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  • Portable Shop

    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?
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

  • #2
    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 !!
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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    • #3
      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.
      Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

      Comment


      • #4
        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~
        Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

        Comment


        • #5
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            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.



            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.


            Chris
            Merkel, Tx
            http://raceabilene.com/kelly/hotrod

            Comment


            • #7
              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.
              You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

              Comment


              • #8
                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. With the way the economy is now you maybe able to find a used one for a good price.
                Jon Bohlander
                My PM Blog

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                • #9
                  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.

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                  • #10
                    Another thought

                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.
                        It's only ink and paper

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wmgeorge
                          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

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                          • #14
                            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.

                            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.
                            Russ
                            Master Floor Sweeper

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                            • #15
                              This is what the Army could pack into a 8x7x12' truck body during WWII.

                              http://www.usarmymodels.com/AFV%20PH...t%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
                              I just need one more tool,just one!

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