Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Projects: Machine shop, storage, work areas, computer and electronics lab areas

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Projects: Machine shop, storage, work areas, computer and electronics lab areas

    I am now working toward organizing my home, workshop, and storage spaces. I am realizing that I will never be able to get much done on machining and electronics projects until I get my tools, equipment, materials, components, and instruments organized, and in many cases, cleaned up, repaired, or discarded. I'll focus on a few projects I am now in some stages of completion, and I welcome (constructive) criticism and ideas, although I may not always adopt what is suggested.

    So, to start, I had been using a drafting table (in my bedroom) as a workbench and electronics assembly station. I should have taken a picture before I cleared it off, but you can get an idea:



    You can just barely see my Dell laptop computer (on top of my Win10 Toshiba laptop) on a wooden folding table where I do most of my work, and spend most of my time.

    I had a computer table that I bought and used in my house in Towson until I moved out in 1999, and it was in storage in my "other house" that I use for storage, machine shop, and perhaps eventually an electronics lab. I finally hauled the pieces to my main house, assembled it (including some repair), and set it up where the drafting table had been:





    I also had a hutch that I was given as a birthday present 20+ years ago, but never opened the box. I finally assembled it on the table, and it looks like it will do a good job of providing a decent place for my computer(s), test equipment, and projects. I think I may also add one or two drawers for storing some items, and perhaps also work as a side table to expand the working surface.



    That's enough for this post. It was difficult to assemble and move this thing around, but I feel a good sense of accomplishment to get it done. I tend to think too much about doing things but never get a "round tuit". Now I am mildly inspired to tackle other projects toward my goal of being able to accomplish more.
    http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
    Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
    USA Maryland 21030

  • #2
    I have been going through the same process for several years now and am still not satisfied with my facilities. I have a table in my office, inside the house for electronics work. It is very crowded. But I use it for electronics only; I currently have a electrical control box on a bench in the garage shop.

    As for storage, that is a work in progress for me and I have a lifetime of parts/junk to sort through and organize. So far I have made a good start with screws and other fasteners. Some of my electronic parts are fairly well organized in those small drawer boxes that sit on shelves here in the office while others are in cardboard bins in the garage and adjacent store room.

    But I still have a lot of organizing to do: tools, stock, electric parts, etc., etc., etc.

    Oh one real suggestion: keep clean-up in mind while you are installing things. I am trying to either use completely enclosed cabinets that are sealed to the floor and wall or completely open benches that allow a broom or vacuum to easily glide under them or putting things on wheels so they can be moved for cleaning under them. Of course, I can't do that everywhere, but I am trying. My wife couldn't understand why I wanted to paint the garage floor, but it has helped a lot in keeping things clean.
    Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 10-28-2017, 01:06 AM.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
    You will find that it has discrete steps.

    Comment


    • #3
      A few random ideas:

      For electronics workbenches, I like to have shelving or rack to the right side and behind the table top, for instrumentation. Power supplies, signal sources, and loads usually to right, meters and oscilloscopes behind and to left. Note: I am right-handed, mostly. The idea is to have whatever I need to adjust etc handy and accessible without leaning over the device, especially as it may have high voltage in it.

      I prefer to have the common sizes of phillips and straight blade screwdrivers in a rack on top of the bench, where they can be grabbed, and have also a place to be put back easily. If torx, or tri-wing, etc were more common, those would be on top instead. The key here is being handy and having a place to put them back easily.

      The rest of the tools and extra meters etc are in a set if automotive toolbox drawers to the left. Actually an "add-on" side cabinet for a roll-around. Has meters, tools, probes, adapters, and manuals in it. Manuals in a large bottom drawer.

      I always make sure to have a vertical space of at least 6 or 8 inches above the tabletop before the first shelf, to avoid having too much hidden behind whatever I am working with.

      I am not always able to do this stuff, because space has not been infinite..... but it is how I try to have it set up.
      CNC machines only go through the motions

      Comment


      • #4
        A long time ago I acquired three steel "Equipto" cabinets with 32 drawers each. I gave one of them away and the others were stored for many years in a leaky shed, so there was a lot of rust and some of the drawers filled with water and seemed to be ruined:



        They had been used to store and organize precision resistors and other parts for meters, at a place where I worked from 1973 to 1989. There were hundreds of steel dividers in most of the drawers. I obtained lots of things like this when they shut down part of their business, but I never finished setting them up so I could use them effectively. In 2009 I had a contractor fix up a couple of lower rooms in my other house for my workshop and lab. So now, finally, I took on the challenge of cleaning up the mess and actually using these cabinets for various parts. It took a lot of work with wire brushes and some grey primer, but i was able to make all of them usable:



