Sunday, 22 July 2012

Shop update (updated with ductwork)

I've got the shop layout on the Google Sketchup drawing board again and moved everything about .. again. It is so easy once you have everything measured (and to scale) to move things around to suit your workflow. My wife and I had a look inside the existing shop last night and made notes of the items I hadn't included on the layout. No sense in designing something and leaving all the existing stuff out in the back yard.

I have tried to maximize the available space by moving upwards.  If it's good enough for skyscraper designers it's good enough for me. The shop internal height has been increased by about 300mm (1 foot) and the pitch of the roof increased from less than 15 degrees to around 18 degrees. The shop is around 400 square feet and it's housed in an existing 2 car garage.
Main layout. Entry door is left side at the lower edge.
Main double doors are on bottom side.
That has given considerably more storage room at a higher level. It also means that some of my taller friends won't bang their heads on the trusses as they do now! (Dave and Ethan you will know what I mean).

Power tool nook

Power Tool Nook Plan View
View from jointer area looking towards main tooling area

View looking at jointer, lathe, bandsaw, spindle sander and drill press
I have also moved the shelving units to form an L shape and create the power tool nook. In one of the alcoves formed by this I can store the lawn mower and the garden chairs once winter comes back. Mind you at the moment the weather in the UK has been dire for July and I'm not sure we will ever get a summer. Something to do with the jet-stream being diverted - but I digress.


I have moved the lathe to be at the back of one of the shelves, the dust extractor can fit adjacent to the other shelf. It is on wheels so can easily be moved out.


The jointer (combined thickness planer and jointer) will now go on a slight angle to cope with longer stock (up to 2m long). It is also on a mobile base if I need to plane anything longer.

Spindle Sander

I have moved the oscillating spindle sander against one of the shelves. I could never get to it properly in the old shop as it was always covered with junk.


The radial arm pedestal drill-press is now in a position where I can swing it around without bashing the shelves (as it was in the old shop).


The bandsaw is still in the same place as before by the large double doors. It works fine in that position so if it's not broken don't fix it.


The table saw and router table already have their own dust extractors so in the new shop I have planned a small run of plastic ducting for the jointer, spindle sander and bandsaw. Sketchup is great to be able to work out precisely where the run is to go and also from that you can work out how many couplings, blast gates, hangers etc. I'm going to use clear plastic 4" tubing with plastic blastgates. If they don't stand up to abuse I will replace them with metal ones. I'm experimenting here so don't mind if I end up buying twice.
I know the run "backwards" to the spindle sander from the extractor has the Y the wrong way. I want to see if there is a substantial reduction in suction. It is only a short run so I'm hoping it will still work ok.

3D of the ductwork in the power tool nook
Note the 3D figures for scale.
The extractor is rated at 1200 m3 per hour which equates to 706cfmk. I have heard the debate about whether to ground or not to ground. I have also read the article from Dr Rod Cole and I will NOT be grounding the PVC.

Main tooling

Plan view of main tooling
View showing main tooling and sharpening station
The main tooling area hasn't changed very much from the old shop layout.

Table saw

I have the table saw against the wall. This is a European saw by Record Power (TS200C) and has a sliding table. It is on wheels and can be moved into the centre of the shop. However I've never had a reason to move it as the majority of my work uses long, narrow stock as opposed to breaking down large sheet good panels. As I am adding internal blockwork the rip fence guide would have hit the wall. I have left out a block in the design to cope with the guide. That way the table saw will fit snugly against the wall and the guide go into the void.

Router table

The router table also acts as an out-feed for the table saw and is behind it again against the wall. It too is on a mobile base so I can angle it to cope with longer stock.


The workbench is by the window in front of the table saw. There is a gap so that I can get to all the levers and wheels on the table saw but the advantage of having the bench where it is situated is it can be used as an in-feed table. Also the natural light coming through the window is great.

Air Cleaner

I have put an air cleaner in between the trusses above head height so the shop can be cleaned of all the dust after I have finished working. I have put it roughly above the table saw but over the main assembly area. This will cut down on the amount of fine microscopic dust that you breathe in that is definitely not good for your health.


All the walls will be blockwork and painted white to maximize the amount of reflected light.

Back Wall

I've not decided what to put on the back wall yet apart from my clamp wall. I do have some small cabinets with screws and fasteners in but I may well put a wall hanging tool cabinet on that wall.
Stock shelving
View showing stock shelving and spindle sander
I have also made provision for a stock rack where I can put my timber and sheet goods. At the moment it just goes where I can fit it. The rack will give some sort of order to my workflow.

Main Tooling Wall

Again I may well put another wall hanging tool cabinet for the hand tools on that wall but haven't decided yet.

Small structural wall - sharpening station.

View of the sharpening area
Plan view of the sharpening station
There is a small wall that holds the roof up adjacent to the access door and one of the main double doors. This was originally a single skin wall and I always thought it was a little flimsy. I have asked the builder to put another block work skin on the inside to strengthen it. Here I am going to put a bench grinder, drill sharpener and the water-stone pond. This will be mounted on a hinged table so it can be swung up out of the way when not required.
 Underneath (not shown in the diagram) will be all the various tools required for sharpening. In the past when I needed to sharpen anything I usually had to get out a portable bench, find the sharpening gear and fill it with water. In practice I didn't sharpen as often as I should because it was a chore getting it out. Now I will have everything already at hand.


Using Sketchup is great as once you have laid out your shop, positioned all the main tools, shelving, work bench etc. you can then put the lighting fixtures just where you want them.
I have put in 8 fixtures with twin 58 watt 5 foot tubes. I got an application recommended to me by Vic (TumbleWoodworks) on the Woodtalk Online forum to enable calculation of lighting ( and used it to work out what I needed with the lighting level I wanted. I then used my layout to move the fixtures around and ended up with what I have got here. My electrician will be glad to actually get dimensional drawings with the exact places where I want the lights placed. He says he normally just mounts fixtures on a grid but the customers with shops or restaurant kitchens sometimes say that there are shadows and ask him to come back and move them. I hope I will get it right first time.
I have also used Sketchup to place all the electrical sockets and electrical switches. Most of them are mounted overhead on the roof trusses and some are on walls. 


The existing floor is a solid concrete slab with an inspection pit for cars. I found that the pit is not deep enough and runs in the wrong direction (rather than running under the centre of the car longitudinally it runs in at right angles to the car at the engine end). I only used it about once or twice and it fills with ground water when it rains as it was never tanked (water proofed). I have decided to fill it in. That will make an entirely flat concrete slab that I will coat with 2 part epoxy paint. The colour of the floor might be red as shown on the diagrams but it may be grey. I don't have any plans to put down a wooden floor and just use anti fatigue mats.

1 comment:

  1. That looks really good now. I know what its like to have a working area where everything is in the wrong place. I'm glad you've got everything perfect. That 3d software with all your machinery on it is amazing.