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Shield for Work Bench Power Strip

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  • Shield for Work Bench Power Strip

    I have installed a power strip on the front of a work bench, just under the front edge. I also have one on the back of the bench that does not show in the photo for obvious reasons, so that is not in question. As you can see in the picture, this front one is just about even with the front edge of the bench and I don't like that. For one thing the plugs will stick out too far and may be damaged. And another is safety as it was not easy to mount it with the ground connections in the upper position so if something conductive falls between the strip and the plugs, the fireworks would commence.

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    I think I want to add some kind of a shield above it, on the front edge of the bench top. I have two ideas; a wood strip or a piece of aluminum/metal angle or channel. In either case I would have it only over where the power strip is, not all the way to the ends of the bench because I want to keep the present vise and any future ones at the edge and not recessed back from it. That allows long pieces to be gripped in a vertical position. I may make it even a bit shorter then the power strip to just cover where the outlets are.

    An additional thought I have is if I use a metal shield, I could possibly make it to be adjustable, either flush with the top or a small amount (1/4"?) of so above it to prevent round things from rolling off. This could be done with Vee shaped slots with different dimensions on the two sides of the Vees and mounting it with slightly loose screws.

    I am asking for any thoughts on these two ways and if there are any other ways to consider doing this. And suggestions as to how far it should stick out. I don't think it will ever be enough to fully protect all possible power plugs, but numbers like 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1 1/2" come to mind. I would appreciate any of your thoughts on these questions.

    And yes, the bench is a total mess. And I did clean up a bit for the photo. Really I did.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

  • #2
    Rubber flap/curtain?
    Helder Ferreira
    Setubal, Portugal

    Comment


    • #3
      How about mounting the power strip such that the outlets face the floor? That way nothing can drop into them and when a cord is plugged in, it does not project out beyond the front edge of the bench top.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by alanganes View Post
        How about mounting the power strip such that the outlets face the floor? That way nothing can drop into them and when a cord is plugged in, it does not project out beyond the front edge of the bench top.
        That's what I did in my last house. It takes some practice to plug cords in since you can't see the outlet. But otherwise it works well.

        Comment


        • #5
          Rubber flap is good. Slice it on each side of the outlets, and then you only need it flipped up where you are actually using an outlet.
          1601

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

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          • #6
            Hi Paul,

            One thing that you could do too is take the strip apart and rewire it for the ground up as the inside of these is rather modular and just flip it around to feed from the other end to get the ground in the up position.
            I would also agree about the idea of mounting it in the face down position by adding a wood strip on the front for just enough to take the full width of the strip. this way your sure you have it covered and it's safe to use without damaging the cords that are plugged in. I've got this on 2 benches and it's not that hard to plug into, even when you can't see the face of the plug, you just have to flip the cord around sometimes for the wide prong of the neutral to the tool.

            Good luck and let us know how it comes out.

            TX
            Mr fixit
            Chris

            Comment


            • #7
              How can you work on that cluttered workbench? No wonder you're worried about spilling something on your power strip. Don't want to anger you just wondering...

              Use a strip of weatherstrip that goes on the front edge of your garage door.
              Last edited by Tungsten dipper; 07-30-2020, 09:23 AM.

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              • #8
                i would keep it simple and just rip a piece of 2 by and screw it to the edge of the bench short of the vise and call it done.
                Sole proprietor of Acme Buggy Whips Ltd.
                Specialty products for beating dead horses.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mount the strip facing down as others have said so it's self draining.
                  Clean up the bench to make the other power strip accessible, making this one unnecessary/
                  Last edited by reggie_obe; 07-30-2020, 12:46 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Another vote for face down. And then to make it a little easier to put the plugs into the sockets mark the edge of the bench with the locations of the sockets. You might even try attaching a "funneling strip" of 1/4" plywood to the face of the strip with cutouts over each socket that aids you by letting you find the socket at least quite easily and then a little bit of fumbling will soon have the prongs finding the socket holes.

                    If you don't like the face down idea or try it and find that it's more trouble than it is worth then switch it back to facing out like you have but add a 1 to 1.5" wide strip of wood to the front edge as a guard.

                    The flap would work but I'm pretty sure I'd soon get tired of having to get under it to reach the sockets. Although I think making the flap out of multiple pieces might help a little. Still, if this is a bench that you'll use with liquids a lot I think that instead of a flap I'd just make the new front edge addition with a drip rail on the bottom corner. Not anything sharp or you'll drag your hand on it all the time. Just a slightly lower and nicely rounded front lower corner so any liquids drip off instead of running down, around and then back to the bench face and into the power strip. It doesn't take much.
                    Chilliwack BC, Canada

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      if you want to keep it as is then a hinged flap (1/4" ply?) would do the trick.

                      I have one of those strips that I cut in two and screwed to the front of my bench under the top drawers. Never had any problems with stuff hanging up on it and all the things I plug in to them (bar one) face sideways so they don't interfere with the drawers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just thinking about things that could possibly fall down between the gap and cause a short. By rights it would be best if the neutral side faced up and the ground to the side. That way those two prongs would aid with not allowing stuff to contact either one and then the hot side.
                        Chilliwack BC, Canada

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          One issue I fight with all the time is the cords hanging in front of the drawers. In one room I have little space, and I have to sit in one spot only. There are drawers to my left, and I'm left handed, so the soldering station cord is always hanging in front of the drawers. I don't curse about it, it's not that bad- but it is begging for a solution of some kind. I could potentially mount a divider of sorts just to the right of the drawers, and have the cords hanging to the right of the divider. In your case, that would mean mounting the power bar vertically on one of those front facing 2x4s- maybe with a bit of a shield on either side of it. But your bar looks to be too long for that. Can you cut it in half and mount each half on those 2x4s?

                          You're giving me some ideas now. A while ago I decided that I'd build an 'ac station' on a swing-out arm under the bench top. On that arm I'd have a regular outlet, plus a pair of binding posts or spring clips, something like that anyway, so I can quickly hook up bare wires to supply power to. There would be a switch for each, a light to show when they are on, and maybe a connection point for an ammeter. The swing-out would be plugged into a power bar, so it would have the protection from that breaker. An alternative would be to power it from the isolation transformer- which now that I'm thinking of it, would be the way to do it.
                          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                          • #14
                            I tried that but it is wider than high so it stuck out about a quarter inch. But looking at your comment and the need for something on that front edge, it seems more advantageous in the light of day. Then I would only need to add a small strip, perhaps 1/4" or 1/2".



                            Originally posted by alanganes View Post
                            How about mounting the power strip such that the outlets face the floor? That way nothing can drop into them and when a cord is plugged in, it does not project out beyond the front edge of the bench top.
                            Paul A.
                            SE Texas

                            Make it fit.
                            You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, that's two votes for that. I think I could handle the confusion factor and it does keep the plugs and cords out of the way almost completely. Now I remember why I rejected it: due to the orientation of the cord's entrance to the strip I would have had to reverse it end-for-end and the cord would be on the other side. Then I would need to add an extension to it to reach the outlet behind the bench. But I am still considering it.



                              Originally posted by gmax137 View Post

                              That's what I did in my last house. It takes some practice to plug cords in since you can't see the outlet. But otherwise it works well.
                              Paul A.
                              SE Texas

                              Make it fit.
                              You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

                              Comment

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