Friday, January 8, 2021

Things Are Moving

I just don't have any decent pictures to show what I'm doing.  Let me back up a minute.  

We started down the road of my building a dream shop for retirement in 2013 and broke ground on it in early 2014. As always, no one can predict the future with absolute accuracy so we had no idea that an early retirement offer would change my plans and have me retire after the addition was put on the house but long before the shop was done.  In '14, we had the addition put on the house, with the construction being finished in May and by the end of the year adding the big machines.  Long time readers might remember stories I posted as I converted my milling machine to CNC.

We've been adding household stuff into the room as well as adding tools and accessories all over the shop, but living with the original layout of the shop since the completion of the CNC conversion in 2016. 

As I'm wrapping up the project that has sucked so much time in the last 18 months (!?!), my little IC engine, I've noticed some things I did wrong in the shop layout that have started to annoy me.  I finally decided I wanted to change the layout in the shop, increase storage around the metal shop area, and eventually decided that it needed to be pretty seriously changed.  I had silly little issues like having to walk from the mill halfway through the shop to get a drill bit or a screw.  While I think that stuff about walking 10,000 steps a day is a meaningless number not based on anything, I especially don't want to do it in a couple of hours in the shop. 

The vision when I started was there were to be three shop areas.  One would be machine tools - lathes and mills (there are three and two respectively).  The second area would be for woodworking with a pair of woodworking benches, table saw, router table and hand tools.  The third area would be for reloading, cleaning and working on guns, plus working on fishing tackle, making lures and the very occasional fishing rod.  By necessity, it has morphed into the area where I do much of my battery testing.  (The necessity is that I have nowhere else to set up a computer and monitor.)

In intervening years, the limited woodworking I've done is to build a few sets of shelves that went into the reloading area, and the enclosure for the big milling machine.  There have been a couple of other things, but nothing major. 

The mill in its enclosure when I declared the CNC conversion done and started trying to make things with it.  In the bottom left corner of the picture you see a wooden bench top with a mouse pad on it. 

In the next day or so, the mill enclosure and that work bench, which is paired in an "L" with another bench just like it, will swap places.

Oh, and there's more geekiness to come.


  1. Yeah, I know the feeling. When I put the shop together in the basement I just grabbed some cheap wood doors and some cheap plastic saw horses from Harbor Freight. It's OK over on the model car side of the shop, but the one door I have for the electronics bench is sagging (DUH!), so I need to rethink my "desk top(s)".

    At one time I was considering some counter tops with a real wood 2x4 "frame" holding them up, but they wouldn't fit in the Jeep, and I'm too cheep to pay the HD delivery charge!

    Hmmm...well we have this truck now, and ........

  2. Had an acquaintance a long time ago who built a woodworking shop- about 40 x 80. he had never worked professionally in a shop before, but had all the machines laid out on a floor plan, and cast the conduit into the concrete floor, with 1' standups for the receptacles. Bad idea to lock in like that.
    Flexibility is key.

    1. Which is why in my shop (which has three zones just like SiG does) all the power comes from the ceiling with dropdown cords. The main wiring is all surface conduit, which isn't tough to change around if you need to re-arrange.

      I haven't put it in yet because I haven't gotten to a lot of woodworking either, but theoretically the dust control ductwork will be on the ceiling as well.

    2. My dust collection system has typically been running the shop vac next to the saw/whatever. Then I got the idea to get one of those 4" hose systems from Rockler and leave the dust collector on the cart up against the wall. I got a handful of accessories that adapt like the router table and other things from 2" to 4" lines and a hose that extends to 40' (although it's hard to handle).

      I still end up vacuuming up dust from around every tool with the dust collector set up to vacuum the floor.

      I've never seen one set up in permanent installation like you say, Malatrope. Let me know if you get around to putting it in how it works for you.

    3. Edit to add: all my power outlets are on the wall. I put a 220V high current outlet back where the metal shop is in case I bought a larger machine that needed it.

  3. As I understand your IC engine project, you aim on doing everything from scratch. So tell us how you make the ball bearings, the spark plug, etc. please, 'cos I couldn't.

    1. No, not really. The goal of building the IC engine is to build one that works and learn as much as possible along the way. I bought ball bearings, the spark plug, the carburetor and the fuel tank. Spark plugs aren't particularly hard, but the way we have to buy raw materials would have cost me twice what a plug from the auto parts store costs. As for the carb, the guy who drew up the plans for the engine says, "do yourself a favor and don't build this carburetor" (his design in the plans) and recommends one from an RC plane.

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