        These are the very rusty drawers shown above. They looked like a lost cause, but they cleaned up pretty well:



        I found space in my machine shop to mound the cabinet above the conduit for the wall outlets. The brackets are screwed into studs, but they won't be sturdy enough to support this (and another one above it). I will probably drill holes in the back of the cabinet so I can add some stout screws to secure them tightly to the wall. This should work well for various hardware items, mostly nuts, bolts, washers, screws, pipe fittings, clamps, shafts, bearings, and such. I also have some open plastic bins that may be handy for often-used hardware. I'm not sure how to label the drawers. I have an old Dymo label-maker but I don't know if tapes are still available. I also have a couple of Brother label printers. I'll probably start with simple paper adhesive labels with hand lettering.



        To be continued, someday soon. Other parts of my project adventure will follow.
        http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
        Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
        USA Maryland 21030

        Comment


        • #5
          Maybe I'm upper crust or something, but I don't want anything like that in my bedroom. I don't like flux smoke on my pillows, nor stripped cord sheathing (with the occasional broken wire), or that tiny screw that I lost under my feet when I take a leak at zero-dark-thirty. One of the main rules of my house and shop is the shop stops at the door--no shop shoes, no shop over clothing, etc, inside the house. Even with rules, I get yelled at for Al chips found in the dryer lint screen.

          For $20 or $30 you could put some finish trim around that window casing in your bedroom.

          The pic of the crusty green staircase makes my 6'2" 230 lb. frame cringe.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
            A long time ago I acquired three steel "Equipto" cabinets with 32 drawers each. I gave one of them away and the others were stored for many years in a leaky shed, so there was a lot of rust and some of the drawers filled with water and seemed to be ruined:



            They had been used to store and organize precision resistors and other parts for meters, at a place where I worked from 1973 to 1989. There were hundreds of steel dividers in most of the drawers. I obtained lots of things like this when they shut down part of their business, but I never finished setting them up so I could use them effectively. In 2009 I had a contractor fix up a couple of lower rooms in my other house for my workshop and lab. So now, finally, I took on the challenge of cleaning up the mess and actually using these cabinets for various parts. It took a lot of work with wire brushes and some grey primer, but i was able to make all of them usable:



            These are the very rusty drawers shown above. They looked like a lost cause, but they cleaned up pretty well:



            I found space in my machine shop to mound the cabinet above the conduit for the wall outlets. The brackets are screwed into studs, but they won't be sturdy enough to support this (and another one above it). I will probably drill holes in the back of the cabinet so I can add some stout screws to secure them tightly to the wall. This should work well for various hardware items, mostly nuts, bolts, washers, screws, pipe fittings, clamps, shafts, bearings, and such. I also have some open plastic bins that may be handy for often-used hardware. I'm not sure how to label the drawers. I have an old Dymo label-maker but I don't know if tapes are still available. I also have a couple of Brother label printers. I'll probably start with simple paper adhesive labels with hand lettering.



            To be continued, someday soon. Other parts of my project adventure will follow.
            Why not put the storage shelf 3 inches higher, so there is no clearance issue with the wall outlet? Now you will have to unplug whatever's in there to get at that lower left bin (or remove an adjacent one then slide it over)...

            Comment


            • #7
              As JT says, having the common size screwdrivers (and mini side cutters, knife, few other small hand tools) quickly at hand is really useful. I have a shelf about 40cm above my electronics bench, and I glued a row of the long flat neodymium magnets to the front edge so they form a continuous strip about 1/2m long. The tools stick to this and hang down; they're off the bench, easy to see and get, easy to put back.

              These sort of magnets or similar work fine: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/N50-Stron....c100642.m3226

              Works for me.

              Ian
              All of the gear, no idea...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dave_r View Post
                Why not put the storage shelf 3 inches higher, so there is no clearance issue with the wall outlet? Now you will have to unplug whatever's in there to get at that lower left bin (or remove an adjacent one then slide it over)...
                There is a horizontal conduit just under the cabinet that limits where I can put the shelf brackets. I was fortunate that the cabinet fits as well as it does where it is. I doubt I will use all the outlets anyway, and it is easy enough to remove an adjacent drawer to access the one that interferes with the socket. The following picture may show the problem better:



                I may also need to redo some of the electrical work. The guy who installed it said he did a lot of electrical work and he seemed to know what he was doing, but as I am now trying to trace the wiring in order to wire the upstairs, I find some things that seem troubling, like this:



                There is also this light fixture, which is above a stairway and is right in your face when you come down. Previously he had fastened it to the ceiling beam so it was even lower and would hit your head if you didn't duck. This was the guy who I paid $2000 in advance to finish things up and he skipped town. The house is in bad shape but it's useful for storage and my shop.



