View Full Version : Putting 10 lbs. of Tools In a 5 lb. Shop

09-08-2007, 10:43 PM
Well it is about time to do another reorganization of the ole home shop. ;<)

I am looking for suggestions as to what you have done to fit more tools and supplies into your personal homeshop.

Thanks for any advice you might be able to offer.


09-08-2007, 10:59 PM
Stack stuff up . Things you use a lot on bottom . Things you dont use so much on top.I have been known to take the wheels of roll around tool chest and stack one on top of the other.

09-09-2007, 12:44 AM
start stacking stuff outside under tarps, or build another shed.

andy b.

09-09-2007, 03:43 AM
Well it is about time to do another reorganization of the ole home shop. ;<)

I am looking for suggestions as to what you have done to fit more tools and supplies into your personal homeshop.

Thanks for any advice you might be able to offer.


A lot of...yes dear,...I'll get to it as soon as I can dear.

09-09-2007, 06:06 AM
I am using all three methods posted, unsuccessfully.

09-09-2007, 06:15 AM


Here is what I did to solve the overflow problem.

Your Old Dog
09-09-2007, 09:06 AM
I think the most practical is a yard sale with a sign that says "yard sale...some tools". That will alleviate your problem right now!

Send me an email when you schedule your sale! :D (I'm still able to find some room here)

If I had to offer a realistic suggestion it would be to split everything that ain't a tool out of the shop. Put all stock and support equipment in a shed. Don't have a shed? Do as they do in some parts of town and park an old used van in your yard, decorate it with flowers and weeds and fill it up with overflow :D This idea works best with a couple of cars jacked up and setting on cinder blocks next to the old van due to a normalizing/desensitizing phenomenon.

09-09-2007, 10:49 AM
To make more room in my shop, I put my 10" by 36" lathe on wheels. I built a VERY sturdy frame to put under the lathe and move it against the wall when not is use and move it out when I need it. Admittedly it is not easy to move but it was that or no room for the mill.

The lathe had to be made mobile when the 3000 lb. knee mill arrived. I can't use the lathe and mill at the same time but it forces me to plan my work so that I can work on one and then on the other so there is no interferince between the two.


09-09-2007, 11:34 AM
I went through the re-organization process last fall and was amazed how much more usable space I had when I took the time to "build" my shop in CAD.

Nothing fancy like 3D or photo-realistic renderings needed. In 2D TurboCAD I measured up the shop floor (also the fold-down attic stairway) and all the big stuff like toolboxes, workbenches, lathe, mill, bandsaw, etc, etc. I saved the individual items as "groups" (blocks in AutoCAD) and shuffled them around until the space was used most efficiently. My brain will NOT do stuff like that on it's own. I'm forced to draw things out to scale and plod along until it looks right. My wife can walk into a room and say: "This goes here, that goes over there, this will fit on top of that, etc, etc." Pi$$es me off!

If you don't speakah-da-CAD, just draw everything out to scale on graph paper, cut out the movable objects and shift them around for the best fit.

Anyway, my shop is still full but I can now work pretty efficiently and even open the attic stairs without moving anything. Haven't been able to do that in years!

Speaking of attic, do you have an attic and can you floor it with glued and screwed-down plywood sheets and put in an attic stair unit like I did? That will open up a whole new world of junk storage, uhhh, I mean future project inventory storage.;):D

One last thing, I always have trouble throwing away hobby magazines (never know when I might need the April '59 issue of Model Airplane News!) and they were taking up a lot of space in the shop. I found some reasonably priced cardboard magazine storage boxes, sorted, organized and labeled them by year and moved all but the last 2 years up in the attic over the shop. I found this little shelf unit at a garage sale for $1.00 and mounted it in the unused space over the door to the shop and now magazine storage ain't a problem.

Mark Hockett
09-09-2007, 09:05 PM
One way I saved some space was to put rotating heads on my bench grinder stands so I can mount two grinders on one stand. I made a foot pedal latch assembly to lock the head. Here is a picture of one of the stands,


The one in the picture has been in service for over ten years.

