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  • Making the most of your space?

    I need to reorganize my workshop to maximize floor space. I am tired of operating inside of a WW2 submarine.
    I'm thinking I need to move the lathes against the walls. Everything else is on casters and can be wheeled around except the Bridgeport and K.O. Lee. I'll need to offset the lathes away from the walls so the Gantry has access. Want the middle to be open. May have to redo some of my shelves.
    Thoughts? I've never had to extend something far out behind the lathe headstock, so that shouldn't be a consideration.

  • #2
    I'm in the process of figuring out how to rearrange my 22' X 30' shop but am looking at doing the opposite as you. I'm thinking of moving the milling machine to the center of the shop for easier access. Currently most of the machines are away from walls leaving room for work benches and movable machines/tables.

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    • #3
      I moved the lathe to the middle of the work space too, with wheeled (movable) machines arranged on one side or the other. It worked well until I put a second stationary object (large belt sander) next to the movable things. It created a grid lock. Several of the movable items have not moved in years.

      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

      Location: SF East Bay.

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      • #4
        If you have not done so already I strongly advise you do a diagram and plan it all out. It's one thing to look through the door and say "this will go there and that will go here". But it really sucks when it doesn't work out.

        Either in CAD if you speak CAD or do a floor plan on paper and make little card stock cutouts to scale of your machines and furniture. Play "dollhouse" and take pictures so you remember anything at all that looks even half way workable for later comparison.

        I did my setup in CAD and easily had 6 versions of a "plan" at the end all in the same CAD file. I took a bit of this and some of that to come up with the final version. I'm glad I did too since working with the first 4 or 5 versions gave me ideas that were not even a spark when I started.
        Chilliwack BC, Canada

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        • #5
          While you are following BCRider's sound advice, remember to make your models with the tables extended full length on BOTH sides. A Bridgeport with a 48 (???) inch table might extend another two feet on either side of the knee PLUS the handles. If the knee is 20 inches wide the table might stick out 28 inches on either side. 20 + 28 + 28 is over 6 feet.

          Dan
          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

          Location: SF East Bay.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RB211 View Post
            I need to reorganize my workshop to maximize floor space. I am tired of operating inside of a WW2 submarine.
            I'm thinking I need to move the lathes against the walls. Everything else is on casters and can be wheeled around except the Bridgeport and K.O. Lee. I'll need to offset the lathes away from the walls so the Gantry has access. Want the middle to be open. May have to redo some of my shelves.
            Thoughts? I've never had to extend something far out behind the lathe headstock, so that shouldn't be a consideration.
            Being older than you I can only share some sage wisdom. The best way to maximize floor space in one's shop is to increase the floor area.

            Anything less probably only works in the short term obsessive for puzzle solvers...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Henro View Post
              Being older than you I can only share some sage wisdom. The best way to maximize floor space in one's shop is to increase the floor area.

              Anything less probably only works in the short term obsessive for puzzle solvers...
              True words... I'm thinking about a reshuffle right now to squeeze in a surface grinder that may be coming shortly. I will be calling a concrete truck in the spring to add the extra space though, but right now I need a bigger shoehorn. I'd honestly rather pass on this one and wait till the spring, but it might be free, so, tough to pass up at that price.....

              I started drawing stuff what I have in Cad to help with the reshuffle. It's much easier to move printed out machines on paper, than it is with a pinch bar . But I've done pretty good with a tape measure and eyecrometer so far.

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              • #8
                I'm reshuffling too.
                I got a old large workbench that seems to just collect stuff on top rather than actually there for building stuff.
                I bought a rollaway toolbox to replace the workbench, put all the 'tools' in it and throw away the rest of junk.
                My drill press was on a skinny little table of sorts, it was my Dad's. I bought a toolbox 'end' cabinet, and mounted the drill press on the top, and filled the drawers with nothing but drills, taps, dies.
                My biggest problem is that I have little cabinet space, or, drawer space, I got stuff just sitting around.
                The toolboxes at Harbor Freight have come up in quality a whole lot as of recently. they not a Snap-on, but better than HomeDepot/Lowes.
                I did fabricate a moveable base for the mill, I like it. there is a thread on it.
                it basically a steel pallet with permanant skate wheels in the back, and move the front with a johnson bar. has levelling bolts in it too.

