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Folks with small shops and larger machines... How much space between machines?

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  • Folks with small shops and larger machines... How much space between machines?

    I have a reasonable size basement, but due to layout, it has no big areas that work for a shop. So I am currently in and outside of the old coal bin, with grinding and woodwork at the other end of the basement in another area.

    Anyhow, I have a second mill and a third lathe to fit in. Machines are not that large, but are not small either, 10" lathes on stands, bench mills on stands, big 7 foot Clausing DP. I can move walls, but the basic area is about 90 x 145 inches, i.e. about 7.5 x 12 feet, between a concrete wall, and the boiler with plumbing. Right now, I have one lathe, one mill, a drill press, a 6' bench, a big and small rollaround, wall cabinet, shelves, and an arbor press in the space.

    I have been working with ideas to fit in another mill and lathe. Finally came up with a plan that could work. But it's a little closer than I'd maybe like between some of the machines etc. Bench is at one end, then the two lathes parallel to it and back to back, then the mills along wall at the other end.

    So... there is a space between one lathe and the bench, to do double duty as working room in front of the bench or the lathe.

    There is another space between the other lathe and the mills (they are bench size, a Lewis and a Benchmaster, on stands), also to serve both. I am not going to mention those actual sizes of the spaces, nor what space I have between mill and boiler now, so as not to influence the comments.

    The question is how much space is required for reasonable working room?

    Presently one mill and the drill press are close to one end of the space, leaving what I consider a rather narrow area between them and the boiler. That does give me a reading on what would be an uncomfortable space, but does not help with what is reasonable. I am not huge, neither particularly extra tall, nor fat, more or less average.

    Ideas? Better yet, experience with actual working dimensions?
    Last edited by J Tiers; 12-30-2017, 01:25 AM.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  • #2
    So... there is a space between one lathe and the bench, to do double duty as working room in front of the bench or the lathe.
    Doubling up so YOUR room can be used for more than one use is a major step. Any chance that you could arrange things so you can make the room needed for you work for more than two uses?

    Then there are the obvious things like using the space both under and over any machines for storage of the goodies used by those machines. That may require some new benches and cabinets in some cases. But the upside is that it uses your available VOLUME more effectively.

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    • #3
      Think back to pictures of Sir John's shop. Obviously you don't need any spare room on the floor.

      [ snide remark deleted . Sorry about that. ]
      Last edited by danlb; 12-30-2017, 12:30 PM. Reason: I was tired and grumpy
      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by BCRider View Post
        Doubling up so YOUR room can be used for more than one use is a major step. Any chance that you could arrange things so you can make the room needed for you work for more than two uses?

        Then there are the obvious things like using the space both under and over any machines for storage of the goodies used by those machines. That may require some new benches and cabinets in some cases. But the upside is that it uses your available VOLUME more effectively.
        Well, that's a bit harder. Normally I'd put a shelf set or cabinet in each aisle between machines, at the end, but not enough room for that. It would push the machines out too much if they had to clear a set of shelves, etc.

        The space under machines, in the machine bases is already used, just a question of moving the machine with it's stuff to new location. And also a matter of having enough room to bend down and get at the stuff you store under. It takes more room to get at that stuff than it does to stand up and use the machine itself.

        Working room around the bench is also an issue. That can be a considerable amount, depending on what gets done on it. Filing and sawing take more room than other things, just due to arm movement. I have lots of room at the bench now, never been a problem, and so I have never studied to see what the minimum is.

        That is more or less why I am asking what sort of space others think is enough for reasonable working room.

        Originally posted by danlb View Post
        Think back to pictures of Sir John's shop. Obviously you don't need any spare room on the floor.

        But seriously, you have a plan. We know you will execute that anyway. Just go for it and don't play around with "how much is perfect" questions. Everyone will have a different answer for different reasons anyway so the thread's kind of useless.
        That's just it..... I am NOT going to execute it anyhow, because I am not convinced it gives the needed room. But I am also not convinced that it does NOT give room. I flat do not know. It's better than the space I have now to the boiler, but actually moving the stuff is a big enough job that I want to be more sure. I'd mock it up full size if I could.

