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wmgeorge
07-11-2009, 10:10 AM
Looking forward to getting my wife to retire. We plan to sell the house we are in now, the one with the detached 24x24 shop and attached two car garage.

Looking forward also to getting a small townhouse or condo, limited room of course. But no yard and sidewalks to worry about if we are gone for a few months. Spending the summers at our even smaller lake house. Winters, a couple months south.

Ok that leaves Bill with no shop. My thinking right now is to get a covered trailer, extra headroom... maybe 7x14 or 7x16 foot. Then wire it up and move in my small mill, small lathe, metal saw and TIG/Stick inverter welder. Of course the tooling and other odds and ends. Figure I will need a tandem trailer, which I can pull with my Silverado pickup down to the lake where I can have my shop in the summer and then back to the townhouse, where I can park it in a storage unit and use from time to time.

Suggestions or ideas from someone else maybe has done it before?

Your Old Dog
07-11-2009, 10:25 AM
I can't offer any suggestions but can say I will be in the same boat. I realize I will have to restrict my shop interest to one that is conducive to a scaled down shop and find my pleasure with getting really good with what I have. At the moment my interest are too varied to pull it off. Good luck, keep us posted and don't dispair, we all know retirement is a bitch !! :D

rockrat
07-11-2009, 10:51 AM
A few thoughts that I have not run through throughly so bear with me.

First, I think that I would add up all the weight that I thought I would be pulling. Lathe, mill, grinder, welder, material, benches, lights, generator, air compressor, etc all will add up to some big numbers even with the equipment being the mini variety.

Double check all your GWR numbers and be certain the truck can pull it and the trailer can hold it. The trailer you buy should have a good amount of frame under it so that you can drill and bolt into it.

Second, everything will need to be bolted down. Plan out your area well because why its not impossible to move machines, it will be a paint to make a move.

Third, Condos around here have absolutely insane rules on what you can and can not do at your home. No boat parking for more than 1 hour (loading time) and this includes in the garage. Stupid, in my opinion yes but thats why I don't live there. Just make sure that you can do what you want at the condo. I know one fella that moved because he had a small lathe and mill in the garage and somehow that was against rules.

Fourth, entrance doors into the trailer. If you find a place that will let you park the trailer in an enclosed area, where will the doors need to be so that you can get in and out easily. Remember, getting out quickly is sometimes more important (and I hope that you never have to) than getting in.

Fifth, climate control. Air and heat? Your choice, both might require something on the top. Refer back to #3 and a garage that is big enough for the thing.

Lastly, electricity. If you are storing this big beauty in a storage facility make sure that you can get the electric that you need to it. Some facilities are required to only allow 1 - 15amp plug and one light from the ceiling.

Ok, I'm out. Good luck and let us know how you work it all out.

rockrat
07-11-2009, 10:54 AM
Oh, and why not make yourself available to do parking lot repairs. For example, when you get to Florida, head over to the nearest soda bottler and offer to set up in the parking lot and make parts for them.

I know that it would just be a shame to make money while your having fun.

rock~

deltaenterprizes
07-11-2009, 11:16 AM
I read about a guy that put a shop in an old school bus and would park out side an oil refinery during turn arounds and make parts.

Falcon67
07-11-2009, 11:57 AM
I'd be looking at a 20~24' car hauler, maybe with doors like this, though I'd rather the back door was a ramp.

http://www.allprowest.com/images/DSCN3237.JPG

You should go to a drag strip and nose around in some of the smaller enclosed trailers. Many are shops on wheels with a car parked inside. They can come with custom cabinets, generator space, nice floor, A/C, lighting, etc.

http://www.allprowest.com/images/DSCN9510.JPG
http://www.allprowest.com/images/4DSCN2594.JPG

Circlip
07-11-2009, 12:04 PM
Don't know what your guys did, but in the propper war,(WW2) the British Army had mobile workshops based on one of the truck bodies, about the same size as the Ambulance vehicles, could possibly have been the same body with windows and different fittings??

Regards Ian.

moldmonkey
07-11-2009, 02:46 PM
I forget what they call them, but what about the trailers designed to haul motorcycles, 4-wheelers in the back with a small living quarters in the front? That way you could travel and machine.:D With the way the economy is now you maybe able to find a used one for a good price.

Forrest Addy
07-11-2009, 03:25 PM
That's why they invented golf. It's for folks wwho never make stuff. They can store their hobbu in a golf bag.

If you make things from metal or wood you can either remain fixed in place by the scale of your equipment or make it portable by reducing the scale you work in. Clock making, model making, and technical sculpture can be done in a small space and both offer a scope taxing the talents of the most ambitious and energetic of workers.

Or you can dress up in funny clothes and play golf, produce nothing, an shrivel in self-esteem.

kf2qd
07-11-2009, 05:27 PM
Looks like most of those ideas put the shop on the inside. That trailer could get really warm inside when the sun shines down on it.