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                • #9
                  I’m basically there now as well. I only have a 20x20 shop and 2 of the walls are pretty much spoken for with 1 having the overhead door and a sink and the other having a 12’ counter/bench and the walk in door.

                  I’m currently on the look out for some decently priced Vidmar/Lista cabinets to replace some of my roller tool boxes. A 12’ shelf up towards the ceiling for storage is coming in the next week or so.

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                  • #10
                    The day that you place the head stock end of a lathe against a wall is the same day that you receive a job that requires 8 feet of stock hanging out the back (-:
                    This was a long part. If you need to load long parts (length of the spindle) that are max thru spindle diameter you will often have to remove the tail stock to do so. Large turret lathes are loaded from the back because the turret is in the way, plan ahead.
                    Last edited by Bented; 12-21-2020, 06:28 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Mine is 14x20, and I've re arranged it quite a few times as I've accumulated tools and machines. I used to try and leave it "open" (so I could pull half a car in to work, but gave up on that at the last shuffle and put my welding table in the middle, with machines around the outside. I'm thinking for the next go round I might do the opposite and put the machines in the middle with a couple benches around the outside. Not sure yet, but I'll play around more with cad and paper models. My reasoning for that is cleaning. I find it much easier for me to clean up when stuff its out in the open. Right now with everything in the corners it just accumulates "stuff". It's a work in progress, I don't think I'll ever settle on a perfect layout. I also don't think I'll ever stop accumulating stuff either lol.

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                      • #12
                        Everyone wants Open space, easy access, and almost unlimited storage..Not a realistic dream
                        BCRider gave you the basic solution and a method I also use .
                        Having built or made 6 different shops , here are a few thoughts.
                        Do not consider the current benches or built ins..If you want clear thoughts. ONLY consider the machine tools/welders for first ideas..NOT Storage
                        In Sketches , Lock in only those rigid structures like Garage doors ,service doors, windows and gas/electric meters and power sources. All else is subject to design
                        Consider your longest items as a key requirement.. like 12 foot lengths of steel/plastic. If heavy, then low height mounts are needed, if light, then maybe ceiling mounts
                        Look at Lighting , is it rigid which means it is needed for certain machines which restricts layout options , or can it be adapted to your design- added to needs.
                        Welders and 3 phase machines need special consideration - Welders need power and ventilation and 3 Phase needs 220 power unless you intend to make it available anywhere
                        Lastly ,the shape of a machine can assist the decision- like a Bridgeport can fit in a corner , unless you need to rotate the turret.
                        How wide and aisle or walk way do you want ? The average tool needs 2 to 3 feet from a wall ( drill press/mill/lathe) and the space needed in front is 2 to 3 feet and if you use the
                        "in front" space on the other side you need 8 feet of width for installing two machines ( think of a shed 8 feet wide - with a a lathe on each side wall giving a walkway of 3 feet ?)
                        The most Space efficient in many cases is a Island workshop with machines one all walls and some in the middle - Empty space in the middle of the shop is a waste IF you want maximum use of area
                        Also keep all abrasives ( grinders/sanders ) downstream (airflow) and away distance from Mills,Lathes
                        These are a few considerations , and no two guys want the same layout .. A welders idea is not a machinists idea.
                        Once you have the machines laid out, then address storage locations and crane locations
                        Rich

                        Instead of wall storage,consider using storage in a movable cart. I built a 4 x 8 steel cart with 10" wheels for steel brass storage in front of a garage door. Only opened the door every 3 months In one of my shops - currently I have the cart below
                        Here is a cart for my Chucks, RTs ,indexing heads and tooling which can move to point of need and has dense storage yet easy access
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                        Last edited by Rich Carlstedt; 12-21-2020, 06:53 PM.
                        Green Bay, WI

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                        • #13
                          Yes, bigger workshop is the answer!
                          Well, been playing musical chairs. Put both lathes against the wall then realized I had trapped my gantry crane. Then I moved the 10ee to form an L shape but it blocked my pathway to the back, then I settled on this configuration for the lathes. The back left of workshop "might" have a CNC router. Back right will be surface grinder, grinders. The rest to be determined. Funny enough, I kept moving the 10ee as it was the easiest to reposition. The PM 1236T has 6 leveling pads that need to be lined up, royal pain to reposition.
                          Click image for larger version

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