        And, yes, there is a plan. It is plan number 12-C, and I already tossed the previous 12+ versions as not acceptable. It's all in 3D model, but I know from experience that the model can fool a person really easily. Might look too tight and be fine. Might look fine and be way too tight. Been there.
        Last edited by J Tiers; 12-30-2017, 02:07 AM.
        1601

        Keep eye on ball.
        Hashim Khan

        Comment


        • #5
          What I did in my shop is I built a machine bench in the middle of the room, lathe on one side, cold cut saw, small shaper and drill press on the other with mill standing at the end. The logic was that it is sometimes essential to get to the back of a machine which having the machines backing to a wall would require moving the machine, having unused space or be impossible but having the machines back to back I can reach through from one side to the other.

          The walls around the machine bench are cabinets and shelves with only a quite narrow walkway. The work bench has a clear space in front so no problems with long work-pieces in the vice etc.

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          • #6
            If you want to know about efficient space utilization in a machine shop, check out the machine shop in a submarine. Unfortunately, I don't happen to have such plans available. But I was able to find YouTube videos about machine shops on the USS Saratoga and some modern carrier. The modern carrier is built like all modern MILSPEC stuff... you can hold a ball room dance between the machines. But the Saratoga shows fairly dense packing.

            They sunk her with a lot of tools and tooling...

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            • #7
              Jerry,

              As many post of yours that I've read I still have no idea what kind of stuff you build or repair as you post very few photos. So what do you plan to make or repair in the shop with the new and old machines?

              Everyone is different as far as clutter and working space goes. I 'don't like to be crowded in my work space so I keep at least 36" working room in front of my 13 x 40 lathe and knee milling machine. The same goes for my grinding bench with arbor press, both surface plates and both of my drill presses. My small 2' x 3' welding bench also has a little over 3' working space in front of it. The 20" bandsaw has 6' clearance in front, 3' on the right and 10' out the back when mobile machines are moved. My workbench space suffers a bit depending on my project/projects at the time. My tooling is organized but not all that convenient to the various machines and my material storage isn't great. When it comes to a shop full of machines I'm starting to think less just might be more, within reason of course.

              There are a lot of guys out there that build/repair pretty cool stuff with half the machines I have and do it in 1/3rd the space. So I'm starting to rethink things a bit.

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              • #8
                Very few? I have posted several hundred over the years, as that is what is still up on PB.... I don't know what most folks do with their machines, but the size machine usually gives an idea of what is possible to do and thus what is wanted for space...maybe.

                I repair all sorts of stuff, my old gas engines, etc, and the same for friends of mine. Hit and miss, regular B&S, Gravely, etc. But the machine shop is not used for disassembly, etc, that happens out in the shed, and parts come in for work. Crankshaft repairs, rods, no pistons yet, but it's only a matter of time.

                I modify and upgrade machinery to help me do the repairs and so forth. I make tooling for my use. I have made lots of prototype parts for clients and employers. One day I expect to make some model/small engines, but have not done much of it yet. I have bought and repaired machinery, used it as well as sold it.

                I like the idea of 36". I don't expect to HAVE that, but it would be good. likely more between 24" and 30 " at most. I'd probably ideally want more like the 36" in front of the bench. Dunno if I can get that.
                Last edited by J Tiers; 12-30-2017, 02:43 AM.
                1601

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

                Comment


                • #9
                  it depends on your physical size as well.

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                  • #10
                    It's obvious you need to build a whole new shop 48 x 120 ft in two bays with crane service and a 16 ft ceiling. Failing that, take over the garage. Move the cars outside. Your wife wont melt in the rain in the time it takes to carry in groceries.

                    First things first.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Space between?

