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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Overview of my workshop

As many have asked where do I work, I thought to give a peek to my workshop. I live in an apartment building and one of our four rooms (13 m²) is reserved for me and as a general storage space. Haven't heard of any complaints about noise from neighbours yet, but I do try to make things during the sunlight and only in small amounts at a time :)

Here is a quick look from the door in to the room. Quite crowded in here, but there is enough floor space to walk around and do work, although I would like to add another shelf system like the one on the right. You can see my lathe, mill and work table in the back.

This is the mill and table for it. I made the table from scrap found in a dumpster, only had to buy few parts from a hardware store. The top is coated with thick laquer layer and provides an easy way to cleanup and it also prevents oil from penetrating to the particle board which could soften enough to break.

Here is my work table closer. This provides me table space and a place to think when designing, assembling or drawing something. The table cost 99 EUR and it can be disassembled and reassembled when needed, as it only has four bolts. The top shelf provides some storage space for miscellaneous stuff, like tape rolls, packing material, towels and such. The back board has an array of small hooks that provide a way to hang my hand tools neatly. This has proven to be very nice system and the tools are always there when not in use. It is easy to cleanup because I don't have to think where does this tool belong to or were is space for it, as there is one designated place for it. This also translates to less work finding the tool when in need for it ;) The tabletop material is MDF and I have a thick layer of laquer also on this one to prevent oil from penetrating the surface.

This table has two drawers and I'm using the left drawer for measuring equipment and notebooks, although there is some other stuff also there. A calculator is a must have and you can get a decent calculator for like 10 EUR new. I think mine cost me 19 EUR, but it has some nice functions. I do have also a Texas Instruments TI-86 graphical calculator, but it is on quite rare use at the moment.

The right hand drawer has become quite heavy as I store all my drill bits and various tool bits in there along with some other things. This is not a good example of how to store your tools, as they can bang together and that can chip or dull the delicate cutting edges. I should take some cardboard and make small boxes for everything. Most of the tools are bought from eBay along with the measuring devices, except the drill bits that are from the nearest hardware store.

Lathe sits on its own table with the drill press, although I will move the drill press to the mill table probably, as the lathe tailstock handwheel keeps bumping in to it. The table is DIY and it has a 6 mm thick rubber mat glued to it. This keeps tools on the table but it is a little harder to cleanup, as the chips tend to grab into the rubber a bit. Turpentine and a paper towel fixes that problem if needed :)

The drill press is the cheapest I could find, 44.90 EUR from a local hardware store. It had some drawbacks and poor quality, but it has proven to be a very decent machine after my modifications. I'll tell more about those in an article dedicated for this drill press alone.

I have a grinder here also that I would normally use for grinding lathe tool bits, but due to fire hazard I will not use it in here. It has a stand that I made in my welding class at school, for a total cost of 19 EUR (including a can of spray paint). The base is open at the back and I have stacked about 20-30 kilos of steel scrap in there to keep it steady.

This tool cabinet on wheels is my own design and make. I thought of buying one, but the cheapest I could find were 300 EUR and up and they were not able to be used as a workspace so i thought that it would be fun to make one. This was my final project in welding class and it was done with MIG. The whole things weighs about 65 kilos and it has 3 mm thick steel plate on top which is good for banging things on.

I quite recently bought this storage shelf system from the hardware store, cost 39.90 EUR. It is very light and handles up to 65 kilos per floor. I should bolt it to the wall so it would not trip, as it can twist quite much now. It has helped very much and it is good that it can be disassembled easily, as there is no bolts or anything, just wedge action joints.

About a week ago I also installed a small shelf on the wall to store all my machining related books, articles and my project folders. Very handy and keeps them away from dust and debris.

Here is my not so neatly organized box of materials that I use when making something. There is small kitchenware boxes labeled for different things, like aluminum, steel, HSS scrap, carbide, brass, plastic etc. Weighs something around 200 kilos. All the longer rods I have in a separate place. Most of these materials are bought from a scrap metal recycling yard (Rautasoini), but also eBay has provided materials like brass and plastic for cheap. The grey box system contains various bolts and nuts and the like, organized by their size and the most general sizes that I use are from M4 to M8.

The most important thing to remember is to have a small trash can and some sort of brush to get all the swarf and chips away from the floor. This reduces the probability for an accident and also it is nice to work in a clean place.