Over the last couple days I’ve been working pretty hard trying to get a home workshop together, and I wanted to share the progress I’ve made. My house has an attached 1 car garage which also houses both the laundry area and the trash bins, so space is a bit tight. Let’s jump right in and see how I attempted to maximize the floors space and to arrange everything for function.

 

IMGP5463Beginning with my electrical design tools and parts, I setup a main workbench complete with tools, an old laptop and a dry erase board. The bench I made out of scrap 2×4 and used a dry erase board for the table top. Having the ability to write notes and lists on the table directly is a must-have feature when tearing down or building up a bit of circuitry. Since the worksurface is already so small, I knew I didn’t want to have a computer taking up any more than it had to, so I decided to ziptie my old laptop directly to the peg board. Being a touch screen, the laptop is perfect for the application and with it I can look up datasheets, run calculations and even play music.

On top you can see my Hakko 888 soldering station, and if you are in the market then your search is over. It is by far the best one I’ve used and it’s scarcely any more expensive than a cheap walmart of harbour de freight one. The shelf next to the bench will have all my test gear once I finish organizing everything (power supply, signal generator, oscilloscope, etc).

And finally, there is also a very visible orange line draping across the image. That’s my air line from the compressor, which we’ll get to. It’s been really nice to have air close to hand for blowing off parts to clearing the table of dust.

 

IMGP5464Moving on to the central shelving unit, we can see a huge mess of stuff still waiting to find a home. The only notable thing here would have to be those briefcase-like bins. They’re a recent discovery and can be gotten at Harbor Freight for ~8 dollars. each case holds a variety of bins than can be taken out and brought with you to the work area or rearranged within the case. Best of all, even if there are missing bins, the indexing is such that everything inside the bins stays in place even if turned upside down. I’ll show these off properly another time.

 

 

IMGP5465Here is my air supply station. It’s a tiny little unit that I’ll eventually replace with a more sizable unit if one ever falls into my lap. I have a manifold that I’;; be putting on it so I can run air to both sides of my lab simultaneously so I’m not hauling around lines and cords everywhere I go. I also store my bike here too.

 

By the garage door I have all of my metal working gear (to reduce fumes). While I still need to find a proper metal supply company here in Tallahassee, I’ve been quite happy with the cheap MIG unit I got a couple months ago. It feeds well and has plenty of power for the jobs I’m interested in. Eventually I’d like to get argon for it, but that’s a ways off.

Of course my power tools are not far from hand here either. I have my grinder, hammer drill, sander and dremel underneath the moveable workbench. In the photo I have a white board on top of it with a UPS I’m attempted to save from death (corrosion), but  most of the time it should be home to my metal/wood jobs instead. I should mention that the shelving units were purchased at home cheapo for 30 bucks, and I couldn’t be happier with them.

My two chop saws are over against the opposite wall. Since space is limited it’s nice not having them take up too much space, but it also means I have to move them out when I go to use them which is a pain but a sacrifice I’m willing to make. This will also doesn’t have any power in it, so it’s not a particularly functional area to begin with.IMGP5469

 

This is a real simple saw-horse I pieced together from scrap 2×4. Right now It’s holding some of my 5 gal ‘Project Buckets’ and a dremel drill press jig. My project buckets hold my little used, niche job supplies. For example, the bucket on the left has some propane canisters, a couple pressure regulators, some hose and a few nozzles. All of these things are for plumbing projects which I don’t do much of anyway. The bench also is home to my lawn mower (takes up so much space!) and some gardening equipment.IMGP5470

Finally we have the corner next to my main workbench which holds my ladders and my hot water heater. Not much to write home about, except perhaps the compact, folding ladder. Everyone should have one of these aluminum ladders since there is very little they can’t do.

The couple essentials I am either in the process of finding or would like to see fall off a truck and into my drive way include:

  • Fire extinguisher: very necessary
  • Industrial fans: clear out fumes and dust so my lungs don’t have to
  • vice: it might just have a better grip than I do
  • electrical conduits for additional outlets
  • grounding points for electrical work: static kills… circuits
  • band saw: who doesn’t (or lathe, drill press, CNC…)

Well, that’s just about it. Hope you’ve enjoyed a quick look at my new lab and if you have any questions either leave them here or find me on Twitter @tbrycekelly.