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Shop layout for the Disabled

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  • Shop layout for the Disabled

    Laying out my separate shop for clock repair was easy because the tools are generally smaller and fit on a counter top.

    Laying out a machine shop so a person with a wheelchair or powered chair can get around and affectionately use the tools and space is a completely different story.
    Anybody out there gone through this and would like to share their solutions would greatly be appreciated.

    My Powered Chair needs 4 foot wide isles to give me 1/2 foot clearance when I make 360 degree turns. My chair also has a powered seat that goes up 6 inches making it convenient to position myself at the work surface.
    Al T.

  • #2
    Al - I remember a 'featured shop' article... all benches, mill, etc were set up for a 18" height. The machinist would use a seat/dolly to move around the shop, hence the bench height so his folded legs could slide under the benches, and give him more room to reach.

    With a small mill, ad a power draw bar to make changing collets easier.

    Hopefully the shop is on the net, and someone will remember it as it had some great ideas for limited reach.

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    • #3
      In another 20 years or so, there is a good chance I may be faced with this also. The part that I haven't figured out is how to deal with hot chips falling in your lap.
      Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor

      www.garagegunsmithing.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Cobbler
        In another 20 years or so, there is a good chance I may be faced with this also. The part that I haven't figured out is how to deal with hot chips falling in your lap.
        Try a canvas shop apron designed to go past your knees when standing. I use one when bullet casting while sitting on a shop stool. I normally wear a shorty shop apron, not only to keep chips out of my pockets & belt line, but to give me a place for my mike, tape measure and 6" rule, plus assorted pencils & pens.

        David
        David Kaiser
        “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
        ― Robert A. Heinlein

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        • #5
          Al, What size and type of equipment are you talking about. One factory I worked at, smaller machines were on height adjustable tables so that employees could adjust for height. This would work for a mini mill say but not for a bridgeport.

          Michael

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          • #6
            When I was in high school a friend of mine had an uncle that was in a wheel chair from a work related accident. He was a machinest /welder fabricator like most of us are. He and his friends designed his shop by making angle iron framed decks in front of his machine area. The surface was diamond plate. There was a lift or dumb waiter type platform at the front of the deck that he would roll up on and hit the switch. It would raise the platform up to the deck height that was about 18" or so off the floor he then could just roll in front of the machine he wanted to use. as far as his welding bench go and all his other benches they were just lowered to accomodate his seated height. At his welding bench he had a leather apron he would put over his lap to keep from getting burned as he had no feeling in his legs. That is about all I can remember.

            JL..........................

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            • #7
              How about an overhead crane that could position a seat
              anywhere in your shop at what ever hight needed. Controled from the seat.
              Maybe a second lift on same track for heavy stuff.
              Don't know if this would be practical. chiphead42
              chiphead42

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              • #8
                This topic is a most interesting and practical question!!!

                Could learn much here for a number of us when the day arrives that we cannot get around .

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                • #9
                  I wonder if you could get some help with this through the vocational rehab office in your state.

                  On edit, if you're a disabled vet there should also be some help through the VA. Check with the Vet Rep at the DAV.
                  Last edited by Dr Stan; 03-25-2011, 07:53 PM.

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                  • #10
                    There's a guy on at least one of the machining forums with some experience. KenWC ("I'm only in it for the parking"). Maybe he can help.

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                    • #11
                      I have one reference who may be of interest to you: Steve Garro, a custom bicycle builder who is in a wheelchair. He uses machinery and has his whole shop set up in an accommodating manner. At the very least, a look through his blog's archives may be informative. He's great with posting pictures.

                      Here: http://coconinocycles.blogspot.com/

                      (...built himself an impressive handcycle too )
                      Last edited by Arthur.Marks; 03-25-2011, 10:57 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sasquatch
                        This topic is a most interesting and practical question!!!
                        Could learn much here for a number of us when the day arrives that we cannot get around .
                        This has been a good thread, due to all the Great idea's.

                        Hopefully that day of being disabled will never come for any of you, but being exposed to a new set of problems caused by disabilities will allow your inventive spirits to succeed teaching anyone your trade. There are many Vets returning, possibly injured that need and want to learn a trade like Machining.

                        You'll be teaching our next generation, what could be better?
                        Al T.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by form_change
                          Al, What size and type of equipment are you talking about. One factory I worked at, smaller machines were on height adjustable tables so that employees could adjust for height. This would work for a mini mill say but not for a bridgeport.
                          Michael
                          Michael,
                          I'm lucky in so much that height is not an issue, my powered chair raises and lowers me xo I work at kitchen counter height all the way down to 20 inches off the floor.
                          My question was how z 9 1/2 inch SB lathe, bench top mill/drill by HF, 8 foot table saw, 20 ton press, Miller 180 Tig, Hobart 175 MIG, metal A frame rack, 4 metal office desks all fit together. Its a difficult question, I know. My good friend George says I got 50 lbs of crap in a 5 lb bag. My basement shop space available is only 25 by 30 feet.

                          I don't think anyone can directly answer my question, but I was looking at how everyone else figured out their space problem to get the most amount of machinery usage in the least amount of area.

                          Pictures will be Great
                          Al T.

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                          • #14
                            My standard layout rule is heavy objects against the wall, smaller stuff on wheels so it can easily be moved to where it's wanted or out from where it's not.
                            One thought I did have is that swarf in your tyres could be an issue. Perhaps put down a decking of expanded Al mesh (the sort used for security screens - at least in Australia). They will need to be cleaned out regularly, but hopefully the swarf will fall between so you don't spike your hands/ ruin the floors in the rest of the house.

                            Michael

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by al_taka
                              I don't think anyone can directly answer my question, but I was looking at how everyone else figured out their space problem to get the most amount of machinery usage in the least amount of area.
                              One way is to make a drawing. You can go old school and simply use some graph paper and cut outs of the equipment so you can move them around placing them at appropriate spots. Just do everything at a consistent scale such as 1" = 1'.

                              Or if you are proficient in CAD do the same as above only in simulation.

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