                Here is the new entry panel. Only half the breakers are marked, and they are all for the downstairs circuitry. The upstairs needs to have a few outlets and lights installed so I can find things and clean up the junk that is stored there.

                http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                USA Maryland 21030

                Comment


                • #9
                  My shop is semi organized chaos. I have a computer bench, electronics bench, model airplane building area with two benches, lathe, mini mill and drill press in one area and general work bench facing the area I leave to get a tractor, implement or car in when I need to work on it. It's an old 30 X 40 post building that was on the property when we bought this place. I needed the computer and electronics benches for my business but now that I'm retired they are used for hobby stuff. The benches are Tennsco metal work benches bought when a local business did a remodel with new work benches in cubicles. New the benches with a riser shelf run about $400.00 I bought 4 for $50.00 each by being in the right place at the right time. Once in a while I will see one of these benches on Craigslist for a half way decent price. One of my benches is an old wooden desk and another is 1/2 of a very heavy duty shelf that was purchased from Home Depot, used 2 X 6 lumber covered with a particle board top to make a top for the shelf. An old desk makes a great work bench with drawers for storage and can usually be bought pretty cheap.

                  A few photos taken before I replaced the 7 X 14 lathe with a Grizzly 10 X 22.

                  This is the Home Depot shelf with my 7 X 14 lathe and mini mill.


                  Same area different angle. Now the Mini Mill has been moved over to where the lathe was. Grizzly lathe has it's own stand.


                  Shows the Computer bench and where I park the golf cart and airplane hauler.


                  Electronics bench is just to the right of Computer bench on the same wall.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    More photos....


                    One view of the model airplane building area, shows the desk bench. Has a particle board top with a piece of fiber board I can stick pins in.


                    Another view of the same wall..


                    Bench in front of the drive in area. storage shelving and rest room are to the right behind the wall.


                    Radial arm and table saw. Table saw is on wheels, move it out to the open area when I need to use it.


                    Like I said semi organized chaos.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's never ending.

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post

                        .
                        Paul, you posted that you're going to fill those drawers up with screws and other hardware. THAT STUFF IS HEAVY ! ! ! Do yourself a favor and build up a table or cabinet that fits under those drawer units to take the load directly instead of using any sort of wall bracket. Screws into the studs won't hold up against the load that can be put into all those drawers. And certainly those shelf brackets were never intended for that sort of load.

                        If you want to fit a machine in under the units then at least made some front legs that run to the floor with a cross connecting "header" to take the load.

                        This is particularly critical since you're talking about putting a second similarly filled unit on top of the first. You REALLY want to use something that connects that load more directly to the floor. Even a pair of angled "legs" with a header board across the front that fits in tight to the base of the wall would be better than just those brackets and some screws.

                        You're on the right track though. Good storage has always been one of my most successful shop projects. We can't build anything well if we're knee deep in flotsam and jetsam.
                        Last edited by BCRider; 10-28-2017, 10:07 AM.
                        Chilliwack BC, Canada

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Pics,,,

                          The main bench, currently configured for the audio project that was just taken off of it. You can see a couple "violations" of my general rules.




                          A very useful pair of devices. Top one is a variac panel with meters. The power supply at left (for the digital 'scope) is plugged into the non-varying output. 1A and 10A overcurrent protection, selectable, with meter range following the selection Bottom one is a multiple power supply, + and - 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, and unregulated 20V. The unit below that is a power supply for use with tube equipment.



                          The equipment on the shelves may vary depending on what is being worked on. Most of it takes a standard IEC power connector, and is easy to change out.
                          Last edited by J Tiers; 10-28-2017, 11:35 AM.
                          CNC machines only go through the motions

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Why didn't I think of that? I sure like the 4-plug outlets. I may have to change a few boxes. I've been using a couple of "Triple-Taps" to extend use. They're not all used at the same time but typically three or more electric tools used one after the other and repeat. It sure is troublesome to unplug and plug tools. A couple of light boxes could use those too. Duh.

                            <palm slap to forehead>

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What the heck is that thing on the bottom???

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X