Thursday, 5 July 2012

Creating an Insulated, Usable Workshop

My Double Port Garage
In my attempt to move evrything to our new house, I was not able to transport the lathe and the milling machine because of their heavy weight. This pretty much left me with my wood working tools and a few other bits and pieces. Until you have to move, you have no idea how much stuff you have accumulated. I didn't want to have the continuing problem of rust caused by condensation so I decided to insulate the garage before I got too much further with moving things.

The garage used to look like this:

Now it looks like this:
 Even blind Freddy can see the difference here. By simply painting the walls a lighter colour (white grey), the entire inside of the workshop retains more light and does not feel like you are bagging salt in a Russian Gulag.

Using The Walls
Although the humble garage does provide me with 30 square meters of space, it does leave me with only 3 walls on which to hang tools. Due to the garage doors, I am limited in what I can put on the ceiling and of course can't hang anything on the doors themselves. This has left me with some challenges, especially because I still don't have the 2 biggest machines in the workshop yet. This has meant I have only put up the bare minimum on the walls.

The compressor, hose reel and power lead reel were a must. I use them regularly and tripping on leads and hoses is not an option.I have also put up modular shelving beneath the saw horses which can be taken down in case I need to back the trailer or car into the workshop.

Tool Boards
Setting up a tool board is a tricky business. You never really know if the way you are doing it is right until you start to use the tools. I had one basic rule; My most commonly used tools must be within reaching distance from a stool. To test this out I re-assembled my drill press, serviced my machine vice and started on servicing the dividing head.
As a general rule, most men with tool boards can be comparable to a peacock. They spread their tools over the boards to attract the affection of others passing by. For the most part though, any info I looked at on the net regarding tool boards had woodworking and metal working tools combined ON THE SAME BOARD!!! I mean , what is this madness? Just because you have a tool board, does not mean you have to hang every tool you own on it.
I am working on the idea that every tool should be grouped with others of similar function, and should be organized according to what type of work they will be used for (electronics, metal, wood etc...). I didn't go overly crazy with my tool board since it is a cheapie bought at a store called Biltema ("car-theme" in Norwegian). I bought the hooks and fittings there too.

As a general rule, if your tool board will cost more than your tools, save your money and buy better tools.

Plastic Bins
I managed to buy quite a few plastic bins at an auction re-seller a while back. Having spent some time looking for hanging rails, I gave up and made my own. I used modular shelf parts and some wood I ripped down to 15mm x 15mm. I did spend some time drilling out holes to be able to screw them up but it did the trick.

I still don't have all my equipment in the garage so I am being very careful about filling these bins. They are reserved for things worth organizing. The rest of the rubbish I have that will be used "one day" will be tossed out. I am implementing the The 5 S Methodology in my garage.

This How I Roll
Since I have quite a few heavy objects that need to be moved around the workshop, I figured rolling benches would be a back saver. I bought 3 of them but due to a lack of space, I am giving one away to a friend.
 My lack of floor space can also be blamed on this:

I bought this pallet lift in anticipation of the machine move. This will help me move the heavy stuff around without having to rely on farmers in this area (who as I have mentioned, can be surly when interrupted during calving season or new episodes of Justified). For now it is used as a clothesline for dirty rags.

I have also made a devious plan to install a crane in the workshop. I was given a broken electric block-and-tackle which I un-broke:

 I have located a C channel and will install it here:

This will provide me with a lifting point for anything not exceeding 160 kg's which can then be rolled from one side of the workshop to the other, or placed on one of my rolling work benches.

Well there you have it. This is why I have been so quiet the last few months. I will also be putting up a post with the pictures of our newly renovated house (finally done!), which is now for sale. Between renovating, getting the garage in order and work, I have had little time for anything else. I will be tiling the floor in the workshop so this will not be the last post with regards to my workshop! Stay safe.