The stand is from Harbor Freight and the bearing I used is from a 3.0L V6 Toyota cam belt idler.

Frank Ford
09-09-2007, 09:46 PM
I've been working in the same 18 x 18 detached garage for the last 36 years, and it gets tighter all the time.

At this point I have no wall space left anywhere:
I stick shelf units wherever I can fit 'em. For strength and versatility, I build my shelves exactly like freestanding bookcases, with backs nailed to the shelves. That way I can move the entire unit, and the shelves don't sag no matter how I load 'em.

I have as many things as I can on wheels. Bandsaws, buffers, table saw, all the lighter tools. Here, I have milling tool drawers on super heavy smooth casters, in front of my paint cabinet, also on casters. It stands in front of a giant old fire safe in which I keep lesser used items:
May seem cumbersome, but the big oversize casters make shoving a heavy tool cabinet really easy.

Drill chart on the ceiling, along with lights and infrared heaters:

And, half a wall of Sears tool cabinets, off their casters to save space:



Frank Ford
FRETS.COM (http://www.frets.com)
Gryphon Stringed Instruments (http://www.gryphonstrings.com)
My Home Shop Pages (http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Machining/index.html)

09-10-2007, 12:59 AM
[QUOTE=Too_Many_Tools]Well it is about time to do another reorganization of the ole home shop. ;<)

I am looking for suggestions as to what you have done to fit more tools and supplies into your personal homeshop.

Thanks for any advice you might be able to offer.

Try to organize this!
The 12 x 24 foot room contains a South Bend 10K, a bead blast cabinet, Millermatic 251 Mig, Miller Syncrowave180 Tig machine, Rockwell Vari speed Drill Press. 55 amp plasma arc cutter, Rockwell disc sander. Baldor 7/8 inch double shaft buffer, oxy-acetalyene tanks, 12 ton floor press, Graymill Parts Washer, Rockwell 7 inch grinder, the metal work bench and the Dillon XL650 reloading machine thats sitting bolted to the top.
The Bridgeport, the Unisaw, the Rockwell shaper, 14 inch bandsaw, 12 inch belt/disc sander, the Quincy 5hp 2 stage air compressor and two Harley-Davidsons are (behind the left wall) inside a two car garage. Oh, I forgot the wife's car. Don't want to leave that out...Heh-Heh.
Organize? I gave up a long time ago.......pg


Mark Hockett
09-10-2007, 02:51 AM
My shop is only 20'X20'. I have a Fadal 15XT with 30" x16" travels, Milltronics CNC knee mill that is the size of a Lagun mill with a 10" X 50" table, Haas TL-1 CNC lathe, 13" x 40" manual lathe, 9" x 42" vertical manual mill, 7" X 12" mini lathe, mig welder, a couple of tool boxes and a bunch of inspection equipment packed in there.


Just to the left of the picture is another shop where I do all of my anodizing.

Mark Hockett

Ed Tipton
09-10-2007, 06:27 PM
Once you've utilized all of your floor space, pretty much the only way to go is up, assuming of course, that you cannot build onto your existing shop.
I mounted everything that I could onto wheels, excluding lathes and millers, and then started going up. At one point, I actually had pallet racks where I had the bottom eight feet left open so that I could put my machines under the shelves, and then used the upper elevations for shelving those items that I couldn't bring myself to get rid of. It's not always convenient, and of course, doing that, you will need to find storage for your ladder. At the end of the day, it's always a trade-off.
Ultimately, I had to just suck it up, and start getting rid of things that I really didn't need, but just wanted. I mean, do you really NEED 30 hammers, forty different pliars, three tablesaws, two chop saws, three lathes, etc. It was hard, but I actually found that I really didn't need everything I had, and I started "thinning out". What I found was that I re-discovered an old friend. I now actually have room to work in my shop, and get more enjoyment from the tools that I actually find time to use.
When I go to auctions, I still buy tools like there is no tomorrow, but when I get the stuff home, I cull out the things I dont want/need, and then have a sale of my own, rather than keeping everything.
Then, when all else fails, there is that ultimate space-saver....DISCIPLINE!