Have you thought of mounting the machines so you could operate them from outside the trailer (setup at the same height as if they were on a workbench. Put a pullout awning off the sides and you could have access to a nice large workshop. Machine shop on one side and weld shop on the other and storage in the middle.

Might make a couple solid folding tables you could place where you might need them and not have to have such a huge trailer as it would primarily be for storage and not for work space. Might not be so nice in a rainstorm, but then it might get a bit close inside the trailer during a rain storm anyways.

jeremy13
07-11-2009, 05:35 PM
On the government surplus website I had seen a 21/2 ton truck for auction with a small lathe, toolboxes, bench grinder and AC. Now that would make a mobile work shop.

Carld
07-11-2009, 06:05 PM
To Wmgeorge, when you buy your town house or patio home look around at the same time for a piece of property, that is a small lot that you can tear the existing home down or is empty or if in the country, a lot from a larger tract that you can legally put just a garage on. That would get you a place to get away from home to and a place to keep your tools and do some creative thinking and work while having a beer or two.

I don't think you will be happy with a trailer shop and you will have to have a place to put it so you will have to buy a lot somewhere. Now your back to having a fixed shop on a lot.

Too_Many_Tools
07-11-2009, 11:55 PM
Looking forward to getting my wife to retire. We plan to sell the house we are in now, the one with the detached 24x24 shop and attached two car garage.

Looking forward also to getting a small townhouse or condo, limited room of course. But no yard and sidewalks to worry about if we are gone for a few months. Spending the summers at our even smaller lake house. Winters, a couple months south.

Ok that leaves Bill with no shop. My thinking right now is to get a covered trailer, extra headroom... maybe 7x14 or 7x16 foot. Then wire it up and move in my small mill, small lathe, metal saw and TIG/Stick inverter welder. Of course the tooling and other odds and ends. Figure I will need a tandem trailer, which I can pull with my Silverado pickup down to the lake where I can have my shop in the summer and then back to the townhouse, where I can park it in a storage unit and use from time to time.

Suggestions or ideas from someone else maybe has done it before?

I would think long and hard before buying into the condo life if shop life is important to you.

If you have a shop, I would keep a very low profile.

A trailer is one possiblity.

You can also rent shop space.

If you go the condo route, store your shop...especially your major machines. I have seen more than one person who went the condo route and a year or two later wanted out.

It sounds like you are trying to avoid the maintainance of a home. Have you considered hiring someone to mow the lawn, shovel the snow, etc.? I would run the numbers before moving.

Good luck with whatever route you go.

TMT

BadDog
07-12-2009, 12:28 AM
My retirement intentions are the opposite. I want a largish steel building with several drive-in doors and high ceilings. In one corner, the equivalent of a 2 bedroom apartment plus game room for my 9' pool table and a "study" to serve as library/office/computer-room. The "second floor" open for he wife to pile with all her endless "craft project" crap (that never gets finished, and usually not even started). The "shop floor" is my domain. :cool:

But, if I had to take it on the road, I think I would do it one of two ways. One way would be like the US Army CE portable machine shops. All tightly fitted into a trailer with opening side panels, maybe adding in modern "slide-outs" as seen in motor homes and RVs. Better yet, a nice fifth-wheel (or better, goose neck) full panel van. Again, perhaps with slide-outs? But it could be pretty nice at about 30' long organized in a shot-gun approach with large stuff like lathe, mill (doubling as drill press?), Vidmars, layout, etc down one wall. Relatively shallow storage (shelves, bins, etc.) down the other side, and open path between. Overhead a gantry type rail to move things along the length, and a swinging crane at the rear to on/off-load as needed. I've got a chipped 2500HD with 30k reinforced Reese rail system and bags, so motive tractor power wouldn't be too much trouble.

wierdscience
07-12-2009, 05:09 PM
This is what the Army could pack into a 8x7x12' truck body during WWII.

http://www.usarmymodels.com/AFV%20PHOTOS/GMC%20MAINTENANCE%20TRUCK/instrument%20repair.jpg

Later they went to tandem axle truck trailers with slideouts and fold down floors and walls.Kinda like a machineshop in a popup camper:)

BadDog
07-12-2009, 05:51 PM
I guess the "popup" version is the one I saw (and was taking about).

Teenage_Machinist
07-12-2009, 06:18 PM
If you have machines any larger than "miniscule" you need to consider both dead and live weight. And anything larger than miniatures needs to be carefully balanced. Machines on one side and welding on the other seems like a rather bad idea, as the welders are likely of different weight.

Carld
07-12-2009, 09:28 PM
Wmgeorge, most patio home and condo subdivisions don't allow trailers or motor homes on the lot. Many subdivisions have rules about out buildings, trailers and motor homes.

I think you need to check the rules at some of the places you think you would like to buy at.

hardtail
07-12-2009, 09:44 PM
I was tryin to find some pics of a friends that he has in a van.........still not successful in locating........frown

tony ennis
07-12-2009, 10:36 PM
That trailer would look awfully tempting to a thief.

