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Thread: Shop inside the house

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Tampa Bay, FL

    Default Shop inside the house

    Hello all. I had a question that I was hoping to get some insight on.

    I'm very new to the machining hobby, and I'm going to pick up my first big tool tomorrow morning, a Logan 955 lathe. It will live in the garage for now in the space that was occupied by the motorcycle I just sold.

    My wife and I are "empty nesters" with two empty bedrooms in the house. I was thinking about seizing one of the spare rooms to use as a shop, since the garage is quite full of old Toyotas. Along with the lathe will be a MIG, TIG, horizontal bandsaw, benchtop drill press, bench grinder. Some day, hopefully, a nice small mill. However, I'm worried about how messy that will become. Removing the flooring down to the concrete and covering the walls is easy (laminate flooring), but oil, metal chips, smoke, etc. is what I'm worried about.

    Does anyone have a metal shop inside the house, or am I crazy?

    Mike M.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Kansas City area


    The machining in the house will be messy, but can be dealt with. The noise may annoy the better half. I would not do welding inside the house due to fire hazard.

  3. #3


    My guess is No-Way.
    Metal chips and swarf tracked all over the house, smelly sulpher oil, noisy chatter, not to mention the smelly smoke of sulfer oil when you really 'get it dialed in'.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    London, UK


    My shop shares an attached single garage with my motorcycles - the door is a straight ten feet into the kitchen.

    I have lathe, mill, drill, grinder, TIG, solvents - all the usual stuff. I get no complaints. The daughter whose bedroom was above the garage has flow the nest, so I can even machine late.

    I suppose there's a smoky smell when I'm doing welding over 50 amps or so, but then I shut and lock the door whenever I'm welding to stop idiot family intruding and blinding themselves.

    If you're talking a ground floor room, I'd say you have no worries. Maybe negotiate some ground rules about when you open the windows.

    With a concrete floor, you either need bits of carpet to grab the swarf, or a good doormat to clean your soles.

    Just tell your wife that everybody does it nowadays - messy is the new neat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006


    Basements and garages are a different thing because their somewhat isolated - but in a connected room to the dwelling itself is a whole nuther ballgame --- i would not do it and i live alone, I would not want to put up with the lingering machine shop smell and chip potential and all the other niceties that go along with it...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Oregon Coast


    My guess is that your insurance company might be ask this question. I don't think they would be happy about it.
    Mel Larsen
    I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    SF East Bay.


    Lathes are messy. Coolant / lubricant get slung from rotating parts. When you are doing a deep cut the chips get hot enough to melt into the rubber mats on the floor. The cutting oils smoke when you are cutting aggressively.

    I might be tempted to use TIG in the spare room with fireproof walls and concrete floor, but not MIG. Too much splatter that can get into flammable areas.

    Measure twice. Cut once. Weld. Repeat.
    ( Welding solves many problems.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    yuma az


    I suppose you could do it if you wanna spend the money to do it .the machining and chips can be handled by the right mats a shop vac. the biggest problem will be the smell if you can route that outside your next biggest problem actually the biggest problem is sparks and fire proofing .I would not weld or do anything that makes sparks in a regular room what you can do is cover the entire room in concrete backer board used for tile it's very fire proof. I use it for barriers all the time and I use hardiebacker board to block flames when soldering plumbing in tight wall cavitys .anyway you can cover the walls and ceiling in backer board then get backer board mesh and thinset and tape all the seems just like doing drywall. get everything you don't want a spark or something getting past the board and burning down the house or just clean out the garage but if your garage is attached it's not that big of a difference

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    san jose, ca. usa


    you'll be single soon.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Chilliwack, BC, Canada


    Is there a window in that room that can be used to vent fumes away?

    I don't see anything wrong with a dedicated metal shop in the house. But I'd suggest the following....

    • Weather seal the door to the rest of the basement both for sound deadening and to avoid smells going into the rest of the house.
    • Put in a bathroom vent and run it when you're doing anything extra smelly other than the usual oil and metal scents.
    • If the ceiling is open then clad it. A suspended acoustic tile panel option would again aid with keeping the noises from machines, hammering and swearing muted.
    • Use shop slippers religiously. Change at the door. House slippers NEVER go into the shop and shop slippers NEVER cross the door threshold. And a clothes brush at the door to brush off the chips on the clothing.
    • If you lift the present flooring and the concrete is bare then seal then paint it with a good floor paint. It'll reduce the risk of staining and it's a WORLD better to sweep stuff off a painted floor than a bare concrete floor.

    Do all that and I think you'll find that it works out fine. And no welding in the house. Even without the fire risk the fumes created are just too much to deal with when you only have a weak bathroom fan for air exchange.

    It's also worth a bit of attention to a "cleaning friendly" area so chips that fly don't fall down into or behind things. That way they are easy to sweep up and keep the area clean. And a good sheet metal back panel to the lathe plays a big part in that. Assuming you attach the sheet metal to the wall and then move the lathe into place the metal should angle out at the bottom so the chips and oil it catches drops down into the back edge of the chip tray.
    Last edited by BCRider; 01-11-2019 at 09:17 PM.

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