09-10-2007, 07:53 PM
Mark, how are you powering that Fadal? Is it a single phase machine, do you get 3 phase, or are you using a converter(rotary/digital sine/etc)?

The reason I ask is because I want a Haas VF really, REALLY bad, and am unlikely to get 3 phase power, so when I see somebody else do it, it piquues my curiousity, especially as these machines are much more picky about their power.


Mark Hockett
09-10-2007, 11:04 PM
The Fadal is a 3ph 480-volt machine. I power all the 3ph equipment in my shop with one Phase Perfect phase converter. I use a step-up transformer to get the 480 voltage for the Fadal. There are many advantages to using the Phase Perfect converter; the power is much cleaner than what you get from most power lines. There is less than 1% deviation from leg to leg. Another advantage is I pay residential power rates, which are lower in my area, and I didn't have to pay to get a 3ph line run to my home. The unit is fairly small and light, which allowed me to mount it on a shelf near the ceiling so I don’t loose any floor space. And it is very quiet which is nice in a small shop. I also looked at the VF's and the Phase Perfect was the only way I could power it and not void the warranty.

I was going to buy a new VF-2 but a friend had this Fadal in a home shop and wasn't using it so he decided to sell it to me. It came with the 480 volt transformer, Phase Perfect converter, 4th axis, about 20 tool holders, a Kurt vise and some other stuff for one third what the Haas was going to cost with no tooling, so I canceled the order on the Haas. Being from a home shop the Fadal had very low hours on it and has been a great machine. I had also worked in a Fadal shop for quite a while and even had Fadal factory training, Which helped me decide which machine to purchase.

Powering a VMC in a home shop is very easy up to 20hp, which is what the Haas will probably be. 30hp can be done but the 30hp PP converter requires a 200-amp breaker. Here is their web site if you want the specs,

09-11-2007, 02:18 AM
I had a suspicion it was a digital sine inverter if you had single phase power. Many of the integrated control CNC machines simply do not get along with rotaries, even the socalled "CNC ready" ones.

I'm kinda in the same position you are as to choice of machine - the devil you know, eh?;) I thought about financing something like their enclosed body TM's, as their both single phase, and small enough and light enough to go in the current garage, but I really just want to move to someplace with more room, so the VMC takes a back seat.


Spin Doctor
09-11-2007, 10:56 AM
I think the most practical is a yard sale with a sign that says "yard sale...some tools". That will alleviate your problem right now!

Send me an email when you schedule your sale! :D (I'm still able to find some room here)

Sounds like the kind of solution my wife would have

metal mite
09-11-2007, 11:54 AM
Sorry i ain't been around here lately.
Here is my old shop in the P.V.C.'s garage.
She made me put up a building with the purchase of the Fadal TRM.


You can always tell how cool the stuff is in the garage by the scrape marks on the driveway!

New shop:




More pics to come.

The guy with the droopy drawers is just an undocumented hired on the corner at 7/11


metal mite
09-11-2007, 12:00 PM




I guess I have room for a cople more pounds.

I try to leave 18" around, and behind every machine to clean behind.

Anyone have some extra good junk!

I'll move the canoe and tractor back in the yard where they should be.

Mighty Metal Mite

Michael Moore
09-11-2007, 04:23 PM
If I had to offer a realistic suggestion it would be to split everything that ain't a tool out of the shop.

I finally did that. Dead storage stuff needs to be in dead storage. I also find that having fewer projects in the shop makes it a little harder to get distracted from the current project. Not that I lack distractions, but I'll take any help I can get.

Shelves do need to run the full vertical height of the walls - no sense wasting space.