I'd look into rent a small space.

PSD KEN
07-12-2009, 11:15 PM
1. Keep house/shop
2. When traveling hire a maintenance group to handle yards.
That will avoid all the trials/tribulations mentioned above.

When I retired I went from 2 car garage to a 30X40 shop.

Falcon67
07-15-2009, 02:52 PM
Wmgeorge, most patio home and condo subdivisions don't allow trailers or motor homes on the lot. Many subdivisions have rules about out buildings, trailers and motor homes.

I think you need to check the rules at some of the places you think you would like to buy at.

Good point - many race friends have similar problems, i.e. city codes, subdivision restrictions, etc don't allow trailers in the street, driveway, side yard, etc.

PaulT
07-15-2009, 03:28 PM
The trailer route could work, but you have to watch weight. Most 14 to 20 ft trailers have dual 3500 lb axles, for 7000 total, but you have to take off the trailer weight, which can easily be half or that or more.

I'd look for a trailer that had dual 5000 lb axles, giving you 10,000 total to work with.

You'll see a lot of these kind of trailers at auto or motorcycle races, if you're looking at the shorter end (ie 12 to 16 foot) check out some motorcycle races or kart or quartermidget races. If you go to web sites related to those various motor sports you'll see some used trailers for sale. These can be a good deal as often they're already wired for 110v, and often have a workbench installed, lighting, cabinets, integrated tool boxes, compressor, etc.

I had a 14' trailer along those lines when my sons were racing quartermidgets, it was a nice piece, better looking to work in than my current shop. I ended up selling it for 7 grand, it was about 5 years old but in good shape, probably had about 14 k in it with all the options I had added.

They make some pretty stout locking devices you can loop through the trailer nose beams to secure them (as long as you have something substantial to attach to), they definetly would cause the typical dumb and lazy ass thief to look for something easier to steal.

Good luck-

Paul T.

Too_Many_Tools
07-15-2009, 06:19 PM
Have you considered buying a condo close to an industrial area where you could rent shop space?

That way you get your condo and shop with no maintainance...just a monthly fee.

camdigger
07-15-2009, 09:27 PM
Depending on where you are, sometimes the electrical outlets in parking facilities are on timers to save electricity bills. Being in the middle of a job and having the power cut by a timer is a big PITA.

Before I went mobile, I'd seriously look at the concept of a shop-in-a-closet like some members here have. IIRC, Rudy K. had all small portable machines.

wierdscience
07-15-2009, 10:10 PM
Here's a more modern military version,flip through the picks.The unit has it's ouw genset,welder,air compressor,SB Turnado lathe,Rockwell 20DP,autmotive tools,jacks even a Versa-mill.Nice for a traveling road show on plant shut downs.Sadly the last one of these in good shape brought $21,000.

http://www.govliquidation.com/auction/view_photo?eventId=4620&lotNumber=1&picNumber=1

Cheeseking
07-15-2009, 11:09 PM
I would be concerned about your stuff rusting up from the inevitable humidity ingestion/condensation cycle. I suppose if you store it somewhere where the temperature stays relatively constant it may not be too bad.

How about a used straight box truck. You get BIG GVWR, usually 454 gas motor, beefy wood plank floor. Some used for food delivery may even have built in AC and a lift gate to boot! I see them for sale $5-$25K all over.
Check it out - http://www.trucker.com/TruckDetail.aspx?TruckID=1021427&CompanyID=30026 19,000lb rear axle!
Not sure what one of those fancy race car snomobile trailers cost but I bet they push $15k in this size.

wmgeorge
07-17-2009, 04:34 PM
I have been just sitting back and reading all the replies. Wow so much talent on the forum! I wish we could afford to keep this shop and of course the house :). But the city and school district are spending money right and left. My taxes will surely double in a few years.

Then the cost of heating it when we are not here and the worry about the sump pump failing or heat going off in the dead of winter.

Still considering all my options.... including the shop in a trailer concept.

Too_Many_Tools
08-03-2009, 02:59 AM
If you go with a portable shop, perhaps the group can suggest machines that will work in a portable setup?

Nick Carter
08-03-2009, 03:34 PM
I just saw one at the Brooks Steam up for $8500! I got the guy's phone# if anyone is interested.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_aNjK3CTQ0DE/SnZmlL3psAI/AAAAAAAAICo/tSJ1uMXmf3k/s1600-h/08020905.jpg
I have no connection to the guy at all but that does seem like a screaming deal. Had the Turnado, drill press, etc.
503-742-4594 days 503-655-6698 nights.
Sold by the Oregon Electric Railway Society.


Here's a more modern military version,flip through the picks.The unit has it's ouw genset,welder,air compressor,SB Turnado lathe,Rockwell 20DP,autmotive tools,jacks even a Versa-mill.Nice for a traveling road show on plant shut downs.Sadly the last one of these in good shape brought $21,000.

http://www.govliquidation.com/auction/view_photo?eventId=4620&lotNumber=1&picNumber=1