer (less cold?) too.

Now, I'm up in the northwest, where we don't see the same kinds of winters you do (at least,  not MOST of the time :)), but it still gets quite cold.  But I can sure see it taking the fun out of going out to the shop if everything you touch is below freezing!

The biggest negatives for being attached to the house for me is probably tracking chips in, and maybe a little sound.  Sometimes it smells - if I'm doing silver-soldering and flux burns or something, it can make a stink.  But I always do that with the doors up and a fan going.  So I try not to do that a lot when it's super cold.  If you were in a basement you'd have to go somewhere else to use a torch or make a stink, I'd think.

Kim

Offline TonyM

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2022, 06:36:00 AM »
My workshop is currently in two rooms on the lower floor of a three storey house. The lower floor is half below and half above ground so has good daylight, is centrally heated so it's warm, and easy access.
I change footwear at the door so no chips walked through the house. The three floors are linked with an open staircase so there can be a problem with noise and/or fumes on the upper floors and my wife has a home office. If it weren't for the cost I would move to a purpose build outside.

Offline Jo

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2022, 08:02:42 AM »
My fully insulated main workshop is  at the back of my detached garage about 20m down the garden. My other workshop is in the largest of the bedrooms - it has one milling machine and the house Lathe.

When I used to have to work for a living  :facepalm: I sometimes could work from home and in the winter didn't heat the main workshop except at the weekend  so I would use the inside tools to make things. The result was that it would take a fair time to get the workshop up to temperature to feel nicely warm but I was younger and tougher then and would put up with it. Now that I am retired  :mischief: the main workshop is fully heated in winter to encourage me out there. The problem when you are retired is there is not much time to go play as you thought there was going to be   :wallbang:

Jo
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Offline Zephyrin

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2022, 09:57:58 AM »
Quote
where its dark and cold for half the year really cuts down on the amount of time I get to spend out there during the winter.

I agree that the time spend in my garage is greatly cut down, owing to these dark and cold days, and getting older cleary increases this inactivity period, my garage takes too much time to heat.

I'm happy to have installed a tiny shop on a small desk, in my laundry room in the house, where the central heating boiler heats by back while i'm turning tiny parts, very cosy...
But it is not a perfect solution, as besides having a lot of duplicate tools, it seems a bit ridiculous to spend hours on a small lathe machining a part that I could do in 2 minutes in the garage, but its the only way I can afford to continue in winter to make parts in metal, something I can't live without.

Offline propforward

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2022, 10:27:03 AM »
So I notice that the trend is people turn on the heat in their shops only while working in them. Very reasonable of course. It is so cold in Minnesota that I canít actually work that way, so my shop has a thermostat controlled, propane fueled heater which maintains it at 65 degrees (I dial it down to 60 or a bit lower if I take a trip or hiatus). The net result is that I find making the trip out to the shop not a discouragement. However, this arrangement does require some set up and investment. Itís certainly not a cheap solution. Added benefit is that the machine tools all stay clean, dry and rust free. When I lived at my previous house, the shop was an uninsulated shed which I tried preheating for a few hours before going out there each time, but it was a failure. I could never get it warm enough and the condensation issues were terrible. In the end it meant no shop time in winter, so I actually set up a mini shop in the spare room to keep me going.

Anyway, I certainly see the benefit of the same heated shop arrangement but right on the house. However I also like keeping my welding and brazing completely away from the house.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2022, 10:31:04 AM by propforward »
Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Offline Laurentic

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2022, 10:55:59 AM »
Here in Sunny (I jest!) Somerset it never gets that cold except in exception winters, but it does get near freezing often.  In winter there are only 8 or so hours of daylight at its worst, daylight being a loose term as by mid-afternoon the light is going and things get very gloomy, sometimes quite quickly.  I hate this time of year!

My shed is an outhouse 20 yards from the back door, constructed with mud/stone walls 2 ft thick with render on the inside and pointing on the outside, with 6 inches 'space blanket' insulation in the roof.  This ensure it stays about 8-10 deg.F above ambient most of the time as a minimum.  Even so, it's far too cold for me most of the time.  It was originally an outside privvy on one side and had a bread oven on the other side and I converted it all into a one room small shed.   

I have a 2kW fan heater for instantaneous heat for short visits or mild days, and a wee log burner on which I burn smokless fuel (its too small for real logs) if I'm in full day mode, which makes things nice and toasty for me.  Plus I run a dehumidifier in winter, which takes the chill off and (hopefully) ensure things stay dry; seems to work ok anyway.

I would have liked it attached to the house but at only 20 yards away I can live with that, plus an outside light helps in the dark.

Not perfect by any means but it works for me and I'm happy there!  Not that any of this helps the OP I guess!

Chris

Offline propforward

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2022, 11:13:07 AM »
-10 F here this morning. Brr! I get through some propane on days like these!