                      When the question is "how do you overlap machine envelopes so work can extend over/through the one while using the other?" Then, maybe I can offer some advice. When you get to the point where you engineer it so the drillpress table, set appropriately, can be used as outfeed support for the bandsaw or, swung the other way, the beltsander... then you're starting to get into what I would call an optimised shop layout

                      When you start making custom cabinets on wheels that stuff "just so" between machines so that the tables overlap... where you put machines on those cabinets, or maybe 3 machines such that the cabinet can be pulled out and swivelled around for access to said machines... when you start hanging the little stuff, like the air compressor, from the ceiling to free up floor space for other stuff on wheels... then we'll talk.

                      Your problem is you have too much space, or not enough tools.

                      David...
                      http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

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                      • #12
                        Folks with small shops and larger machines... How much space between machines?

                        I didnt read it all yet, I will. I am a slow reader. I can reply to the headline easier.

                        http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...tween-machines

                        For me it is a size issue. I am not as large or small as some of the folks (machinists) I have known. I would prefer a 150'x200' quonset hut for my machine home shop. Wont fit. So in my two car garage where my shop is I like "swinging distance".

                        Meaning I can swing my butt around with some work in hand and not hit another machine.


                        Seeing as my lathes only have a 20" breadth that is easy. Just moving room and the safety factor. Allow for what you have to work with.

                        FYI. Working slower and in more of a methodical manor usually helps with my Home Shop. JR
                        My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group

                        https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...port_mill/info

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                        • #13
                          I think 36"-42" is a good space to have in front of a machine or workbench. That gives enough room to swing around on a chair, orto take a step or two back if something goes awry. I have my milling machine mounted on a heavy workbench that is on casters, so it can be moved out to get behind it if necessary. I also have my vise on the same bench. I plan to mount the 9x20 lathe on another bench with casters, but also probably with jacks to level it and keep it from rolling around too freely. Caster locks are not always reliable, and you need to lock the swivel as well. My grinder is on a pedestal so it can be moved around easily, and my bandsaw has handles and wheels. I don't use my compressor very often, but it is sitting on a dolly so it can be rolled anywhere, and it's light enough to take outside or elsewhere if necessary. If I had a larger one, I might keep it outside on the porch or in a shed, to reduce noise.

                          You could get creative and mount machines like grinders on a hinge like a sewing machine so it can be moved out of the way when not in use, giving more open bench space. Some powered hand tools, like angle grinders and drills, can be hung from the ceiling with a lanyard and counterweight to avoid cluttering the bench.

                          I'm probably not the best sort to give such advice, as I surround myself with clutter and when I do clean up and organize, it doesn't last long. It's way too cold now to do anything much in my workshop. I never finished my storage drawer project and I have other plans that are still undone. I'm doing mostly small electronic projects now, which I can do in my bedroom/lab/TV/office where I have adequate heat (and A/C).
                          http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                          Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                          USA Maryland 21030

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dan_the_Chemist View Post
                            But the Saratoga shows fairly dense packing. They sunk her with a lot of tools and tooling...
                            -Am I the only one that wants to try and salvage some of those machines?

                            Doc.
                            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                            • #15
                              My working shop area is about 8' X 10'. In that space I have a 13" X 56" Sheldon lathe, Rockwell vertical mill and 6' X 2' bench with bench drill press and vise Craftsman horizontal band saw and belt sander. The shop/basement,laundry room opens up beyond that for storage shelves and another assorted gear.

                              It is just me, and I only use one machine at a time. There are times that it would be difficult, if not impossible to use both the lathe and mill at the same time, and access to the tooling cabinet for the lathe and mill or the workbench can be restricted by the movement of the mill table.

                              Have you given any consideration, or is there any advantage to relocating the boiler or, perhaps, replacing it with one of the new, very compact models? When we moved into this house, I relocated the boiler and hot water heater to a small utility closet to free up space for the shop.
                              Jim H.

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