Anyway, the fact is there are some practicalities to think about with an attached shop. Chips, smoke, smells, noise, oils and coolants etc. Actually all have to be considered no matter where the shop is.

Those factors are not new, and have been successfully dealt with by many model engineers over many years. If you have an attached space that does the job - go for it! Most likely once set up you will love it and go in there more.
Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Offline AVTUR

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2022, 11:44:40 AM »
I had a second garage built along side the original attached garage soon after I moved into my house over 25 years ago. This was always going to be the workshop and has cavity walls and double insulation on the garage door which is never opened. However the roof space is un-lagged. The entrance is through the adjacent garage. The temperature in the workshop at this moment is about 4 degreesC., just colder than outside. We have had heavy frosts over the last few nights.

Since I am getting older I don't venture into the workshop until its air temperature is over 12 degreesC. Once the outside temperature gets to around 9 degreesC I switch on the heating, an oil filled electric radiator, and leave it on for the day before I hope to get out there. This puts some warmth into the walls and not just the air.

I have allways intended to get cavity wall and roof insulation.

I am thankful I live in the south of England where the winters are not too cold and the summers are not too hot. I doubt if there will be many Australians posting on this subject!

AVTUR
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Offline wagnmkr

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2022, 12:45:48 PM »
My wee shop was in the basement and no matter how hard I tried, bits migrated up the stairs. Some of the noise migrated as well. It was warm and cosy though.
I was cut out to be rich ... but ... I was sown up all wrong!

Offline ShopShoe

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2022, 02:17:25 PM »
I have a garage/shop that is detached from the house. when we moved to this house I was working on cars and I had two concerns: One concern was keeping dirt, smoke, fumes, etc. out of the house. The other was a concern that if something like a fire happened I wanted it in a separate location from the house. An additional concern was that my wife and I were on separate schedules and I wanted to work when she wanted quiet.

I also have an electronics shop in the house, as well as an office.

At the present time I am facing the same issues with being older and feeling colder, plus an inner-ear problem which is made worse with temperature changes. I am still liking the outside shop for large projects, woodworking, welding, grinding, etc. I am almost done with the "toy" cars, but COVID has made me reluctant to deal with selling things myself and made auctioneers reluctant to do sales like they used to. My wife and I are also talking about the days when we will downsize  and move.

For the time being, I am resigned to less time out in the garage, but moving new directions with adding some small-scale machining to the house shop. The second part of that plan is that I may end up with a small shop I can move to a downsized location. That also will mean giving up some processes, but I think I can live with those or maybe find a good option in where we move. (Some retirement communities around me have art studios and wood shops and perhaps I can find a niche at one of those. I have had some conversations with friends of my parents that imply that 3-D printing is part of that world also.)

--

Dealing with the Cold:  I have tried multiple-small heaters with sometimes one used to heat the area around my hands and a larger one to heat near the floor with the heat rising to upper-body area. I have some heavy-duty insulated work boots and an insulated coverall suit. With good wipedowns of the lathe and mill and use of WD-40 I have had hardly any rust. I handy hint I can offer is that sometimes I warm up the boots in the house before wearing them outside. The other thing I know is to be careful not to be so warm as to sweat, then you will chill in a nasty way.

By the way, insulated suits come with a warning that they can catch fire after the wearer's bad decisions and you won't know about it until too late. I know someone that this happened to, so be careful.

ShopShoe

Offline bobh

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2022, 03:16:39 PM »
Rather large basement shop here. Bathroom fans installed above things that make smoke or smell take care of that. Insulation in the ceiling/floor joists cut down on the noise transmission tremendously. My 7.5 air compressor is under the dining room and is on 24/7. When it cycles you can tell its on but it is quieter than the dishwasher. The chip problem varies tremendously with the type of shoe you are wearing, some are chip magnets, some don't pick up much of anything. Great incentive to keep the floor clean! Consistent temperature is a huge plus for keeping rust at bay and super convenient to work. It's a great incentive to go do a little something on a whim without the project of getting dressed up, slogging through the rain, cranking up the heat, sweating you butt off etc. I can't imagine having to walk outside every time I need to do something. Bob

Offline Hugh Currin

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Re: Thoughts on Workshop Location
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2022, 03:58:15 PM »
In Oregon I had my shop in the lower level of a two car garage. No access via vehicle or forklift. The biggest problem I found was moving machines in and out. I finally cut a hole in the upstairs floor, built a hoist and lowered machines down.


Having done this twice, once in and once out, I think the biggest problem with a basement shop is getting the machines in/out. I now occupy two bays of a three car garage in Arizona. Infinitely easier to install/remove machines.

What is the access to your basement? How large are our machines?

Happiness is a warm shop though.

I'm wondering how many of you have your machine shop located in your basement vs. in a detached garage?
Hugh